I was once a late riser. Like, very late. I would wake up as late as I could possibly get away with. When I had a baby, this meant sleeping in until the baby woke up. Before that, it meant sleeping until I had to get ready for work. If I didn't work in the morning, I slept until I naturally woke up. I thought that I could never be a morning person. I felt like a zombie most mornings. I yawned, stretched, and walked slowly for a good 15 minutes after finally getting out of bed.
Today, I wake up at 5 am most mornings. My kids wake up around 7. I never have to work before 9. So why the change? Because there is something powerful about starting your day out strongly. The morning has been called the "rudder" of the day. Especially that first hour. If you start out lazy, there's a good chance the rest of your day will be on the lazy side. Or if you start out rushing around frantically, you carry a feeling of chaos around long after you've settled down. But start out with a good workout, a good book, and some silent time by yourself...and WOW! You'll see a huge difference in how you feel and how you approach the rest of the day. If you're like me, you might not buy into this until you do it. So like everything else I suggest, JUST TRY IT!
My morning routine is important to me, partially because it includes activities that I would do whether I woke up early or not. For me, that means taking time away from my children to do them. I would rather get those things done and focus on the kids when they wake up. I don't spend every waking minute paying attention to them, because I believe they need their space too. But whatever I can get done before they are awake is a bonus.
I highly recommend reading the book, The Miracle Morning: The Not-So-Obvious Secret Guaranteed to Transform Your Life by Hal Elrod. It was one of those game changing reads for me. Hal explains the importance of a morning routine as well as specific activities that will help you get started off on the right foot. I will explain them more in later blog post, but for now you can check out the book for more information.
So, HOW did I make the switch to morning person? First of all, I chose to! After that, I used Hal's 5 steps for early rising. Do them in this order:
1. Set your intentions before bed...know before you fall asleep that your plan is to get up. If you're wishy washy, you are more likely to give in to the temptation to sleep longer.
2. Set your alarm and place it across the room so you're forced to get out of bed to turn it off.
3. Brush your teeth.
4. Drink a full glass of water. Dehydration will make you feel fatigued so hydrate ASAP.
5. Get dressed in your workout clothes...I set mine out the night before.
With every step, your motivation to get your day started increases. You will feel so much better for following through. It's just like exercise... It's hard to get started, but you never regret it when it's done.
That being said, be SMART. I never allow myself to get less than six hours of sleep because rest is an important part of health and fitness.
One of the most interesting points that Hal makes in his book is that with every decision you make, you are choosing who you are becoming. Are you a lazy person? Is that who you choose to be? Maybe. And that's OK if that's what you want. But it is not a predetermined fate. You CHOOSE it every day. So you can choose to be a hard worker too. You can also choose to be a morning person. It might take work while you're getting used to it. And like everything, some days will be harder than others. You will get used to it though and you will be thankful for it, because you'll get your exercise in early and have some quiet time to yourself (which you'll appreciate if that's hard to come by for you). I read personal development books and write (you know, this blog!) during my time. I also pray, meditate, keep a gratitude journal, and recite affirmations among other things. Again, you can find out more about why I chose these activities in the book. My point is, the morning is the perfect time for you to work on BECOMING EVERYTHING YOU ARE MEANT TO BE. Or you know, you could sleep in too. The choice is yours!