I never knew a man come to greatness or eminence who lay abed late in the morning. – Jonathan Swift
You know those people who are always so chipper in the morning? Have you noticed that they are, for the most part, positive, successful, efficient, healthy people? How do they get that bounce in their step? How do they find the time to… or how do they stay so positive? Do you ever find yourself thinking that you wish you could have the energy they have? Have you ever said, “I wish I knew what they were on!” Some of us even try justifying their happiness, positivity and successes with “she’s a morning person.” Have you ever heard anyone say “he’s an afternoon guy?” or claim that they are successful because they sleep in? Why is it that some people seem to have a more productive, positive, happier day? Studies show that having a great morning is key.
So why is having a good morning so important to your success, happiness, productivity? Simple. It sets the tone for the day you are about to have. If you are calm, grounded, connected, and relaxed when you start your day, you are way more likely to have a more productive, positive and even healthier day. Time for some self-discipline people! Stop being disappointed in yourself for being late, stop feeling floppy and cranky in the mornings.
The Evil Snooze Button!
What? It’s evil? But it affords me 9 more minutes of precious sleep! When you hit the snooze button and happen to fall asleep, you are putting yourself back to the beginning part of your sleep cycle. This is the worst cycle to wake up in. And worse yet, if you don’t fall back asleep, you lay there in resentment. Studies suggest that when you hit snooze, you give in to temptation. The more you give in to temptation, the more you think it’s an okay thing to do. It’s easier to go through the fast food drive through than to wake up on time and make a healthy breakfast. In fact, people that hit snooze are more likely to be overweight and live an unhealthy lifestyle, settle for less than the best and are less motivated than their counterparts. And that my friends, is why the snooze button is evil. Just a little food for thought the next time you hit the snooze button.
It is well to be up before daybreak, for such habits contribute to health, wealth, and wisdom. – Aristotle –
Think about your mentors, maybe a few successful people – you know, those kind of people who are on the ball, effective, go getters – the people that you admire. The ones that are healthy, happy and secure – not without flaw though. The ones that make good decisions and are disciplined. What do their mornings look like? Do you picture them hitting snooze ten times then rolling out of bed defeated by the alarm clock? Are they rushing around with a toothbrush hanging out of their mouth trying to get lunches ready, to-go mugs of coffee ready, backpacks, briefcase, kids in the car! LET’S GO! WE’RE GOING TO BE LATE! Only to realize that they forgot the field trip form for little Suzie’s trip to the museum or their precious kick of caffeine on the kitchen table. Or do they get up a little early, maybe go for a walk? Do they have a morning routine? The purpose of this suggestion is to help illustrate my point, not to compare your life to theirs. (In fact, I think that comparing lives is actually detrimental to our wellbeing and is a poor tool in which to gauge your success) So, how do you set up a morning routine to set the tone for the day on a positive note? Below are several key tips to ensure a good morning.
- Morning routines actually begin the night before. I cannot stress the importance of a note pad and a pen beside your bed. Jot down the things that are on your mind, the things that you have to get done tomorrow. Call the dentist, email your boss about your holidays, etc. This is key in getting a good night’s sleep. You’ll be able to tear off that piece of paper and keep it with you throughout the day. (Crossing off items on a to-do list will leave you with a sense of accomplishment – reducing the “today was a loss” thoughts that can weigh you down.)
- Get up a half hour early. You’ll have extra time, you won’t feel so rushed and stressed out. Honestly, try it. It’s amazing!
- When you wake up, stretch. Breathe. Be grateful. You’ve just spent hours in bed. Getting your blood flowing by an amazing stretch is super invigorating. A few deep, complete breaths and you will feel even better. While you are breathing, think about the things you are grateful for. That sense of gratitude will do wonders for your mood.
- Drink a tall glass of cold water – throw a slice of lemon in there for that extra sense of refreshment. When you wake up, you are dehydrated. True story. Having a big glass of water will hydrate you and helps wake you up.
- When you wake up a half hour early, you will have time to SIT DOWN and eat breakfast with your family. Ask questions, engage in conversation while eating that bowl of mini-wheats. (man, I love mini-wheats) Begin the day this way instead of begging the kids to get dressed or brush their teeth. Ask your fiancé what his day looks like or ask your dorm-mates for suggestions on that paper you have to write.
- Take a minute. 60 seconds to stand in front of a window with your cup of coffee, tea or water. Look around. What do you see? Just let yourself create thoughts here. You see your neighbors Nissan Murano. White. Why did they choose white? The tinted rear windows look pretty cool. Plus you can’t see the 2 car seats and the yogurt and cheerios on the back windows. Hahaha. It’s sporty. I wonder what it’s like on gas. Oh look! A squirrel! Why are they so cute and fluffy? Should I get peanuts and put them in a dish? Maybe if I do, they will come around more. Man, this coffee is good. Sigh…ahhhhh. Exhale. Windows rule! Take that time to connect with the world outside.
- DON’T CHECK YOUR EMAIL! Listen. Ten years ago, we got by just fine without our mini-inboxes on our 4.5 inch smart phones. Hold off until you’re at the office. It’s work. You get paid at work, to work. J How about instead of spending 15 minutes “connecting” to your “friends” on Facebook, you go for a walk around the block? Connect with your feet hitting the sidewalk or grass. Look ahead, not down at your phone. Look at the things around you – it’s a more rich experience than looking at pixels on a screen.
- Leave your house a few minutes early. Sing a song in the car. Come on, when we see people singing alone in their cars, do we laugh out loud and call them losers? HECK NO! We wonder what song they’re listening to. Maybe even try and find the same station they’re on, so we can match the words to their lips. They aren’t crazy lunatics on a crazy tangent yelling evil thoughts to their evil imaginary friends or Satan. They’re singing along to Tool or Third Eye Blind or Tiffany or Katy Perry or that dude that Nicole Kidman married.
Think to yourself, that getting up 30 minutes earlier is way more productive than hitting snooze for an extra few minutes of precious sleep. When you have a set morning routine, it becomes habit. When something is a habit, you don’t really have to think about it so much. It’s a habit. Something that you are used to doing. Therefore, you can free up your mind. Freeing up your brain space allows for more room to prioritize, set goals, be grateful, think about your actions, hug your loved ones, be grounded, mindful and positive.
However you choose to plan your morning routine, realize what benefits this has on your entire day, your positive outlook, your future and your self-discipline. Sometimes it helps to write it down. Get up at 6, make coffee, shower, wake up kids, etc.
Waking up with a clear plan for the day ahead gives you a sense of control, organization, clarity and even satisfaction. Give it a try for a few days and make a note of how you feel. Then judge for yourself.
Thanks so much for reading my blog. I know this was a long one – so an extra special thank you!