Some years ago, I made a commitment to myself to start waking up early, and it made a hugely positive impact on my life. Before deciding to become an early riser, my regular morning routine involved me tumbling out of bed well after hitting the snooze button and starting my day rushed, impatient, stressed and generally on a back foot.
When I came across the minimalist movement and started to apply its principles to my life, I realised that my chaotic mornings were an important part of my day that needed reworking. If I wanted to live a calmer life with time to appreciate the simple things, I’d have to wake up well and start my day intentionally. For me, this meant waking up early – a lot earlier than I had been – and generally before dawn.
If this makes you start shaking your head in denial, let me share some of the best things about waking up early that I began to experience.
1. Having time to do things I loved and work on hobbies: Early mornings meant time for reading actual books (even though I absolutely love audiobooks, I have a special place in my heart for the real thing). I started journaling regularly, something that helped immensely in keeping my mindset and attitude positive during the day. On some mornings, I’d work on my blog and the quiet time allowed my creativity to blossom and grow.
2. Appreciating Stillness: There’s something magical about the early morning when it’s either still dark, or the sun is just beginning to rise. It feels like there is an invitation to appreciate a moment of real peace, to sense the earth slowly waking up, to connect with your inner self and become aware of your thoughts and intentions for the day ahead. I became aware of this invitation, and with a warm mug of coffee or tea, I’d wander to a window or outside and simply appreciate the beauty of being alive.
3. Getting a head start on the day: In my days of stumbling out of bed late and rushing through my morning routine, there was a definite trend of chaotic mornings leading to chaotic days in general. Waking up early changed all this. I was able to finish so many necessary chores before anyone else was up. Not only was I calmer, I was more pleasant, more organized, everyone got out the house faster (and bonus: more happily), and the rest of the day felt manageable and under control.
The benefits of waking up early are many, some you’ll only start to uncover once you make your own commitment to becoming an early riser. To help you train yourself to wake up early (and yes, it’s totally possible for anyone to do it!), here are four tricks I used that worked to get me out of bed early.
Find Your Why
I’ve found this first step to be essential in making positive changes in my life. Before creating a new habit, you need to know why you want to do it! Jot down reasons on a sheet of paper. Include things like why your current habit (waking up late) is no longer serving you well. Also include why your new habit (waking up early) will benefit you. Afterwards, narrow it all down to one sentence that clearly answers your ‘why’ and use it as motivation on days when you’re tempted to hit the snooze button.
Develop a healthy sleep routine
It’s easier to wake up early if you’re not sleep deprived. This may mean setting an earlier bedtime than you’re used to. Keep in mind how many hours of sleep you need and, working back from when you want to wake up, establish your new bedtime. All that’s needed then is to be as consistent as possible. Sleep at the decided time every night, and wake up at the same time every morning. It’s a little challenging in the beginning, but your body will learn the routine in no time, and soon you won’t even need an alarm to wake you up.
Make your bedtime routine relaxing
Calming activities are key in feeling relaxed and having a night of quality sleep. Try to avoid too much screen time (and that third cup of coffee!). Meditation or gentle music are helpful tools to release tension and negative thoughts so you’ll benefit from a peaceful night of rest and feel ready to wake up in the morning.
Plan a meaningful activity for when you wake up
Knowing something pleasant awaits you in the morning is a great motivation to get up early. The extra hour or two you’re saving yourself is open to endless possibilities! Will you work on a puzzle? Go for a run? Write that novel you’ve been putting off for ages? Do some deep cleaning? Maybe you’d like to start a yoga practice or simply watch the sun rise. This time is your own, and planning how you’ll use it intentionally will make early mornings easy and something you’ll look forward to.
Part of creating a simple and meaningful life, is establishing thought-through and healthy habits. These habits create pockets of time where you’re able to slow down, to do things that feed your creativity and nourish your inner self. You’ll feel less stressed and overwhelmed. Instead of rush and chaos as your morning companions, you’ll discover peace, space to think and time to appreciate the simple things.
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