5 Powerful Habits of Successful Childcare Professionals
What time did you get up this morning? I’ve always been a morning person. While my routine has changed dramatically over the years, I have always cherished mornings. There is something about a new day that feels exciting to me and I want to start it as soon as I can. But I believe it’s more than just a feeling.The way we spend our mornings determines the rest of the day's outlook and can have a huge impact on our overall success. While I recently started a series on how to use job descriptions to improve staff success, today I want to discuss how creating good habits leads to personal success.
Forbes Magazine, one of my favorite business periodicals, relates success to willpower by stating:
Willpower is the single most important keystone habit for individual success. It predicts academic performance more robustly than IQ. It reassures individuals with healthy doses of self-esteem and self-confidence. It empowers with a sense of ownership and responsibility for our own lives avoiding the space for unproductive excuses. It basically allows people to design and achieve their best life and become their best version.
What I love about this statement is that it takes the focus off our environment, other people, or even our own abilities. By focussing on willpower, the responsibility of success is placed on our choices, empowering us to take full control in the battle for our best life!
So when I say waking up early plays a huge role in your success, remind yourself that the power is yours and yours alone. Today, I want to share with you the 5 things I do every day to set myself up for success. I call them habits on purpose because though they didn’t all come naturally to me, I have adapted them over time. Using willpower to make good choices every morning creates habits that are much easier to maintain over time. Let’s take a look at these habits:
1. Wake up Early
Did you know that over 50% of Americans are awake by 6:30? If you want to get ahead, you’ll need to be up by this time at the least. Waking up early can create space in our daily routine for things that might otherwise be missed, like the habits discussed below. Forbes recommendation is to set your alarm for the same time each morning. When we wake at the same time each day it helps us set our bodies into a rhythm. Although it will be hard at first, if you consistently wake up early it will become easier over time. I have experienced this personally as I no longer need an alarm since my body wakes me up naturally at 6am.
2. Personal Hygiene
We all know that we shouldn’t ‘judge a book by it’s cover’ but the reality is most people do. Taking care of our bodies is important for success, and you may be surprised to see it as number 2 on the list. As mentioned though, personal hygiene often takes a hit when we don’t wake up on time. The first thing I do when I wake up is to brush my teeth. I probably should add wash my face to that routine, but here’s a secret, I don’t wash my face! I’ve got dry skin so I don’t have issues with acne plus I don’t wear makeup unless I am doing something special like filming a blog video. By wearing makeup only when necessary I save time in my cleaning routine and save money as well! Taking care of your body is so important, and this can look very different for each of us. My advice is simply decide what is a priority for you and do it every morning. The key is to remember that if you respect yourself, others will be more likely to respect you too.
Although this is coming from the girl who spent elementary school in a special reading class, I have to say that reading is so important and can be a great way to set the tone for your day. Find something to read that inspires you and challenges who you are. Maybe you start with a devotional like me or a biography from a leader you admire. Reading is another habit that needs to be formed because it’s hard to find time for it. I’ve found morning is the best time for it, because the rest of the day quickly fills up with duties and responsibilities. Of course, if you’re just not a reader or you spend too much time commuting, a great way to expand your world is through audiobooks. Many books are available free online from your local library or you can use a streaming service with a monthly subscription plan.
4. Eat a Healthy Breakfast and Hydrate
Ever since I was young I have eaten breakfast every morning. Maybe this is because I get low blood sugar or “hangry” as my husband calls it when I don’t eat. Either way it is a great way to kickstart your metabolism and increase memory and concentration. A green smoothie, eggs or a bowl of oats are my favourites. Eggs are a great choice as they are cheap, easy to make and have enough protein and fat to hold off hunger for hours. There’s also tonnes of ways to switch up eggs to always keep your breakfast exciting. Intermittent fasting is a popular trend these days, but the truth is that for many fasting can lead to fatigue and lower performance. Don’t wait until lunch to feed your body and expect it to perform at maximum. Your body is like a car, requiring quality fuel throughout the day, so be sure to fuel up on the regular, guilt free!
At the same time, remember that hydration is an essential part of fueling up. Harvard Education explains on their blog that “Drinking enough water each day is crucial for many reasons: to regulate body temperature, keep joints lubricated, prevent infections, deliver nutrients to cells, and keep organs functioning properly. Being well-hydrated also improves sleep quality, cognition, and mood.” Your body needs small amounts of water throughout the day to maintain hydration, so make a habit of drinking regularly. If you really don’t like water or can’t access liquids, packing hydrating foods like soups and fruits can help reduce the need for drinking water.
5. Get Some Exercise
When it comes to exercise, pick your poison. It’s not always fun to do but the benefits are both instant and long-term for both physical and mental health. Right now I'm into cardio, specifically running. I’ve been on a running streak and it’s honestly been life changing. Starting my day with a run gives me the endorphins to tackle anything. It actually makes dealing with all the unexpected things of life so much easier. Especially if you are a leader, running helps clear your mind and give you space to think, helping you to reduce stress and solve problems. The morning is the best time to exercise so that the endorphins flow all day, but anytime of day is better than none. Choose an activity type and level that you are comfortable doing on a regular basis in order to set sustainable habits for long-term health.
After reading through my list you may be thinking, “that sounds good, but I just can’t do that everyday”. I’m here to say yes you can! it just takes a little willpower, especially at the start of a new good habit. If it seems overwhelming just pick one habit and start there, and try to make a little progress each day. By being strategic about how we spend our time in the morning we are setting ourselves up for a day of success to stay ahead of the competition. Especially in the child care industry, self care is so important to avoid burnout. If you are struggling to maintain your center and your routines, then you need to simplify your life. This may mean reducing your responsibilities through delegation or using childcare software that makes running your centre a breeze. Above all, make sure you are making yourself a priority, so that you can maintain the ability to take care of others!
I hope I have given you some good suggestions to implement (or get back to) in your morning routine. Feel free to share this list with your team, it would make a great morning staff meeting discussion!
Now go off and conquer the world!