As a child, I grew up loving to stay up late and sleep in. I recall the Saturday mornings of sleeping in until 10 or 11 in the morning. In college, it just got worse to where it was not uncommon to sleep into until noon or even 1pm some weekends. It’s not that I loved staying up late as much as I simply hated mornings. Sleeping in was really about avoiding the most dreadful part of the day – morning.
Over the years, I have learned the art of mastering mornings. I now typically wake up between 6 and 6:30am every morning – even on weekends – long before the rest of the family is up. The reason? The start of your day can determine if you have a good day or bad day. I started having better, more productive, enjoyable days as I learned to how to look forward to waking up.
This post will teach you 10 secrets I have learned about myself that enable me to look forward to mornings and have a great day.
1) Go to bed earlier
Nothing will help cure a 3 hour night of sleep. Your day is destined to suck regardless. Most people simply stay up late for no good reason hoping that Jay Leno will have a good monologue. It’s not worth it. I don’t think I ever stayed up until 1am watching TV and thought it was worth it afterward. Whatever you are staying up for can now be recorded, re-watched and viewed on Hulu, YouTube or a DVR. Give yourself a chance to be a good mood by getting at least 6 hours of sleep.
2) Avoid brain rot in the evening
Don’t watch Housewives of Beverly Hills, Honey BooBoo or anything with a Kardashian in the evening. It will ruin your evening (maybe your life) and you will feel like you need a shower afterwards. These shows make you loose faith in the human race. You actually prepare how your next day will go by how you end your current day.
3) Pre-prepare your morning routine
People dread mornings because they dread all the work that is needed to establish the day. For me, I setup the coffee maker with coffee and water before I go to bed. That way, coffee is ready as soon as I wake up. Other ways include setting aside clothes to wear, packing a lunch, assembling your belongings ahead of time. The best way to avoid the morning routine is to do some of the the night before.
4) Love The Last 20 Minutes Of Your Day (And Don’t Check Email)
The last twenty minutes of your day are critical. Create a bed-time routine that puts a cherry on the top of your day – no matter how it went. Give yourself something that is uplifting, fun and enjoyable before you close your eyes. For some, its a favorite book, blog or hobby. Or perhaps its a devotional, personal journal, magazine, or self help book. I would routinely ruin my day before it’s even started by looking at my emails before I went to bed. I would curse my mind to think about my email before I went to bed and it would cause me insomnia. If you love how your day ends, you will look forward to starting a new one.
5) Plan to wake up 45 minutes earlier than you have to
If you are like most, you set your alarm to give yourself barely enough time to get out the door on time. This instantly starts your day with stress of maintaining a quick pace with no margin. Try instead of setting your alarm 45 minutes than you need. Since you have already set prepared items for your morning routine, you actually will give yourself nearly an hour to yourself! Everyone once in a while, you can use that hour as a snooze gift. Some times you just need an extra hour of sleep. If you do, you automatically can give it to yourself. You will enjoy your morning time when you are not constantly looking at the clock and feeling unprepared for the day.
6) Change your wake up sound
99.999% of people’s alarms suck. Its some obnoxious repetitive beep or buzzer. What a terrible idea this is! Several years ago, I wanted to wake up feeling like a stud. So naturally, I set my alarm to play the Top Gun Anthem. Instead of waking feeling like I am getting hit by a hammer, I now feel like I am about to fly jets, fight evil, ride motorcycles and get the girl. Yeah!
7) Enjoy A Morning Treat
Give yourself permission to enjoy a morning treat every morning. Perhaps a bagel, bearclaw or favorite sugary cereal or orange juice with lots of pulp. Give yourself something to look forward to enjoying in the morning. For me, its a dark dark roast cup of coffee with plenty of half-n-half. I put on my hoodie, grab my favorite cup of coffee and something tasty to eat. Giving yourself something delightful to enjoy first thing in the morning will give you extra motivation to lift your head from the pillow.
8) Spend Time To Yourself
Almost every moment of everyone’s day is about someone else. We live lives at the mercy of someone else’s needs, requirements and responsibilities. I realized that I needed time to myself to work on me – “me time” if you will. I set aside 45 minutes to an hour of the first part of my day to work on me. I read the Bible, read books, memorize scripture, write and find encouraging ways to improve myself as a father and entrepreneur. Every day, I need time that I give to myself before my day becomes about other people.
9) Have a notepad or Note Taking App Open
The biggest distraction to your morning is trying not to forget what you need to do for the day. I am constantly amazed at how much of my energy goes towards not forgetting critical parts of my day. Its inevitable that errands, forgotten tasks and to-dos will come to your mind in the morning. Worrying about these things will ruin your morning if you don’t give them a place to be saved. Have a task list open, paper handy or something you can quickly jot down details for so you can get back to your time to yourself. For me, I use Asana and quickly make note of what I need to address later and get right back to “me time.” You will not be able to enjoy your morning as long as you are thinking about and worrying about whats coming after it.
10) Go Kick Butt
Now that you have gotten enough sleep, woke up to the sound of Top Gun, enjoyed your coffee and invested in improving yourself, it’s time to go give the world a beat down. Sometimes your ability to have an awesome day is predetermined on how your previous day went. The more you kick butt today, the more you will want to do it again tomorrow.
How about you? How do you make mornings suck less? I would love to hear your ideas below in the comments.