February 25, 2018
As I am typing this it's 8:00 on Sunday morning and I've already walked my dog, gone to the grocery store, and eaten breakfast. (Going to the grocery store at 7 am feels like the most adult thing I've ever done, ps.)
This timeline is far from what a typical Sunday looks like for me as usually I wake up around 7:30, walk my dog, eat a small breakfast, go to church, go straight to the gym to teach BodyPump, hit the grocery store afterward, and then spend the rest of the day meal-prepping and blog-prepping.
Today's shift in timeline is due to a little all weekend side hustle I picked up that is going to help me achieve some upcoming financial goals (saving up $1800 while also having a social life and paying off the same amount of debt I have been...more on this soon.) The side hustle is taking up much of my prime prepping time so I'm making some shifts so I can fit my other priorities in.
Two years ago, I would have just let the side hustle take over and let my normal weekend priorities fall to the wayside, setting myself up for not necessarily a terrible week, but definitely a less successful one. However as I've gotten older, I have discovered how important following a routine helps me stay on track physically, mentally, financially and spiritually. And through a lot of trial and error I have discovered 5 rhythms that help me stay in control of my goals.
Wake up early - I hate being rushed. When I find myself rushing out the door to get somewhere on time I wind up feeling flustered and frustrated for much of the day. I am extremely routine oriented and rushing around like a tornado just isn't conducive to that routine. The root of the problem comes from being a natural extreme procrastinator and the desire to move pretty slowly in the morning.
My morning routine includes walking my dog, having some coffee and intentional spiritual time, getting ready, and putting my lunches together. So in order to do all of these things and still get to work on time, I wake up two hours before I have to walk out the door (which means my alarm starts going off at 5 AM.) It seems excessive, but I have found if I am able to stick to this routine every weekday morning, I feel more settled and prepared for busy work days, and because of that, waking up early has become a top priority.
Coffee quiet time - I'm a believer so intentional quiet time has always been important to me, but I can't say it's always been a priority. I used to try to have it before I'd go to bed, but would find myself either falling asleep or running out of time in my evenings and just skipping it. Building it into my mourning routine is what has been most successful for me.
Quiet time looks different for me all the time. Sometimes I simply journal, and sometimes I sift through devotionals. Annie F. Downs' 100 Days to Brave, She Reads Truth, and If Equip are a few of my favorites that I go back and forth between. My morning quiet time will range from 15-30 minutes, just depending on the day. Having this time in the morning to sit, reflect, and pray is something I've found that keeps me grounded and connected to God, so it has become a priority and a daily rhythm.
Meal prep - The idea of meal prepping used to be exhausting and daunting to me. I didn't have the desire or motivation to find time to do it, so I just didn't. However, when I did Whole30 for the first time, I was forced to find time. I had so much success with my first Whole30 that I now strive to eat a lot of the same foods even when I'm not doing the program. This requires a lot of preparation and cooking. Since I don't have a ton of free time during the week (full time job + teaching group fitness + having a social life), it's best for me to do the prep and cooking on Sundays.
Not only does this help me stay on track food wise, it also helps me stay on budget since bringing my lunch is a lost more cost effective than eating out every day. This has become such a priority for my health goals and budget goals that I'd rather meal prep at 10:00 at night rather than going into the week not having done any of it at all.
ATM visits - By now you may have figured out that I have some pretty big debt-dumping financial goals. ;) I've been on this budgeting journey for a little over 3 years now and there has been a lot of trial and error. Figuring out how much money to allot for all spending categories in your life can be a bit cumbersome and success with that definitely comes with practice. However, through all the trial and error it took me to figure out how many dollars to put in each category, one thing I ALWAYS knew I would have to do in order to stay on budget is pull out my cash every paycheck.
If you need a refresher, you can check out this post about why I use cash to stay on budget, but the short story of it is, if I don't pull out cash for my groceries and spending money, I will 100% blow my budget. So whether it's on my way into to work or a specific trip to the ATM, I make time to go and pull out my cash every single paycheck.
Move daily - Staying physically fit is a huge priority for me and has become an even bigger one as I've gotten older (this metabolism ain't what it used to be, folks.) Becoming a group exercise instructor was one of the best decisions I ever made, and it's helped me understand the importance of moving and challenging my body. I strive to work out 5-6 times a week, and getting paid to workout helps me meet that goal. However, some weeks are crazier than others and I am not able to get to the gym as much as I'd like.
During crazy, busy weeks, instead of killing myself to meet the 5-6 workout goal, I implement a daily move goal instead. I believe it's equally as important to simply move your body every single day as it is it can be to do a 30 minute high intensity workout. For me this can look like longer walks with my dog or some yoga flows in my living room. The rhythm of movement makes me feel better both physically and mentally so a priority it's become.
These 5 rhythms have taken years of practicing and perfecting in order to figure out what will work best for me and my lifestyle. And while I know that these will shift and change as my stage of life changes, I rest in the peace of knowing that having set rhythms will always help keep me grounded and settled not matter what life may throw my way.
What about you? What daily, weekly, or monthly rhythms do you practice to help you meet your goals?
(PS - need some help to stay in control of your money? I've got a free budget template to help with just that. Download one for yourself by clicking the picture below!)