A couple of years back, I used to have a hard time waking up. While I was in school, I used to make my mum go crazy cause I was probably the meanest and crankiest monster in the mornings (although today I think most parents with teenage kids can attest to that). Three years ago when I was starting to lose weight, I remembered how much I complained to my mum, dad, sister and cat about getting out of bed in the cold just to get my workout done.
Fast forward to today: waking up early for me is like showering. It’s a must and I do feel weird if I’m still in bed past 7am, even though I can afford to get out of bed late and start work at 10am since I work from home. I have a friend who thinks I’m super uncool for waking up early even on weekends. But I get more things done and feel so much better not having to rush all the time. That’s NOT uncool. On a serious note, even if I do have a big night, I will still get out of bed early, have a nice healthy breakfast and have naps throughout the day.
Today I am going to skew a little bit from the fitness part of my blog and teach you how to wake up early and own your 6am alarm without complaining. Waking up early is important, in my opinion and perhaps you can start living a pretty awesome life by loving your 6am alarm?
Why do I have to get up early?
You’ve got kids, work, a job, a career (or whatever that you do) and you need to exercise.
Unless of course, you’re one of the lucky ones who don’t have to get out of bed earlier than 10am. But still, there are so many studies that shows the benefits of waking up early and I think you should be aware of some.
The guys at Greatist.com has created a pretty cool infograph that can even convert the worse of the late-risers. Some of the reasons why I think you should consider waking up early from tomorrow onwards includes:
– You’ll feel more in charge of yourself and your life. A study done by Harvard University has shown that early risers tend to be more proactive and anticipate problems so that they can efficiently minimise them.
– You’ll set more realistic goals and better plans. I agree that plans do change. But if waking up early puts you in the zone to think about why you’re doing something and for what reason, you’ll achieve more success in so many areas of life, weight-loss included.
– You get your exercise in, done and dusted, before your body and mind has any idea of what they’re doing in the day. Which means there’s a lesser chance of you skipping the workout.
– You get more things done in the day. I find that waking up early puts more ticks in my to-do list as opposed to when I sleep in and sleep later. This could very well be because I obviously get more hours in the day waking up 2 hours earlier but I find that my brain goes on auto shut off after 7pm, no matter how late I wake up.
With this too, I find that I pump out some of my best articles early in the day between 7-11am. That’s A+++ for awesomeness.
Instead of sleeping in every single day, get up early, get your exercise in and get more done for yourself and for your loved ones.
Here are 5 fit-tastic ways you can start loving your 6am alarm.
1. Have a high protein/fat snack and a warm drink before bed.
Have you ever tossed and turned in bed with difficulty falling asleep because you’re hungry? Battling with a stomach screaming for food is not fun, I know. Instead of trying to sleep hungry, have a snack, preferably something which is high in good fats and protein. My favourite go-to snacks when I’m feeling hungry before bed is cottage cheese and sometimes a tablespoon of almond butter or a handful of almonds. Sometimes when I don’t have any of this, I’ll just grab my shaker and have some protein shake. Too easy and within minutes you’ll feel much better.
You know what’s even better? Have your snack with a cup of chamomile tea (or any other tea, preferably something with zero caffeine). Some people have asked me if it’s okay to have a warm chocolate drink before bed. If it suits you and your weight loss goal, go for gold. Tea works best for me though.
If you’re worried about putting on weight because you’re eating late at night, you shouldn’t. You won’t gain weight eating late. You’ll gain weight eating more than you’re supposed to. If it makes you sleep better having something to eat before bed then go have it. Instead of rolling around in bed, get up, get a snack and wake up fresher.
2. Remember your fitness goals
What are your fitness goals? Didn’t you say you want to lose 20lbs by June this year? Or what about running the London Marathon?
Remembering your fitness goals puts you in a better position to wake up early and love your 6am alarm because there is always something to look forward to every single morning. If you’re still in bed at 8am, think about your written goals (and I know you have one, otherwise read this post and go make one!) and think about how you can use the day to achieve them.
You won’t just lose pounds in that single day, but thinking about your goal means that you’re into serious business and not just simply saying it. Get up early because you’re set to conquer the day and you’re one step closer to reaching that awesome goal of yours.
3. Do not press snooze
Raise up your hands if you did press snooze at least once this morning! Tricky isn’t it. Pressing the snooze button is too easy and yet it’s the one thing that we do every single day that limits us from waking up early. I was guilty of that too, especially cause my iPhone doubles up as my alarm clock. Some days I didn’t even realise I actually pressed the snooze button, or worse, there are days I didn’t even realise I’ve completely turned off the alarm!
Here’s a super easy trick though: Set your alarm clock and put it on to the loudest, as loud as it can possibly go. Put it on the other side of the room so you literally have to get up to press the snooze button. Get into the habit of going to the bathroom first thing in the morning. Once you’ve done that (i.e. switch off the alarm, get up to pee), you’re far more likely to get up instead of retreating back into bed.
If that don’t sound good enough, get up, switch off your alarm and do ten push ups. How’s that for waking up?
4. Give your 110% into your early morning workout
Now that you’re up early, give your workout your best shot. The point here is not to burn tons of calories and make you feel superhuman, although that could be the point too. The main point here is to get you sufficiently physically tired so you’ll retreat to snooze-land earlier at night.
If you’ve got a day job, wake up early and go for that run or hit the gym for your workout. Trust me, you’ll be too tired at night to even think of lifting your body and strap on your shoes.
5. Think of something exciting before sleeping
Just like point number 2 here, thinking of something exciting before you sleep can motivate you to get up early to pursue that ‘thing’. A lot of things in life require motivation and just like your workout, waking up early in the initial stages will require some motivation. Before shutting your eyes, think about the exciting stuffs you have planned the next day or the special someone you’re going to meet. Your body will naturally get up early due to the high amount of endorphins floating around.
This works for me: Before I sleep, I will always think of what to have or make for breakfast the next day. Food always wins in this battle. And I almost always wake up early so I can cook that super awesome meal I had in my head.
If you don’t have anything exciting plan or your life is just plain ‘ol boring (or you think it is), make something. Create it. Life is too short to wake every day not having anything to look forward to. It could be as simple as going for a walk every morning to have a wisp of fresh air or even calling up your best friend who lives 8,000 miles away.
Whatever that exciting thing is, remember it before you shut your eyes and over time your body will get used to waking up early without feeling grumpy.
Here’s to you…
Just like beginning an exercise program or starting to clean up your diet, waking up early takes time. That said, waking up early is a habit and sticking to a habit is best nurtured through a slow and manageable process.
If you’re used to waking up at 8am, don’t try to wake up at 6am starting tomorrow. Reduce your wake up time by 15 mins, say 7.45am. Follow through with that for the next 2-3 weeks and then challenge yourself with a further 15 mins. Habit building takes time, but if you want to successfully be an early riser, you’ve got to do it slowly.
Finally and most importantly, get rid of all the negative things you know about waking up early. Stop labelling yourself as a night owl and stop saying you’re not a morning person. The more you tell yourself that, the more your mind will believe it. If you want to start waking up early, tell yourself you’re going to do just that. Start this process with a clean slate and you’ll love your 6am alarm just like I do.
Share with me…
What are some of the strategies you personally have to wake up early? Do you have problems waking up early too or are you an early-riser?
Send me a comment below and share with the rest of the community.
Have a great week ahead!