I will admit, I am the last person you would ever ask about becoming a morning person. I used to hate waking up early in the mornings. I enjoyed sleeping in and starting my day when my body naturally woke up. However, I noted that whenever I did this, I had far less time for myself and was lackadaisical in my efforts.
After I became a parent, I realized how much more valuable my time was and I wanted to be certain that I was taking advantage of every moment I had to be productive by doing the things that would get me closer to my personal goals. The first time I heard someone say that they woke up at 5:00 a.m. every morning to exercise, journal, plan their day, and then tackle getting kids ready, themselves ready, etc. I thought, "Lady, you're Wonder Woman. No way I'm ever going to wake up that early." First off, I'm not a coffee drinker. I drink caffeinated drinks sometimes--like a latte, Pepsi, or Coke once in a while, but I am by no stretch a true daily coffee consumer. So the thought of using coffee to get through my day is almost laughable. But no matter how hard I tried, I couldn't wake up earlier than 6:00 a.m. It was a struggle.
It wasn't until I read the book Atomic Habits by James Clear, that I realized I was approaching my desire to become a 5:00 a.m. person all wrong. According to Clear, we all have morning routines whether we realize it or not. What we need to learn is how to properly introduce new habits into our lives in the easiest possible way that will also require the least amount of effort to do so. And once we continue doing so consistently, we basically override the "bad habit" we are trying to remove from our daily routine. James Clear suggests you use the habit stacking method. Habit stacking is finding a habit you do every day and then stack a new behavior on top of it. So, your old bad habit is essentially going to be the foundation for creating the new one. It follows the simple formula of After [insert current habit here], I will [insert new habit here]. **Here is an example of one of my habit stacking while I was working on becoming a morning person. After I hit the snooze button, I will count to five and then get up from the bed. I also took it a step further and chose soothing music to wake up to with the option for the alarm to read out the time. Once that habit became a part of my daily routine, I noted that I was naturally starting to wake up before my alarm would go off. I still lay in bed and enjoy the extra minutes I have for myself though.
I am proud to say that I have since been a morning person and practice habit stacking in every way I can possibly think of. If you're like me and sometimes lose track of your time in the hustle and bustle of the morning, I highly suggest you create several alarms on your phone. This has helped me become more aware of my time and always kept things running smoothly. Work backward by first deciding when you need to be out the door and create an alarm five minutes before you intend to leave or get the thing done. Set the alarm to read out the time so that you know exactly how much time you have remaining or are behind no matter what you're doing. Your morning alarms could look something like this:
Wake up 6:00 a.m.
Self-care/Get dressed 6:30 p.m.
Get children ready at 7:00 a.m.
Time to leave 8:00 a.m.
Intentional Routine (Alarm Settings)
Wake up 5:55 a.m.
Self-care/Get dressed 6:25 a.m.
Get children ready 6:55 a.m.
Time to leave 7:55 a.m.
Give this routine a try and let me know if you see any improvements in your morning. I have so many other habit stacking formulas I implement in the mornings, but these basic steps are what I used the very first time I attempted to create this new habit and have since been a morning person without the help of coffee.
**Forewarning, this will NOT work if you're going to bed really late. Try going to bed early, like around 8:30-9:00 p.m. at latest.
Join the conversation. I want to hear from you. Are you a morning person? Do you struggle to get started with your day? If so, are you willing to try habit stacking? If you're already a morning person, what is your general morning routine? Do you require coffee to get through your day? Are you naturally an early riser? What tips can you add for those who long to become a 5 a.m. riser?