By Anne Halifax
There’s a popular but mistaken idea floating around in our cultural consciousness: the notion that you’re either a morning person or you’re not. We envy the people who have the seemingly effortless ability to get up at 5 a.m. and spend a couple of hours being productive before they even leave for work, while we resign ourselves to wearing out the snooze button until it’s impossible to ignore our looming responsibilities any longer. But we’re not as helpless to our internal clocks as we sometimes think. Anyone can build the habit of being a morning person, but if you’re not already in the habit of getting up early, it might take a good reason to motivate you to get out of bed. Here are six ways being up before the sun is will improve your life.
Having a jump start on the day feels great.
Yes, the few seconds it takes to drag your sleepy, fuzzy-minded self out from under the warm blankets are a drag. But after a few minutes, once you’re up, dressed, and maybe making a cup of coffee or tea, you’ll be so glad you made the effort. You now have access to a whole hour, maybe two, that you would usually sleep away. What will you do with that time? As you become a morning person, you’ll start to feel like the early hours are a secret sanctuary that late sleepers are missing out on.
Being up early motivates you to get more done
So you’ve made the effort to get out of bed, and you now have a precious hour or two at your disposal. Combine this with the pressure of knowing you have to go to work and take care of other duties later in the day, and you’ll feel extra appreciative of your morning time and want to squeeze all the enjoyment and productivity out of it that you can. Maybe that means you meditate, go for a run, or prepare dinner ahead of time. Whatever you want to get done, knowing your time is valuable and limited is a great incentive to accomplish it.
You have time to work on your own projects
Do you ever feel like your time belongs more to your boss, spouse, kids, and friends than it does to you? Getting up early is an excellent antidote to that feeling. By carving out an hour or two before your responsibilities set in, you claim a piece of the day for yourself to work on the things that you love. What do you wish you had more time for — exercise, learning a new language, writing a novel, reading more books? That’s what your morning time is for. Investing time in yourself is a key component of happiness.
You become more disciplined
Getting up early is certainly doable and worthwhile, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. Sometimes it feels like a herculean effort to get out of bed, while it’s all too easy to hit the snooze button and waste away the early hours without even waking up or thinking about it. When you put in the effort to get up, day after day, even when you don’t want to, you’re strengthening your ability to ignore fleeting, momentary desires in favor of working on your long-term goals. This ability is a crucial component of success in any area of your life. As your early-rising willpower increases, you might find that you’re making better choices or being more productive in other spheres too.
You feel more collected and focused the rest of the time
Your morning sets the tone for the rest of the day. Think about it: how do you feel when you’ve slept late, don’t have time to shower, can’t find a pair of matching socks, and have to skip breakfast to get to work on time? The frazzled, scattered feeling of the morning probably carries over into the afternoon. When you’ve had a calm, productive morning, the opposite is true: you’ll feel more relaxed and capable during the rest of the day. Everything you do feels more satisfying when it happens after you’ve already had a great morning.
Breakfast might become your favorite meal of the day
If you like to eat breakfast, rising early lets you get a jump start on your nutrition for the day. Scarfing down cereal or a granola bar because you don’t have time to cook is now a thing of the past. Do you love omelets, but rarely have time to make them? Want to try your hand at blending up a green smoothie? Getting up early gives you the opportunity to have a delicious, healthy breakfast every day. What a great reason to get out of bed!
Waking up early gives you more control over your time and your life. You’ll have time to work on goals you’ve always wanted to achieve, feel more satisfied with your accomplishments throughout the day, and boost your level of motivation. The only thing standing between you and a great morning is your snooze button, and now that you have six good reasons to get up, the snooze button is no match for your willpower.