What a crazy August it’s been! I haven’t posted in a few weeks, and I haven’t even had time to get much writing together. We have this amazing summer babysitter who is a teacher during the school year. So the only real drawback is that she has to stop a few weeks early to get her classroom ready. Of course once that happens, the stay-at-home parent, me, becomes the babysitter. Over the past few weeks I’ve really had to prioritize my time and discover what it takes to help me be a good husband, a good father, and not be an irritable asshole. I wrote a post a while ago on my morning routine, but I’ve really had to refine it in the last few weeks, so I thought it would be a good time to re-visit this.
I used to think that if I was able to get done the things I wanted to do, I would be a happier person and a better father and husband. However, what I’ve discovered in the past few weeks is that if I get done the things I NEED to get done, then I will be who I want to be. It’s only after I deal with my internal goals am I able to work on the external projects. And, in fact, it all starts with how I start my day.
Actually, that’s not entirely true. It all really starts with how I end the previous day. My goal every night is to be in bed, turning off the lights by 10:00, even though I don’t always accomplish that. I don’t really have any desire to watch the local news or late night TV. What’s really to be gained by repeated stories of corruption and shootings followed by humorous opening monologues anyway?
Regardless of how early I fall asleep, it takes me a few minutes to get moving in the morning, so I’ve started setting my alarm fifteen minutes earlier than I’d like to get started. Getting up at 4:45 gives me time to gather myself and get moving. I drink a large glass of water then hit the restroom and brush my teeth. Why do I brush my teeth right away? I’ve found that it’s much harder to get back into bed with that minty, fresh taste in my mouth. Something about it just tells my body that the day has started.
The two next things I do are probably the most important parts of my day: meditation and exercise. If I can get those two items done, then I know I can handle whatever the day throws at me. Meditation gets my head ready, exercise gets my body ready, and will always choose meditation over working out if pressed for time. The inner peace and self-awareness that I receive from the practice of a daily meditation ritual is crucial to being the person I want to be. I use, love, and highly recommend the Headspace app. I’ve been using it for about a year now, and can’t see starting my day any other way. I also recommend the Calm app if you’re looking to try something else. After about twenty minutes of meditation, it’s time to really get the body moving. If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve probably seen pictures of my growing kettle bell collection. Currently, I’m working my way through Pavel’s Simple & Sinister system. What I really enjoy about it is the daily routine approach to functional fitness. This workout plan/system/etc. fits perfectly into my daily morning rituals while leaving me energized for the remainder of the day. Almost all of my kettlebells come from Rogue, and I probably won’t buy anything else. I think the quality is exceptional. When I’m looking to mix it up a bit more, I’ll go for a run, or a walk, or just hit the jump rope. Basically, I need to be active every morning.
Until the kids get moving, I’ll spend the rest of my time reading or writing. Once they’re up, it’s time for some coffee and breakfast. I’ve been playing around a lot with coffee lately; trying out as many different brands as I can find. Some of my favorites right now are La Colombe, Toms, and Burlap & Bean. I also just picked up a new Hario grinder and a french press. This is my favorite way of making coffee at home, since I’m not about to run out and buy an espresso machine. Sure, the hand grinder is a little more work, but there’s something incredibly satisfying about it. I follow up the coffee with either a smoothie from the girls over at Simple Green Smoothies, which I prep in advance on Sundays, or some Niman Ranch bacon and Vital Farms eggs. At that point, the kids are usually ready to get going with the day, and we’re off.
I’ll grab a shower at some point, other house projects will get done, blog posts will get written, but getting through these first few steps of the day sets everything else in motion. I can tell you from personal experience, that the days I start with this routine are usually better than the days I sleep in. Hopefully you can pick out a tidbit here or there to help you get your days started off right too. Let me know what you think!