If you’re a night owl, emerging from under the covers every morning can be a real struggle. The ultimate a.m. battle may not always be the getting out of bed but rather the unrealistic goals we often set for ourselves.
When we leave things for the morning or expect to wake up feeling energized and put together, it’s tough to meet those objectives; it’s easier to hit snooze three times and then rush out the door. Yet, research shows that even night owls actually get their best work done in the morning. For these pivotal hours, we should aim to set feasible goals that simplify our morning routines rather than complicate them.
Streamlining your morning routine doesn’t mean you have to wake up at 5 a.m. everyday (though kudos to you if you’ve got this down) nor does it require you to evolve into a morning person. Whether you have a morningness or eveningness chronotype, everyone can (and should) set these a.m. goals.
01. Keep water at your bedside.
Drink water. Do this first thing in the morning. It’s important to drink up straightaway because water not only hydrates our dehydrated bodies upon waking up, but it also gives our bodies the means to boost its metabolism. Pour a glass of water the night before and leave it by your bed as a reminder so you don’t forget. I like to drink water with a straw; I find that I drink more when I do. Whatever you need to do to trick your mind into drinking water, do it.
02. Put two feet on the floor.
As silly as it sounds, getting those two feet on the floor can be the most vital part of your morning routine. Evading the snooze button when the alarm sounds is a small step for you but a big step for a more productive morning. This forces you to wake up, shake the temptation to sleep in, and boosts your willpower to get moving on into your day. After all, getting up is half the battle.
03. Eat a healthy breakfast, even if it’s a small one.
Breakfast—and we don’t mean a cup of coffee—jump-starts your metabolism and wakes up your brain, giving it the energy boost it needs for the day. When you skip out on a nutritious breakfast, you’re not only depriving your body of the fuel it needs, but it’s also tougher to make good decisions later in your day. If you want to get out of that afternoon slump, eat breakfast.
If you’re not a “breakfast person,” treating your body to a protein-rich egg or a small bowl of fiber-filled fruits could be enough to carry you through to lunch. If you’re strapped for time, try these nutritious breakfast-on-the-go ideas.
04. Prepare the night before.
Miguel de Cervantes once said, “To be prepared is half the victory.” If you set yourself up well for the next day, you’re already off to a good start as soon as you wake up. Lay out your clothes the night before. Shower at night. Prep the coffee machine. Pack your bags, and leave them by the door. If your goal is to create a new habit and make it stick, set yourself up the night before, not the morning of. Place your journal and a pen next to the coffee machine, for instance, or your workout mat at the foot of your bed, if you hope to do either of these in the morning.
05. Don’t use your phone as an alarm clock.
Isolating your phone minimizes distractions and other time-consuming activities, giving you precious time to focus on yourself and the upcoming day. Avoid checking email or responding to texts first thing to focus on the things that are more essential to starting your day off right. Swap your phone alarm for a separate analog alarm clock. Place it somewhere far from your bed so that you have to get up to turn it off. Do whatever you need to do to evade getting sucked into that superfluous screen time.
These realistic goals are a recipe for the beginning of a great day, but you should experiment with other ways to have a more productive morning until you find the routine that works best for you. If these feel intimidating, try waking up half an hour before your usual time. What’s important is that you set a.m. goals that are practical but realistic. Adding these five steps to your morning (if you haven’t already) is a good place to start.
Photo Credit: Jennifer Pallian