We say we want it. We put in on our New Year’s Resolutions lists with the best intentions to really make it work.
Inevitably, one day, we stumble out of bed 15 minutes before we’re supposed to leave for the day and decide it’s just not for us – we’ll get by with being an “okay” morning person.
But sometimes, wouldn’t it be great to have that extra, uninterrupted time in the morning to actually get ready for the day ahead?
Let’s talk about achievable, sustainable ways to inch toward becoming the morning person we know we want to be.
Go to bed earlier
You’ve probably heard it as a solution to everything. But getting the proper amount of sleep is not only vital to feeling refreshed in the morning, it’s important to your overall health. Getting a full, uninterrupted eight hours of sleep can strengthen your immune system and reduce inflammation, in addition to putting you in a better, more alert mood during the day.
Putting a nighttime routine in place can help you get to bed at a reasonable hour and set yourself up for success come morning. Meal prep for the next day, pick out your clothes, and desperately try to stay off your phone for at least an hour before going to bed.
Buy an alarm clock (that isn’t your phone)
It’s far too easy to put the phone under the pillow and quickly hit the snooze button before the alarm even really wakes you up – before you know it, it’s been an hour of hitting snooze and any hope of that laid-back morning is gone.
Let’s go back to a classic, the digital radio alarm clock, sitting across the room so you have to get out of bed to shut it off. This will get you moving right away and make it harder to roll over and ignore.
By the way, try very hard not to hit snooze. When your first alarm goes off, your REM cycle is broken and your brain is ready to start the day; if you hit snooze and roll over, another REM cycle begins and makes it even harder to get out of bed when the alarm goes off again.
Start with two or three days a week where you don’t hit snooze – your alarm goes off and you’re up. The more you implement this into your morning routine the easier it will get!
Set a goal for the morning
Going to bed with something you want to accomplish in the morning in mind will give you the little extra motivation you need to get out of bed. It doesn’t have to be anything huge, and probably shouldn’t be something that will have a negative impact on the rest of the day if you don’t get it done (flashback to saying you’ll finish your paper before school in the morning).
Here are some examples of small goals to set that will start your day off right:
- Get in a workout
- Go for a walk, alone, with your dog or with a friend
- Watch the sunrise
- Make yourself an exciting breakfast
- Read a few chapters of a book
- Watch the sunrise
Starting your day with an activity you enjoy will not only make you excited to get out of the bed but wake up and stimulate your brain and give you enough energy to jump-start the day.
Implement a schedule for all of these practices
Making anything you want to adopt as a habit into an easy-to-follow schedule can be the difference between sticking to it and having it inevitably fall to the wayside. Think of what a great feeling it is to check things off your to-do list – writing down your nighttime and morning schedule isn’t much different! It might look something like this:
- 9:00 p.m. – Start getting ready for bed
- 9:30 p.m. – No more electronics
- 10:00 p.m. – Be in bed
- 10:30 p.m. – (Hopefully) be asleep
- 6:00 a.m. – Wake up, NO SNOOZE!
- 6:15 a.m. – Emergency snooze if needed
Just like a trial run without hitting the snooze button, implementing this routine for just two or three days a week, in the beginning, will help you get a feel for what works and what doesn’t. Like any habit, it will take time to get acclimated, but the reward will be reaching a goal you’ve always said you wanted: a full night’s rest and a stress-free, slow-moving morning!