This weekend Lauren Salvestro will now be competing in Australia’s first ever Women’s State of…
Does anyone else find it impossibly hard to wake up in the mornings?
I’ve always fantasised about being one of those people who spring up from the covers, smiling and excited for the day ahead.
My mornings, on the other hand, involve extreme abuse of the snooze button, stumbling around with my eyes half-closed, and quite honestly…more drool than I’d like to admit.
Until I decided to really give it a crack. Not only for my own benefit but to educate all my lovely sleepy head readers.
Becoming an early riser has surely got to top the ‘most common new year’s resolution’ lists. When you really stop to think about it, it makes a lot of sense. How many people do you know that wake up at 5 am and get stuck eating crap food and watching TV?
No, most early risers spend their time being productive and taking action to help them reach their goals. I think the reason that mornings are so attractive is that it’s distraction-free, and opportunity to get the important things done so that you can get on with your day.
I once complained to a very wise friend of mine, asking why it was that I just couldn’t wake up early. He asked me the unexpected but very reasonable question, “Why do you want to?”.
So, that brings me to the first piece of advice…
Have a plan
Have a good reason for waking up early that helps you to kick your goals. For me, exercise alone wasn’t enough.
I signed up to a boot camp so that I had a solid reason to get up, a place to be, and someone to be accountable to—with the added incentive of parting with my hard-earned cash.
One of the hardest things I found was overcoming my own excuses. My alarm would go off and my internal dialogue would start: ‘Clearly my body needs the sleep in’, ‘I can do it after work’, ‘It’s not that important’… I could go on for days.
I overcame it by keeping a journal next to my bed and writing down my excuses when I woke up. I thought about them during the day, and when I came home I wrote out responses.
For example, ‘Although I might feel tired, exercise will give me an extra boost of energy and will help me to fall asleep tonight so that I can wake up early and start again tomorrow’.
Having a read through these before I fell asleep helped me to establish my goals and priorities and follow through with my actions.
What to wear?
It’s a bit of a cliché, but laying out your outfit the night before can be a good incentive. Seeing it in the morning is a reminder of the activity you have planned and takes the effort out having to figure out what to wear.
And, as I found when I slept in, seeing your gym gear for the rest of the day is a reminder of what you didn’t do and makes you more determined the following morning.
Breathe, stretch, shake
You might have heard that stretching in the morning can help you wake up, but have you ever paid attention to the way that you breathe?
Taking a few big, deep breaths upon rising helps to fill your body with a big dose of oxygen and focusing on something other than how tired you feel or how comfy your bed is can help to drag you out of slumber.
For me, stretching and breathing is now part of my morning regime. I wake up, stretch, breathe, put on my exercise gear, wash my face and start training. Afterwards, I walk down to my local café, grab a coffee and walk home to breakfast.
By the time I shower and get ready for work I’m feeling good and looking forward to the day ahead—all while knowing that at least the majority of my exercise is done for the day.
Make it stick
My last tip, but easily the most important is consistency. Much like any worthwhile exercise regime, consistency is key to making something stick. They say it takes 21 days to break a habit—so why not start now.
It’ll give you time to establish your own morning routine and start the new year as a reformed sleepy head.
Be an early riser and give yourself the gift of a few deliciously selfish hours a week to get stuff done. I promise that you won’t regret it.