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By nature, I am NOT a morning person. Far from it actually. I prefer to lounge around and take things slow in the AM hours. My snooze button and I are excellent friends that love to meet up three to four times a morning. When I finally do grace the rest of the house with my presence, it’s in slow motion, with my own sense of timing. If you are like me, getting up before 7am is some form of torture you would rather do without. Who wants to me awake before the sun? What good could possibly come from it anyway? Well, actually it could change your whole life.
Once I finally settled into a routine with my husband, I found myself feeling like a real life version of the movie Groundhog Day. Every morning I woke up with just enough time for my morning makeup routine, grabbing a breakfast pastry, feeding my dogs, and running out the door. This had always worked for me pre-marriage so I had no reason to change it. The difference now was that I had more responsibilities to squeeze into my after work hours. After arriving home from work at six o’clock, I then had to cook dinner, clean up the kitchen, take care of the animals, fit in a workout, and get showered. By the time I was finished, it was time to call it a night. I had no time for things I wanted to do. I also had little time for my husband. It was then that I decided to try to become a morning person.
Fast forward three months and I feel super productive. I have more energy to get things done that I need to and time to get the things done that I want to. My days are no longer on repeat, no hamster wheel here! My stress levels have also decreased because I am no longer worrying about how to get more hours in a day. So here it is, my Ultimate Guide to Becoming a Morning Person in 30 days.
Start by becoming a productive night person.
The biggest key to becoming a morning person is to plan for it the night before. Set yourself up for success. Plan and layout your outfit for the day and your gym or workout clothing. Pack your lunch so it’s ready to go. Make sure your purse, briefcase, and any other work supplies are by the door along with your coat and shoes. Plan your breakfast and get together any ingredients you can for it. Do the same thing if you need to do any morning meal prep for the next days dinner. Having everything ready to go in the morning will make it easier to get through your morning routine smoothly.
Have a set routine and stick to it.
Having a list of things you want to accomplish in the morning is not enough. You will end up having something go unfinished. Instead have your list and make a plan. Then stick to it. Every morning I do things exactly the same: make the bed, have coffee, feed the dogs, workout for forty-five minutes, shower, makeup (which happens to be an extensively long routine), do a few house chores, and then eat breakfast. I know that if I get these things out-of-order that I tend to run late or skip items, leaving them for the evening.
Get a great nights sleep.
You will never be able to get up earlier on a consistent basis if you are not getting enough sleep to recharge your batteries. Adults should be getting between seven and nine hours of quality sleep per night. Once you know your ideal wake up time, count backwards to plan your bedtime. Plan on trying to fall asleep at this time. Use the hour or so prior for winding down, disconnecting from electronics, and getting ready for sleep.
Find an alarm that works for you.
Most people don’t want to wake up to the loud blaring noise that traditional alarm clocks make. Some cell phone alarms are slightly better, but still not great. If you’re using a traditional alarm clock, set it to a music station alarm. When using a cell phone choose your favorite song or one that motivates you. If you want to go one step further, there are even alarm apps that monitor your sleep patterns and help wake you at an ideal time in your sleep cycle. Try the Sleep Cycle Alarm Clock for your phone. I also use my FitBit and associated iPhone app also can identify when the best time to wake is based on my cycle.
Find a way to get light in faster.
Although natural light is best, it is not always an option depending on what time you get up. If natural light is an option, try opening shades right after your alarm sounds or getting to a room with no shades. You can also put timers on bedside lamps or look for sunrise alarm clocks that get brighter closer to your set wake up time. If you have a significant other that wakes before you they can lend a hand as well. My husband gets up twenty minutes earlier than I do. He opens the shades every morning to let some light in before I get up. Try this sunrise alarm clock:
Get a coffee pot with a timer.
My morning coffee isn’t just a staple, it’s a requirement. The sooner I get it into my system, the better. Since my coffee is the first thing I reach for in the morning, I don’t want to wait for it to brew. Having my coffee pot ready to go when I am is a lifesaver to getting my day started. Not a coffee person? Prepare your morning drink or snack of choice so that it is ready to go the moment you get up.
Plan a morning workout.
This was a hard one for me. I never saw myself as a morning workout person, but I was likely to skip my evening workouts due to exhausting days. I started off small by just doing a twenty-minute cardio routine, setting an easy pace. Turns out that I actually had more energy in the morning and soon I was doing my full forty-five minute workout. If you have a difficult time finding workout motivation regularly, try a video series or online instruction. I found T-25 to be a great one for morning motivation. Also, on days when I may be more tired, I do yoga with the DownDog App (by far the BEST yoga app out there). Trust me, it will be worth it.
Have a reason to be excited.
Give yourself something worth waking up early for. This can be anything you like. Maybe it’s a morning yoga class that you really like. Perhaps you like sitting on a porch, watching the sunrise while eating your breakfast. Or maybe your like me with an addiction to Netflix and you only let yourself watch it early in the morning while getting your day started (on my iPad which I walk around the house with. Don’t judge.). Whatever your excitement, use it to motivate yourself.
Change your wake up time gradually buy your sleep time right away.
You don’t want to shock your system by jumping right to trying to wake up early. You will fail after a few days. Instead, plan on increasing your morning alarm by 15 minute increments every few days until you reach your desired time. However, don’t do this with your bedtime. Instead, when you find your ideal bedtime, jump right to it. The extra sleep will give you a boost for getting up earlier.
Start on a weekend.
What? Wake up early on the weekend? YES! Most people think of starting a new routine on a Monday, but that is not always helpful. Since most people sleep in late on Sundays, it is harder to go to bed earlier, and you might have trouble sleeping all together. If your like me and get cases of the Monday’s, where you have trouble sleeping on Sunday night anyway you will already be a disaster. Instead, start on a Saturday morning. Even if you don’t go to bed early Saturday night, still get up early again Sunday morning. By Sunday night you will be tired and ready to go to bed earlier, making the Monday morning alarm easier to handle.
Remember, even if you fail the first time, keep going! You will find your days more productive and your energy levels increased by getting up and starting your day earlier. Rise and shine sister! We have stuff to do.