Decision making in the groggy moments of morning

This week has been unseasonably warm. It’s basically April up here right now this strange week of January. So I’ve been motivated to run again because the sidewalks are free from ice and snow. Three out of the last four days I said to myself before going to bed “tomorrow, you’re going to get up and go for a run right away.”

Didn’t happen. Any of those days.

Both yesterday and today, about thirty minutes after I had gotten out of bed, I noticed I regretted the fact that it was too late for me to go for a run.

So what’s the deal?

I realized this morning that my decision-making skills were non-existent. My grogginess factor was so powerful that if that continues in the morning, I will never ever accomplish anything until I wake up. That’s when I realized I was having all this success last fall because I had never once tried to get up and go right out the door for a run. The plan was always wake up, do light therapy, journal, then go for the run. By the time I had spent that 30 or so minutes waking up, I was awake and enthusiastic enough to grab the shoes and go.

According to‘s 12 most important facts about sleep inertia (the grogginess after being woken up), “within the first three minutes of waking, decision-making performance can be as low as 51 percent of the person’s best decision-making ability before sleep. Decision-making performance may still be 20 percent below optimum performance 30 minutes after waking. Sleep inertia may affect cognitive performance for up to two hours.”

This is a super helpful realization for me because it’s the difference between me tweaking my plans and feeling demotivated and wanting to quit. Realizing I need at least 15 minutes where I get vertical (out of that comfy bed) or do light therapy. Then I will maybe be rational enough to make the right choice to go run or another form of exercise.

Here’s to tomorrow morning and outrageously warm weather for January!

What about you? Do you now have a little bit more hope for your morning routine with this information? Share your thoughts in the comments here.

Resolution + morning routine + running update

So I’ve started a lot of new things the last few months. I started a morning routine that I hoped would become habit. I started running using the Couch to 5K program. Then New Years came and I added to the list things I wanted to accomplish this year.

How’s that going?

Well. Notice how in the Resolutions, I only said “exercise” 3x a week? That’s because winter running is scaring me. So much snow! And my neighbourhood does not get salted very well. But today I felt some motivation and I did some research. I’ve found some places (allegedly) that are always salted by the city. So I think I’ll try to keep running at least once a week on weekends, mostly because that’s much easier to do in daylight because it’s not work hours.

Reading is a little on the harder side right now because I’m not all that motivated by any one book. Tonight I had a huge craving for a food memoir, found an electronic copy I could borrow from the library and then realized I had lent out my Kobo charger to a friend only hours before so I couldn’t transfer it to my Kobo. I couldn’t bear reading it on the computer. Sigh. I’ll make good headway on that this weekend.

Crafting has been a complete no-go until now. It requires so much organization and preparation. Again, a Saturday project.

Morning routine has been a gong-show all of december. A huge reason is because I stopped using my LAMP (bad idea) in december and had stopped exercising (another bad idea). So basically, my life falls to pieces when I stop exercising. Noted. How did I ever survive until 26?

Pressing on

I’m not giving up, though. I know habits take a long time to form. I remember how great I was functioning last fall when I was doing those things and so I’m motivated to figure out how to continue. So there’s that.

Two weeks in, are you still keeping up with your New Years Resolutions or goals or (whatever you call them to make yourself believe you’ll actually do them)? I wanna know I’m not in this alone! Leave your comment here.

Morning routine + being sick = grace

Photo by Jason

Photo by Jason

I have to be honest with you. I’ve been sick in various ways for the past three weeks. I haven’t been getting up at 6:45AM these days because I want my body to have all the rest it can get so my nose will stop running and I’ll stop coughing and sneezing. I have kept running, but only once a week (instead of three) and a more low-key run. You know what? I’m still quite pleased with myself!

It has taken determination to get out on those runs when it was -5ºC out and I was coughing up tons of phlegm and I did it with the encouragement of my husband. I didn’t want to lose the memory of how I actually enjoyed the runs and they weren’t as bad as my mind was making them seem. I’ve been too afraid to increase the intensity of the runs while being sick, too, so I’m still on week 2 of Couch to 5K. But again, I’m OK with that. I realize that part of what I’m doing is developing habits of running and so it’s not the end of the world if I’m not increasing intensity every week because at least I’m running.

Sometimes ‘productivity’ isn’t just about getting things done, it’s about the long-term implications about the choices we make every day. Which is why, I’m perfectly happy to not push myself maybe too hard and believe that it’s 100% perfect or don’t bother. There’s something worth celebrating in that last sentence. I used to be a person who thought if I couldn’t reach my standard of perfection I might as well give up entirely.

I’m really looking forward to this cold going away so I can not be a disgusting mess in public, but also so I can run again (because I actually like it!).

Update on adjusting my morning routine

Remember when we talked about our morning routine and I wondered if it was even possible if I could become one of those regular human beings who can wake up at a reasonable time in the morning? Or at the very least that it would be a bit more normal for me to be awake at 7am.

I can’t even believe I’m about to write this. I had a celebratory moment with my mentor as I shared this with her. “I can’t believe I’m hearing you say this!” was her exact words and you know what? SHE’S RIGHT.

I wake up every morning either right before my husband’s 6:45 alarm or even 15 minutes before.


Also, I’ve managed to survive every day that I’ve woken up at this hour without a nap.


I cannot give enough props to the light therapy because it’s all thanks to that blessed light. In effect, it re-calibrates your circadian rhythm so if you look at it in the morning when you wake up, it will make sure you keep waking up at that time. Glorious.

But what about the actual components of my morning? How is that going?

Exercise, Center myself, See my husband, and Day Prep.

  • I’m waking up on time. I appreciate having that time with the light to keep waking up. I’ve noticed it takes me about 45 minutes to become a real human being in the morning, and so it’s helpful for me to stay in bed and under my covers and just click on that light.
  • Then I pull out my journal and Bible from the bedside table, still under the covers. Having it right beside my bed makes it super easy to move on to. I keep the light on while I’m journaling.
  • If it’s a Tuesday or a Thursday, I will grab a glass of water and drink that while I’m snuggling into the lights’ rays so that I’m well hydrated for my run. (Seriously, I can’t believe I’m writing ANY of this. 6:45? Run? Hydration? Miracles do happen, people. I am evidence of that).
  • On those days, I eat a bowl of cereal, suit up, grab my C25K podcast and hit the bike path by the Lachine canal in my hood.
  • I come back home, stretch and multitask as I read my iPad, enjoy the props my hubby gives me for running,shower, eat more,  and peace. Also, I put on clothes before I peace, but I think you got the drift.

Currently that schedule is pretty tight to fit everything in. I need to be more intentional about not reading twitter while I stretch after my run and think more through my day. Or find a way to add that elsewhere.

So far, though, I’m still in the honeymoon phase. It’s still exciting and fun and I’m running off the thrill of feeling like a totally different person. If I learned anything from writing that novel in 30 days when I was in first year university, though, soon the excitement will wear off and I’ll be stuck with a commitment I no longer like but am determined to finish for bragging rights.

Adjusting my morning routine

Are you a morning person? I am not. Then again, I’m not sure I’m an any time person. I don’t seem to have a most-efficient time of the day at all it seems. When I wake up in the morning, I’m usually groggy and grouchy, unless I supermagically have a really good sleep.

I recently listened to Michael Hyatt’s latest podcast which talks about maximizing productivity by having a good morning ritual. I’ve been thinking about this lately as my life schedule has changed significantly in the last two months. My husband has gone back to school, which happens to be almost all night classes. Most days during the week this means I see him for 45 minutes in the day if I don’t get up in good time in the morning. Those 45 minutes require me to be home from work at 5PM, which means if I want to put in a good work week I either need to leave earlier in the morning, or work in the evening after he’s gone. Both are OK options.

Since I’m trying to figure out how to maximize my productivity, live intentionally, I’m wondering: Can I force myself to be a morning person? Can I engineer my life/day so that I get used to getting up in the morning? 

My components of a good day

There are a few things I’ve wanted to add to my life that I can never seem to make sure happen every day.

  1. Recently as I’ve started trying to run, I’ve found that after getting home and eating an early dinner with my husband before he heads off, the sun is almost already down making a run pretty uninviting! I’m looking at  scheduling a morning run/exercise. Granted, soon the sun will be down in the early morning, too.
  2. The other thing that I need to make a priority in my morning is a time to pray, read my Bible, and journal. This is something I try to do every day, but if I don’t make time for it in the morning it’s so easy for busyness to take over and it not get done. When I don’t do this on a regular basis I find myself feeling unbalanced, with my focus on the wrong things.
  3. The third thing that I’ve noticed has helped me have a better day is taking the time to review my schedule and my goals for the day and week.
  4. Finally, spend time with my husband and my DayLight (during the winter). See this post.

Exercise, Center myself, See my husband, and Day Prep. Those appear to be my components of a good day. I have been trying this out for the last week and have been surprised at the results already. The DayLight is helping me wake up early, and this routine is helping me feel more ready for my day.

What about you? What is crucial for your morning routine? 

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