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A Morning Routine I’m Loving These Days.

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 HANNAH

I'm a writer, author, and online educator who loves helping others build intentional lives through the power of habit and meaningful routines.

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Morning Routine

We’re almost at the halfway mark of 2024, and I wanted to share something with you that has made all the difference in my life this year. There’s no denying that this year feels different for me. I feel more grounded and at peace. I feel less frantic or overwhelmed and more focused and clear. And there’s one rhythm that stands out clearly for why I think this way (I’ve embedded it into my morning routine). It’s something I’ve fondly started calling my morning meeting.

At the start of the year, I decided to make meeting with God each morning the focal point of my life. The pinnacle of my day.

I found myself deeply moved by these words in Psalm 5,

“Every morning

 you’ll hear me at it again.

Every morning

 I lay out the pieces of my life

 on your altar…”

I decided to take this framework and make it practical in my daily life. 

Nearly every morning, I follow the same routine:

I pour my morning coffee, head up to my office, and open up my notebook.

And I ask God: what do I need to do today? What do I need to see?

It sounds precisely like a quiet time but it feels different. The meeting feels like clearing the space every morning to let God speak into my life and give me clear directives for the paths ahead. The meeting feels like a chance to check in with what’s on the calendar, what’s ahead, and what’s required of me– a moment to breathe, gather my thoughts, and plot a way forward.

NO MATTER WHAT: MY MORNING ROUTINE

In my courses, I discuss the importance of establishing your “non-negotiables.” These are the things that must happen in your daily life. They are the top priority. And yes, there will certainly be times when these things don’t happen, but if we can learn to prioritize them, our lives will operate more smoothly.

My morning meeting is now one of those things. It gives me peace and calm. It sets me up for the day. And it has become a non-negotiable– even when I’m tempted to say, “I don’t have time.” I would say that 95% of my mornings this year have included a morning meeting. Even if we wake up late and I have to get Novi off to school, I still make it a point to go to my office right after drop-off for my morning meeting– before starting work.

I don’t want to walk into my day without the breath of God upon it. Checking in with myself matters more than checking emails or social media. There are plans for the day—goals and expectations—but God often has better ones in mind. Those better plans cannot be followed if space is never carved out to be still and listen.

And here’s the thing: I don’t have a time block for my morning meeting. I don’t tell myself how long it has to take. Instead, I show up to the rhythm of a morning routine and go from there. Some morning meetings are longer, and I get the chance to linger in them. Some morning meetings are five minutes, but they are like a much-needed water break amid a marathon. Each meeting has the same expectation, “Lay the pieces of your life down. Pick up what you need.”

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THE WORLD IS LOUD (AND WE ALL NEED A MORNING ROUTINE)

Out of habit, many of us will reach for our devices first thing in the morning. We check emails. We start to scroll. Sometimes, we don’t even know or realize that we’ve picked up the phone before we’re knee-deep in some conspiracy theory on TikTok or watching another Selena Gomez/Justin Bieber glory days mash-up (just me and my algorithm?). We might not realize that we’re starting the day by allowing other people’s fingerprints to get all over our day before even that first sip of coffee.

Friend, it’s possible we need a better morning routine if scrolling or checking is the first thing we find ourselves doing in the morning. If you’re reading this email and thinking, Gosh, I barely have any routines, start with this one. Start with a morning meeting– effective immediately. For the first five minutes of your day. And if you need a little help forging this new habit, don’t be afraid to tap me in. It doesn’t have to be fancy. You don’t need a new notebook to start. Just clear the space and begin– imperfectly and wobbly. It all counts.

In this age of constant connectivity, we need to be diligent about clearing out some of the noise to benefit from stillness, hear God more clearly, quiet the voices of criticism, and uncover that slower, peace-filled pace.

For a long time, I did not have this morning routine and I think other parts of my life suffered. Now that I have it, I’m never stopping because I feel the daily benefits of starting my morning with stillness and listening, rather than noise.

WE ALL HAVE DIFFERENT PLATES.

Right now, in this very season, you are called to something completely different than me. You might be called to a career. This might be a season of learning to be deeply intentional with your health and wellness. You might be in the thick of parenting tiny humans, raising them to be kind and brave members of society. Or you might be entering a season of empty-nesting for the first time. We all have things on our plates and need something different to get us through the day.

I say all of this because carving time in the morning allows us to examine what is on our plates and be intentional about it.

As I’m writing these words, Lane is recovering from surgery and we are in the thick of May-maggedon (which I get it, I get why we call it May-maggedon). And so today, in my morning meeting, I wanted to stack the day high with expectations and a long-winded to-do list but God gently nudged me in a different direction.

The stillness prompted me to look at what matters for today. Sometimes, that mission for the day or the week is very work-centered, and that’s totally okay. But for now, the work on my plate is the memo I wrote down in today’s morning meeting: take care of your people well. Don’t stack this day with things for the future– be here now. Make the soup. Do the laundry. Unplug a little longer. One thing at a time– God will meet you at the end of every task to tell you where a new one should begin.

ACCOUNTABILITY TO YOURSELF MATTERS.

This is a big one, and I discuss it again and again in Your Routine Overhaul: the importance of being accountable to yourself.

I am all for cheerleaders and people who help hold us to the standard we say we want to live at, but what does it say about us if we’re incapable of being accountable to ourselves? If we don’t learn to stop the self-sabotage and partner with ourselves?

If I have a meeting set on the calendar with someone, I’ll honor that meeting. I’ll show up and follow through with what I say I will do. But, for some reason, when I make a gym date with myself and get halfway through the day and my willpower starts to fizzle, I have no qualms about canceling that gym date with myself. I’ll do it tomorrow, I tell myself.

For someone reading this email today, you’re repeatedly letting yourself down, and it’s wearing on you. You show up for everyone around you, but you give yourself whatever scraps still exist at the end of the day. You unintentionally live by the anthem, “I’ll start again tomorrow.”

Did you know that eventually, when you quit on yourself one too many times, your brain stops expecting you to show up? It becomes so used to the failure that it learns to expect it from you. When that becomes the case, you need to build tiny habits that look like showing up and taking care of yourself. In the building process, you renew your belief in yourself and can start to take on bigger goals.

You are allowed to make important commitments to yourself and have those commitments matter just as much as anything else. 

The morning routine is a commitment I’ve made to myself, and it matters. Setting your day into motion intentionally matters. Fueling up to better serve others matters. It prompts me to start the day with prayer and a fuel-up rather than scrolling, going through emails, or plowing right into work that needs to be done. 

It’s a simple (not easy) way to tell myself, “You matter, and I believe you matter. I’m not going to abandon you today or go back on promises we made to ourselves for the betterment of ourselves. We’re on this day together and we’re committed to health, wholeness, and goodness- one small act at a time. Let’s do this thing.”

I always need more of those grace-filled pep talks. And maybe, today, you did too.

LEAVE A LOVE NOTE +

  1. I love this so much. My morning routine has been suffering lately and I love the idea of naming it a morning meeting + taking the pressure off of it having to be an hour long. Thank you for your encouraging words and wise example!

  2. Shenaz Wahid says:

    Insightful and wisdom filled
    Thank you. I need my morning coffee with Jesus

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Hi, I'm Hannah

I love writing about all things faith, mental health, discipline + and motherhood. Let's be penpals!

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