Do you find yourself racing against the clock day after day, struggling to find the time to get everything done? "tomorrow I'll wake up early and _____". Then tomorrow rolls around, and the day after that, then the next one, and you wake up and hit the snooze button yet again because of ______.
Sound familiar? If you have big goals for yourself, it can seem near impossible to dedicate time consistently to these on top of the pressures of work, family, friends, significant others, travel, school (you or your kids or both), house cleaning, let alone taking care of yourself- making nutritious meals, exercising, drinking enough water and getting enough rest. You may be tempted to sacrifice adequate sleep in order to cram everything in, but you know this is unsustainable and ultimately may be hindering your progress more than it appears to help. If you're looking for a better way to get on top of it all, maybe it's time to try a new approach. Maybe it's time to rethink those early hours and optimize your productivity in the morning. So without further ado...
Here are 6 Strategies to Becoming a Morning Person
- Go to Bed Early - This one may be obvious, but if you want to start getting up earlier, you have to start going to bed earlier. This will be particularly difficult if you consider yourself a night owl, or like to use this time to "wind down" in front of the TV, or even use it as a productive time in front of the computer screen. Our body can have quite a difficult time with heading straight to sleep after a ton of light exposure, and I know we've all been here before- you're absolutely exhausted from your day, looking forward to climbing into bed and crashing, but once your head finally hits that pillow you're just laying there. wide. awake. As best as you can, set yourself up for success. Minimize screen time before bed, maybe take a warm bath (which will then cause your body temperature to drop afterwards, ideal for sleep), drink an herbal tea, read a book (a REAL book, not on a screen), maybe try meditating. Sooth your system. Block out as much light and noise distraction as you can. Take baby steps and start in 15 minute increments, going to bed 15 minutes earlier and waking up 15 minutes earlier. Once you've got that down, shave off 15 more minutes til you reach your goal.
- Use Light to Your Advantage - Circadian rhythm is the natural, internal process that regulates the 24-hour sleep-wake cycle. Up until very recently, this schedule has been dictated by natural light and darkness. Wake up with the sun and go to bed when it's dark, rinse, repeat. These days, we're inundated with unnatural light sources that are wreaking havoc on this process. I know it's impossible to completely rid yourself of screen-time in our modern world, but there are steps you can take to minimize its negative effects. If you haven't already, it's a great idea to invest in a pair of blue light blockers. You can even find a pretty snazzy pair that has your prescription without breaking the bank. Try to eliminate unnatural light sources in your bedroom before and during sleep, or try on a sleep mask. If your early wake-up call takes place before the sun, you can invest in an alarm clock that mimics the sunrise with a gradual increase of light before sounding the alarm. When you're up, try to get as much natural light filtering in as possible. The goal is simply to make it as dark as possible when it's sleep time, and quickly get some good light exposure when you're waking up.
- Connect with Your "Why" - It's no secret, our brain is a powerful tool that we tend to allow to run on autopilot and miss great opportunities as a result. Set aside some time to get clear on your motivation for this behavior change. Visualize what your life will look and feel like if you had enough time in the morning to take care of yourself, enough rest at night to wake up feeling ready to go. What will you do differently? Why? Connecting with your why is as simple as continuing to ask yourself the question and dig a little deeper. Eventually you end up at a pretty hard truth. This is your why, your motivation, your reason that you decide to do hard things in the moment. Your core motivation is going to be a lot deeper than "to be healthier". Why do you want to be healthier? "to keep up with my kids". Why is that important to you? "because I didn't get that from my parents". Why is that important to you? Keep going until you can't go any further, then you've found your why. It'll be a lot harder to negotiate a few extra snoozes on the alarm when you're tapped into your core values.
- Set Yourself up for Success - New habits are easiest to implement when we remove as many obstacles as possible. Create a path of least resistance when you have time the night before. Options are endless here. Pre-fill your water bottle, meal prep breakfast/lunch, get your coffee ready to go, lay out your clothes, place your supplements next to your water bottle, you can even pre-toothpaste your toothbrush if it feels like it will help. Anything and everything here is your friend, just be tactful about placing things right where they need to be, so it's right in your face when you need it most.
- Make a Plan - By clearly defining your goal, you'll be better able to measure your success. Replace "I want to wake up earlier" with something like "Monday, Wednesday and Friday I will wake up 15 minutes earlier each week until I reach my goal of 1 hour earlier in 1 month". If this plan doesn't necessarily work in your favor, instead of ditching the whole operation, you can make better informed decisions on what works and what doesn't. Maybe you need to spend more time at the halfway mark, or you need to switch the days according to your schedule. Use the action plan as a reference point to deviate from if and when it makes sense, instead of getting trapped in the all-or-nothing paradigm.
- Add Exercise to Your Morning Routine - There are many studies that suggest an early morning workout is advantageous to your health. From revving up your metabolism more efficiently to an increase in general activity throughout the day, and even aiding in sleep quality at night (as compared to individuals who workout later in the day), it's hard to pose an argument against some type of morning movement. If time has been the limiting factor for you in the past, maybe your new plan of attack involves building room for exercise as part of what gets you up and going early. Even if it starts with just 5-10 minutes of stretching and mobility, you can lay the foundation for lofty-er goals to come. If you start now and take incremental and consistent steps, imagine where you'll be next year.
Another great way to increase the likelihood that you'll stick with the program? Get yourself an accountability buddy! Our group training classes are full of busy individuals who are prioritizing their health and fitness journey just like you. Getting to the 5am class is hard enough on your own, but when you know your training partner is there waiting for you? Strength in numbers my friend! Click the link below to try out as many classes as you like FREE for 14 days.