Be Skinny,Lifestyle,Think Healthy

My Morning Habits: Starting Off Strong

I think there is something to be said for productive morning habits. Like a lot. How you start your day has a huge impact on how you get through your day and eventually, how you end it. We all have goals we’re working towards and each day is our roadmap to getting there and your daily habits are the micro-actions behind your inevitable success or failure.

I’ll be the first to admit, I’m not 100% on all of these right now. But in the spirit of January, here’s my declaration to being more productive in my early waking hours.

Let’s start with a typical day for me.

I can’t start to explain my morning habits without a little backstory into what a normal day looks like for me. I’m 100% self-employed so I am the CEO, Cheif Marketing Officer, Chief Content Creator and also customer service, accounting, mail room, and admin. I also run R&D, I am the Board of Directors and the Lead Strategist. It’s fun. But it can be tough to create structure around this blob of stuff I do for a living. I work between brands for marketing, clients for coaching and companies in corporate wellness. I am my own on-line retailer and to top if off, I am very active physically, socially and I love to cook! How I get it all done, is still a little bit of a mystery to me, but I’m figuring it out as I go and getting better every day.

Creating structure in a structure free zone

Now, I’m lucky here because before I started working for myself in 2013, I worked from home for Jenny Craig for the last 6 of my 14 year career with them. So I had already established a productive work environment at home. I have a legit office I do work in and hardly ever work from the kitchen bar, couch or bed (unless absolutely necessary). I’m pretty good about keeping “office hours” and not working late at night or through the weekend. So really, the only thing that changed for me when I left my corporate job was that I no longer felt guilt about where I was directing my energy and no longer received a paycheck. No big deal, right?

Screen Shot 2016-01-22 at 1.12.13 PM

My little home office, where all the health and wellness magic happens.

So in short, I wake up between 5-6 am and do some form of exercise between 6-8 and I try to be at my desk and “working” by 9 (which is often 10) and I work until about 6 depending on my evening plans or if I’m headed back down to the gym for yoga. That has pretty much been my schedule for the past 10 years.

My Productive Morning Habits

Now, I should break this into 3 posts really. Productive morning, afternoon and evening habits. All with the caveat of “I’m not 100% here, but workout towards it.” Perhaps I will, but let’s start with the morning. These are the thing that happen between 5-9am for me and I think have a huge impact on why I am able to keep doing what I’m doing. These are the things that I believe help keep me healthy, sane, productive and in a perfect world, successful.

First Thing in the Morning

I set an alarm, but hardly need it to wake up and when I open my eyes, I’m happy. Even if it’s not natural, like I’m coming out of a freaky dream or dealing with a crappy life situation.  When I first open my eyes I’ve trained myself to think “I’m so grateful for this life, what do I get to do today.” Then I roll over and give the grey kitty (my snooze button enabler) a little snuggle and I make a quick list of all the things I get to do that day.

The Snooze Button Enabler

The Snooze Button Enabler

I’ve condition myself to think in terms of “what I GET to do” not  “what I HAVE to do” so that it automatically puts me in a positive place of gratitude. It’s not even that hard to do because seriously, every day is an f-ing gift and I am, at the core of my heart and spirit, forever grateful for the life I get to live. This is one practice I have cultivated and I’m 100% with it as it feels natural to do every day. I think this is the #1 thing that has allowed me to work independently. I don’t live an auto-pilot life, I cannot wake up and go on auto-pilot, I’d never get anywhere. I love my freedom, but it comes with its own set of expectations for it to continue.

Morning Water

Once I get my quick list straight in my head I turn on the light and grab the water bottle I put out the night before and finish it. Hydration is a big deal, especially since I don’t eat before I exercise, I’ve got to get something in there to get going. Then, I put my feet on the ground and go. I’m about 60% here because sometimes I drink all the water throughout the night if I didn’t fill it up right or grabbed too small of a bottle. This is easy enough to fix.

Morning Vitamins

I’m not a huge fan of supplements, mostly because I believe so strongly in the power of real food. But a few pills in the morning certainly can’t hurt and they are good incentive to get the rest of my water down. I don’t have a highly sensitive stomach, so I’m lucky I can get them down with no food and have no issues. Since I realized this and moved them from the kitchen to the bathroom, I’d say I’m twice as good as I was at remembering to take them and I’d say I’m about 85% here. In case you’re wondering, I take a Super B, Vitamin D, Fish Oil and Chondroitin.

Morning Maintenance

This is stuff everybody does, face, teeth, lotion, sunscreen…you know. But I do love trying new products here and seeing what I like best. Hair goes up in a pony tail and the first pair of exercise pants of the day goes on. These are non-negotiable, I’m 100% here. 

Photo Jan 22, 9 42 49 AM

This is not normal morning maintenance, just 2 days per week. But it’s a picture from a post last week and I think it’s hilarious.

Morning Coffee

This is often the draw to getting out of bed to begin with. I love coffee. Not just the caffeine but the smell, practice and flavor of it. Sometimes I make it bullet proof in the blender, sometimes I make it fresh in the coffee maker, sometimes I make it in the French press and sometimes I just toss a cup of water in the microwave and add some instant coffee and go. I’m not a coffee snob at all, but I am a loyal fan which is why my detox, weight loss and healthy menus will always allow coffee. It’s totally personal.

Bullet Proof Coffee

This is Bullet Proof Coffee, and I love it!

What I put in my coffee is as regular as how I make my coffee. Sometimes black, sometimes just honey, sometimes a little almond milk…it’s kind of whatever I have in the cupboard/fridge. Right now I have this Coconut Creamer from Soy Delicious and it is well named. It might become a part of my routine. Coffee goes down 99% of my mornings. 

Morning Meditation

This is where I really want to improve. I was pretty regular for a short period of time back in November (according to my Calm meditation ap) but I really would like to be better here. While I have my morning gratitude and mini-goal setting session for the day every morning before I get out of bed, there’s something much more profound about taking 5-10 minutes, sitting up and clearning your mind, centering in on what matters most and doing a quick body scan to see how things are working. I’m like 5% here, but 100% committed to being better in 2016.

My Meditation Space

My Meditation Space

Morning Exercise

I have to exercise in the morning. And it’s when I like to get the hard stuff done. Spin class, weights, tough runs. The stuff that I’m better off just going and doing before I have too much time to think it over. I save the easier things for the evening like yoga because that always feels like a reward and in my opinion, not the end of the world if I miss it. I’ve taken to really enjoying Motivation Coffee Walks with some key, smart, engaging, successful, urban hippy gal pals too. This feels like multi-tasking because our conversations are so productive, my brain feels cleared up, we’re getting exercise and I’m always so motivated to hit my desk and help change the world after these walks.

Ahhhh...morning runs. The-BEST-way to start the day.

Ahhhh…morning runs. The-BEST-way to start the day.

I workout out every morning Monday – Thursday for 1-2 hours. I’m like 85% here. I only miss it if happy hour ran too late and I’ll almost always squeeze it in later in the day if that happens.

Podcasts and Audio Books

It’s about a 12 minute walk to and from the gym. So I end up with about 30 minutes every morning where I get to let my mind go free or fill it full of more information. I often pick the information route and will listen to whatever business book club book we’re on (right now it’s Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely, very interesting) but if I’m all caught up I’ll listen to a podcast. I’m a fan of the Ted Radio Hour and Your Best Life. Plus I think walking with my headphones in makes me look cooler. ha ha.


I’m a huge fan of breakfast! Whether it’s a power smoothie, eggs, optimized oatmeal or yogurt with berries. I will always eat between 8:30-9:30 in the morning and it will always include at least 2 colors. I’m lucky  there is a market between my house and the gym so I stop every few days and pick up exactly what I need and nothing more. Some people would probably think I don’t eat, only because I run a very lean and fresh kitchen. My house isn’t the place to come in the case of the alien takeover or anything that would require you to stay in your home for a long period of time. We’ll be dead in a few days for lack of food. But I am an excellent pantry chef and do often amaze myself at what I can create out of what looks like very boring cupboard food. I digress…

healthy breakfast

One of my most common and favorite breakfasts: Eggs, Tomatoes, Black Beans and Spinach. 3 Colors (black beans are indigo in my book) and unprocessed.

I usually eat breakfast at the bar and multi-task social media on my phone. I’m 100% here, I simply can’t skip breakfast. I don’t like to eat breakfast in the “office.” Not exactly sure why because I have no problem eating lunch over there. It must have something to do with starting the day. And it’s! After that it’s…

Off to shower then head into the “office.”

What are your productive morning habits and why do you love them? How long have you done them? What am I missing here in my daily morning routine? Are you working on any new ones this year? 

Do you want to incorporate more productive daily habits?

If you’re looking for ideas and inspiration to start working on more productive daily habits. you MUST take my 7-Day Reset Challenge! It’s only $7 and you’ll get instant access to my 10 Point Lifestyle Guide to Better Health and More Happiness and an email with a video message from me every day to help pinpoint one thing you can do at a time to improve your health and find more happiness. It’s not a lifestyle overhaul, it’s a lifestyle “upgrade” and anybody can do it!

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  • Mary Liz

    I’m a morning person and certainly a morning exerciser. Too much goes on during the day that might thwart my efforts to fit in a workout. Unfortunately I usually need to head to work by 7:30 at the latest. It’s hard to get a good workout in without waking up at an ungodly hour. So these days I’m getting up at 5am or 5:30. Then I’m so tired later on that I often don’t have the willpower to withstand the cravings throughout the day. It’s 9:15 and I’m already in bed, which is a good thing. Still, I don’t know how to stay focused and healthy throughout the day. It almost seems like I’d be better off not exercising and just eating right. What do you think?

    • Teresa

      Hi Mary! I think that exercise is a mandatory part of optimal health and happiness…but that said, diet is 75-80% of the battle. I’d suggest a shorter, at home workout. Something Tabata or HIIT style that is super efficient so you can maxmize your sleep and get the entire thing done in 25 minutes and be done with it. On days you have more energy, you can push harder or go longer, but try to get that 21 min a day, 6 days a week. You can build a stronger snack plan to battle cravings too 🙂 Being mindful is the first step — you can do this 😉

  • bekahjust

    Thanks for this breakdown Theresa! I also work from home and on busy days it’s almost too easy to jump out of bed, brush my teeth, and get to work in my jammies without eating anything until 11. It’s no good. I like the idea of being disciplined to not only take care of myself first thing but start off the day strong!

    Something I found that changed how my body felt all day was after drinking water in the morning and getting out of bed, doing five sun salutations before getting dressed and starting everything else. The first one can often be stiff and discouraging, but by the fifth one my body feels loose and energized. Plus, it’s a quick little meditation! Bonus!

    I do have a question for you: I’m training for a half marathon, and I’m very much trying to lose 30 pounds (not sure which will come first). I don’t drink caffeine and I’m vegetarian. When I run on an empty stomach in the morning, I feel like my feet are in cement blocks. Everything I read about eating before a run recommends carbs, but it seems like this advice is for super lean, hard core runners. My point is, I want my body to burn it’s own stored fat, but my body is telling me it needs some nutritious fuel before running as well. Do you have any tips?

    • Teresa

      Oh — such a good question! I just created a whole lesson on “fueling your fitness” for the Break the Diet Cycle Course. Long answer really…long distance running and weight loss are very tricky to get to work together. It sounds ironic, but as you know, very true. Short answer, you’re going to have to do what your body is telling you. And when you do, you’ll be able to run harder and burn more calories/get leaner in the end 🙂 There is also a pretty significant nutrition section in the Gals Who Run training guide I co-wrote you may want to take a look at…www.galswhorun.com. Either way, keep me posted on your training!

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