If you find yourself procrastinating, missing deadlines, a little moodier than you would prefer and frustrated by the lack of control you have over your life, then you might want to consider becoming a morning person.
It is no secret, being a morning person can have countless benefits on your health, career and life as a whole. Early risers practice self-discipline which is key to becoming more self-aware and practice self-respect in all aspects of life including personal and working relationships, healthy lifestyle, and self-improvement. When chronic snoozers are more likely to go on with their day feeling like victims, self-discipline gives early risers the feeling of being in control of their life, thus increasing overall life-satisfaction and happiness.
Being a morning person means enjoying more time. Regardless of how you may choose to use that extra time, it is an opportunity for enhanced productivity, efficiency and work-life balance. When snoozers tend to rush out the door increasing their stress level, not giving any thought to their appearance or their personal well-being; early risers tend to look sharper, well put together and more relaxed about the challenges ahead. Waking up early gives you an opportunity to be and feel more prepared for your working day which will decrease your stress level which in turn will help you think more clearly and therefore improve your problem-solving and decision making skills.
The health benefits of waking up early can also truly positively impact your well-being. More natural light is proven to boost your immune system which is crucial to fight potential viruses and diseases, reduce depression risks, and bonus, encourage weight-loss. Add to that the opportunity to exercise more regularly and you get yourself the immune system and the figure of a successful leader.
The fact is, night-time people are less reliable, less emotionally stable, and more likely to have addictions. You therefore have a lot to gain by giving it a try!
Creating a new habit is not easy but it can be done.
The first step is to understand how this new habit is going to impact your life. A deep awareness of your current discomfort and a clear understanding of how the new habit could help you is crucial to commit to the challenges that may arise in the process and support sustainable change.
The second step would be to create new triggers. A trigger is a sign you send to your brain that creates a behavior. For example when you see a stop sign, your brain understands that the right behavior is to stop…. You don’t need to think about it, your subconscious takes over and it just happens. Triggers are created by developing a new routine and constant repetition.
The third step is to commit to give enough time for your new behaviours to become a habit. Experts say that it takes a minimum of 21 days for a new habit to be created, so if you wish to truly give it a go, commit to a minimum of 3 weeks. You don’t need to make drastic changes all at once, you can simply ease into it one baby step at a time.
Here are a few tips to help you get started:
- It All Starts With A New Bed Time Routine
Becoming an early riser does not mean sacrificing on your sleep duration or quality. In fact doing so would completely defeat the purpose. This means your new habit will start by creating new triggers around your bed time. Simple things such as closing the blinds or turning off the electronic devices at a specific time or maybe have a short mindfulness session as soon as you reach your bed are great ways to tell your brain that it is now time to sleep. Make use of one of the many apps to monitor your sleep patterns and ensure you get enough sleep. The Fitbit device is great to monitor your sleep patterns and it can also be used to set silent alarms that vibrate on your wrist according to your sleep cycle and wake you up instantly. For mindfulness exercises which help you fall asleep, hundreds of apps are available such as Calm or Headspace.
- Exercise First
Exercising as soon as you wake up will boost your metabolism for the whole day ahead, so go get your blood flowing. 30 minutes to an hour of moderate to high intensity exercise have multiple benefits on both your body and mind. It will help you build a robust immune system, lose weight, reduce cravings and limit poor food choices throughout the day. It will also set your mind to being positive, proactive and more relaxed. A good trick is to prepare your exercise schedule in advance and to have your gym clothes on your bed side table so this is the first thing you see and put on. If it helps with accountability, financially commit to an early morning class, find yourself a workout buddy or use one of the many apps that can monitor your progress, help you plan your workouts and even set up competitions with your friends or colleagues. Depending on what motivates you (music / competition or helping others), you can find apps that can support your efforts. Workout Trainer, FitStar, Sworki and Johnson & Johnson Official 7 Minute Workout for example are all worth a try.
- Fuel Your Body
Have breakfast within the 30 minutes following your workout. But not just any breakfast, think protein, anti-oxidants and vitamins. Fuel your body what it needs to perform at its best all day. My favorite breakfast consists of a few spoons of chia seeds, oat and pumpkin seeds in almond milk. I leave it in the fridge while I workout and by the time I get back it is almost ready. I just need to add a drizzle of maple syrup and some fresh berries and it’s good to go. Easy, delicious, packed with all the good stuff and really filling. I usually add to that half a grapefruit and a nice coffee, but it’s up to you to decide what works!
- Do Something For You
We take on so many roles in life, from boss, colleague to wife, friend, sister, daughter and mother …It is sometimes hard to balance everything and even harder to find time for yourself. Waking up early is an opportunity to restore that balance either to take care of yourself or to spend more time with your loved ones. You may want to use that time to paint your nails, have a bubble bath, express yourself through art, catch up with all your social media platforms, spend more time with your kids or share quality time with your partner. Whatever it is, do something that truly makes you happy. It will help you set the tone for a good day and make your new early morning habit much more enjoyable. This is your time to focus on yourself!
- Set your intentions for the day
Intent is the driver behind your actions and your thoughts. It is the reason why you do what you do. Intent is extraordinarily powerful as it determines an outcome. We have an intent at every moment in time but knowing what that intent is will make all the difference in the way you approach your day and meet your goals. Take this article for example, if your intent is to improve the quality of your life then you will probably read it very differently than someone who’s intent is to justify why early risers are boring… If you do not know or understand your intent, then you are most likely to go about your day re-actively, fulfilling others’ outcomes, leaving you feeling frustrated and dissatisfied. Successful people understand that their intent will drive their thoughts which will drive their behavior that will create the outcome. Use your free time in the morning to decide on your intentions for the day. This will help you become the driven and productive individual who consistently meets their goals.
Emeline Roissetter, Founder / Professional Coach, MomentuM Coaching & Consulting