How I Went from Early Morning Super Bitch to Sunrise Junkie
My whole life I’ve been an over sleeper. I’ve clocked 15 + hours of slumber (easy) on uncountable occasions. I spent a fair amount of time in detention at school, and was even late for my own graduation. I’ve slept through classes, work shifts, family events, meetings and plenty of things I was really excited for. When I would eventually wake up and zombie stumble into the kitchen for coffee with eyes still swollen shut, house mates would scramble for cover. I’ve been known to flail violently in the direction of anyone who dare speak to me for the first two hours of my day, often accompanied by unspeakable mumble insults. I’m entirely confident I pioneered the early bitch face.
Today, I awake before sunrise 7 days a week. I’m out for a run or a sunrise swim by 7:00 am, and in front of my computer reading, writing and creating by 9:00 am daily. Mornings are my muse. I feel most alive in the wee hours surrounding dawn. I feel an indescribable productivity induced joy by accomplishing more in the morning than I used to achieve in an entire day.
One of my favorite audiobooks is by Laura Vanderkam, author of 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think. Entitled What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast: A Short Guide to Making Over Your Mornings and Life, this hour long talk on morning productivity transformed my perspective on early rising. She profiles a series of successful people and finds that a pattern emerges in morning routines. According to her statistics, the average person wakes up around 6:00 am. However, one distinction between someone going through the morning motions and a highly successful person is how they take advantage of the hours before work.
Learning to use mornings well is, in our distracted world, what separates achievement from madness. Before the rest of the world is eating breakfast, the most successful people have already scored daily victories that are advancing them toward the lives they want.
Mornings can serve as hubs for efficiency and effectiveness if you wish to utilize them optimally. Designating moments in the beginning of your day to things you may not otherwise allow the time or willpower for can revolutionize your daily routine.
My ideal morning looks a little something like this. My alarm goes off around 6:30 am and I arise from bed refreshed, not groggy from hitting the snooze 11 times. I drink two glasses of water, stretch, visualize, meditate or do a few sun salutations (a short sequence of yoga poses that activate your body and mind, perfect for waking up). I brush my teeth and head outside for a run, or over to the gym. I like to be home around 8:00 to shower and eat breakfast before settling in at my desk around 8:30. I try to minimize email and social media this early, and rather read a passage out of a book from my bookshelf, listen to a podcast, or crank up some tunes that make me feel good and scribble out some morning pages (freestyle journaling). I’ll start doing more focused work by 9:00 or 9:30, and by this point have gained momentum and can easily create a work flow. Ta da!
This may sound like a rigid schedule. Building a morning routine takes willpower. It takes consistency. It takes work. We’re not all automatically wildly motivated as soon as we get up (see first paragraph). As we create these habits for ourselves, we’re preserving our energy for more consuming tasks later in the day, and ultimately sustaining our personal well being. In a culture that thrives on immediate satisfaction, it’s easy to sleep in. It’s easy to scramble to get to work or succumb to our morning chaos brains that convince us that we’re not functional before coffee.
I’m sick of morning memes. I don’t have a case of the mornings. I don’t own a coffee mug that says “F#CK MORNINGS.” I’m not in Mornings Anonymous (which we all know could exist). I won’t breathe fire on you when I wake up. I don’t need 4 cups of coffee to function. And I’ve wiped off my morning bitch face. I’m obnoxiously operative before sunrise and I’ve never felt more in sync. I’ve switched teams, and I ain’t ever turning back.
There’s no doubt about the correlation between success and morning routines. Waking up early is about more than a routine, more than meeting a goal, mastering productivity, fitting in a workout or maintaining healthy habits. Early mornings have the potential to radically transform our lives.
For me, mornings are like my secret garden. My wake up wonderland. Worlds unfold by the first appearance of daylight each day. No matter what external circumstances manifest themselves in the hours to follow, I’ll have already set aside time for personal prosperity.
Want to learn how you can make the shift? Download my 30 page guide.
F#ck Mornings: The Ultimate Guide to Becoming a Morning Person