Search for more Everyday Power
You may have heard that most successful people are morning people. Indeed, our culture seems to be designed around it. But what if you’re just not feeling it? If you’re a night owl trying to pass as a morning person, you’re in luck! To be a morning person, use your strengths and start early….the night before. When it comes to the idea of changing routines, approach with a guess-and-check attitude. Say to yourself, “I wonder what would happen if….” No routine is set in stone. You can use that evening energy to make your mornings healthy, productive, and painless.
Is it worth it?
Define your reasons for change. Don’t forget your emotional reasons. What would your ideal morning feel like? For example, if your goal is to wake up earlier to study, what would it feel like to accomplish that every day? Sometimes the emotional benefits will carry you further than concrete goals, so it’s important to define both. Dig deep and be as specific as possible. You’ll need this when you’re trying to get over your snooze-button habit.
Plan to indulge yourself any way you can–besides staying under the covers.
If an early morning workout is on your list, lay out your clothes ahead of time. If you want a moment of peace and quiet in the morning to read, then make sure your favorite chair is set up the night before with your reading materials and a cozy blanket. Prep a make-ahead breakfast (my favorite is chia seed pudding with fresh fruit or granola). These small steps ensure that your morning routine will not only feel successful but indulgent.
Acknowledge your morning challenges.
Do you run around the house like a maniac trying to get everyone out of the door? Is your morning stressful and rushed? Do you sometimes skip breakfast? What can you do the night before to make it better?
It’s okay, we all have them. Don’t judge yourself, don’t blame anyone, just identify how you might use some of your morning time to improve the situation in a way that will feel good.
Write your to-do list for the next day.
Do your best ideas come to you just before bed (or worse, while you’re in bed trying to fall asleep)? If so, you’re in good company. The solution? Make a morning to-do list before you go to bed. This is different from identifying your goals. Your to-do list is something you’ll do every night. I like to keep a small box of index cards handy to jot down tasks as I remember them, but don’t get bogged down by the type of paper you use. Sticky-notes and paper napkins work just as well.
When you write your to-do list, remember that no task is too small. If it’s keeping your mind churning, write it down! Not only does it ease your mind so you can sleep, but it makes your day less hectic and more productive.
Writing your to-do list is a wonderful way to stay organized. Reviewing your list in the morning will give order to what many feel is chaotic. It will also reduce the effort between your comfy bed and making your goal a reality. This is especially useful if your goal is specific and measureable, like exercising daily or learning a new skill. If you’re laying in bed at 5 a.m. trying to talk yourself out from under the covers, you’re almost guaranteed to have a frustrating flash of amnesia! Instead, if you can glance over at your to-do list you made the night before, chances are much greater that you’re going to feel clear about what needs to be done and find the energy to make it happen.
But wait, you’re still a night-owl in a morning person’s robe, right?
Ensure your task is attainable by setting the steps of your morning routine close. Let’s say you want to start exercising in the morning. You’re motivated, you have your Why…and then you can’t find your gym socks. Deflating, right? What if, instead, you set up your coffee maker the night before, there’s a nutritious breakfast waiting for you, you get to read and sip coffee, then get into your exercise clothes that are waiting for you, and get a fantastic workout – all before the “real” day starts. By doing everything you can the night before, you make the distance between you and your goal as short as possible, creating successful efficiency as if on autopilot.
It’s all about you.
Savor the “me” time. This is especially useful for those of us who are introverts. Think of your morning routine like giving your phone a full charge before you set out for the day. The quiet time is decadent and absolutely worth the effort to get out of bed. Extroverts, you’re not off the hook! Balance is important for everyone. By taking “me” time in the morning, you’re giving yourself the gift of balance.
Get some sleep!
It may seem odd to talk about sleep in an article about waking up, but being overtired makes waking up early a chore, not an indulgence. If you’re trying to be a morning person on 6 hours of sleep, and struggle to wake up in the morning, your body is having a normal reaction to an abnormal situation. You can’t make up time over the weekend, no matter how convenient that might be. If you find yourself struggling to stay awake during the day, feeling run down, or getting sick more often, then it’s time to re-evaluate. Your evening routine might need a makeover so you can get to sleep earlier! Play with your ideal sleep needs and become a connoisseur of sleep. Invest in new, comfortable sheets, a sound machine, or whatever you think will help you sleep more peacefully. If you set your goal at “just enough” sleep, that’s likely what you will get. Instead, set your goal to have “plenty” of sleep. If you have a particularly rough night here or there, that’s normal, so don’t stress.
Make a plan, play the game.
You know the kid on the playground who keeps changing the rules every time you start to win? Life can feel like that sometimes. Just when you’ve got your morning routine down, something comes along to derail it. Someone gets sick, goes out of town, or the holidays happen. Don’t despair, and certainly don’t give up! The challenges are powerful wins if you roll with them, learn from them, and make a plan to deal with it in the future. You will have mornings that will flow effortlessly and mornings when a grunting response seems to be all you can muster. This is completely normal. Progress, not perfection. Stay focused on your goal, play with possibilities, and keep trying. Pretty soon, no one will ever know you’re not really a morning person.