How to Become a Morning Person
I know, I can hear the groans of the night owls already! Hey, you clicked on this blog, so you must at least be curious. Becoming a morning person is a process, it’s not genetic, it’s a choice. I heard that eye-roll! Something in your life isn’t working. You have to want to or need to become a morning person. Hang with me for a few minutes to learn how to become a morning person.
My first experience when I knew I needed to shift was in Chiropractic school. Migraines, extreme fatigue, horrible PMS. I would get home from school at 4 pm and since we started at 7 am with anatomy lab, I was tired. Brain overload, but with several hours of studying to in front of me. For a while, I tried staying up, coffee, NoDoz, exercise, etc. Getting up for class would be impossible. Plus, I felt terrible.
Another time in my life that necessitated a schedule change was after I had each of my children. When my daughter was born, I was almost 40. In typical overachiever, perfectionistic fashion I thought I could just strap her on and keep the pace of my previous life. I crashed and burned hard! Then, I had my son when my daughter was two years old. This is a time of life, as many of you know, that it is difficult to get control of your sleeping schedule. I knew I had to do something different this time around.
How much does your life suck? Each of these life experiences had enough suckiness that I knew I had to change something. The status quo wasn’t going to cut it.
4 Easy Steps:
- Embrace. Embrace the early hour. Check in with what you are saying about the time, in your head. What are the beliefs you have around the early hours of the day?
What time you get up and what you believe about “early” is just that, a belief. You can choose to think 3 am or 4 am is too early for any human to get up. However, farmers do it all the time during planting and harvesting seasons, and have for millennia. So, fancy yourself a farmer of whatever you’re doing in your life. You can plant the seeds of your new morning routine. Watch how you grow and change. ( an awesome analogy, if I do say so myself) Choose to love the morning. Find something to look forward to in the morning, ie. coffee!
- Decide. You have to decide this makes sense for you and decide what you are going to do to reward yourself for your new behavior. What time is “early” for you in your new modified world? Is it 4 am or 7 am? If you are used to going to bed when the rest of the US is getting up, this will be a little more of a challenge. Give yourself a break, it will take you longer to create a new habit.
Did I mention coffee? I also have my journal and the peace and quiet of the world before the chaos of the day begins. This morning started a little extra early, this blog was burning in my brain and needed to come out. Been up since 3:15…no biggie. I embraced the hour, made my coffee, had a few extra snuggles with my dog (what were you thinking?), wrote in my Start Today journal and got to work. New habit research says it takes 66 days to create a new habit. Give yourself time.
- Track. You know how it feels to complete a project? Like some day’s, just brushing your teeth is a win. Well, tracking feels like that every day, when you complete your new habit!
Make a chart, or keep track of your new habit somehow. Sarah Knight makes a chart with 365 boxes on it when she is trying to create a new habit or has a goal of changing something over the course of a year. I like this idea. She puts it where she can see it, and then colors in the square when she accomplishes the goal for the day. In your case it might be getting up at a certain time. Although it may only take 66 days to make a new habit, sometimes you have to start over more than once to finally get it right. No Perfectionism Bug here – watch for this blog…
- Shift. Start by moving your “get up time” by one hour per day until you are getting up when you want. You may want to dedicate a weekend for the first hour or two while you get used to your new schedule. Let’s say you stay up until 1 am and are used to getting up at 8 am. Make the first morning of earlier rising on a Saturday morning – stop groaning, there is a purpose here. You already decided you wanted to this…NO SNOOZE ALARM, get up.
Your first day, you are going to get up an hour earlier, you will be tired and ready to go to bed earlier. Go to bed. Stop the mindless social media scrolling or binge-watching Friends for the hundredth time. Give yourself something to look forward to in the morning, my coffee and puppy ROCK at 3:30 am, or 5 on a normal day. Track your progress and color in your box. Live with the one hour shift for a week or so, then shift again. Of course, if things are running smoothly, or you are an overachiever (I know you), you can make the shift quicker.
Just so you know, even the best laid plans don’t always work out. I paid dearly for my overachieving ways of chiropractic school and after each of my pregnancies. In each of these instances, good sleep alone wasn’t enough to combat the stress of professional school and growing humans in my body. Migraines, Post-partum issues, Thyroid and Adrenal Fatigue. Going to bed was just the beginning of healing for me. I sought out one of my Functional Medicine colleagues and he guided me through the lifestyle overhaul that included even earlier bedtimes, vitamins, cleanses, exercise, more water, less coffee, etc.
Lesson learned: I go to bed when I get tired, sometimes 8pm!! Generally, I’m in bed by 10pm and get up early, like 4-5am. I have great energy and be productive without stressing my body. Coffee, dog, journal, in that order then, anything else I want to get done… dishes, journal, have peace and quiet – meditate, organize my day, do laundry, blog, write online course content and get my social media done for the day. On warm (over 30 degrees) I can get in some much needed steps, 1-3 miles, with the dog. Depending on the time I awake, I have an hour or two, clear headed, rested and ready to hit the day running, all before anyone else is up. If nothing else, my stock in NoDoz wasn’t doing too well anyway.