Becoming a Morning Person

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Punctuality, particularly first thing in the morning, has never been my strongest suit.  I’m such a motivated person throughout the day, and that fire can stay strong well into the evening hours when I should be winding down; then getting up and running in the morning is hell.  I read this fantastic article from Foundr about some important tips for getting better sleep, which makes mornings a bit more bearable.  These are tools I’d teach to clients in therapy and they’re proven to help.

The gist is:

  • Make yourself a to-do list for tomorrow
  • Adjust your mindset and think differently about mornings
  • Don’t use your phone (tablet/computer/whatever else) before bed (you can read more about the harmful effects of the blue light they omit in this Harvard article)
  • Have a routine to help yourself turn down and cue your body for sleep

They also threw in some #neuroscience and a link for these awesome morning oat recipes!  So basically you must check out this fantastic article and get on track to have more productive and stress-free mornings.

photo credit: realsimple

Creating Healthy Habits

Considering my work as an addictions counselor intern as well as a research assistant in a university social and affective neuroscience lab I was thrilled to find this Harvard Business Review article, Why You Need to Make Your Life More Automatic.  The main point of the article is “the more of our key behaviors we can put under the automatic and more efficient control of habit… the more likely we are to accomplish the things that truly matter to us,” (Schwartz, 2012).

Also, aside from it’s relevance to my work, I am in the process of doing what I would call a “life overhaul” lately; I have been trying for the past several months to revamp my agenda of healthy daily habits.  9 months ago I ended my 10 year career of cigarette smoking–which I am so proud of myself for, however I let that be a detriment to my waistline.  I allowed myself to make excuses for unhealthy eating and neglecting to exercise because I was “so busy with work and school” and “quitting smoking is so hard”, but enough is enough so I’ve been working hard to re-incorporate an exercise regiment and more healthful food choices into my daily life.  I’ve been doing well going to the gym for a few months now, but I’ve got a long road ahead of me.  If you’re interested in learning how making healthful choices into healthful habits can change your life, check out:  Why You Need to Make Your Life More Automatic – Tony Schwartz – Harvard Business Review.

Quick Motivational Reads

Merry Post-Christmas!  First off, I hope you all enjoyed my cookie recipes and that at least one of them was a hit at your holiday parties.  At least for right now I’m going to give recipes a rest, but they’ll be peppered into my future posts for sure.

Since not listening to my all-knowing parents about going to the doctor and relaxing more during Christmas, I am now sick!  However, despite the obvious down-sides of illness, I was able to catch up on some pleasure-reading that I had no time for during my super-busy semester (I get an A+ for optimism).

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Instead of tackling some of the epic novels and works of classic literature I’ve been meaning to get around to, I picked up a little book that someone left on my coffee table.  It was called The Four Agreements by don Miguel Ruiz.   It’s a super-easy read — I breezed right through it in a meer 2 hours (not including my snack break).  It’s one of those life-perspective, spirituality, and happiness books that read like obvious information but it seems like it would really work if you actually apply the concepts in day-to-day life… I really enjoyed it so I’m going to give it a try.  After all, the turn of the New Year is the time for promises of self improvement.

Since I still get a rush from reading whole books in single days, I think I’m going to try a few more later.  I have Who Moved My Cheese? by Spencer Johnson which is less than 100 pages but can give your perspective a boost.  My good friend loaned it to me over a year ago (perhaps 2 years) and I think I read a page but then got distracted by something shiny  but then never picked it back up.  It’s a best-seller that’s really supposed to be a game-changer.

I know that The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is a must-read.  A friend of mine listened to the audio version while driving back-and-forth to work; I think I may give that a shot.

I also want to borrow The Happiness Advantage when my mom’s done with it – I think I’m going to be all about that.  It’s been highly recommended to me and I can’t wait to review it for you all.

I starting reading Discover the Power Within You when it was gifted to me a few years ago, but I lost the book without quite making it to the end (I know, I’m the worst) so I’d really like to finish that one – but I probably ought to just restart the whole thing after all this time.

Lastly, my cousins swear by Think and Grow Rich, so I want to check that out some time soon.

If anyone has any positive, uplifting, life changing books, please post comments to share!

Photo credit: I have more books than friends