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After I Started Doing Morning Exercise, Life Is Getting Better…

After I Started Doing Morning Exercise, Life Is Getting Better…

I’m not a morning person. I’m lazy, love to sleep and enjoy a lie in.

As a child, I had a Snoopy poster in my room that said, “I think I’m allergic to Morning.” I lived by this truth for far too many years, holding onto the belief as if it were a concrete part of my personality—a trait that couldn’t be changed even if I wanted to, and for years I never wanted to.

For a long time, I tried to create the habit of exercise, but sadly I wasn’t very successful at that. I enjoyed sports, but I was never consistent, doing lots of exercise one week only to leave it behind the minute a sneeze encouraged me to take to my bed. Evening exercise was always a challenge. Each evening there were too many temptations, too many reasons to skip the gym or the exercise class to go home and watch a movie. I was an expert at thinking of good reasons to not work out.

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One day I realized how much of my life I was wasting lounging around in bed. An extra hour in bed each day meant that I was sleeping for 15 extra days a year. I decided to take action. I decided I wanted to live longer each year and getting up early would be the perfect way to include more exercise in my life.

These are the benefits of morning exercise that I have experienced, and hopefully you will too.

1. My stress levels are lower.

With regular exercise most people experience a reduction in stress. They are better able to handle the typical stresses of the day. Working out first thing in the morning ensures that the day will be easier to manage. Less stress means more control and typically a better day all round.

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2. I have more energy.

By exercising in the morning you will find that your energy levels much higher throughout the day. It is very difficult to motivate yourself to exercise in the evening, especially if you have had a busy, stressful day at work. Your instinct will be to collapse on the sofa. And sadly that horizontal position is usually accompanied by food or drink that isn’t ideal for your health. By working out in the morning, you will have more energy throughout the day and you won’t be as affected by stressful events in your working day.

3. I’m getting better sleep.

When you rise early to exercise you will find yourself going to bed earlier, but the great part about that is that you will go to sleep more easily than before. A more restful sleep will contribute to your energy levels and enhanced well-being all round. Everything is looking rosy!

4. I feel more in control.

Another thing you may notice is an increased feeling of being in control. You wake up early, you have time to get ready without the anxiety and the pressure of running to make your bus or train or worrying about the traffic. When you have time in the morning, you will be more organized and able to think about what is coming your way.

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5. I am more productive.

Your productivity will increase as you arrive to work energized, focused and more organized than before. Exercise is one of the biggest contributors to effective personal productivity. You will be able to think more clearly, and you will suffer from less stress and anxiety.

6. My creativity has increased.

An added bonus of reduced stress, increased energy and focus is creativity. Many report increased creativity when they are more relaxed and in control. A clear mind has space for more creative thinking.

7. I have better relationships.

Exercise puts us in a better mood; the increase in happy hormones in the brain improves your mood and well being. If you are happier, you will tend to be a nicer person and as a result relationships will hopefully change for the better.

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8. I feel healthy.

With all of these bonuses from morning exercise, as you can imagine your health and heart will benefit. Anything that reduces stress will have a substantial influence on your psychical health as well as your mental health.

9. I feel empowered.

If you manage to get up early every day for the next 6 weeks to exercise, you will show yourself that anything is possible. You will know that changing your life is within your control. It’s up to you and you will have proven that you can do it.

Give it a go, get up early in the morning to exercise and believe me: before long, you will feel invincible.

Featured photo credit: A brand new day by Thomas Hawk via flickr.com

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Ciara Conlon

Productivity coach, speaker, blogger and author of Chaos to Control, a Practical Guide to Getting Things Done

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Last Updated on July 23, 2019

5 Steps To Move Out Of Stagnancy In Life

5 Steps To Move Out Of Stagnancy In Life

In the journey of growth, there are times when we grow and excel. We are endlessly driven and hyped up, motivated to get our goals.

Then there are times when we stagnate. We feel uninspired and unmotivated. We keep procrastinating on our plans. More often than not, we get out of a rut, only to get back into another one.

How do you know if you are stagnating? Here are some tell-tale signs:

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  • If you have been experiencing chronic procrastination on your goals
  • If you don’t ever feel like doing anything
  • If you keep turning to sleep, eating, games, mindless activities and entertainment for comfort
  • If you know you should be doing something, but yet you keep avoiding it
  • If you have not achieved anything new or significant now relative to 1 month, 2 months or 3 months ago
  • If you have a deep sense of feeling that you are living under your potential

When we face stagnation in life, it’s a sign of deeper issues. Stagnation, just like procrastination, is a symptom of a problem. It’s easy to beat ourselves over it, but this approach is not going to help. Here, I will share 5 steps to help you move out of this stagnation. They won’t magically transform your life in 1 night (such changes are never permanent because the foundations are not built), but they will help you get the momentum going and help you get back on track.

1. Realize You’re Not Alone

Everyone stagnates at some point or another. You are not alone in this and more importantly, it’s normal. In fact, it’s amazing how many of my clients actually face the same predicament, even though all of them come from different walks of life, are of different ages, and have never crossed paths. Realizing you are not alone in this will make it much easier to deal with this period. By trying to “fight it”, you’re only fighting yourself. Accept this situation, acknowledge it, and tell yourself it’s okay. That way, you can then focus on the constructive steps that will really help you.

2. Find What Inspires You

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Stagnation comes because there isn’t anything that excites you enough to take action. If you don’t have a habit of setting goals, and instead just leave yourself to daily mundanes, it’s not surprising you are experiencing stagnation. What do you want to do if there are no limitations? If you can have whatever you want, what will it be? The answers to these questions will provide the fuel that will drive you forward.

On the other hand, even if you are an experienced goal setter, there are times when the goals you set in the past lose their appeal now. It’s normal and it happens to me too. Sometimes we lose touch with our goals, since we are in a different emotional state compared to when we first set them. Sometimes our priorities change and we no longer want to work on those goals anymore. However, we don’t consciously realize this, and what happens is we procrastinate on our goals until it compounds into a serious problem. If that’s the case for you, it’s time to relook into your goals. There’s no point in pursuing goals that no longer inspire you. Trash away your old goals (or just put them aside) and ask yourself what you really want now. Then go for them.

3. Give Yourself a Break

When’s the last time you took a real break for yourself? 3 months? 6 months? 1 year? Never? Perhaps it’s time to take a time-out. Prolonged working can cause someone to become disillusioned as they lose sight of who they are and what they want.

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Go take some extended leave from work. A few days at bare minimum; a few weeks or months will be great. Some of my ex-colleagues have quit their jobs and took months out to do some self-reflection. Of course, some of us might not have that luxury, so we can stick to a few weeks of leave. Go on a trip elsewhere and get away from your work and your life. Use this chance to get a renewed perspective of life. Think about your life purpose, what you want and what you want to create for your life in the future. These are big questions that require deep thinking over them. It’s not about finding the answers at one go, but about taking the first step to finding the answers.

4. Shake up Your Routines

Being in the same environment, doing the same things over and over again and meeting the same people can make us stagnant. This is especially if the people you spend the most time with are stagnant themselves.

Change things around. Start with simple things, like taking a different route to work and eating something different for breakfast. Have your lunch with different colleagues, colleagues you never talked much with. Work in a different cubicle if your work has free and easy seating. Do something different than your usual for weekday evenings and weekends. Cultivate different habits, like exercising every day, listening to a new series of podcasts every morning to work, reading a book, etc (here’s 6 Proven Ways To Make New Habits Stick). The different contexts will give you different stimulus, which will trigger off different thoughts and actions in you.

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When I’m in a state of stagnancy, I’ll get a sense of what’s making me stagnate. Sometimes it’s the environment I’m in, sometimes it’s the people I’ve been hanging out with, sometimes it’s my lifestyle. Most of the times it’s a combination of all these. Changing them up helps to stir myself out of the stagnant mode.

5. Start with a Small Step

Stagnation also comes from being frozen in fear. Maybe you do want this certain goal, but you aren’t taking action. Are you overwhelmed by the amount of work needed? Are you afraid you will make mistakes? Is the perfectionist in you taking over and paralyzing you?

Let go of the belief that it has to be perfect. Such a belief is a bane, not a boon. It’s precisely from being open to mistakes and errors that you move forward. Break down what’s before you into very very small steps, then take those small steps, a little step at a time. I had a client who had been stagnating for a long period because he was afraid of failing. He didn’t want to make another move where he would make a mistake. However, not wanting to make a mistake has led him to do absolutely nothing for 2-3 years. On the other hand, by doing just something, you would already be making progress, whether it’s a mistake or not. Even if you make a supposed “mistake”,  you get feedback to do things differently in the next step. That’s something you would never have known if you never made a move.

More to Help You Stay Motivated

Here are some resources that will help you break out of your current phase:

Featured photo credit: Anubhav Saxena via unsplash.com

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