To get up early in the morning might be easy for a lot of people but never was for me. I’m a little ashamed of admitting it – my major life goal was to be able to sleep in until I wake up naturally. I hated getting up early (6am, which is not that early by many people’s standard) in the morning to go to school when I was little and I hated waking up by alarm clock every morning to go to office. In fact, I was a just miserable person who disliked my life and thought all my problems would be solved if only I could sleep as long as I wanted in the morning.
My goal of getting up whenever I wanted was achieved a few years ago after I finally quit my day job. Heaven! I could get as much beauty sleep in the morning as possible, right? Right. I didn’t become a happier person (or more beautiful) by getting up after 10am every morning of course. I became a lost soul aiming to play small and sleep walk the rest of my life.
Then one day I decided to be less miserable by developing good habits every day, starting from getting up
early earlier in the morning. To get up early in the morning wasn’t easy at the beginning, especially for someone who kept telling herself: “I’m not a morning person.” The thing is, you never know what you are capable of, unless you try and see the result yourself.
By trying to get up earlier everyday, I’ve gained an extra hour or two each day to prepare the day ahead. Months later, I found myself happier and feeling more productive.
Here’s how I trained myself to get up early in the morning and my morning routine:
Find motivation to get up early in the morning everyday.
Want to get you up early in the morning? Suppose you don’t have to get up to work, take kids to school, pressing appointments etc etc, what’s your burning desire that make you happily jump out of bed in the morning? For some people it’ll be training in the morning to have that perfect body. For me, it was imagining what I could eat. Yep, I’m that type of person who could have salmon for breakfast. Lucky I live so close to Sydney Fish Market so I could indulge since early in the morning. Oh well, whatever works to get up earlier!
Drink a glass of warm water.
I normally have very dry throat waking up in the morning so a full glass warm water really helps nourishing my body.
I also wake up with a stiff neck so first thing I do after rolling out of bed is a big stretch, like sun solute pose in Yoga. Then I’ll slowly turn my neck in different directions to wake up my body.
Plan the day.
I’ve always used “To Do List” but now I have a more systematic approach to it. I’d first gather my thoughts & think about my plan for the day after waking up, focusing on what needs to be done today to make each day count. As soon as my thoughts are clear, I’ll get up to write down my to do list or refine it (if it was done the night before).
Push ups or go out or a walk + jog.
The stretches will wake up my body gently but I really need a little push to be pulped for the new day. This requires nothing dramatic. Normally 10 push ups and a 40 minutes walk + jog in the park will do the trick. Though I’d feel dead immediately after a few push ups or jogging, energy will flood in shortly after the pain. No pain, no gain.
Read/listen to something inspiring.
Zig Ziggler said, “People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing. That’s why we recommend it daily.” For me, it is especially true because I’m so lazy naturally and I need a daily reminder to push forward.
Tidy something up.
I’m naturally a disorganised person so there’s always something to tidy up in my house and there are so many things you can get rid of to have a better life. To me, clearing up one area early in the morning does wonders for my day. It gives me a great sense of achievement and helps set up for the rest of the day to be productive.
Remember that to do list? While I’ve had a to do list for years, it wasn’t fully functional. I used to just make a list and keep adding things on it. At the end of the day, I either forgot about my list altogether or felt defeated because nothing was really done and the list only grew longer. My solution to this is to choose and tackle that one thing on the list matters to me (my day) the most. No matter what happens during the day, that one task must be accomplished.
Check in with my mood.
Can I tell you how I wish to be less moody? I used to get up in the morning and the first thought came to my mind would be “I’m not happy.” Nowadays, I consciously check in with my mood every morning. If feeling down, I’ll force myself to think about something good happened to me lately and be grateful. If I feel so depressed that there’s absolutely nothing good I could think of (those days are getting less and less), I’d ask myself “Why you are so unhappy; what you can do right now to make the situation better?” It does help a great deal.
Have a protein rich breakfast.
I love food and normally eat more than a six foot tall man. My diet is meat rich with close to zero vegetable intake. Breakfast? It’s all over the shop. I used to have breakfast around 12 noon because I got up so late. Then I’d have a whole mud cake as breakfast, or a full bucket of fried chicken wings.
I still do badly about breakfast but improvements have been made, such as having breakfast after my morning stretch/exercise and incorporating oats or boiled eggs into my breakfast menu. Ideally, I should have healthy, protein rich breakfast often because from experience, protein rich breakfast doesn’t make me feeling sluggish.
Enjoy quiet time and be present.
One thing I love the most about getting up early in the morning is that you’ll have some quite time all to yourself. Instead of letting my imagination run wild and wasting precious time day dreaming aimlessly, I’d spend a couple of minutes alone time revisiting my plan for the day and visualising my day ahead of me.
Though I wish to be articulate, I’m neither naturally talented in speech nor making a consistent effort to improve my skills in that area. Well it’s never too late right? I’d squeeze a few minutes in the morning whenever possible to read aloud and pronounce every syllables clearly.
My random thoughts used to control my day. My past pattern was, I set up to do one thing and something else came up while I was doing the first thing then I lost my focus to chase that something else. Then something else came up while I was doing the second thing & I’d switch my focus to chase up that new thing.
By the end of the day, my to do list was totally obsolete and I ended up feeling unproductive. Nowadays I don’t check emails, browse online or answer phone calls before 9am. I keep reminding myself to stay focused and “Finish what you’ve started.”
It’s easy to react and get upset when things don’t go according the plan. The reality is, life is full of surprise and things often don’t go accordingly the plan. One thing I’ve learned over the years is that staying calm is always better than getting reactive quickly. When something not so good happens, instead of complaining, think about ways to make it better. When worried about something, I’d try my best to prepare myself and be confident that everything has a solution.
By trying to get up early in the morning no matter what and stick to a morning routine, I feel more accomplished and less miserable. What gets you up in the morning?