This post originally appeared at The Unless You Care Project
Change is about reinvention and creating new habits that support such action. There’s a lot of trial and error. Fine tuning schedules and daily habits to leave space to work on you all while still being able to give to others.
You need to find what sticks.
One in particular is figuring out what you can do in the morning to ensure your day gets off to the very best start.
Granted there may be situations that come up that turn a great day into a bad day and vice versa, but if you’re able to control how you approach your day ensuring that you’re off to a great start; the remainder of the day is most likely to follow suit.
I never really was a morning person; though over the years I’ve always wanted to be one.
On the one hand I enjoy staying up at night while everyone else is asleep, watching documentaries or reading; it’s my alone time. Then on the other hand, it’s such a peaceful feeling knowing you’re up early getting a head start to the day while most others are still cozy in bed.
Through experimenting, I learned I can’t be both a night owl and a morning person. But, what I found is that being a morning person had an overall greater impact on my mood and productivity throughout the day.
While I’m still not a morning person, I do it anyways, knowing the affect it can have on me for the entire day.
Here are several things to do in the morning to start your day off great:
Wake up during your light sleep stage
One of the tactics that have helped me tremendously in getting up at 5:00 am is ensuring I am waking up when I am in my lightest sleep stage.
Ideally, I wouldn’t even use an alarm clock at all, I’d just wake up when my body says it’s time to wake. But, it’s not always an ideal situation.
I use an app on my iPhone called Sleep Cycle. It’s an alarm clock that I place under my pillow that monitors my body movement.
It’s able to determine if I am in a deep sleep or light sleep based on how much I move. The alarm will sound within a thirty minute window leading up to my desired wakeup time that I set. If I am in a light sleep within that thirty minute window the alarm will sound.
When the alarm goes off in the middle of deep sleep (which most alarm clocks do) you wake up groggy, unable to open your eyes, not wanting to get up and feeling like you had a terrible night sleep. When in fact, you just woke up at the wrong time.
You need to listen to your body’s internal clock. Well, the app does.
This app has made waking up a lot easier. It’s a nice soothing wake up call.
Read a book
I feel like books don’t get much love anymore. With all of our devices we’re constantly connected to the web consuming enormous amounts of content. It sucks time away from holding an actual book.
I’ve become a lover for books. I never used to be this way. It wasn’t until my later years in college that I began to thoroughly appreciate reading books.
It’s something that I enjoy doing, but, it seems like it would be the one thing that would always get shoved to the side to focus on doing something else. Because it was easy to push away.
So now I make time for reading.
I wake up before everyone else and sit with a good a book. I surrender to the words, the characters, the setting and just dive head first into the story. It’s peaceful, relaxing and I just become one with the words. I let go of everything else and just consume.
Most times when I read, I have my journal close by as it ultimately leaves me wondering with my thoughts. This serves as fodder for writing.
Write in your journal
Up until this year I was a spotty journal writer. Again, it was something that would get shoved to the side. Since committing to this journey, it’s one of my most cherished outlets. I’ll be honest, I don’t always like to sit down and write, but it’s one of those things where I don’t like the way I feel when I don’t write.
This, to me, is the main ingredient to the start of a great day.
It allows me to just empty my thoughts and pour them onto paper. I’m able to approach my day with a clear mind. If you’ve ever experienced this you’ll notice yourself feel much lighter.
There’s just something about getting the head chatter, thoughts and ideas out of your head. Making space for your day. To offer your day’s work the intense focus it deserves and needs.
Meditate or just sit and relax
Dumping your thoughts on paper is a great segway to a moment of silence and focus. I don’t consistently meditate (though, it is a habit I want to create), focusing on my breathing, but I do allow myself time to just be. To do absolutely nothing. To close my eyes and just be one with myself. To have that calm before the day moment.
It forces me to slow down and breathe. It prevents my family and I from rushing out the door.
There’s nothing more frustrating than rushing around the entire morning until you it’s time to go. This rushing feeling seems to last for majority of the day. For that I am intentional about my mornings.
When I have mornings like these, the ones where I’m intentional about what I want to accomplish, I notice. When I reflect at the end of the day, I can tell. I feel more energized, have clarity, and ultimately, I’m more productive.
Wake up before everyone else. Read. Discover. Reflect. Be intentional about your mornings. Find your morning habits. They set the tone for your day.
Title Photo Credit: flickr