That Didn't Go As Planned 1
As it goes with me every year at this the weeks seem to go a little faster and, truth be told, I start getting a little itch for Fall to get here. Fall is my favorite season. I love the weather, I love jeans and sweatshirts, and I love the anticipation of the gatherings for the holiday seasons coming up. I have to say, I wouldn’t mind a repeat of last year’s Fall in MN. The temps stayed mild and I was riding my horse outside in November in a lightweight shirt. The major drawback was we didn’t have snow for Christmas though. Anyway, I hope your week was a good one!
I wrote to you last week about getting a little evening routine going. I am anxious to know how it went for you. Did you try anything new? Do you already have what’s working for you? For real… stop right here and jot me a couple lines (firstname.lastname@example.org) and tell me the scoop.
If you know me even a little bit I like to set a plan and think it’s going to work out like a fairytale complete with getting up in the morning, singing a tune, and a bird landing on my finger. I already have Prince Charming so why wouldn’t I think it would work like that, right? Well, in real life, the week had its highs and lows as most weeks do. I started out last week with not getting home one night until about 9:30 p.m. and the next night at 11:30 p.m. Hello! That is WAY after my bedtime! The next days improved a bit but I can’t say that it was quite the routine that I hoped for. The good news is I did very well with my “no screen time” after about 8:00 plan. I don’t know if that is what helped me fall asleep quickly a few nights or if it was that I was exhausted. Either way, I enjoyed the few nights of falling asleep faster than my husband.
I knew this week I would be home earlier so I expected this week to go well. Not exactly! I am cramming for tests in multiple courses so I’ve kept studying until right up until 9:00 pm. The great thing is that it is mostly in print so I wasn’t staring at a screen until that time. By the time I was done, I fell asleep immediately again. So, in a nutshell, that is the snapshot of my week. I did very little early planning for thing but everything I did helped. It wasn’t the dreamy “go to sleep and dream of sugarplums” kind of evenings, but that’s ok.
So what exactly were my takeaways? First, habits don’t change in a week! This will definitely be an ongoing process. Are you going to stick with it a bit longer too? Second, my plan is going to look a bit different than I thought because I’d rather not compromise the time I am enjoying in the evening. I would have had to miss some time with family and friends out at the horse barn and aren’t those times in life more important than a rigid evening schedule? Yep! Third, my schedule and routine will change with the seasons and I believe it will be more fruitful to adapt to the change rather than create a routine that is the same all year.
I didn’t plan to write to you just to camp on this topic for another week, but I really want to hear from you! Tell me what’s working for you. Share with me any ideas you have for me. Hopefully we are both always getting closer to living our signature version of our own “Hallmark life”. If you read my very first letter then you can see I am still striving to make sure that it’s a life well lived, on purpose, and has a meaning beyond just me and my own 4 walls.
So what’s next from here? I will keep working on seeing what prep I can do in the evening that will nurture some of my morning routine goals. One of the fun things I noticed this past week is I didn’t focus on what I want my morning routine to be like, but, wouldn’t you know it, my mornings have been much more enjoyable. I have had busy mornings. Most mornings I’m heading off to the studio, some mornings I’m starting with taking family to appointments, and some mornings I decide to start on the patio rather than racing off anywhere. The crazy thing is, without much effort my mornings have been a great pace. It seems that even though my effort in the evening hasn’t been on point, it has still made an impact on my mornings. Bonus! Did you notice anything different with your mornings? Did you feel any less rushed as you head out the door or start whatever your day had in store for you?
I found the simple steps of shutting off the “screen” (computer, phone, TV) earlier, looking at my calendar and giving enough of a cushion in the morning so I wasn’t really “rushing” anywhere, and then just going with the flow and enjoying my husband, family, friends and, of course, my horse was just how I want my evenings to go before our days get shorter in terms of daylight. As I’m writing this I guess it was more of a win than I thought!
Before I sign my letter for today, I’d really love to know what you’d like to talk about. What things do you think about when it comes to living your best life? What are your biggest struggles? What are the best life lessons you’ve learned? What advice would you give to your younger self… or to your kids? If you’re short on time just drop me a few bullet points! I really would love to hear from you and I want our letters to be a great conversation between us.
Have a beautiful day and until next week, my friend, live a week that you absolutely LOVE!
Sending you so much love,
The Routine Before the Routine... 1
Gosh, I feel like I could have just sat down and written you about 17 letters this past week…if I weren’t running at the speed of light. How’s your summer wrapping up? Any little vacations or weekend get-aways on your calendar? I feel like I have so much I still want to pack into the rest of August and it feels a little bit like I would need to cut back to sleeping 4 hours a night and eating on the run to make it all happen. Can you relate at all? Well, we both know that neither of those habits would have a good outcome so I’ve been searching for what else might make a difference.
Have you heard “the secret of your success is hidden in your daily routine”? If you listen to one of my favorite people, Terri Savelle-Foy, then you most certainly have. I am not new to hearing talk about routines, but don’t you find that most people talk about a good morning routine? I use to have a good morning routine and I can’t for the life of me figure out where it fell off or why. Granted, it fit in with what it needed to accomplish at the time. As I think about designing a new morning routine that works with life now I am finding that I need a good EVENING routine to make the morning routine successful. It can all look good on paper and a task list, but let’s take any kind of exercise for example. I am not very good at just “get up and go do it”. I’m sure after making that a habit I could do it much more efficiently. Do you plan any exercise in your morning? If you do, I’d love to hear what you like to start your day with. I use to get up and go to the gym and was more in “attack the day” mode. These days I’m a bit more crawl out of bed and start the day more calm.
So back to the routine. I like to do some stretching and some beginner yoga in the morning but I do all “on demand”. I found that if I wait until I get up to figure out what I am going to do I could scroll through videos…and waste a good 15 minutes right there. So I need to cue up the video at night. I do stretching from YouTube so I bookmark that and I do “on demand” for Yoga so I preselect that. I find that, even though, the athletic clothing is in 2 drawers about 5 feet from my bed, I am so much more prepared in the morning if I take them out the night before and lay them on the dresser ready to go. Is it weird that something so simple can still make such a difference in the morning?
I’ll admit, I am still discovering this “evening routine”. My husband, Allan, is usually out of the house around 4:15 A.M. and back home between 6:30-7:00 P.M. He generally tries to head to bed at 9:00 and is usually asleep when his head is still about 2 inches off the pillow. I hate to make 6:30-9:00 too much of a routine because I like to see if he’s still ready to run an errand or if he’s ready to camp on the couch. I don’t have a lot of time with him and if you know us then you know that where you see one of us you usually see both of us (outside “work” time). I generally like to go to bed when he goes to bed and am trying to get more on his schedule. Are you an early riser? If you are, does it just come natural or have you worked at it? I’d relish any tips you have!
So I’ve come to the conclusion that if I implement some things in my evening routine, Allan will probably do them to and we both can have good sleep and be ready to go the next day. I just got off the phone with another friend, Mary, and was telling her about this and she said “why don’t you start some of your routine a half hour before he gets home”? See, between you and Mary it is evident that I have smart friends! There are things I can do before he gets home like get my clothes set out for the next day, make my list for the day and do any prep that can be done like put stuff in bags for errands or to take to the studio, or plan meals for the next day. (True story… when it comes to meal prep I can go from mastering this to sucking at this and back again within two weeks and there isn’t much middle ground.)
There are things that I will save until around 8:45 for my final evening routine. During this time I want to do more “winding down” kind of things. Wash my face, put lotion and lip balm on. These, again, aren’t earth shattering things but I’ve read several articles that talk about how even simple things train your brain that it’s time to go to sleep and you rest better. Shutting off all devices earlier will definitely be a bigger challenge. I am usually adding things to “idea” or “to-do” lists when I think of them. My biggest obstacle to good sleep is shutting my brain down so I will let you know how it goes with doing all the little things that tell my brain it is time to sleep, not jump into creative mode for business.
So where are you at with all of this? Ready to create a good evening routine with me? Already have a good evening routine? Either way, I’d love to hear from you! I love good suggestions and if you’re challenged here too then we can check in with each other to see how it’s going. Seriously, if you have 5 minutes write to me. I’d be thrilled to hear from you! I will let you know next week how my evening routine is shaping up and then we can chat about a morning routine. That is a whole other topic!
Side note: Doesn't the photo look dreamy? I can relax just looking at it!
Have an amazing day and until next week I am sending you much love!