My Morning Routine

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I have always been fascinated with routines and rituals of successful people so I thought it only fitting that I share with you my morning routine. A regular wake-up time, breakfast with my family and exercise has been a regular part of my mornings for years and fuels my creativity for the entire day.
Recently, I altered my routine just a bit to include a morning meditation. I always thought this was a bit “out there” but I have found that making this one simple addition to my morning has helped me gain control over my happiness. {like the art? →collect this or you can download a free art collectors catalog}

Begin Each Day with a Sense of Purpose

In the morning, I am tempted to mindlessly lie in bed with my phone randomly clicking away at nothing. Since January, I have been repeating the mantra “Begin Each Day with a Sense of Purpose” (see blog post: art journal ideas: create a personal mantra ) This is enough to force me out of bed as lying on the bed with my phone in the air serves no purpose.
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Rooster Art by Miriam Schulman → collect this
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Ron the Rooster

I am up every morning by 7:00, and often much earlier. It might surprise you that I haven’t used an alarm clock in over 20 years. My husband, Ron, is a rooster. He wakes up every weekday morning, also without an alarm clock, at the crack of dawn. Well, he did grow up the son of a chicken farmer, so I suppose this is in his DNA. He doesn’t intentionally wake me up right away because he prefers to spend a few moments alone.  Lately, I have screwed up his morning mojo as I have been trying to join him on the floor to meditate and stretch.

Morning Meditation

For the past week, I have transitioned from the bed to the floor to start stretching. Ron says I am copying him but really he had nothing to do with it. I was inspired by a Melanie Duncan webinar where where she shared her “perfect morning ritual.” Her morning routine includes moments of silence and meditation.
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Watercolor Paintings by Miriam Schulman → collect this art
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My Monkey Mind

I find it really challenging to quiet my monkey mind so I have been attempting to do this by doing yoga stretches. I wouldn’t consider any of these poses “exercise.” I move mindlessly from child’s pose to lotus to twists… These stretches resemble the types of poses done at assisted living homes or senior centers.

A Moment of Gratitude

Another practice that I started recently is the “5 Minute Journal.” This is an app I downloaded to my phone which has both morning and nightly prompts. The first prompt asks that you document three things you are grateful for. Although there is no requirement to vary your answers from day to day I have been just dictating the first three grateful thoughts that pop into my head no matter how deep or ridiculous they seem. On some days, I am grateful for my health and on others I am grateful that my cat kept me company in the night.

Happy on Purpose

Another prompt the app provides is “What would make today great?” This simple practice has been the most beneficial. I choose three things that I can do that day that will give me pleasure. I choose actions that I have control over. For example, I think it would be a mistake to say that “today would be great if I sold a piece of art.”  I have no control over that. Actions I have taken over this past week have included tasks like getting a manicure, or treating myself to a large salad for lunch. Knowing that I have control over my own happiness has empowered me in ways I never imagined.
The last prompt the app asks is to declare an affirmation. The first day I struggled with this and left it blank. Since that first day my affirmation has been the same: I am in control of my own happiness.
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watercolor painting of eggs → collect this art
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Whew– okay, all that really only takes a few minutes. Next, I splash my face with water, brush my teeth and throw on my robe. I am banned from drifting off to my  computer or my studio until my high school age kids have caught the bus.
Usually, I make myself fried eggs, a huge mug of coffee and squeeze lemon into a glass of water. I enjoy this time with my kids. My son ignores, or pretends to ignore us while he scans the paper searching for injustices in the world. My daughter chats happily with me sharing gossip she has learned on facebook while I check the clock to make sure that they catch the bus. I basically spend between 7:15 and 7:25 nagging them to hurry up.

Almost Alone at Last

When they are gone, I call my mother. My husband hates this, but I love it. She will listen to whatever I feel like talking about…and isn’t that what mothers are for? {grateful} Sometimes my husband…or her husband…demands our attention instead but usually we indulge in celebrating our secret life.
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watercolor figures by Miriam Schulman → collect this art
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Computer Time

Ideally, I would love to start my exercise right away, I am really not productive until I have exercised but my preferred forms of exercise are group exercise classes and most of these don’t start until 8:30. So I pass the time answering emails or starting a blog post. Often, I get so involved with my blogging that I arrive late to my exercise class.

Morning Exercise Routine

My morning exercise routine is absolutely critical to having a productive day. There are days when I am involved with my work and don’t stop to exercise and on those days I burn out quickly and end up grumpy. I found that the only way to ensure I get in my morning exercise is to schedule it with a boutique shop that will charge me whether I show up or not. This motivates me to go.
Although I love barre classes, I do my best thinking at “Soul Cycle.” This is a very trendy spinning class where they turn off the lights and light candles. I find that I get my best ideas while my heart is pumping in the darkened room.

Post Exercise Brain Dump

Since I am filled to the brim with ideas, I have to rush back to my computer and start implementing them. Often, my ideas have to do with writing this blog or a great idea for marketing. I have found that if I stop to shower, I completely lose my train of thought. Sometimes, I do what I call a “post exercise brain dump.” This is when I will journal all my thoughts. I do this either by dictating to my iphone using the microphone app and Evernote, or I will simply write everything down into my planner.
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Artist Miriam Schulman enjoying a cup of coffee
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Sweaty till Noon

So I work on my computer implementing my new ideas until noon. I have an assistant come help me a few days a week so I start to plan the tasks I want her to do and when she shows up I finally get in the shower. Only then, can I begin to paint.

So– what is your morning routine like? I would love to hear from you! 

PS 21 Secrets starts tomorrow! Be sure you are signed up for this inspiring art journal adventure!!


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I’m Miriam Schulman, your curator of inspiration.

I inspire art-lovers to reconnect with their creativity and profit from their art. Whether you paint simply for the joy of it or you’re serious about selling your work, and you’re ready to stop putting yourself on the back burner...You're in the right place. I've done it and I can inspire YOU how to do it too.

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