Sound too good to be true? While perfection is overrated, balance, certainly, is not. In a world where there never seems to be enough hours in a day or enough energy in our systems, it can be difficult to even imagine living differently.

Wouldn’t it be lovely to have a perfectly balanced day- one where you’re productive and aware instead of unhinged and exhausted? Punctual without the mad rush? Calm, collected, and able to focus without the frenzy? There are so many ways to begin to transform your life, but this one is simple: Design your morning around balance and intention.

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Your Perfect Day is 100% Attainable

Designing your day may sound like fortune cookie fluff, but, before you discount it entirely, travel back in time to consult with your six-year-old self. (Turns out, you were designing your day for decades before #balancedliving was even a thing.)

Remember when you would prep your backpack and pick out an outfit before you went to bed so that you could just mindlessly grab it and go the next morning? (Of course, having a parent holding you accountable certainly didn’t hurt.) It’s that very same thought process that can save your mornings and set you up for success throughout your day.

How many times have you left something at home- like your keys, wallet, or even (gasp!) your cell phone? Sometimes, a single morning slip up can derail your whole day.

We jam-pack our brains with so much “stuff” to get done in the mornings that, of course, things inevitably fall through the cracks. Then, we’re stressed the rest of the day because we set ourselves up for failure. It’s a terrible routine, but, one we can easily improve. In fact, most of these morning to-dos can be planned for the night before. Imagine a morning free from your usual mental checklist! Here’s how to redesign your morning, decrease your stress, and plan for a perfect day:

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The Night Before…

  1. Pack Your Bags:  First things first, take a lesson from your six-year-old self, and pack up your bag/purse/briefcase before you go to bed. Be specific and intentional. Your laptop, your lunch, a reusable water bottle, a change of clothes for the gym, a healthy snack, a book? Whatever you need to get you through your day needs to be completely packed so you can just grab it on your way out the door.
  2. Recharge: When preparing for bed, it’s recommended that you power down all devices, at least, one hour before heading to bed. Create a nightly recharging ritual for you and your electronics. Plug in your cell phone, laptop, tablet, portable charger so that they’re charged and ready to go by the time you’re packing your bag.
  3. Clean Up Your Routine: Showering at night is an incredibly refreshing addition to your nightly preparations. Not only will washing off the grime of the day before climbing into bed keep your sheets cleaner, but you can also utilize this time to reflect. Take your time, feel the warmth and pressure of the water, and let your mind relax. Evening showers give you an opportunity to unwind after a long day which, in turn, will help you fall asleep faster.
  4. Make Healthy Choices Now: We can all agree that nutrition is an important part of achieving optimal levels of health and wellness, but it’s easy to drop these ambitions for the sake of convenience. When you’re hungry and short on time, it’s obviously easier to grab a packaged breakfast sandwich than it is to whip up an egg-white omelette. And, when it comes to lunch the same rules apply. These unhealthy (and expensive!) shortcuts become our habits. Instead, plan your meals the night before. Pack leftovers from dinner along with some fruit, and you’re good to go! Or, keep your fridge stocked with quick lunch items that don’t take much time to prepare. (Think hummus and veggies, apples and peanut butter, hard boiled eggs, baked chicken, soups, and salads.) Now that lunch is under control, make breakfast at home a top priority even if you have to wake up a few minutes earlier. After all, it is the most important meal of the day!
  5. Lay It All Out: This might sound like middle school all over again, but how much time do you spend each morning sorting through your closet, looking for that specific shirt, ironing your pants, hunting for matching socks or that missing shoe. Wouldn’t it be simpler to wake up and have everything you need ready and waiting for you? No extra thought or extra stress, just get up and get dressed!

Take Back Your Morning!

Create your perfect day by designing your morning through thoughtful intention. With all the time you save getting the day-of prep done in advance, you’ve just created space in your day to focus on what matters.

Make yourself a healthy and filling breakfast, meditate, meet friends for a coffee, take your dog on a leisurely walk, linger in bed with your partner, write in your gratitude journal, head to a morning yoga class, spend a few minutes talking to your child, call your Mom. Whatever you do, do it with intention.

What’s your idea of the perfect day? How are you making changes to improve your mornings?