World Down Syndrome Day


If you have read one post about my family then you know that the youngest member of the clan is a sweet & spicy, sassy & spunky young lady. She is smart, an excellent selective listener, wannabe twerker and chef. She also happens to have Down Syndrome.

By now, most folks know that is a spontaneously occurring chromosomal arrangement. It is also the most common one. Each person, like all people, are unique. The arrangement (please know regardless of how you feel, this is not viewed as a disorder or disability in my home) affects every one differently; there is a wide range of outward and inward variety, but there are some prevalent commonalities in personality and in accompanying medical diagnoses that are screened for very early in life.

A Girl with down syndrome in a blue swimsuit in a pool.
A Girl with down syndrome in a blue swimsuit in a pool.

I have a friend who also has a daughter with Down Syndrome, or Trisomy 21. Annually she writes these super cool posts about 21 things she loves about her girl. I tear up every year and vow to write my own, but alas! So, I am just going to say a few things in general.

Get over your grief

Get with it! Seriously. Individuals with DS or any thing or not are all just humans doing the best they can with what they have. And to be clear, these folks have a lot. They have abilities, talents, dreams, and feelings. Believe me when I say I meet folks all the time, including new parents to children with DS, who do not have this viewpoint. I honestly feel sorry them. But I also try to help them to understand that it is okay to grieve. Grieving the loss of the “life” you had hoped your child or family member *could* have had is normal. Especially when you view people like my Boo as some how intrinsically “less than”. But then, friend, find a way to get over it because life is going to come at you and there are a ton of things that you do not want to miss.

Embrace possibilities

Attitudes have certainly changed, but not enough or enough people. Fun fact: my daughter is the second child I have given birth to with DS. 15 years apart. There is a big difference in the way I viewed her birth and the subsequent confirmation of DS. This time I hit the ground running with information and lessons learned. My son died from complications of pneumonia when he was two. And even with the little experience I had as mom with him, I had racked up a few more years with my eldest daughter, who was 11 years old when sis came along. I took it one day at time as there was no other way. I went into parenting this child with eyes wide open and was proven wrong countless times when it came to setting expectations, especially limitations. So, we threw previous conceptions out the window and we’ve been hanging on for dear life every since. We are a bilingual household and she’s done well understanding in two languages. She’s learning to ride a bike and swim. She’s reading some words and learning to use a calculator. She’s a professional YouTuber…lol. She doesn’t see herself as limitless and we don’t impose any on her. She’s a joy; a student and a teacher. She’s also very bossy and stubborn and makes a lot noise. She’s a typical kid who happens to curse like a sailor. Ah, well. She’s belongs to us!

Love more fully

This last little bit isn’t so much about what you bring to the life of a person with DS, but more about what you can expect to learn from an individual with DS. There is no way for me to truly express how much wider and deeper love became with this kid. Not just for her but for everyone. There is something so magical about happens when you truly accept the sheer power of pure love. As much of a hellion she is, she’s also perpetually innocent. She loves unconditionally. She’s never known anything but that love reflected back so just gives that kind of love to everyone. It’s a kind of heart-pumping, soul-expanding love. Don’t get me wrong. She’s basically a horrible listener and it seems like she understands but really she doesn’t. Not in the way you want. She destroys the stuff of her older sister, still writes on walls, and the fear of her just going off with a stranger with snacks looms in the back of my mind. But, she’s sweet and genuinely loving and oblivious to flaws of mankind. She can ask you the same question for ever…Then when you think you’re going to lose it if she asks you one more time about slime, she puts those chubby little hands on your face and tells you she loves you. And means it. She waits patiently for you to reciprocate. Then she sits in your lap and hugs for like 5 minutes. And you’re like, okay I’ll order the slime. Then she’s like okay. And hugs you for five more minutes. And you weren’t expecting it so you’re in a bad position and your legs are numb because she’s heavy and totally relaxed and supported by you. But your heart is happy. Always.

So be ready for that part. It’s the one that you experience the most often. It’s the reason why I’m a better wife, mother, sister, friend, daughter. Because that is the love I’ve been gifted through this child.

As a way to bring awareness to these fantastic individuals, their worth, and loving influence, break out your attention-getting socks and wear them on 3-21. This day was chosen to symbolize a reference to their being 3 genes on the 21st chromosome.

Absolutely Incredible Kid Day!

This is just a short little post to honor all the incredible kids and encourage you to do the same!

There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children.

Nelson Mandela
One young Black woman and one younger black girl standing close together wearing matching yellow t-shirts with the black sparkly hearts that say Melanin. There is a cream house in the background.

Absolutely Incredible Kid Day

This fun day of observance was started by Campfire Kids to acknowledge kids and the effect that building their self-esteem and being role models had on youth.

Today, especially, it is nice to have a reminder to celebrate my girls and other children in my life by letting them know how amazing they are!

My eldest daughter is a young adult who is hard -working, funny, and bright. She is still finding out what she wants to do but I love and admire her pluck! Parenting young adult children is all about respect, understanding, and boundaries. Some days I feel like I do some of right, others…weeelll, not so much. My hope for her is that she’s brave enough to live the life she wants and that she loves the life she lives. 🥰

That little one…WHEW! She is all sparkle and sass, sugar and spice. She has the highest self-confidence and is always determined to get what she wants! My hope for her is that one day she will use her powers for good and not evil! 😈

Please do not make this day the only time to give your kids a boost in their self-esteem and confidence. Easy, confidence-boosting practices can and should be done each day! Believe me, I know how hectic our lives and schedules can be. Growing our children into the best possible humans they can be is important and totally doable!

Why Self-esteem Matters

Self-esteem, positive opinion of oneself, is directly correlated to greater confidence. This can results in things like better grades in school, better choices, and better choices in friends! A confident child learns to tackle a greater variety of projects and handle them effectively. They build stronger skills in many areas, including socially. Bonus: They’re less apt to become a target of bullies or to bully others.

Kids with high self-esteem weather failures and losses better. In a word they are more resilient. They’re happier, more content with their lives, look to the future with greater optimism, and grow into happier, more responsible adults. BOOM! Parenting wins all around!

How to Boost Your Kids Self-esteem

  • Go beyond incredible. Admirable. Amazing. Astonishing. Astounding. Awe-inspiring. Brilliant. Extraordinary. Formidable. Gifted. Impressive. Inventive. Marvelous. Notable. Outstanding. Remarkable. Splendid. Stunning. Super. Talented. Unreal. Wonderful. It doesn’t have to be “incredible.” Send a message that’s as unique as the kid you’re encouraging. And highlight more of who they ARE, not just what they do.
  • Be specific about why they are incredible. Sure, it’s nice to be told you’re incredible. But it’s even better to know the details. Remember that we help kids develop a growth mindset when we praise their effort, strategies and progress. Don’t be shy with words that speak directly to the heart of who they are. That is where the real impact comes from, not to mention modeling kindness and appreciation of all people.
  • Make it personal. Why do they matter to you? What difference do they make in your life? What have you learned from them? Is there something you wish someone would have told you at their age that you can pass on? Put some of your own story in the message, and it will mean twice as much.
  • Keep it up. A few simple words of encouragement on a regular basis can literally change a young person’s life. Practice mindful conversations with your child and try to heart what they are really trying to express. This will provide insights on ways that you can continue to build your child’s confidence by valuing what they value or enjoy.
  • Use the platform they respond to the most! For a lot of kids, that is social media. Do they love Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, email, or text messages? If you’re on social media, post a photo of the kid you want to praise, and try a caption like this for your post!
  • Campfire reminds us An absolutely incredible kids doesn’t have to be your kid. Don’t have kids of your own? Today is still for you! Are you a teacher who knows an incredible student? Are you a volunteer that has been inspired by the generosity of a kiddo you work with? Are you a social worker? A coach? A neighbor? A sibling? Aunt or uncle? How you know your kiddo isn’t important – it’s how they have impacted your life! Let them know you are honored to know them!

Your words are powerful. Encourage a child. Make an impact.

Focus on Your Passion

We all admire some people’s ability to concentrate, whether they’re training for the Olympics or solving a great societal problem. These folks with great focus have discovered something very important: If you’re focused on a goal, you have an easier time getting where you’re going. This type of motivation, extrinsic motivation, relies on “if-then” logic. It get the job done when the “then” of a situation is a tangible reward. For daily tasks, particularly those that require habit or ritual or less rewarding tasks, this type of motivation doesn’t cut it. What you need here is intrinsic motivation. And you need to be able to generate at will!

Creating more focus in life

Can you really create focus just by willing yourself to have it? Or is this trait a secondary characteristic of something else? I think so. Broken down, caring about something is the foundation of focus. You can agree that more passion you have about something, the easier it is for you to pay attention to it. To get involved with it. To work with it or through it. Focusing on something that holds no meaning to you can be hard. The other thing is that science has proven it. I am not going to bore you with that but consider the following:

Author Dan Pink, in a TEDtalk and book, describes intrinsic motivation as consisting of three parts: autonomy, mastery, and purpose. Quickly, to clarify- 1) Autonomy: is the urge to direct our own lives. 2)Mastery: is the desire to get better and better at something that matters. And 3)Purpose: is the yearning to do what we do in the service of something larger than ourselves. 

He talks and summarizes some key studies that show how carrot and sticks type of problems are solved most effectively and efficiently with extrinsic motivation. For example, the faster you fold towels, the more money you make. Easy task; many folded towels. However, real candle problems, are not resolved by extrinsic motivators. In fact, more often, the reward hinders the cognitive ability needed because the motivator limits the field of focus too much. WHAAAAATTT? If you are unsure of the what Duncker’s Candle problem is, click here and learn about it!

How we typically try to motivate others and ourselves is an out-of-sync practice, held over from days or circumstances that have skill-based solutions. I posit that today’s struggles are the other kind. 21st Century problems. Technology has made ABC easier, but I am dealing with XYZ-type challenges. Folks are undermotivated and burnout. That is a candle problem. They require intrinsic motivation. That motivation when all things are said and done, thrive on passion and purpose.

Where there is Passion, there’s a way

Reflect on your accomplishments. I am sure that you will see a trend emerge. The things you cared the most about most likely rank among the tasks most often completed. This isn’t just a coincidence. Passion fuels motivation.

Notice the people you know who really struggle with life. They are not happy with anything. Or they are interested and engaged, but it is short-lived. Dig deeper and you’ll likely find that they haven’t found something to really care about. Or worse, they are not confident enough to lean in–more on that to come! If you’re in this position, you can really suffer. However, when you’re able to open your heart and truly find something you’re passionate about, happiness is the result.

A red bound journal that reads The Passion Within on the cover
Photo by Pixabay on

When I first to university, the pressure form my parents to be pre-med was enormous. I had the grades and the scholarship. I was grateful for the chance and really wanted to make my parents happy. I took the classes with energy and fervor. For three weeks. Then I was could not make myself do the assignments. They were not too hard. But they were beyond uninteresting. Except chemistry for some reason. And English class. Needless to say, my parents did not get their doctor (or lawyer). But to this day, I write (and read a lot!). To this day, chemistry and its applications are compelling reads for fun. I spent years floundering, not in touch with my passion (so I could not connect to my purpose) but fortunately, I made mistakes and learned a lot. But only because one of my passions is learning. Caring puts you into the perfect state of mind; you’re stimulated enough to take real action, but not to the point of feeling apprehensive or overwhelmed. In fact, when you truly care, it’s harder to not take action!

Discovering your passion

Let’s look at a simple process that will help you find your passion, your focus, and ultimately, greater happiness:

  • Make a list of the things that you’re truly passionate about. These aren’t necessarily the fun little things you like to do when you have some free time, though they might be. These are the things that you consider to be most important, the worldwide challenges you would fix if you were given a wish.
  • These should be things that fascinate you so much that you’d gladly spend your life studying them.
  • Organize your list. Put the items on your list in order by the amount of emotion you feel when you imagine yourself being part of each one.
  • If there is nothing on your list yet that makes you cry, keep writing. Don’t stop until you’ve found the one that does make you cry. You’ll know your passion when you see it.

Using Your List to Your Advantage

Now that you have your list, ask yourself how much discipline would be required to be part of those items. Consider:

  • Would you have to force yourself to focus on them? Or does the mere fact that you care about those items so much simply result in focus? Although each item will certainly involve times when you have to enlist some self-discipline, the big ones won’t take much.
  • If you feel it’s a challenge to focus on your career, relationship, or any other part of your life, that’s a great sign that something needs to change. Go to your list for ideas and options. Try a new career that fills you with a sense of caring and you’ll never have to “work” another day again.
  • Can you continue to focus on the positive aspects of the topic, even if it is hard. Folks do not go the gauntlet in medical school concentrating on the difficult subject matter, long hours, or costs. They focus on their passion of helping others.
  • Bonus: If you don’t have the ability to work in your passion, spend time once a week just doing what you love. It will help keep you motivated, boost your productivity, and increase your happiness!

Focusing on your passion will propel you on the days when you need that push. The energy you generate will separate you from most of the people you know in your social circles or in your professional networks.

March Forth and Take Action

Events in this country require that I inform you that this post is NOT about QAnon’s hope that he who shall not be named will return to power on this day.

Today–a completely made-up day of observance–is based on a play on the words March Forth (4th). It is a day for taking action and this post contains a couple of tips to help you to do just that!

Here we are, already in the third month of 2021. I know from coaching that motivation and focus is starting to wane. Folks are looking at their progress towards their goals and are wondering where the time has gone! Keep reading and get reenergized, motivated, and most of all, down to action.

How to Take Action Consistently

Actions speak louder than words. Talking and planning aren’t enough to make progress with most tasks. Some of us specialize in daydreaming and planning. We might have the best ideas, but ideas without action are a waste of time and mental energy. It’s important to spend the majority of your time actually doing something. Action is the key. Those with control over their lives and their time are able to take action on a consistent basis.

Actions speak louder than words illustration
Actions speak louder than words illustration

Become more action oriented and gain control over your time:

Realize that nothing changes until your behavior changes. Visualization and positive self-talk have their place, but they’re only effective if your behavior changes. You can try to wish your way to a new Bentley, or to make a million dollars by aligning your chakras with the universe, but it won’t happen unless you’re actually doing something different. Understand that a consistent change in your behavior is the key to real change.

Know the outcome you desire.

It’s not easy to take action if you don’t know what you’re attempting to accomplish. Be clear on your intention. Take the time to determine what you want to accomplish. Where do you see yourself in 5-10 years? What actions can you take today to move in that direction?

Start by taking small steps.

Do you want to jog for 60 minutes each day? Get started by jogging for one minute each day. You won’t get in shape by exercising for only one minute, but you will develop the habit of getting out the door each day. After a week, up the time by another minute or two.

  • After 4-6 weeks, you’ll have developed an exercise habit and can begin to exercise for real.
  • Does it seem like that schedule is too easy? Good! How much running did you accomplish in the previous 12 months? There’s nothing wrong with easy, provided you’re patient and can see the big picture.

Limit your planning time.

Those that are slow to take action love to plan, but the best plans are worthless until they’re executed. While you’re trying to work out the fine details, everyone else is already taking care of business.

There’s no reason to be hasty, but set a limit on how long you’re going to strategize before you actually do something.

Use rewards wisely.

Small, meaningful rewards can help you to get off the couch and get busy. Decide on a few rewards and when you’ll receive them. Get excited and begin taking action. When you’ve earned a reward, enjoy it.

Get started early in the day.

  • If you can accomplish something worthwhile before 9AM, you’ll be motivated to do even more during the rest of the day.
  • If you fail to do anything substantial by noon, you’ll feel bad about how you wasted the morning. Then you won’t feel like doing anything in the afternoon. Then you’ll let yourself off the hook by telling yourself that you’ll get twice as much done tomorrow. Many people make this process a habit. Avoid becoming one of these people.

Take a close look at the most successful people you know. Notice that there’s nothing exceptional about them. They aren’t smarter or more capable than you. But they do manage to get things accomplished each day by taking action consistently. The good news is that you don’t have to be spectacular either.

You only need to learn how to avoid wasting your precious time. Consistent action is the key to wealth, health, strong relationships, and anything else that matters in your life. An additional tactic I would like to suggest is the use of affirmations . They can boost your mood and self-belief, and we all know the adage: if you believe it, then you can achieve it. They have been very helpful to me and I am sure that the strategy is worth a try!

Repeat them until you have memorized them, or jot them on notes to read first thing in the morning. Record them on your phone and replay them during your commute. Additionally,

  • I take action.
  • I put my ideas into action.
  • I hold myself accountable. I live up to the commitments I make to myself. I avoid commitments that interfere with my priorities.
  • I focus on what I can do today instead of rehashing the past or trying to predict the future.
  • I build my confidence. I review my accomplishments and skills. I remind myself that I can handle hardships and deal with challenges. I think positive and focus on solutions. I give myself a pep talk when I need to raise my spirits.
  • I make plans without letting my preparations hold me back. I would rather bring my dreams to life than keep refining them. I stop procrastinating. I make a start right now instead of waiting for conditions to change.
  • I take things gradually. I break big projects down into smaller steps. Each small victory encourages me to aim higher.
  • I give myself credit for making an effort and taking risks. Even if I stumble, I can learn from the experience.
  • Today, I take responsibility for my happiness and success. I swing into action

Self-Reflection Questions:

  • How does taking action help me to overcome my fears?
  • How do I define being a doer?
  • What is one thing that I have learned that I could implement today?

Morning Movement, For the Win!

Man in hair bonnet and bathrobe, drinking coffee with smirk on face, waiting for toast to pop up in toaster. Text on picture says, "Actual footage of me working out."
Robert Blackmon.

I am certain that by now, the above image doesn’t represent any of you! I will admit, I don’t like working out in the morning. The science is out on whether or not it really makes a difference. For me, my mind is firing and I need to do brain work then. I like evenings, when everything is done and I can throw my booty in a happy little circle and not think about email, dishes, and the like. To be sure, I am of the school that believes the workout you will DO and ENJOY is the best one. Hell, it is really the only one you should be doing.

The following three strategies are ways to get you up and going! Have fun trying them all (if you do #1, please comment FOR SURE). The point of this month was to get you some morning motivation so that you can establish routines that support the tasks necessary to crush your goals this year! If you have gotten better about the routine but maybe are struggling to break down the goals, read this.

  1. Awake using the Wim Hof Method. Full Disclosure: I had not heard of this and have NOT tried it. It sounds a little to jolting for me. However, those who do it, rave about it and tout effects like decreased stress and improved performance. Taken from the website, the protocol is as follows: 1. As soon as you wake up, sit in a meditation posture. 2. Do 30 power breaths — inhale through the mouth or nose and exhale through the mouth in short powerful bursts (like blowing up a balloon). 3. Hold your breath until you gasp. 4. Take a deep breath in and hold for 10 seconds. 5. Repeat for three more rounds. 6. Have a cold shower. Meet me at #2.
  2. Rise and Shine 2.0: Years ago, I started following the Fly Lady. One thing she talked about was “Shining your sink” and getting “dressed to the shoes”. Those things have stuck with me and my wake up ritual consists of rising (to greet the day with a quick stretch), smoothing the bed (not making it as it still holds the hubby), and getting dressed and shining that sink while I drink water and make coffee!
  3. Move your body, of course. I know that are some people who will prefer to get their joyful movement in the morning. If that is you, go ‘head with your bad self. If it is not, maybe you can get in the morning magic and get your full on workout later! It does get the blood and thoughts flowing and I do enjoy walk breaks all day!
Man dancing and spinning on a fast moving treadmill conveyor belt.
Man Dancing on a treadmill.

I hope that these posts about starting your day have been useful to you as we start this year! In February–you guessed it!–I will be talking about the basis of love, self love. Cultivating that love is tantamount to you living your best life–now.

Join the free 5 day Self Love Challenge boost your self confidence starting on Monday, February 1st!

Morning Habits That Rock

Witch grumbles sarcastically about hating gorgeous mornings. She is wearing dark cloak and is in a candlelight dark room.
Bette Midler in Hocus Pocus

Today, I have a quick round-up of 5 doable habits to add to your mornings that will boost your mood–even if you are not a morning person!

  1. Get Enough Sleep. This one needs no explanation and is totally underrated!
  2. Get ready for the day while listening to positive or productive podcasts and TedTalks.
  3. Drink a full glass of water. I do prefer mine warm with lemon, while I make the coffee.
  4. If you can, do a brain dump of all the ideas you have and of things on your mind about the day. When you settle in to work, you can review and make sure critical tasks are being completed.
  5. Do something creative in the morning. Work on your side hustle; write a blog (YASS!) or page or two of your book. Sketch. You get the point. It will give start your day with something you enjoy and you can concentrate on work things!

What go-to habits are built into your morning routine? Do they help you or distract you? Drop a comment and let me know how you launch into your day!

College football fan dressed like astronaut, pretending to blast off, jumps and lands in hedge.
SEC Football Fans

Bonus: Take Time To Review Your Morning Routine Regularly

Creating routines and habits for your mornings are a great thing. They allow you to do what you need to do to move ahead without having to spend a lot of energy and time thinking about it. That’s a good thing. It’s can also be a dangerous thing when you’ve focusing on the wrong things and are in the habit of doing things that don’t help you reach your goals.
When we get into a routine, it’s hard to stop and ask ourselves if it’s working as well as it could be. Even more importantly, with a routine and a set of habits firmly established, it’s easy to keep going even when the circumstances changes. That’s why it’s important to take some time every now and again to review our routine and habits, including the new morning routine.
Set aside a little time every few weeks, or even months to review your routine. Put it on the calendar and make sure you do it. It won’t take long and it will be a very valuable exercise in the long run. Our lives and circumstances change. Our routines should change with it. Just because something has served us well over the past few weeks and months, doesn’t mean it will continue to do so. Which brings up a good point…
When you sit down to review your morning routine (or any routine or habit you’ve been working on for that matter), ask yourself this:
Is it working? Is it working really well?
If it is, simply carry on. If it isn’t, it may be time to make some changes and tweak it until you find something that works well for you at that particular point in time.
Another way to look at it is to find what you love and what you hate about the new morning routine. Change it accordingly until you get as close as possible to loving everything about it and still getting the results you want.
Remember, this morning routine will change and evolve over time as you, your circumstances, and the people in your life change and evolve. Embrace the changes and look at them as an indication that you’re making progress.
Keep tweaking and improving your morning routine and don’t be afraid to mix up your goals for it. Maybe you started out by making exercise a priority first thing in the day. As time goes by and you become more fit and make time for it later in the day, your focus may shift to meditation, or learning a new language. Keep evolving, keep changing, and keep using those precious first few hours of each day to establish some positive change in yourself and those around you.

The Importance Of Habits And Routines

With your new morning game plan figured out, it’s time to not only put it into action, but make it your new morning routine. Why is this important? Because you want to make sure your new plan happens every morning without fail and turning into a routine is the best way to make sure that happens.
Before something becomes a habit or a routine, it takes a lot of willpower to things happen. That’s energy that you will need for other things throughout your morning and busy rest of the day. Yes, it will take some willpower, mental energy, and drive at first to create the new morning habits, but once they are set, it will become automatic like brushing your teeth before bed.
Once you come up with a good working morning routine, stick to it for a few weeks. That’s the best way to turn it into a strong habit. Before long, it will feel like the new normal and you no longer have to remind yourself to do each thing along the way. It will have become a habit and a routine you’ll follow automatically. It will take a lot less effort and mental pep-talk to get things done… even if your new routine includes a 30 minute run, or getting up at the crack of down to work on your most important business task for an hour.
Watch out for moments when you slip back into your old habits and routines. It’s going to happen. The key is to catch it early and get back on track as quickly as possible. For example, let’s say you’ve been doing well with waking up 30 minutes earlier and going for a run before you start your day. Then one day you oversleep and can’t make it out there. Or the weather turns too bad, you get sick or hurt, or something else pops up that keeps you from going on that run. That’s life. It happens. What’s important is what you decide to do the next morning.
Your most important job whenever life gets in the way of your new morning routine is to get back on track as quickly as possible. Do what you can as soon as you notice the disruption. If the weather is bad, do a quick workout at home, or head to the gym to run on the treadmill. If you overslept, try to squeeze in a few minutes of meditation or doing something to grow your business before you get back to the rest of your day. Most importantly get back on track with your regular morning routine as soon as possible. Get back into your new habits the next morning if at all possible. Actively remind yourself to get back on track for a few days until it routine is firmly back in place. You’ll be glad you did when you start to see the results you’ve been hoping for.

5 Minutes of Morning Magic

Animated Cinderella turning over in the bed and covering her head up with a pillow.
Cinderella Morning Reaction.

Mornings, am I right?

I only recently became a morning person in the past few years. And not because of some grand, lofty lifestyle overhaul strategy. It was literally the only time my house was quiet enough for me to think.

I started by getting up only 15 minutes earlier than my husband. At the time, he was up at about 6:30am. I didn’t get up until about 7:00am. After the couple of days of adjusting and actually getting a list of tasks together, I realized was how much more I got done in all areas of my life. Over the years, I have worked myself up to a 4:45am alarm (Monday – Friday). Disclaimer: I am in bed by 8:30 on ‘work nights’ and usually get in a 30 minute power nap when schedules may push my bedtime later.

FACT: How we start our morning often sets the tone for our day.

And, more often than not, our busy lives dictate a busy morning!

The Morning Makeover Challenge is about to wrap and if you missed it you can catch the next one here. In the meantime, I challenge you to wake up 5 minutes earlier in the morning and do at least ONE stretch (or yoga pose) and think of ONE thing for which you are grateful. That’s it.

One stretch won’t take you 5 minutes, so you may choose to stretch a little longer, learn a new yoga pose or take a few extra minutes to relax, enjoy your coffee or get ready for your day.

Waking up 5 minutes earlier and doing ONE stretch and ONE gratitude practice is TOTALLY doable. And transformative.

Stretching increases your flexibility and mobility – making movement and daily tasks easier. It also increases body and mind alignment and can also decrease stress.

Studies show that a daily practice of gratitude can lead to increased optimism, satisfaction, enthusiasm, motivation and HAPPINESS.

Consciously choose to think of one thing you are grateful for each day. Honestly, it can be the same thing every day. Just take a moment at the start of your day to be thankful.

Can you wake up 5 minutes earlier for the next 7 days and do ONE stretch and ONE gratitude practice? Leave an emoji or comment if you accept the challenge.

Come Up With A New Morning Game Plan

Now that you have a pretty good idea of what you want to do in the morning, what you don’t want to or need to do, and where to find the extra time needed, it’s time to put it all together in a new morning game plan.
The best place to start is with the new set of tasks that are most important to you. Figure out a preliminary time during which you want to get them accomplished. If your goal is to go for a run in the morning, you may decide to do that first thing before getting a shower and having breakfast. If your goal is to meditate each morning, you may decide it would work best after you’ve had a cup of coffee. If your goal is to find some time for reading or your favorite hobby in the morning, you could carve out some time before everyone else gets up and while you enjoy that first coffee. The same goes for wanting time in the morning to work on your business or learn something new.
Then work the rest of your morning chores around these new plans. It may take some shuffling around and mixing up of your current routine, but with a little creative thinking and a bit of flexibility, I’m sure you can come up with a working plan.
Making over your morning and turning it into a new routine isn’t something that comes natural to most of us. It takes a little while to get into the grove of things. We’ll look at this in a little more detail tomorrow. For right now, my suggestion is that you write your new morning game plan down. It’s easy to forget what you’re planning to do. Writing it down will not only give you a reference to refer back to, but also solidify your new plan in your mind.
Put the note, or notebook where you jotted down your new plan on your night table or somewhere else where you’ll see it first thing in the morning. It will serve as a reminder of what you’re intending to do and do differently in the morning now.
Even though you’ve written your plan down, it’s important to realize it’s not written in stone. The well-laid out plans don’t always work when put into action. Adjust it and make changes as needed until you come up with a new morning game plan that works well for you and the rest of your family. Once you have that it’s time to make it the new routine… something we’ll talk more about tomorrow.