A Conscious Evening Routine
Are you struggling to have great mornings?
Your struggle may not be rooted in what you’ve chosen to do each morning. Rather, the sluggishness or lack of motivation you may feel some mornings was likely set in motion the night before. If we aren’t consciously following an empowering evening routine, we are likely unconsciously choosing to have rough mornings.
When you begin to see the interconnectedness of your daily habits you understand that the choices you make in the evening impact you the next day.
The time right before you go to sleep is prime for moving you beyond your mental obstacles. Why? Because if you structure your evening routine well, you will be relaxed and receptive when you lie down to go to sleep. Not only will you consciously be prepared to focus on the changes you want to make the following morning, but your subconscious will be ready to accept those changes more easily.
Create an Evening Routine One Step at a Time
1.) Schedule: Start with scheduling the most important thing on your calendar, your evening routine. Block off at least one hour, preferably two, before bed to turn off your electronics (that includes the TV). Initially, it’s important to visually see on your calendar that you have prioritized this time for something special, rather than trying to rely on a mental note. Plan to prepare yourself for bed and do something that soothes your mind during this time.
2.) Set Alarms: You set an alarm to wake up each morning, now it’s time to set an alarm to begin your evening routine (ideally 8 pm) and an alarm for your bedtime (ideally 10 pm). It’s important to have this auditory reminder rather than relying on your memory, which is well established in your old unconscious evening routine.
The proof is in the pudding, so you’ve got to actually practice your evening routine when your alarm goes off. If you’ve grown immune to your alarm, try using a different sound/ringtone than you normally use for alarms. There are also numerous apps to help you set bedtime alarms and track your sleep.
3.) Soothing Practice: Remind yourself that the following day will be so much better if you stop the busyness of today by 8 pm. Engage in a soothing activity and let it connect you to your internal state of calm. Some suggestions for soothing evening activities are writing, reading (ideally not using a screen because of the influence of blue light on melatonin secretion), restorative yoga, yoga nidra, or making art.
4.) Recall & Visualize Progress: When you lie down to go to sleep, rather than worry about what you have to do the next day, stop and review the progress you’ve made today. Even the tiniest things count. Then plant the seed for a great morning by visualizing yourself waking the following morning rested, with plenty of time to begin your day.
Empower Your Evening Routine
After you’ve made these four simple steps a part of your evening routine, then you can begin to be even more mindful about the things that influence your energy levels. Gradually you can empower yourself by shifting your mindset from what you’ll do tomorrow morning to what you can actually do this evening to recharge.
But don’t get ahead of yourself or try to live an idealized version of your evening routine every night. Striving for perfection can backfire and leave you discouraged when things don’t go exactly as you planned.
Disempower Your Bad Habits
When it doesn’t go well and you find yourself scrolling through your inbox at midnight, don’t beat yourself up. Simply stop and ask yourself, “What was the first thing that got in the way of my evening routine?”
Over time you will begin to identify the things that take you off course each evening. Small things, like checking social media during a TV commercial, can act as triggers that capture your attention. You’ve got to break the patterns that you’ve unconsciously established.
Usually, you’ll choose something that your psyche is familiar doing because it’s actually more comfortable for your brain. Your brain doesn’t have to create new neural pathways if you repeat an old habit. When you actually do something new, or new for that part of your evening routine, it requires a little extra energy from your brain to create the new pathways.
Recognizing that the resistance you feel to change is a biological response can help you move beyond it.
Our lives consist of patterns and habits. In order to get what we want out of life, we need to create a powerful routine that provides the platform for our growth and creativity. Depending on the circumstances of our lives we need to adjust and tweak our routines so that we can thrive amongst the continually changing nature of life.
I’d love to help you refine and empower your evening routine. Let me know what you need help with by posting a comment.