The not so easy task of becoming a more productive person to help you reach your goals and become a personal success is daunting if you’re a late riser. Also, if you’re not 100% convinced of why mornings are a wonderful time to be awake, you should read my previous article 5 Reasons You Should Wake Up Before Everyone Else In The Morning. I make some particular points about the benefits of the early rise.
When I first started getting my life together, I spent most of my time waking up at noon or later, unless I had some reason to be up earlier. I have never been the person to be late to work or school unless there was actual circumstances, but I knew I needed a change in my sleep schedule when I became a freelancer. There just wasn’t enough time in a day, and by the time the afternoon rolls into evening my brain is ready to chill.
Creating the habits I have now was a seemingly impossible task. It was this ethereal concept that always felt out of reach.
Yet now my body wakes me up before my alarm. I set my alarm specifically to a sleep timer. This ensures I get solid REM cycles and my REM cycles apparently end earlier than the average human being, maybe. That’s an issue for another day. All of that wasn’t true in 2015 when I began this journey.
I created the morning person I am now by breaking a multitude of bad habits that I developed growing up. Self-discipline is a word people confuse with willpower, far too often. But research has proven that not everyone has willpower.
Willpower is this natural thing that I don’t have. I wasn’t born with some magic ability to get up and do things. I cultivated it. Much like when I explain to people I spent 15 years learning to do the art that I do, and I wasn’t just born good at it. Hard work and determination to cultivate self-discipline in yourself is an important step in becoming a morning person, especially becoming a successful one.
When you learn to control yourself, you have unlocked unlimited potential.
I created this new person in myself by trying every stupid trick I could find. I started with the alarm clock across the room. I drank a full glass of water when I first woke up. I tried standing for 20 minutes. I also did the 5 Second Rule by Mel Robbins. It was around the time I began practicing the 5 Second Rule that I started to break ground.
I had finally found a stepping stone to help pull me out of the gutters I called my sleep schedule. And luckily before I bought one of those fancy coffee pots that start brewing coffee at a specific time (even though I really want one still and they’re not that fancy).
Once I had found something to help me start creating the habit — something that worked for me, which is the most important part of this equation — I was able to start getting my act together. I started to create morning habits, like the ones that I discuss in my article I linked to at the beginning.
Creating A Morning Routine
This is simply one of my favorite things about mornings, having that moment to myself — for myself.
I’m not going to recommend anyone meditate right off the bat. I do this, but I now do it on my back patio since we moved to a new state and a new house. There is something incredibly charming about being outside in the morning and not hating the sound birds make. It feels good to be awake, sipping coffee, and clearing my mind of any thoughts.
After having this morning to relax and gather my being, I feel far more prepared for what’s to come next. Whether I need to prep lunch for anyone in my household, start work, do coursework for Uni, or if I need to get some work done around the house itself, I feel more inclined to do it when I have already taken a step back and had some me time.
Only one thing comes from not practicing self-care, and that’s burnout. I talk about that a lot, because I have experienced it. Burnout is where I have found myself on several parts of this roller-coaster journey to being an early riser. And even more so when I decided to start waking up even earlier than anyone in my house.
Once upon a time, I never thought I’d wake up at 9am, let alone 7am, and if you told 7am me a year ago that I’d naturally start waking up at 5:30am every single day, he’d probably call you a liar.
But here we are.
I’ve been up since 5:30am and have decided that I’d share the fruit of my labor from years of finding what works to get me from a noon wake-up call to watching the sunrise out my bedroom window while I type this.
However, it’s more than self-discipline, a morning routine, and self-care that creates a morning person. For me it was always about creating the right conditions for it.
Creating Conditions That Encourage The Behavior
When you want to create a new behavior or habit within yourself, you need to have the right conditions to do so.
An important part of any new habit or behavior is proper conditioning. When you want your dog to stop peeing on the carpet, you create conditions in which that option is less appealing. We recently just sprayed our carpets with lemongrass and put in a puppy door for the backyard. These are new conditions to help encourage the behavior of going outside to pee! Instead of ruining the rugs.
When you want to stop ruining your possible morning by laying back down and passing out, you need to create conditions in which that is less appealing.
That’s what I’ve done for myself. When we first moved into the new house I was struggling with my sleep schedule and wanted it back to normal, because the conditions I had created in our old home had been stripped away. New conditions needed to be created. This meant developing those conditions. For me it was about buying headphones for my morning music/podcast/audiobook choice, because the new kitchen is adjacent to one of the housemate’s bedrooms. Then it came down to putting somewhere to sit on the back patio. Making my coffee stuff have its own place in the kitchen. So on and so forth.
I have built the conditions that have made my morning easier and have created a successful morning that leads into a successful and productive day.
Without proper conditioning a lot of self-discipline training fails. This is why soldiers go to boot camps. They do more than train them for war. They condition them for war by cultivating self-discipline and creating routines that help them even after they’ve left service. I know this because I have a close friend who spent eight years in the military.
I also know this because conditioning is what we do with our pets when we train them, as well. It’s one of those very English words that has a multitude of definitions but all of them fall back on the same root. You condition your hair, which preps it for whatever comes next, be it existing, or dying it.
This is one of those ever so small ideals that we tend to overlook when it comes to ourselves, and until we moved I hadn’t realized how much conditioning of myself I’d done without realizing it. The last thing I do, that impacts the way my morning turns out is eat breakfast. This can vary by person; however, I still think it’s worthy of note.
Eating Nutrients That Make a Difference
Not all food is created equally — some of it is created in a way that is probably not food at all.
I am a big advocate for eating more whole foods (not the store) and less packaged goods. I will not grief you if you have a small breakfast each morning that consists of a breakfast-in-a-box situation. We all have our own reasons for what we do, but I will advocate for eating the right kinds of foods in the morning.
Evidence has proven that breakfast is a take it or leave it situation. If you can’t eat first thing in the morning, or you do interment fasting, that won’t ruin your whole day.
That being said, I still advocate for specific nutrients first thing in the morning. Things like protein, carbs, and the like have a place in your life for a reason. Carbs are great for your kidneys, I learned this the hard way. They also help energize your body, so does protein, then there is all the minerals and vitamins you can get from foods that are super important for your overall well-being and mood stabilizing.
I like to make green juice or smoothies in the morning. My partner prefers oatmeal with banana, almond butter, and Chia seeds. It really depends on you. Making this part of your morning routine may help — but if you have housemates or family, I recommend getting a quieter blender, I’m fairly certain mine might be possessed by a demon by how loud it screams as I pulverize kale in the mornings.
In the end, create the conditions that encourage the behavior of what will become a successful morning and a productive day. You don’t have to believe me. And some people may prefer the night owl life. That’s fine. I hope that this gives you the foundation for whatever you’re trying to accomplish. Be it starting your own business, or aiming for a promotion, or just becoming more at peace with yourself as a human being.
The world isn’t black and white. There is no set fate for you. We’re not doomed to be one way or another. We have the ability to will our lives into how we want them. Granted this doesn’t cover disabilities, sexuality, etc, just the things we do have control over, like sleep schedules, and our future.
“Heaven to be the first one up and to eat breakfast all alone.”
― Katharine Hepburn
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Johannus M. Steger is a Oklahoma City blogger, vlogger, student, and fiction writer. He has a love for all things Fantasy and coffee, and leads a successful group of like-minded individuals in goal-and-task setting every Friday. He is published through The Huffington Post and a horror anthology, “Infinite Darkness”.
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