There are 10 types of people in this world, those who understand binary and those who don’t.
I would say there are also “morning people” and “not morning people”.
Wanting to wake up early makes sense. Especially because you would be joining good company. Apple CEO Tim Cook wakes up at 4:30 am. General Motors CEO Mary Barra “was regularly at the office by 6 a.m.” Richard Branson “wakes up at about 5:45 in the morning”. Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz “gets to the office by 6 a.m.”.
Oh and then there is yours truly.
I get up anywhere somewhere between 3:00 and 4:30 a.m.
At least on work days…
But seriously, I do love to get up and get started early. Something I have observed about people who wake up early is that they tend to spend that time doing things for themselves, such as working out, reading and writing, or just taking it easy instead of rushing through the morning hours.
Forbes offers these 10 Advantages Of Waking Up Early:
Most notably being more proactive. Being a better planer: “Early risers report using their morning quiet time for organization, goal-setting and planning out their days and weeks ahead.” Sleep better, more on this in a moment. Being More Optimistic. And “you’ll have more quality time in the evenings to spend with family”.
Or at least that’s the goal…
They make it sound fantastic. Like morning people are perfect and so much better than I’ll ever be.
The thing is not everyone is going to be a morning person, but sometimes people “have to be”. I say that because of course you could quit whatever was requiring you to be up so early. Like a job. But not everyone is ready to do that sort of thing. So if you feel like it is important to be up with, or before, the sun, check out these 10 ideas to become a morning person.
Being awake earlier isn’t the only goal.
In my definition of a morning person I would include characteristics such as:
- Being motivated.
- Having a systematic routine.
- And being energetic.
It’s not good enough just to gorggly get through the morning and out the door on time to be a true morning person. It takes real commitment.
The first of which is…
1 Don’t be a night owl
I think being a night crawler is fine if that’s your seen. However, I think the old saying “nothing good happens after midnight” should be adjusted to “nothing good happens after 10 p.m.” In my experience it is best to be in bed by then, if not earlier.
I am working on going to bed as early as possible. Hopefully one day I will be back to my childhood time of 8:00 or even 7 p.m.!
The point being that staying up late will make it harder to wake up early. The more sleep you get the easier it is to get things done when you finally have to get up. And to get more sleep obvious choice is to go to bed earlier.
This leads to…
2 Don’t drink alcohol
I am not against it. I am not for it either.
Besides being a known toxin to the body, hence “getting intoxicated”, alcohol is also a known depressant. Meaning not only will it affect your mood, it can slow your roll the next day.
The thing I’ve found is that although when drinking my mood and energy may go up, the depressant effects kick in the next day making me feel sluggish and unmotivated.
Not morning person qualities at all.
And this doesn’t even include the problems of drinking too much. You know hangovers and hugging toilets, that whole bit.
Plus not drinking is better for your health, leading us to…
3 Exercise more
Even something as simple as walking 10 minutes a day can help prevent heart issues. And I find that if I exercise more then I sleep better (see number one).
Generic studies have shown that exercise makes you feel better about life. Ever hear of “runners high”? It’s not from drugs. It is the brain releasing feel good chemicals, endorphins, as a reward of sorts.
Really the is probably a better explanation, but I don’t have it.
If you do, please share it in the comments.
4 Watch your words
Part of being a morning person is your mindset.
And like it or not that is up to you to monitor your thoughts, words, and actions. So to change your actions, i.e. becoming a morning person, you’ve got to change your thoughts and words.
Don’t complain about having to get up early.
Well don’t complain in general. But that’s a different post altogether. When I don’t want to do something usually I will say so. Mostly out loud but sometimes in my head. And the more I repeat the thought or words the more I don’t want to do whatever it is I am bellyaching about.
A simple switch from “have to” to “get to” can make a difference.
I have to wake up early tomorrow. Makes it sound like a drag.
I get to wake up early. Makes my brain want to get it’s way.
And don’t we all just want to get our way?
5 Don’t tell anybody
Usually being selfish is not a virtue to embrace. But to help others you’ve got to help yourself. Self care is important. When it is time to wake up make sure to take time for yourself. When I get up early I want to get the day started off on the right foot, not on the wrong foot earlier.
What that looks like:
Getting up and do something that is good for me. I like to do a morning Bible study while I drink copious amounts of coffee. For you it may be stretching, sitting quietly or almost anything else. The goal is NOT to get up and check your work email first thing and then start the crappy tasks or responsibilities sooner.
6 Get motivated
Finding a motivator is a key to carrying out the previous point. As mentioned coffee is my motivator. I make the arrangements the night before so that the auto-brew makes my coffee hot in fresh and ready to drink when I roll out of bed. Sometimes if I don’t empty the carafe completely the night before, I wake up to a pool of coffee on my counter and floor.
What is it for you?
I don’t know but it is a key to having a way to be motivated. Pick something healthy for you or at least not bad. Donuts might be tempting but eventually they will get their revenge.
7 Pick the right time
If you currently wake up around 7:00 am for example, it would not be smart to try getting up at 5:00 am tomorrow. Well it might work one day, but to be consistent you’ve got to make small changes. Try moving your wake up time about a half hour at a time, but make sure you move your bed time the same on the other end to keep your circadian rhythm running smoothly. They say an 8 hour sleep has a 30 minute first cycle, then 90 minute cycles after that.
You do the math.
8 Get out of bed
In my book Conspire To Inspire I write about a fantastic lady named Mel Robbins. Here is what I wrote about her:
“Mel, in her Ted Talk “F— YOU –”, spurred me into action with her 5 second rule. And, spoiler alert, despite the video’s title and Mel’s spunkiness, there is not profanity in the video. So go ahead and watch it. You will see how you have been doing the 5 second rule wrong your whole life. Mel is another individual I have never met and now I am doing my life different because of her. She has kindled something in me that seems to have always been there. It is not like she even had to unlock a door, she just opened one in me that had been closed.”
One of the things Mel mentioned in the video is to get out of bed right away. She explains it way better than I can so watch the video. But the point is that it makes a difference on how you start your day.
So kiss goodbye to sleeping in if you want to be a morning person.
It has worked for me, when I do it…
9 Cut it out
If I can not do something in the morning then I don’t. Getting my morning routine down to just the essentials has allowed me to spend only about 20 minutes in the morning “getting ready”. I know part of that process is shorter because I’m a guy. But girls can do it too. My wife is a great example.
Sarah has found that her life is better because she has done some things that are radically counterculture.
She has stopped wearing makeup. Saving upwards of 10 minutes in the morning and countless time throughout the day. And guys let me tell you, she is just as beautiful, if not more.
I think makeup generally makes women look older. And fake. But the choice is yours.
The real deal is that I used to do what seemed like a thousand things in the morning everyday. If it was realistically 40 things, my goal would be to cut it back to 35 or 30. Small steps. Eventually getting it down to as few things as necessary makes the morning easier.
10 Eat breakfast
All through my senior year in high school I would have never made it to class if I wasn’t responsible for giving my younger freshman sister a ride to school. And by being “responsible” I mean not being responsible. She was the responsible one who would knock on my door and ask if I was up yet.
Because I woke up late then I would rush. And 11 times out of 10 not eat breakfast.
Having food in the morning gives you energy to do the other things you need to get done. It really is the most important meal of the day. One of my recommendations is to “rethink” breakfast foods. Don’t stick to the bacon and eggs that you’re used to.
A leftover meal of from dinner the night before has more flavor and variety. Or make a salad, sandwich, or something else that has the protein and carbs you need to get though until lunch. Not only will you feel fuller, you will be able to focus up on other things that are important.
If you follow these 10 ideas there is no guarantee that you’ll become a morning person. I need more evidence through a case study. So if you’re not a morning person, give them a try and let me hear back from you.
Before I go, here is something that is important to me that I want to share with you. People with special needs have been a big part in my life for a long time. I have an adopted brother who has down syndrome. My sister teaches a special needs class. And I’ve worked as a substitute in countless special needs classes.
This is a subject that some people are uncomfortable with, but shouldn’t be.
This is a fascinating story by author Emma Plows. She bravely shares her about coming to terms with being diagnosed with Bipolar disorder while having the adventure of raising two boys diagnosed with autism. I’ve met several kids with autism and they are usually full of energy and are always up to something, but they also have a communication barrier that takes extra patience to find out what they are wanting and needing. Emma has had to overcome these challenges and more and shares her story in a relatable and supportive way.
You can also show your support by going to http://www.autisticblessings.com/ and finding out more.
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P.S. Want more about my journey?
Conspire to Inspire will tell how I put together a dream team of virtual mentors and why you should care.
Go to sarahpaine.com for more great perspectives to rethink life!