Your peaceful sleep has been rudely interrupted by the shrill sound of beeping.
First it feels like an unwelcome part of your dream. When the sound goes off it takes your brain a minute to register that the sound is coming from the outside world.
Until, finally, it pulls you into reality.
It’s time to wake up and face a new day — and all of the ups and downs that come with it. But not before hitting the snooze button five or six times to give you just enough time to scramble out the door and rush to work with seconds to spare.
You’ve probably noticed that the way your morning begins sets the tone for the rest of your day. If things start out hectic, chances are you’ll spend your day feeling like you’re constantly playing a game of catch-up.
So how do you break free from the grind of last-minute mornings?
Wake up earlier.
If the thought of waking up at 5 a.m. sounds like some fantasy, here are some tips to help you make early mornings an actual reality.
Figure out your bedtime and stick with it
I know what you’re thinking.
The thought of a bedtime can bring you all the way back to the days when your parents would give you a curfew and tell you to eat your vegetables, but hear me out.
Like any goal, you increase the odds of achieving it when you have a plan. If you wing it, chances are you’ll stay up way later than you anticipated, which will make the snooze button all the more tempting when your alarm does go off.
So set yourself up for success and set a time to go to sleep.
Figure out exactly how much sleep you need to avoid feeling like a zombie in the morning — for me, that’s 6–7 hours — and when that time comes around, go to sleep.
While it may sound simple enough, I can’t tell you how many times my bedtime has come up and I’ve been tempted to watch one more episode or finish one more task on my to-do list.
But by following a bedtime, you’re increasing your chances of having a smoother morning.
Eat healthy and work out
What you do to your body affects your overall performance.
If you’re eating crappy foods and living an inactive lifestyle, you’re not going to feel too great.
Trust me, I’ve been there. I used to be the person who ate whatever I wanted and avoided exercise, until it all finally caught up with me.
My mental and physical health started to deteriorate, and I would wake up in the mornings feeling awful no matter how much I slept. I could sleep for 8 or 9 hours and still feel sluggish, groggy and ready to go back to bed.
It wasn’t until I made some drastic changes to my diet and workout regimen that I started to notice what a positive impact these changes had on my mornings. I was waking up feeling energized and ready to take on the rest of my day instead of the alternative I had lived with for years.
So if you struggle to wake up and get out of bed, take a look at your diet and exercise. It could be the difference between being able to wake up at 5 a.m. and not.
Have a morning routine
Why are you waking up early?
If you don’t have a clear answer, it’s going to be that much harder to find the motivation to wake up. Or you’ll wake up early for a few days and then fall right back into old habits.
There needs to be a strong reason for you to wake up early in the mornings.
For myself, I enjoy the calm before the storm. It gives me a chance to meditate, journal, collect my thoughts and work on my side business before the craziness of the day rolls around.
So be clear on your why and think about what you want to accomplish during those early hours.
Maybe it’s being able to work on that side hustle you’ve been putting off. Or having some time for yourself before the kids wake up in the morning.
Whatever it is, have a routine and stick to it.
If you’ve fallen into the habit of hectic mornings, there is a better way. With some careful planning, you, too, can seize the day and wake up at 5 a.m.