My mornings were out of control. I had become a regular snoozer, threw together clothes in a rush, some days didn’t have time for breakfast and put off making my lunch until 10 minutes before I ran out the door. I got to work frazzled and getting in a morning workout was out of the question.
I wasn’t always like this. I was a morning person. In fact, with rare exceptions, I never snoozed my alarm and enjoyed my peaceful mornings. In December I decided enough was enough.
• I committed to getting up at 6 am, an hour+ earlier than before.
• I committed to going to bed on time – meaning by 11 pm AT THE LATEST.
• I committed to a 30:00 morning workout.
Eight weeks in, my new habits have me feeling myself again. I’m more focused at work, especially in the morning; my routine eliminates excuses like “just one more episode before bed;” my sleep is more consistent, deep and restful; and I’m keeping a regular workout schedule.
4 ways to be a morning person:
1. Go to bed at the same time.
Clearly, getting up begins with laying down. This is so simple… so why do we find it so hard? Turn a hard eye to your evening habits. How late are you eating? Are you on electronic devices until right before bed? Do you avoid the bed or bedroom because it’s a mess? Do you watch TV too late? Are you frantically finishing today’s to-do list or stressing about tomorrow’s? Do you get sleepy at some point and then get more energy later?
Try “closing” the kitchen and turning off electronics after a certain time. Take 10 minutes after dinner to pick up the bedroom to make it more inviting when you’re ready to sleep. Set a limit on number of episodes per evening. Keep a notebook by your bed to jot down reminders for tomorrow, getting it off your mind tonight. Lay down with a book when you’re tired so the later energy boost won’t keep you up.
2. Prep the night before.
Start an evening routine. Make your lunch when you make dinner. When you get home and change out of work clothes, lay out clothes for tomorrow. Have your workout clothes prepped and the workout planned before you go to bed.
Then try pampering yourself! Reward yourself for the extra prep. I love lighting a candle and doing an easy foot massage right before bed. Some nights I’ll do a yoga nidra breathing practice. I like retiring early with my kindle (one of the only electronics we allow in bed) as long as it’s not a nail-biter book that will keep me up all night. Allow some “me time” after a busy day and evening.
3. Get up at the same time.
I used to get up at 7 am except on Friday’s when I open the yoga studio at 6:45 am. The earlier-than-normal morning was brutal. Now I’m up at 6 am every day and I’m not dragging on Fridays as I greet students. It’s such a routine now that my alarm rarely actually goes off. Most often I wake up before and turn it off. That natural wake up is so much more refreshing than the alarm!
In the last eight weeks I have only slept in past 6 am once. Even on mornings that I’m tired or too sore for a full workout, I’ve gotten up for a light yoga flow. I don’t want to break the morning rhythm my body is now conditioned for. (That said, if I really need the extra sleep or am not feeling well, that additional hour of z’s is much appreciated).
4. Plan time for something you enjoy in the morning.
Give yourself something to look forward to. It might be your workout, or making a good breakfast before kids are up or 20 minutes of distraction-free reading. I workout for 30 minutes Monday — Thursday. I keep this strict, too! I do not workout for 35 or 40 minutes. Afterward, I often turn on some instrumental piano music and sit for breakfast with my latest magazine or book. It creates a little zen space before getting ready for the day. This period is valuable enough to me that I will cut a workout short.
I would suggest leaving emails unread here. For me, this is a small window of morning time sans work or lists or expectations. It’s “me time” before other obligations. Mental zen.
That’s it! Thanks for reading!