The only thing required of me at six in the morning is to be present. An early morning is a jumpstart on the day. An opportunity to reflect and prepare in peaceful quiet. I don't just love mornings - I am in love with mornings. And it's not just because science proves that morning people are more likely to be successful.
According to a study published in the Journal of Applied Social Psychology, morning people are more proactive than evening people. Several studies have linked proactivity with better job performance, greater career success, and higher wages. In a 2012 paper, two University of Toronto psychologists also found that morning people reported happier moods than evening people. While mood isn't the same thing as general happiness, it's certainly a start.
So how does a night owl* become an early bird? Develop a routine and stick with it.
Here are a few healthy tips to help you develop a morning routine:
- Start slow. Set a new wake-up goal and gradually work toward it, incrementally moving your alarm clock back 10-20 minutes every few days.
- Listen to happy sounds. Pick a fun or soothing tune to wake up to - and forget the blaring alarm clock.
- Think of a positive affirmation. Start the day on the right foot and tell yourself something positive. Something as general as "Today will be a great day!" or as specific as "You're going to kill it on the marketing presentation!" work.
- Let the light in. Open the blinds, take your coffee outdoors, or go for a sunrise run. Daylight resets your circadian clock and helps shift you toward morningness by triggering your brain to slow the production of melatonin, a hormone that makes you sleepy.
- Reward yourself. Have something waiting for you that makes it worth it to get out of bed earlier than normal. Think hearty overnight oats, your favorite coffee roast, or an early morning gym date.
- Hydrate. Your body just went 6-9 hours without water! Drink a glass of water as soon as you wake up. Not only has this been shown to help rev up your metabolism, but it also helps flush out toxins first thing.
- Go to bed earlier. If you want to start consistently waking up early, you need adequate sleep, which means 7-9 hours for adults.
If you can't tell already, I'm a morning person. For me, the first gift of the day is the opportunity to get an early start on working toward my goals. I relish that gift, especially as I write this in the early hours of the day. What are you diving into this morning?
*For those of you who prefer your night owl ways, don't fret. Here's a list of successful people that are not morning people. Also, there is data that shows that night owls are smarter, wittier, and have more game.
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