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4 Easy Steps to Becoming a Morning Person (And Making It Stick)

4 Easy Steps to Becoming a Morning Person (And Making It Stick)

On what felt like just another Sunday morning, it finally hit me. In the five minutes I spent trying to make out the outline of my take-away coffee, my girlfriend at the time had changed out of her running clothes, bounced up next to me and finished listing her favourite moments of the morning.

She had proudly completed a personal best run, the rose bushes were now blooming, she’d picked up some fruit for breakfast and the new girl at the cafe had finally remembered her name. As she recalled the memories, her skin glowing in the warm morning light, it all finally clicked.

At that exact moment it suddenly hit me how much life I was missing out on.

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There’s a common myth that we are born a night owl or an early bird, but as I soon realised, this is simply not true. Drawing on techniques from visualisation, fitness and mindfulness you can teach your body to wake up early and transform your schedule in the space of a few weeks.

If you follow these 4 easy steps you will soon be feeling like a brand new person and have more energy than you ever thought possible.

1. Write Down Why You Want To Become a Morning Person

Maybe you would love to be more productive, have time for a nutritious breakfast or simply feel more alive during the day. Whatever it is, write it all down on a piece of paper. How would having these things make you feel? Healthy? Full of energy? More fulfilled? Get everything down. When it’s finished, place the paper next to your bed or pin it where you can see it easily when waking up.

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2. Choose a Morning Routine

Next you need to choose some activities to kick start your morning. Studies show that repeating physical and mental tasks help strengthen the habit-forming part of your brain. In other words, the more you repeat the same tasks in the same order, the better you will get at doing it without thinking!

I start my mornings with a gym session or a morning walk, meditation and preparing a healthy breakfast. You could try things like writing in a journal, brewing coffee, reading or even studying. Make sure you choose 1-3 activities that you find uplifting or useful, that take anywhere from 20 minutes to 2 hours to complete. It’s completely up to you.

Don’t worry too much about getting it ‘right’ the first time – as long as you have a pre-decided routine, that’s half the battle won.

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3. Visualise Your Morning Routine At Night

In the final moments before drifting off to sleep, imagine yourself waking up the next morning and performing your routine in the right order. To make it more effective, focus on the little things – the feeling of dragging yourself off your mattress, how your coffee smells, or the cool fabric of gym clothes on your skin. Breathe in the air, and remind yourself that you’re becoming a morning person (and nothing will stop you!).

Run through this several times before you go to sleep, until it feels comfortable. After one or two weeks, your body will actually remember your routine as a habit and you won’t even have to put effort into getting up.

4. Practice Mindfulness

Every morning, as you’re going through your routine, try to stay present and focus on how alive (or un-alive) your body feels. When your mind starts telling you things like ‘it’s too cold!’ or ‘it’s way too early for this!’ try to focus back on your body’s sensations. If you catch yourself deep in thought, accept that it’s a thought, and reconnect your concentration on your current activity, or your breath.

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When you’ve completed your routine each morning, take a moment to smile and congratulate yourself. As the days and weeks go past, remember to savour all of those feelings you wrote down on that paper, so when you have a difficult morning it will be easy to get back on track.

Try it And You Won’t Go Back

I challenge you to give it a shot and experience the difference. It might seem hard at first, but you’re stronger than that. If you keep at it for a week your brain will have already made it up to three times easier than day 1.

Then you will look back on all those years of wallowing under the sheets that could have been spent enjoying the serenity, energy and vitality that comes from truly becoming a morning person.

Featured photo credit: Viktor Hanacek via picjumbo.com

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Last Updated on September 20, 2018

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

Being in a hurry all the time drains your energy. Your work and routine life make you feel overwhelmed. Getting caught up in things beyond your control stresses you out…

If you’d like to stay calm and cool in stressful situations, put the following 8 steps into practice:

1. Breathe

The next time you’re faced with a stressful situation that makes you want to hurry, stop what you’re doing for one minute and perform the following steps:

  • Take five deep breaths in and out (your belly should come forward with each inhale).
  • Imagine all that stress leaving your body with each exhale.
  • Smile. Fake it if you have to. It’s pretty hard to stay grumpy with a goofy grin on your face.

Feel free to repeat the above steps every few hours at work or home if you need to.

2. Loosen up

After your breathing session, perform a quick body scan to identify any areas that are tight or tense. Clenched jaw? Rounded shoulders? Anything else that isn’t at ease?

Gently touch or massage any of your body parts that are under tension to encourage total relaxation. It might help to imagine you’re in a place that calms you: a beach, hot tub, or nature trail, for example.

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3. Chew slowly

Slow down at the dinner table if you want to learn to be patient and lose weight. Shoveling your food down as fast as you can is a surefire way to eat more than you need to (and find yourself with a bellyache).

Be a mindful eater who pays attention to the taste, texture, and aroma of every dish. Chew slowly while you try to guess all of the ingredients that were used to prepare your dish.

Chewing slowly will also reduce those dreadful late-night cravings that sneak up on you after work.

4. Let go

Cliche as it sounds, it’s very effective.

The thing that seems like the end of the world right now?

It’s not. Promise.

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Stressing and worrying about the situation you’re in won’t do any good because you’re already in it, so just let it go.

Letting go isn’t easy, so here’s a guide to help you:

21 Things To Do When You Find It Hard To Let Go

5. Enjoy the journey

Focusing on the end result can quickly become exhausting. Chasing a bold, audacious goal that’s going to require a lot of time and patience? Split it into several mini-goals so you’ll have several causes for celebration.

Stop focusing on the negative thoughts. Giving yourself consistent positive feedback will help you grow patience, stay encouraged, and find more joy in the process of achieving your goals.

6. Look at the big picture

The next time you find your stress level skyrocketing, take a deep breath, and ask yourself:

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Will this matter to me…

  • Next week?
  • Next month?
  • Next year?
  • In 10 years?

Hint: No, it won’t.

I bet most of the stuff that stresses you wouldn’t matter the next week, maybe not even the next day.

Stop agonizing over things you can’t control because you’re only hurting yourself.

7. Stop demanding perfection of yourself

You’re not perfect and that’s okay. Show me a person who claims to be perfect and I’ll show you a dirty liar.

Demanding perfection of yourself (or anybody else) will only stress you out because it just isn’t possible.

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8. Practice patience every day

Below are a few easy ways you can practice patience every day, increasing your ability to remain calm and cool in times of stress:

  • The next time you go to the grocery store, get in the longest line.
  • Instead of going through the drive-thru at your bank, go inside.
  • Take a long walk through a secluded park or trail.

Final thoughts

Staying calm in stressful situations is possible, all you need is some daily practice.

Taking deep breaths and eat mindfully are some simple ways to train your brain to be more patient. But changing the way you think of a situation and staying positive are most important in keeping cool whenever you feel overwhelmed and stressful.

Featured photo credit: Brooke Cagle via unsplash.com

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