I became a morning person involuntarily at first – and now I never want to go back. There’s something about accomplishing a goal before breakfast that makes me feel stronger and brighter for the rest of the day. If all goes well, I have nothing to do after 7pm but relax and enjoy myself. If you would rather spend the free time in your day snuggled in front of a nighttime movie with popcorn and a strong feeling of satisfaction than wallowing in morning sluggishness and guilt, dreading the day to come, then read on. It’s easier than you think.
Set a Goal
It’s easy not to put in the effort when there is no happy endpoint in sight. What do you plan to do with your extra morning time? Would you like to train for a 5k, spend an extra hour playing with your kids before work, or simply sit down to enjoy a peaceful, nutritious breakfast? Ideally, you would set a SMART goal – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound. For example, “wake up and go running” would not be a SMART goal. “Be ready for a half-marathon in June,” however, would be. This can even apply to softer goals. Which do you find more motivating: “do some chores,” or “fold the laundry before breakfast so I can relax after work”? It can be helpful to put this goal in your phone, so it pops up when you would like to get out of bed. The reminder might help to motivate you and push you past that wall of grogginess.
Develop a Ritual
Find something pleasant to do the moment you wake up. It can be anything you want – the only catch is, you have to actually get out of bed to do it. Because I began as an involuntary early riser, the first thing I do is walk downstairs and pour myself a cup of coffee. When it comes to morning rituals, I am a master of the obvious. Some other good ideas would be to have a quick breakfast, put on your workout clothes, shower, watch a news report, or have a small dance party. Really, it can be anything, as long as it is a task that physically removes you from your plush, comfortable bed. Because of the effect that repetition and habit-forming have on our brain, the more you do your morning routine, the easier it will be to start your day in the future.
Prepare the Night Before
First of all, go to bed at a reasonable time. Waking up early does you no good if you did not get enough sleep in the first place. Secondly, visualize. Visualization is a truly underrated psychological tool when it comes to achieving our goals. Imagine your morning routine as you go to sleep, focusing on sensory aspects that you look forward to. Taste the coffee, feel the hot water on your skin, see your children smile. Breathe deeply as you do this. You will not only calm yourself and help your body and mind to drift off to sleep, but you will also be preparing your psyche to view tomorrow morning as a pleasure, rather than a chore.
Embrace the Moment
This will seem laughable for the first few mornings as your groggy internal clock struggles to adjust to the change in routine. However, the more you make an effort to genuinely notice and appreciate the small joys in your morning, the more doing so will become a natural habit. This practice of mindfulness will help you not only to awaken your brain, body, and spirit, but also to truly get the most out of your early rising.
Try these tips for a week. You will soon notice a positive difference in your productivity, mood, and sense of satisfaction. Before you know it, you will be a happy and chipper morning person, ready to attack the day with a smile and a large, large coffee!