Two years ago, I changed the outcome of my day from being mundane and repetitive to being goal oriented, progressive and joyful. My daily routine was waking up with negative thoughts and taking a reactionary approach to my daily life. I based my limiting approach to life on the idea that I would make some changes at some point in the future or that something big would happen one day and I would be catapulted into a more exciting existence.
My Pre-Post-It Note Ritual:
Each day started in a similar manner, with the dread of waking up in the morning whether by choice or force and having the feeling that I was far from interested in starting a new day. Some of my typical first thoughts would be:
Oh no, already? I feel like I didn’t sleep at all.
I’m still tired and my body doesn’t want to move…am I coming down with something?
How many more days until the weekend?
How many hours before I can climb back into this spot?
Here I go again, another day… (eye roll inside of closed eyes)
And the most annoying question of all…when will my alarm be going off or did I sleep through it? (if by chance I would wake up before being yanked out of my peaceful sleep by the alarm buzzer.)
My morning routine was to drag myself out of bed, throw myself together and head to work. I did not give myself any time to clear out the thoughts from the morning or plan out my day– so a majority of the time I was reactionary in my approach to the day. This remained the case until I had my first child. I was awakened from the unconscious sleep that I was calling my life, to the realization that my habitual ridden life was no longer an option. Things seemed to be completely out of control and I quickly realized that a new approach would have to take action.
Post-it notes to my rescue.
That’s when I realized that habits were indeed very difficult to break. My addiction to the snooze button came not from a lack of sleep, but from habit. I pushed it for almost two hours every morning and immediately began using energy to my head to fill with negative thoughts and indecision. By the time I would rise out of bed, a large amount of my energy had already been spent. I had gotten nothing done at all, even though I felt as if my energy was completely gone. Talk about no return on my investment!
You see…the key to changing a habit is three-fold. First you must recognize your routine. Second, identity the reward you gain from allowing the routine to play out. Lastly you figure out the cue that is triggering said routine.
I finally applied this to my situation:
My routine: Setting my alarm for an hour before I needed to wake up.
My reward: The feeling of momentary relief I felt when hitting the snooze button.
My cues: The negative thoughts I’d allow to fill my mind every morning.
By reviewing my unconscious morning routine, I realized I was giving myself two hours of unproductive time to start my day. This behavior was leading to stress and worry. It inevitably had me setting low standards of productivity for the remainder of the day. As the spiral continued, the result of this bad habit spilled into the rest of my week. My relationships with others faded, even worse the confidence I had in myself.
The change began when I decided to organize a plan to alter my morning routine. I started by setting my alarm for 5 minutes before I needed to get out of bed. This allowed my mind no time to begin running down the rabbit hole of negativity it had grown so accustomed to. Then to replace my old cues with something different– I placed several post-it notes with positive affirmations around my bathroom mirror. This guided my mind and thoughts to momentary flashes of awareness to all things positive. The reward that came with these post-it notes is the recollection of the thoughts I was having at the moment I wrote them. They helped me realign the beginning of my day with empowering thoughts of pure joy. As well as love. Rather than the old thoughts of lack and annoyance. These two simple changes began to redirect my day. I became more goal oriented: and in control of my overall results. From there I was able to work on other aspects of my awareness and making changes within myself that I had been thinking about for years.
Implementing post-it notes as a cue system for positive thoughts and action orientation, has changed many aspects of my life outside of my morning routine. I have an increased sense of confidence in my ability to change other limiting habits. As well as a higher level of self-esteem. I find myself in the alignment of my mind, body and soul more than I ever have in the past. Which in turn has influenced external factors such as my relationships with my son, extended family and peers.
If you are finding yourself stuck in habits that are limiting your ability to grow, I encourage you to apply this three-step process to your day. As well as creating a thought-out plan for change. It all starts with a vision and a plan. And in my case…..a stack of post-it notes accompanied with a trusty Sharpie!
Jessica Dawn is a Life Coach and a Sales Manager for a Fortune 500 company for over 11 years. She graduated from Kansas State University with a degree in Business Management and currently resides in Kansas City, Missouri. She is the mother of one son, named Hendrix, and a French Bulldog, named Juno.