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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

More by this author

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 September 16, 2019

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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  • (1) Research
  • (2) Deciding the topic
  • (3) Creating the outline
  • (4) Drafting the content
  • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
  • (6) Revision
  • (7) etc.

Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

2. Change Your Environment

Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

6. Get a Buddy

Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

7. Tell Others About Your Goals

This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

Reality check:

I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future.  Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

More About Procrastination

Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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