6 Strategies for Becoming a Morning Person

morningpersonYou’ve heard it before, even to the point of it becoming annoying. It’s something bears repeating though, because it’s got a lot of wisdom: “The early bird catches the worm.”

To some, that means nothing more than “first come, first serve.” While that is indeed true, it doesn’t begin to cover all of it. “Morning people” continually prove to be more productive, more focused and seem to enjoy a higher sense of well-being. Night owls, on the other hand, often struggle with sluggishness and drowsiness. That makes a day of work difficult — especially if your day of work consists of caring for children. When you’re tired, you’re never able to perform at your highest level.

While science tends to support the notion that morning people “catch the worm,” it also proves that you can change your habits, pull a complete turnaround and come to love getting up in the morning. Your circadian rhythm (also known as your internal body clock) is a system of routine, one that is easy to alter. Here are some strategies to guide you:

Remind Yourself Why You’re Doing It

When most people resolve to change this or that about themselves, they often lose perspective and forget why they decided to make that change in the first place. In doing so, they lose motivation. Visions of success fade from their mind, and their inspiration fades.

Don’t fall into this trap. Continually remind yourself why you are making the effort to alter your sleeping habits. Maybe you finally want to be able to keep up with your three-year-old’s schedule. Maybe you want to be able to have a more positive morning experience with your spouse or children, especially on the weekends. Maybe you just want to be able to come home from work without feeling sluggish. Whatever it is, visualize the benefits and let them pull you toward success.

Set Clear Goals

The professional world often talks about S.M.A.R.T. goals — those goals that are specific, measurable, achievable/attainable, results-oriented and time-bound. In other words, it’s not enough to say “I want to be a morning person.” You need to set a specific goal, measure your progress and give yourself a deadline to be successful.

People often fail to accomplish goals because they lose focus. Organization, with clearly defined goals and sub-goals, can help fix this. Again, it’s all about perspective.

So don’t just tell yourself, “I want to get up earlier.” Go about it gently, and divide the process week-by-week: “For the first week, I’ll get up at 8. Second week, 7:30. And for the third week, I’ll get up at 7.”

Congratulate Yourself

Parents might find it easy to heap praise on children, but tougher to save some for themselves. After all, no one is there to tell you how capable you are of completing any goal you set for yourself.

Well, if no one else will, then do it yourself! That’s right. Before you go to bed, remind yourself that you can do anything. You got this! Talk yourself up and give yourself plenty of encouragement. Your goal is to renew your motivation and keep it strong long enough for you to succeed.

Reward Yourself

This one is simple. Since you’re waking up early, you’re going to have more time in the day, and you’re also going to notice a change in your entire schedule. As you develop your new sleeping habits and as you progress toward your new life, don’t forget to reward yourself. Maybe that means using your extra time in the morning to pursue a personal hobby, like working out; maybe it means putting a dollar in a jar every day you wake up early and then buying yourself something when you reach your goal. Do whatever you consider a reward — as long as it isn’t going back to bed. This reward will help pull you out from under the covers, and it’s something to look forward to in the long run.

Get a Good Breakfast

Two of the most important aspects of altering your sleep schedule are diet and exercise. An efficient and healthy diet ups your energy in the morning. When you wake up, your body has to go through a “warm up” period. Your metabolism and blood sugar are low, so it’s a good idea to boost the re-energizing process as much as you can. Kick off your morning with something simple but energy-friendly, like Greek yogurt filled with blueberries and granola. There are dozens of tasty options, though, and it’s all about finding what works for you. This is your chance to kick off your morning the right way. Plus, a good breakfast is something to look forward to, and another reason to hop out of bed.

Don’t Forget to Exercise

A great way to raise your energy levels, give you a regular reason to get out of bed and improve you health is to start incorporating an exercise regimen into your morning routine. This might sound torturous to some (especially bleary-eyed parents who already feel short on rest), but if you stick with it, you might learn that nothing gives a person more energy. It is the best boost to that warming-up phase. More importantly, it boosts energy and floods the brain with dopamine, which relieves stress. Extra energy and stress relief? What more could you ask for?