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8:15 …Open eyes. “Shit, I have to be at work in 45 minutes.” Take a two-minute shower, rush to put clothes on, grab whatever muffin or bar is laying on the counter and rush to work.
9:00… Sit in your chair. “I’m exhausted. I can’t wait for this day to end… Where’s my coffee?”
Tuesday -Thursday Morning
Fast forward to Friday Morning
“What a tough week. I’m so excited to sleep in tomorrow and finally get some rest… Where’s my coffee?”
See the problem?
How to Get Up Early and Not Feel Tired
The illustration above might be somewhat dramatic, but bare with me for a second.
How often do you actually wake up feeling energized? How many times a week do you get up with your alarm, take the time you need to get ready without feeling rushed, have a breakfast that might actually fill you with the energy you need to start the day?
How often do we get up looking forward to the day?
Here’s the simple truth – it’s sad to wake up without excitement and zeal to start the day. It’s a disservice to life itself to consistently wake up without positive emotions towards the day. If we take a moment to sincerely think about what it means to be AGAINST waking up when your alarm goes off, we come to a real question about the quality of our attitude towards our lives.
All that being said, there is something weirdly difficult about getting out of bed the moment you open your eyes. Oh wait, that’s right. It’s not weird at all. Years of practice and training to dread waking up will do that to you.
Step One: A shift in attitude
“The best way to make your dreams to come true is to wake up.”
– Paul Valery
The first step towards becoming a morning person must necessarily be an attempt to change the way you ordinarily think about waking up. One of the biggest problems with the way we approach sleep and waking up are the thoughts that bombard us both before we go to bed and the moment we open our eyes.
Before going to bed, most of us usually think some variation of, “I should have slept earlier. I’m not going to get enough sleep and I’m going to be tired all day tomorrow.”
After waking up, we usually think some variation of, “I should have slept earlier. I already have no energy, I have no idea how I’m going to get through this day.”
I have news for you. You don’t have to believe the first thoughts that come to your head when evaluating a situation. You have the ability to hear that voice in your head talk, and make it say what you want to feel. To decide for yourself what is or isn’t going to be true.
What you tell yourself about your reality determines the quality of your life.
To change your attitude towards the morning, you have to be aware of self-sabotaging thoughts and make an active effort to direct them with a more positive quality.
Rather than thinking about everything you “have to do” the next day before you go to bed and when you wake up, think about everything you’re fortunate enough to be able to do. Tell yourself that the amount of sleep you got last night was the perfect amount you need to have an amazing day.
Over time, this practice will undoubtedly have a profound impact on the way you approach your day, and you may even realize you can make use of it to alter your attitude towards everything else you do.
Step Two: The morning starts in the P.M.
Although a shift in attitude is the most important aspect of becoming an early riser, we’d all be hopeless without some practical advice.
The reason mornings “suck” is because we’re almost always rushed to start the day. We don’t have time to do anything for ourselves before getting sucked into the madness of all that we have to get done. We start the day because we HAVE to rather than because we WANT to.
That’s why it’s really important to make the process of getting up as simple and painless as possible.
You do that by preparing all the mindless things you do in the morning before you go to bed so that when you actually get up, you have extra time to do an activity that will benefit you rather than an obligation.
Every night, plan the following:
- Have the clothes you want to wear laid out so you don’t have to make any choices in the morning
- Bags packed and ready to go
- The breakfast you want to have already chosen
- A pre-chosen activity that you enjoy, but don’t usually make time for
If you follow the plan, you will have some extra time before the obligations of the day start (provided you don’t hit your snooze button and waste it). Be thoughtful and serious about deciding what you can do with extra time that will make you feel good. It can be anything from spending time with a loved one to reading, meditating or even taking a 45-minute shower.
The feeling of calm and clarity does wonders, regardless of your chosen activity.
Step Three: The snooze button is the enemy
If you really want to feel fresh in the morning, you HAVE TO get out of the habit of hitting that snooze button. I’ve tested this out for myself and forced at least a dozen other people to try waking up without snoozing, and it is beyond remarkable how much more energized you feel if you can avoid the temptation to get 5 or 10 extra minutes of just laying.
When you snooze, you’re not really getting more sleep. It doesn’t make you feel better about waking up. It actually does nothing beneficial for you. Every single time you hit the snooze button you wake up more tired.
Just trust me here and try it for a week. The moment your alarm goes off, get your feet on the floor, walk to the bathroom and wash your face.
Step Four: Figure out exactly how much sleep YOU need
A lot of the reason we wake up feeling lethargic and “out of it” have to do with inconsistent sleep hours. We tend to regularly sleep too much or too little.
Luckily, there is a really reliable method for figuring out how much sleep your body personally needs to wake up feeling fresh.
- Try to sleep at a reasonable hour for a week straight. Make sure you go to bed at the same time every night.
- Wake up naturally – without an alarm, and without snoozing.
- Write down the number of hours you slept every night, and how you felt throughout the day.
At the end of the week, you should be able to easily see how many hours you need to wake up and have a good day.
Step Five: Take notice of other lifestyle habits that impact your energy levels
Every choice we make in our lives has some impact on our energy levels. The food we eat, the emotions we feel, the thoughts we have, the level of physical activity we regularly engage in – all require some amount of energy.
Particularly when it comes to food – it’s very easy to see how different types of foods, the hours you choose to eat, and the amount of food you eat in a given meal all affect our energy levels throughout the day.
One thing I’ve found is that eating lighter meals close to bedtime has this amazing effect of helping you feel really energetic in the morning.
Lighter meals throughout the day also help you feel fresh, but it isn’t easy to completely change your eating habits all at once.
The goal is to start taking notice of how your decisions throughout the day affect your energy levels. Start with food because it’s easiest to see direct relationships, but ultimately, you can really zero-in on how every decision you make affects your body’s energy levels.
Step Six: Stay consistent
There is only ONE reason it isn’t easy to be a morning person.
You’ve never done it.
Without knowing it, you’ve trained your entire life to hate waking up. Every single day of your life, you’ve literally practiced sleeping more than you need to.
And guess what, your body is going to be confused when you try to change the habit. Your body is going to resist. It’s like telling a right-handed adult and that they now have to use their left hand to write.
You’re re-wiring your brain and body to act completely differently than it has for years, probably decades.
But if you can stay consistent for just a week, something really incredible happens.
After just a week, the way you think about waking up starts to change. The moment you start seeing any benefit out of waking up without the snooze button, and starting your day before you absolutely have to, your mindset begins to shift.
Your body realizes what’s happening and recognizes that it inevitably has to adjust. The way you associate with waking up undergoes a radical transformation.
After about a month, you forget ever having hated the morning hours.
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