I used to think that I was a morning person. That is until a former colleague and friend kindly pointed out how grumpy I could be first thing in the morning.
I was mortified. Not only was I not a morning person, but since I thought I was a morning person, I clearly lacked self-awareness about it!
That was some time ago and I’ve since improved my morning routine. I’d like to think my morning mood has improved along with it.
Lately though, with summer over and the cold and dark mornings setting in, I’ve felt myself slowly reverting to some bad habits. Like snoozing the alarm over and over, diving out of bed at the last minute, and having to do everything in a mad rush.
You might be thinking, what’s the big deal, that’s just another weekday morning in autumn or winter, or any other time for that matter! Which is exactly what I told myself.
Then this happened…
My quality of sleep wasn’t great and I started waking up with aches and pains, a stiff neck, sore shoulders, or a bad back most mornings.
I started feeling perpetually tired, and I mean ALL THE TIME, no matter what time of day it was.
The tiredness resulted in that grumpy person creeping back and I found myself getting irritated by the smallest things.
I felt more and more foggy and lethargic.
You’re probably wondering what all of this has to do with how to become a morning person even when you hate mornings.
The truth is, change can be hard for most of us. Even though the signs were there early on, telling me that I should get back to a good morning routine, it wasn’t until I felt terrible and the lethargy set in that I decided to finally take action.
But why choose to wake up earlier?
There are lots of reasons to consider waking up earlier
Some backed by science and some just plain evident for all to see.
The benefits of becoming a morning person include:
You’ll have more time
Let’s start with the time factor since it’s the one thing that so many of us struggle with – a lack of it that is. By waking up just one hour earlier every morning, you give yourself 7 hours a week to do with what you will, or 5 hours if we keep weekends sacred.
So, if you find yourself saying you don’t have time for something, perhaps becoming a morning person and getting up earlier could make all the difference.
Having this extra time in the morning leads to lots of other great benefits.
All the benefits of time
Time for exercise
From boosting your immune system to improving your mood, exercise has many powers.
If waking up one hour earlier means you can finally start fitting in an exercise routine then bring it on. And if one hour sounds like a stretch ( pun intended!), why not start by waking up just 30 minutes earlier. After all, your workout doesn’t have to be hours long to be effective, especially if you commit to doing it every day.
Time for meditation
Perhaps you’ve got the fitness thing sorted and you have a regular date with the gym straight after work. If that’s the case, you can use your extra time in the morning to fit in some meditation instead.
Research shows that meditation can have a positive impact on your mood, focus, and work. Starting the day with mindfulness and meditation paves the way for more self-compassion and less stress and anxiety at the office. Yes, please!
Time for learning a new skill
Perhaps there are skills that you’ve been wanting to brush up on, or learn from scratch but haven’t found a suitable time to fit it in. Like learning a language, brushing up on excel, or learning to code- the possibilities are endless.
Waking up earlier provides you with a great opportunity. You have the mental space to focus on something that’s for you, before the thoughts of all those things you “should” be doing set in.
Why not use this opportunity to get ahead in your career, take a course or read a book.
Time for working on your side hustle
Another great use of your extra time is working on a side hustle. A side hustle means you can test run your business idea while still in your full-time job, keep costs down, avoid debt, and test the waters.
While one hour a day might not seem like a lot, it’s all about the compound effect of these small consistent little steps taken every day. You’ll be surprised at how much you achieve over the long haul.
Not sure a side hustle is for you, then read this.
One thing about becoming a morning person and waking up early is that you’re more than likely going to be well and truly ready for bed come the evening. Especially if you’ve utilized your newfound time to be more productive.
This means, by the time you finally do get into bed, you’re likely to sleep a lot better.
There you have it. if you were on the fence about becoming a morning person maybe one of the benefits above might just change your mind.
As for me, I decided I needed to take drastic action. Partly because I just love a challenge but also because after saying I would wake up earlier for so long and never actually doing it, I wanted to give myself a real kick in the butt and decided to start waking up at 04:30.
Here’s what I’ve learned about how to become a morning person and actually love it, and in a way that’s enjoyable by waking up at 04:30 every morning.
1. Set the intention. Decide what time you will wake up before you go to bed and set your alarm for that time.
This one might sound strange or a little obvious but before I was waking up at 04:30, I would set all these alarms for 04:45, and 05:00 and 05:30 and 06:00, just in case I didn’t get up.
You see, I hadn’t made the decision which is why I was giving myself an out. So, decide, set your alarm for that time and let that be that.
2. Connect with your why
One of the reasons that I was struggling to get up super early before is that I wasn’t connecting waking up early with something I really wanted, something that deeply mattered to me.
Your why can be anything. Perhaps you do want to take a course, or maybe you really want to get in shape or start that business.
It could simply be that you just want some quiet time before everyone gets up. Whatever your why is, really think about it and have it clear in your head. Even set a goal around it.
With your why clear in your head, when you wake up, you’ll be focused on the fact that you want to do this thing, and not focused on the time.
If you’re why is strong enough, you’ll probably be jumping out of bed! Even at 04:30.
3. Plan the night before
One morning, I got up and 04:30, so far, so good. But did I get anything done? Nope! I hadn’t thought about what specifically I was going to do when I was up, and because it was early because I’m human, my brain struggled with the heavy lifting of getting organised and productive without a plan.
If you want to become a morning person and love it, then you have to make it easy for yourself. If you’re going to work out have everything you need to be laid out. And know what workout programme you will follow.
If you’re going to learn, then have the book, website, resources, ready with post-it notes in the exact places you’ll need.
Give yourself as little as possible to think about and as few decisions as possible to make. This way, it’s about the doing.
4. Have a routine
You might think that by getting up at the x time every morning, you already have a routine. I think it’s even better to go as far as to have a routine within that routine. Mine is get up, make hot water and lemon, meditate or journal for 15 minutes, then start work. Then have breakfast at 05:30. Now I’m not a robot and the breakfast might be a little earlier or later, but my body is in a routine so it’s typically within minutes!
There are so my benefits to having a routine and this is no different.
5. Take note of how you feel
Like anything, I think it’s important to take time to notice any changes that you experience as a result of your new routine.
This way, If you do experience any or all of the benefits above then you’ll be more likely to stick with it, and more importantly, tracking how you feel and the results you get ( if you do have set goals around this) means that you’ll increase your self-awareness about what works for your body and for you.
My conclusion when it comes to waking up early and being a morning person?
I realise that there are lots of you reading this that are thinking – “I’m a night owl” and believe me, I used to be one too, and I probably still am at heart.
Everyone’s definitely different, but if you are experiencing any of the things that I was experiencing, then why not give it a shot.
Since I started ( and it’s been 2 weeks)…