Becoming a Morning Person

I’ll be the first to admit, I have never been a morning person. I’ve always worked really well late at night and it usually takes me a good half hour to come close to resembling a human being in the morning. Until recently.

Maybe because it’s winter, maybe because I’m getting older, but I’ve been much more tired after 5 p.m., even if I got a full eight hours the night before. I’ve tried everything I can think of – changing my diet, being more organized, exercising, going to bed earlier- and I’ve only found one thing that seems to work for me – trying to convince myself I’m a morning person.

Seems counterintuitive, right? I’m more tired in the evening, so waking up earlier is the answer? For me, it is. (Note: not everyone works the same.) When I wake up early, my day usually goes one of two ways:

  1. Wake up, go to the gym, shower, eat breakfast, head in to work, head home, make dinner, do some other work, relax and go to bed, or
  2. Wake up, shower, do some work, eat breakfast, go to work, go to the gym, go home, make dinner, relax and go to bed.

On those days I just can’t drag myself out of bed, my day goes one way: hit snooze until the absolute last possible minute, rush to get ready, go to work, dread everything, go to bed, repeat tomorrow.

Who wants to be caught in this vicious circle of doom and dread day after day? I certainly didn’t want to anymore!

At first, it was difficult. I couldn’t get to bed early enough, I couldn’t force myself out of bed, I couldn’t get motivated. But once I got up and going a couple days in a row, I started feeling better all day long and settled into a really good rhythm for me. Not only do I feel more productive and less distracted, I’m actually getting more done each day and feeling happier.

If you’re looking to try to train yourself to be a morning person, there are a few important things to keep in mind.

  • It’s a process.

    Don’t expect a change literally overnight. It’s going to take a little getting used to to train your body to alter its sleep schedule.

  • Set a schedule or plan.

    Making a plan for the next day will give you a reason to get up and get moving. I take a few minutes and jot down goals for the next day before bed and share some of them with someone else.

  • Get up and moving.

    The best way I’ve found to get going in the morning is to plan to go to the gym. I go at least a couple mornings a week and working up a sweat first thing in the morning keeps me motivated all day long. Other days, I get up, stretch and shower before getting down to work.

How do you work best?

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2 Comments

  • Reply
    Sarah
    January 26, 2015 at 2:37 pm

    While I’ve always been able to be a morning person if I wanted to, I never really wanted to until recently. I’ve never had trouble with waking up, I have always been fully coherent and cognizant immediately after waking up, but I still preferred my late nights and getting things done before I went to sleep. The past year or so has been different because of schedules that I don’t have much control over, and I began to find that if I left things to be done in the evening they were less likely to get done because I was so tired. So, I started getting up in the morning to do those things instead. It has been fantastic!

    A couple things that I do to make waking up early an enjoyable routine rather than a necessary evil is to first hydrate myself with a full glass of water with a lemon squeezed into it (it perks me up instantly!), then I stretch and take some time to pray, then, the last thing before tackling my to-do list, I take about 20-30 minutes to do whatever the heck I want to do that morning. Sip some tea or coffee while reading the paper, read a book, flip through Instagram and other social media, watch a bit of TV – absolutely anything! In starting my day off with some relaxation and nurturing myself I am able to take on whatever the day throws at me.

  • Reply
    Gordon
    January 27, 2015 at 10:49 pm

    It’s refreshing to read someone write about the power of self-persuasion. I think too many people today do not even realize what they are capable of because they allow their bodies/minds to accept that “they can’t.” Even getting up early, while not something one has to train for (in a physical sense, its a willpower thing) can be so hard once the alarm goes off. That decision to get up instead of snoozing reinforces the notion that you can push yourself a little harder. While it might seem a minor thing, this unconscious knowledge that one can force themselves to do something undesirable can be a major boon during the course of a day. Maybe you take on one extra project you just didn’t have the time for; or maybe you have an extra 10 minutes to talk to a friend in need. In any event, if 80 percent of success is just showing up, we’re all going to be early.

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