3 Ways Even The Biggest Night Owl Can Turn Into A Productive Early Bird
Here's one of the easiest sentences you can use to delay yourself from reaching your goals: "I'm not a morning person." While not everyone likes getting up early in the morning, having a solid morning routine can literally change your life.
When you win your morning, you win your day. Momentum is a very real, powerful thing, and successful people know how to harness it. Continuously practice things that keep your momentum rolling toward the outcomes you desire, and you will find yourself reaching your goals more than ever before.
If you have a laundry list of accomplishments you're struggling with, it may be time for you to consider getting that work done before the sun comes up. For practical reasons, let's start with a 5 am wake up call. The time may vary an hour or two either way, but for the most part, 5 am is a pretty reasonable time for most people to consider setting an alarm for.
If you're used to sleeping in past 8 am, then waking up that early is surely going to take some getting used to. There are no shortcuts to habit formation, so if you are used to late nights and late mornings, this is going to take some adjusting.
The first thing you must understand is waking up for no good reason, several hours before you're used to, isn't something people want. So don't do it. The thing that's going to make a morning routine work for you is truly determining what you will be doing in the morning that will have you hopping out of bed the second the alarm clock goes off.
All human behavior can be traced down to one of two motives: seeking pleasure or avoiding pain. It's a basic survival mechanism we're all equipped with, and we use it all the time. When something seems "painful," we purposely game plan in order to minimize or eliminate our exposure to that thing.
If getting up at 5 am seems "painful," you won't ever consistently get your butt out of bed. Let's look at three steps you can take today to make this possible:
1. Determine what you could accomplish while everyone else is catching zzzs.
Start brainstorming by listing the things you regularly say you don't have time for, and consider how quickly that might change if you added five one-hour work sessions from 5:30 am to 6:30 am each week.
It doesn't have to necessarily sound "fun" right away. But it should be something that's empowering and actionable. What's going to make you a better version of yourself in your routine?
A few good examples include exercise (especially if you don't regularly do it), writing, reading or anything else you struggle to get done on a consistent basis. You need to find what works for you, and agree that whatever it is, it's going to provide enough reward for you to get you out of bed to do it.
2. Commit to one or two mini rituals every morning before work.
They will prime your mind and body to be in a peak state of performance.
It's already been accepted that getting up early each morning is going to suck at first. Your body won't be adjusted to a new routine, so it might take some time.
That's OK. The important thing is the fact that you're getting your butt out of bed and getting on with it anyway. To help "awaken the beast," I recommend that you use these rituals first thing in the morning. They will get you in a positive state of mind.
They should take three to five minutes at most, but should also serve as the fuel canisters to get your mind and body rolling in the right direction. Keep a journal in a way that's meaningful to you. One of the best parts about a journal is the fact that you can "trap" the repetitive thoughts that plague your productivity on a piece of paper, freeing you up to do some of your best work soon after.
Take two or three minutes to visualize exactly what your morning routine and day are going to look like. See your day going the way you want it to before it happens. You will find very quickly that visualization is incredibly important.
It's taken me years to finally get over the stigma that is attached to meditation, and I get it. Some people simply won't meditate because they feel like it's meant for everybody but them. The practice of quieting your mind takes repetitive, consistent effort that won't render results until you push yourself past your comfort zone.
Doing this is almost akin to working out at the gym. For some people, it's even harder. There are plenty of other directions you could go in, but these three are easy enough to implement right away.
3. Think of anything else that might help you in this transitional phase toward becoming a morning person.
It might sound funny to read, but little things like having to pack your lunch and unload the dishwasher after your morning routine are going to become deal breakers for you to continue the process. These minuscule parameters might be the reasons this stops working for you completely, so take caution.
Brainstorm a list of all of the things you normally do in the morning, and see what can be done the night before. Lay out your clothes for work. Start meal prepping twice a week so that you aren't cooking every morning.
Have your bags already packed so that once you finish your morning routine, you can hop into the shower and get going. An added bonus of doing things this way is the momentum of crushing the first hour of your day will help you parlay right into the next thing you do.
Also consider the "performance enhancing" tools at your disposal. If you drink coffee, set your coffee pot to 15 minutes before you wake up. The promise of a hot cup of coffee waiting for you the moment you get up can also be a strong incentive.
The thing it takes to get you up -- at least at first -- is a game-changer. Figure out what might work for you.
Let's be honest: All of this is nice to read. It can just be taken as another "feel good" post that helps you fantasize about what your life could look like if you were to take the initiative to change. You probably already know that a morning routine might change your life if you implement it correctly.
Just remember: It might only take one day. You just need one day of waking up at 5 am with a smart, calculated action plan to show you that this is not only a practical tool, but a powerful tool as well. One day will lead to you doing this every morning for the next six months, and you will finally live in alignment with the vision you've created for your life.
As always, it's on you to take the step. Hopefully, I'll see you before the sun comes up sometime soon.