Becoming a morning person could be the secret to being happy, healthy, and productive.
Many famous people like Benjamin Franklin, Oprah, Richard Branson, Jack Dorsey, and Tim Cook all wake up early1.
Research has shown that waking up early makes you more able to anticipate problems, sleep better and feel happier.
Morning is wonderful. Its only drawback is that it comes at such an inconvenient time of day.Glen Cook
I’m not a morning person at all, but I want to try to become one.
The problem with waking up late is that you always feel rushed.
It’s a terrible way to start your day. There’s no way you can have a peaceful, productive day if you’re starting it all jittery trying to find your keys.
Psychologically, it’s a completely different way to think about your day. When we wake up late, our minds are focusing on other people.
- I have to get to work (for my boss)
- I have a meeting today (for the client)
- I have to get the kids ready for school (for the kids)
Taking some time for yourself in the morning allows you consciously focus on yourself.
You can take time to exercise, meditate, read, write. All things to help you improve.
The Power Of The Morning Routine
Having a morning routine can be incredibly beneficial for you physically and mentally.
Let’s look at some of the research behind why a morning routine is so powerful.
A study by the American Psychological Association2 found that when you have a morning routine that you follow you’re happier, more motivated, and in a better mood. Specifically, they found that it:
- lowers stress
- lowers anxiety
- lowers depression
A study from Northwestern University3 found that people that have a morning routine feel more energetic, and people that use some of that time to exercise obviously are much healthier.
They also found that people that slept later ate more food after dinner, and usually they were eating unhealthy foods at that time.
Research has found4 that we’re our most creative and productive in the morning.
Also willpower is a finite resources and is the highest first thing in the morning. Using that to your advantage, you can make a lot of your decisions first thing in the morning.
So now that we know that waking up early has a ton of advantages, what do you do if you’re not a morning person?
You can train yourself to become a morning person.
You can make waking up early a habit, and build it over time.
Make Waking Up Early A Habit
We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.Aristotle
There are two important things to do when it comes to building a new habit that will stick.
- Start so small it’s crazy not to do it
- Look for any blockers and remove them
Stanford psychologist B.J. Fogg talks about starting so small to build a habit. The example he uses was when he wanted to start flossing his teeth:
For me, cracking the code on flossing was to put the floss right by the toothbrush, and to commit to myself that I would floss one tooth — only one tooth — every time after I brushed.
I could floss them all if i wanted to, but the commitment was just one tooth.
This worked because I was training the behavior. Maybe once every few weeks, I’d only actually floss one tooth, but a majority of the time I’d end up flossing them all.
Looking for blockers involves finding out what’s holding you back from accomplishing the thing you’re trying to do and finding a way to remove it.
In the case of waking up earlier, ask yourself what’s holding you back?
Is it that you watch too much TV before bed? Take the TV out of your room. Is it that you wake up feeling weak? Get up and drink some water. Whatever it is, find out what’s blocking you.
NY Times bestselling author Ramit Sethi talks about how he found the blockers for when he was trying to go to the gym:
When I sat down to analyze why I wasn’t going to the gym, I realized: my closet was in another room. That meant I had to walk out in the cold, in my boxer shorts, to the other room, shivering while I put on my clothes.
It was easier to just stay in bed.
Once I realized this, I folded my clothes and shoes the night before. When I woke up the next morning, I would roll over and see my gym clothes sitting on the floor. The result? My gym attendance soared by over 300%.
You want to be sharp in the morning so that you can be a great leader.
Tips For Becoming A Morning Person
Becoming a morning person is a hard habit to build, but if you follow these tips you’ll be way more successful.
Like I mentioned earlier, you want to slowly build this habit over time. You can’t go from 0-100 too quick, so try to wake up earlier and earlier over time.
As an example, your schedule could look like this:
- Week 1 – wake up at 6:45am
- Week 2 – wake up at 6:30am
- Week 3 – wake up at 6:15am
- Week 4 – wake up at 6:00am
Set Goals For The Morning
The night before, you should set goals for yourself for the next morning. That way, you’ll be looking forward to getting up early.
As an example, you could say, tomorrow I’m going to:
- Read for 15 minutes
- Exercise for 20 minutes
- Take the time to make a healthy breakfast
Spend Your Mornings Well
Most people do one of two things when they first wake up.
- Check their email
- Check Facebook/Twitter/Instagram
Don’t do this. Take advantage of the fact that this time is just for you and only do things that will benefit you like exercise, writing, reading, etc.
Optimize Over Time
Once you figure out a good morning routine, feel free to optimize it to make it even better.
Try switching up the order in which you do things, try adding new things to see how you feel, have fun with it!
Things To Do When You Wake Up
The main thing to understand again, is that you want to do things that are for you and only you.
Here are some ideas of things you could do when you first wake up.
- Write 3 things you’re grateful for
- Go for a run
- Write 3 things you hope to accomplish today
- Positive self-talk
- Listen to a podcast/TED talk
How Do You Spend Your Mornings?
I’d love to hear how you spend your morning in the comments!