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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 January 21, 2020

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

    Why You Need a Vision

    Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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    How to Create Your Life Vision

    Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

    What Do You Want?

    The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

    It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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    Some tips to guide you:

    • Remember to ask why you want certain things
    • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
    • Give yourself permission to dream.
    • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
    • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

    Some questions to start your exploration:

    • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
    • What would you like to have more of in your life?
    • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
    • What are your secret passions and dreams?
    • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
    • What do you want your relationships to be like?
    • What qualities would you like to develop?
    • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
    • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
    • What would you most like to accomplish?
    • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

    It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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    What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

    Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

    A few prompts to get you started:

    • What will you have accomplished already?
    • How will you feel about yourself?
    • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
    • What does your ideal day look like?
    • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
    • What would you be doing?
    • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
    • How are you dressed?
    • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
    • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
    • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

    It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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    Plan Backwards

    It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

    • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
    • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
    • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
    • What important actions would you have had to take?
    • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
    • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
    • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
    • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
    • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

    Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

    It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

    Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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