Do you want to change the direction of your life? Get up early.
Notice I didn’t say earlier. I don’t mean give yourself 15 extra minutes so you can leisurely enjoy browsing your Facebook feed while sipping your coffee before leaving for work. No, I don’t mean that.
What I mean is waking up in those dark, quiet morning hours when most people are still under the covers, when the sun has not yet even woken, when the house is still and silent – it’s those magic hours that can literally change your life.
If you’re not a morning person, you might not believe me. You might think getting up early is futile because your brain refuses to turn on before 8am. How in the world could you get anything productive done when your body won’t cooperate?
I’m going to challenge that thought by saying there is no such thing as “morning people”. Either you’ve trained yourself to get up early or not. It’s a choice, not a personality trait.
And once you’ve learned how to ignore the snooze button and get out of bed before the crack of dawn – before the day starts stealing from you – you will be on your way to a more fulfilling and productive life.
A life that you’ve always dreamed of.
What Difference Does A Morning Make?
A purposeful and productive morning can be the difference between success and failure. Becoming wealthy and living paycheck to paycheck. Being fit & healthy and being overweight.
These are big differences – ones that can literally change the direction of your life.
When you use that first hour in the morning just preparing to get to work on time, you miss the opportunity to focus and plan your day. You hit the snooze button a couple times, jump in the shower, grab a bagel going out the door, and sit in morning traffic listening to news radio on the way to work.
Then your brain has to start task-switching and problem-solving shortly after you arrive at your job, and the next 8 hours are taken up reaching someone else’s goals.
By the time you clock out, fight traffic, eat dinner, and watch an episode or two on Netflix, the day is basically done. Any willpower you had this morning to get on the treadmill (*sometime* before you go to bed) was used up dealing with disgruntled customers earlier in the day.
Oh well. Maybe tomorrow.
Actually, tomorrow could be a guaranteed slam dunk. All you have to do is get up early enough to focus on your own goals, before you ever head out the door.
Imagine spending an hour or two every morning just to focus on what’s important to you. Having time to plan out your day, so your actions line up with your values. You could have uninterrupted time to:
- review your life goals and plan for your next step to reach them
- take a morning jog while listening to an inspirational podcast
- practice meditation and visualization to start your day with peace and clarity
- spend time in prayer and bible study
- work on that side business that will one day replace your day job
- learn a new skill that could result in a hefty pay raise
Just think what it would feel like to know you’ve accomplished your most important priorities within the first two hours of waking up. To know that it doesn’t matter what life throws at you later in the day, you’ve already won.
And as days turn into months, your little morning routine will become a habit that positively affects your entire life.
How To Start A Morning Routine
Maybe you’re not convinced yet. Maybe you’re having a hard time believing the tradeoff is worth it. Is it really worth giving up an hour or two of sleep every morning?
I could tell you to keep thinking about it, or go find the research on the benefits of early rising, or have a discussion with your friends to see what they think, or go read a book on good morning habits.
All of those things might help convince you to try it. But none of them will prove it works for you.
Really, it’s just putting off the inevitable, which is actually doing it. Because that’s the only way you can experience the benefits for yourself.
So, I say, just jump in. Give it a go for 30 days. You’ve got nothing to lose. (Well, okay, you’ll lose those early morning sleep hours, but I guarantee you’ll gain so much more in return!)
Starting a morning routine takes a little planning in the beginning to help create the habit. The hardest part will probably be getting up. So, you’ll need to determine a strategy to get out of bed and not snooze through the alarm.
Some ideas could be:
- move your alarm across the room, so you have to get up to turn it off
- put your bedroom lights on a timer so they turn on when you need to get up
- set your alarm to blast some fun music
- have a snack by your bed and eat it as soon as your alarm goes off
Once you’re out of bed, you’ll want to signal your brain that it’s time to wake up. Do this right away, or the temptation to crawl back under the warm covers will be too powerful for you. You could do this by:
- turning on the lights if you haven’t already
- jumping in the shower
- brushing your teeth
- drinking a glass of cold water
- doing some jumping jacks or pushups
After you get your blood flowing and the risk of going back to sleep has passed, it’s time to start your morning routine.
In order to maximize the time you have, you’ll need to plan what that routine is before you grab that first cup of coffee. Otherwise, before you know it, you’ll look up from your email app and wonder how two hours could fly by so quickly.
Planning A Morning Routine
If you want to get the most out of your mornings – and you should, if you’re going to give up an hour of sleep every day – then you need to plan your routine.
Don’t wait until you’ve poured your cup of coffee to wonder what you should do. Because you know what will happen, right? While you’re “wondering”, your brain will automatically want to do mindless things like get on social media, read the morning news, or check your email.
None of these things will get you closer to your goals.
It’s important to be intentional and maximize your time. Otherwise, you’ll lose the motivation to get up early because you won’t experience any benefits.
Here are a few things you could do to get the most of your mornings:
- set the timer on your coffee maker for 5am; that way, it’s ready as soon as you walk in the kitchen
- make your kids’ school lunches the night before
- sleep in your exercise clothes so you’re ready to go as soon as you get out of bed
- have your playlist or podcast already cued up
- set up your desk the night before with everything you need – your laptop, journal, pens, etc.
- make a list every night of what you want to focus on the next morning
- if you have more than one focus (exercise, then journaling, then reading), set a timer for each one
The goal is to take back all of the wasted minutes and applying them to a focused activity. You don’t want to use your brain power to make a bunch of little decisions. Have everything ready, so you can go straight into doing.
It’s in the daily, consistent, focused activity where you’ll begin to feel and experience a shift happening.
As you take time for yourself before anyone else, you’ll notice you have more to give to others. You’ll gain more clarity in your life and have a stronger sense of purposeful direction. You’ll have more energy and motivation during the day.
And you’ll start achieving goals that have been sitting dormant in your journal for years.
All because you’re making your life a priority.
Make a 30-day Commitment
Are you ready to change your life? Have you had enough of average? Will you finally commit to making your one and only life the very best it can be?
Then make a commitment to yourself. Because you are the only one responsible for you.
You are the only manager of your time, and every day you’re blessed with 24 hours. You have control over your own thoughts, feeling, and actions. You have everything you need to start working toward your dreams.
I encourage you to develop the habit of being an early riser, and using those morning hours to better yourself. Take the next 30 days to put your goals and dreams first in your day. Experience the benefits for yourself.
I guarantee, you’ll be amazed at how your life will change.
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