Recently I’ve found myself in a few conversations that have centered on either being a morning person or not. I guess the generally accepted central tenet of being defined as a morning person is waking up every day and not instantly being in a bad mood, but I think it’s about more than random emotions. I believe it’s a choice or a decision to wake up and face the day with a particular attitude.
People are often shocked to hear that I wake up at 4am every day, no matter what day of the week it is. I consider myself a morning person as I definitely have always been able to function much better earlier in the day than later at night, but I certainly haven’t always woken up this early. I’m currently working towards a bigger goal that requires me to be disciplined about many things in my life and so in order to function at my best, to create the time and space for everything that needs to be done in a day, I’ve needed to make some adjustments and one of these was waking up an hour earlier every day than I used to. Naturally, it was tricky at first to make this change but now it’s just what I do. And because I’m the kind of person who makes a decision once then manages that decision instead of negotiating it every day, I wake up focused, motivated and prepared.
With that in mind, here are my top tips for maximising your morning, even if you don’t currently feel like you’re a morning person.
Set yourself up for success:
-Be organised. Pack your work bag, your gym bag, your lunch pack and whatever else you need for the next day before you get to bed. Eliminating the scramble from your morning makes a huge difference to how you approach the day.
-Be disciplined about what time you get to bed. Everyone operates best on their own minimum sleep requirement – mine is around 7 hours, so I try my best to be in bed around 9pm each night. Some people need more sleep and some people less, so optimise your bedtime and wake up time accordingly and try to be as consistent as possible about sticking to those times.
Have a morning routine:
-Positive attitude: Although I wake up at 4am, I don’t generally get out of bed until 4:30. In this half hour, I do three things to ensure I start my day in the right frame of mind. 1) I write down three things or people that I am grateful for and why; 2) I do a quick mediation using an app on my phone; 3) I read for 10-15 minutes from one of my personal development books. Find something, even one thing that will help you to get your attitude aligned before you step out of bed in the morning.
-Productivity: Don’t get distracted by screens. Social media and email can wait until the rest of the world is buzzing. Use the quiet of the early morning to get your head into the game to set your day up for success.
-Fuel up for success: Hydrating and getting a good breakfast in will set you up for a great day. There’s nothing worse than spit-balling it through the day when you’re hangry!
-Before getting into the grind of the day, get moving as soon as you can. The feeling of achieving and completing something before most of the world is conscious is really exhilarating! My own routine has me either running or in a class by 6am every weekday morning and I train for between an hour and two. On weekends I am on the road doing a longer run by 6am each morning. You don’t need to exercise at this intensity or every single day, but stretching and moving has definite health benefits and even 10 minutes of focused movement is advantageous to the human body.
Making these kinds of changes can sometimes feel daunting, so make the transition more gently if you need to. Have a clear idea of what you want and why – this will guide you and help you to set your intentions. These have to be authentic for you and to you. Don’t feel compelled to do something just because someone else is doing it. Consistency matters much more than having a long list of things to do every morning, so start small and generate small wins, a sense of accomplishment every day.
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