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Living an intentional life is all about making small and meaningful changes and creating new habits. But these new changes and habits can be difficult! Sometimes the hardest part about these new changes and habits, though, is not the actual change itself but rather deciding which changes to make and which new habits to form.

After all, you do not want to try to add in too many new things into your schedule! To live an intentional life you need to cut out and simplify your life while creating those new habits and changes that help you pursue more of what you truly love and what means most to you. Which is why I wanted to share with you the number one habit that has made the most impact on my own success at living an intentional life.

The Habit

No phone time in the morning! 

I know this sounds scary, especially as a business owner. How can you not check in on your business first thing in the morning? How can you not see if there is something urgent that you need to get back to? 

It all gets back to your priorities: do you value your notifications or the life you are trying to build more? 

Now, I am not saying you need to ignore your business to lead an intentional life! Not at all. Rather, you want to make sure that you have a time and a place for all parts of your life so that you can intentionally do everything you do. 

Let’s explore this habit a little more and see just what it looks like when it’s implemented and how it can change your life.

To implement this habit, all I do is not look at my phone or at social media for one hour after waking up. At first, the adjustment was hard – I wondered what important emails and messages I was missing. It caused me a bit of anxiety, I have to admit. But then I realized if I had just slept in for another hour, I wouldn’t have seen any of those messages anyways. 

When I took just one hour in the morning to not look at my phone, I was able to concentrate on the most important tasks at hand – the things that truly needed to get done right then and now. I was able to spend focused time in the morning with my kids without them feeling second-rate because I was glancing constantly at my phone. Plus I was able to quickly make school lunches, feed everyone breakfast, tidy up the house so I could concentrate on work later, and get my kids ready for school, all without feeling like I was behind and needing to panic. This meant that when I got home from school drop off I was ready to go straight into the working day. I not only had completed all of the tasks I truly needed to get done in the morning, but I also had peace of mind knowing that I had spent an intentional morning with my family instead of rushing around and yelling. Plus, an organized morning set me up for an organized day!

What do you think you could get done in the morning with just one hour of not looking at your phone? Do you think your kids would be happier and feel more loved? Trust me, they will!

Now, you don’t need to depend on just my word for the benefits of not looking at your phone first thing in the morning – science backs this habit up.

The Science

Business Insider points out how all of your social media notifications and newsfeeds are designed to create FOMO within you. Which will then keep you going back to those same social media apps and spending even more time on them every time you open them. This is great for us as business owners since we want our potential clients to discover us and interact with us. But we have to guard against letting social media suck up all our time and keeping us from living that intentional life we are trying to create. When you delay your dive into social media for the day, you get to increase your space for intentional living.

Forbes points out that when you wake up and the first thing you see is a slew of unattended notifications, it instantly puts your brain into a state of feeling behind. This leaves you feeling for the entire day like you need to constantly be catching up to something. Which puts your brain into panic mode and does not allow you to slow down and consciously make decisions about how you want to intentionally conduct your day. This is the exact opposite of what we are trying to do as we work towards an intentional life.

So What Can You Do?

When you start to create a new habit or make any change in your life, it is best to start with baby steps. If you start small and are able to keep that small change (and see success with that small change) then you are much more likely to keep on making more of those incremental changes. So don’t try to start tomorrow by not looking at your phone for one whole hour in the morning. Try first to just not look at your phone until after you have gotten out of bed, brushed your teeth, or made your coffee (or whatever it is that you do first thing in the morning), and loved on your family for a few minutes if they are awake already as well. The next week, you can try adding in one more thing that you do before looking at your phone in the morning. 

Now, if you wake up before your family in the morning so that you can knock out some productive work, like a lot of us entrepreneurs do, that doesn’t mean you have to stop waking up early in the morning to start getting your productive work done. You can still open your computer and not look at emails and not look at notifications while you knock out some of your big projects. In fact, you will be able to focus on your projects even better when you have not looked at your phone, checked your notifications, or peaked at your emails. 

Keep adding in a few tasks or a few more minutes each week before you look at your phone in the morning until you aren’t looking at your phone for a whole hour after you week up! Maybe you will even decide that you are getting so much done in the morning before looking at your phone that you want to extend this period of time to more than an hour. This will especially be the case if you wake up to get work done early in the morning before your family is awake. 

The most important thing right now, though, is to start tomorrow morning. Don’t put it off and say you will start building this habit next week or next month. Start small, and start now. 

If you start tomorrow and stay consistent, in just a month you will find that your life is more intentional and fulfilling than it has ever been before!