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4 Simple Steps: How I trained myself to wake up earlier and stay awake!
Image credit: https://goo.gl/dH8mHY
My whole life I have been a late riser (by default) until just recently when I told myself I would become a morning person. I never thought I could commit to waking up early being a serial snoozer myself but here we are at Day 60!
It all started when I read “The Miracle Morning” by Hal Elrod which touched on a few key areas I wanted to improve: energy levels, focus and personal development. In particular, my fitness routine had been disrupted with work which took a toll on my body and mind. I was often tired and couldn’t concentrate properly for long periods. Hal talks about how regular exercise pumps more oxygen to your body and brain which allows it to work more efficiently.
Although this is nothing new, it helped to tie everything together. If I wanted to be more productive, I had to focus on how I start the day as it sets the tone for the rest of the day. By working out earlier in the morning, the adrenaline was up, my mind was no longer half asleep (I was already on the treadmill before it had time to realise!) and the effect on my mood had changed dramatically.
What you decide to do with the extra hour or two in the morning is completely up to you but I have found exercise has helped me to feel refreshed and ready for the day. Some other examples of what you could do is: yoga, meditation, read a book or perhaps start a new hobby. It’s a great way to develop yourself one day at a time. Remember, consistency is key.
Here is an outline of my previous routine:
7:00am – Alarm goes off. Hit the snooze button.
7:15am - Alarm goes off. Hit the snooze button (sound familiar?).
7:30am - Alarm goes off. Drag myself out of bed and wander around for a while until my eyes have adjusted to the sunshine.
7:45am – Make breakfast, eat and watch the news.
8:30am – Get dressed, wash face and brush teeth.
9:00am – Hello World!
Now my routine consists of the following:
6:00am – Alarm goes off. Get up.
6:01am – Drink 1 cup of water.
6:05am – Prepare breakfast.
6:15am – Get dressed for the gym.
6:30am – Walk to the gym.
6:45am – Work out / shower.
7:30am – Come back home and have breakfast with “Up” tea.
8:00am – Day starts!
Here are the 4 key strategies I used which helped build my early morning habits:
Prepare for the next day
I am a strong believer in mind over body. The mind is often underestimated when it comes to physical action. To help with this, imagine what your ideal morning would be like: are you preparing a nutritious breakfast to enjoy properly or perhaps you are walking your dog while listening to an audio book? Whatever it is prepare for it by imagining what you are looking forward to. It also helps if you pack your gear the night before so you have no excuse!
Jump out of bed
This is probably the hardest part of the process – waking up and actually staying awake!
For me, I put my alarm (mobile phone) in the lounge room so I literally have to get up and turn it off. Alternatively, there is a free app called Alarmy which doesn’t shut down until you are out of bed and take a photo of a pre-selected item in your home. Just make sure it is an item which is far away as possible from your bedside table!
Once you are up, drink 1 large cup of water. When you wake up after 6-8 hours of sleep, your body and brain (made up of 75% water) is dehydrated this can make you feel fatigued and drained (not surprising as many people feel hazy in the morning). It also helps to flush out toxins and a great way to fill the stomach without any calories! This glass of water keeps me going for an hour and a half while I’m at the gym.
Take it one step at a time
It may seem near impossible for a serial snoozer but believe me, if I can do it, you can too! All you need to do is just take the first step whether it is waking up 15 minutes earlier than you did yesterday or just getting dressed as soon as you wake up. As long as you are doing something, it is still one step closer to your goal. From there, you can build confidence in yourself to progress to the next stage!
What I have learnt to appreciate:
Mornings aren’t so bad, it feels nice to rise naturally as the sun does. Plus if you have something to look forward to each day, it makes waking up so much easier.
You get so many things done in that extra hour or two in the morning. There are no distractions so you have time to do your own thing.
A healthy lifestyle can be built through simple habits.
Do you struggle to wake up earlier in the morning? What strategies has helped you?
Feel free to share your ideas/comments below :)