Conquering the Morning

Conquering the morning

I’m not a morning person. My mom wakes up around 4am daily so full of bubbles and life and I’ve always looked at that in amazement.  I wake up, walk like a zombie, can’t see straight, and have been known to bump into walls a time or two..or three.

I blamed it on the fact that most of my jobs for over a decade were graveyard shift.  My body clock is off. I just am not a morning person and I don’t like drinking coffee because it doesn’t taste great and it upsets my stomach.  I also have been known to hit the snooze button repeatedly..many times for over an hour. My most productive hours seemed to be 2am-4am. At one point in time I literally tried to set up my schedule so that I didn’t have to do any form of work until 12 noon but that was unrealistic.

Many people told me to just jump up and get moving or shower and that would make me feel better.  That didn’t work for me. When I had the shift that caused me to go in at 6am, I laid my clothes out the night before, already had my bags completely packed and I can’t tell you how many times I jumped up, ran out of the door and backed my car into the pillar behind me because I was basically sleepwalking.

When I started doing my 3 a day workouts for my training I was miserable trying to drag myself up everyday.  I never felt like I had enough sleep and the alarm startled me awake which left me feeling anxious and shaky.  I couldn’t wait to get my am tasks out of the way so I could try to squeeze in a nap or more during the day. My productivity eventually went down and I felt like I was going through the motions.

My fiancé and I had a discussion about the importance of how we start the day. For me, it was eye opening to take a deeper look at my habits, tendencies, and feelings.  First thing in the morning, as soon as I started waking up, I would open my phone and be met with all kind of problems—people needed something, negativity in the news, BILLS, more tasks to be added to an already full to do list.  UGH. SIGH. UGH.

He listens to motivational speaking in the morning but that wasn’t really my cup of tea.  BUT the truth was I absolutely needed to change my mindset about the day from the moment I woke up and modify my habits.  So I decided to make a change and tried some new techniques. Then I tried some other things until I found what really truly worked for me.

So how did I conquer the morning???

First thing I did was to shut the tv off before going to bed. I realized that some of the dreams I was having were tied into what was playing while I was asleep.  This may seem crazy (or normal) but a lot of my dreams were interactive and involved me saving the world and I would literally wake up tired. When I cut off the action movies and the law and orders of it all, I was able to get a better night sleep without Oscar worthy scenes rolling through my head at night.

I replaced the night tv watching with setting my alarm to peaceful ringtones and my favorite soft music to wake up to.  This made a huge difference! Waking up smiling or singing because I wake up peacefully made a huge difference.

One of the most important thing I do now, just prior to going to bed, is giving myself a pep talk.  Not too long. Just affirming that my tomorrow will be productive and how, encouraging myself if I had a day that didn’t quite hold up to my expectations and congratulating myself for the things I did well.  That last part is key. I try to find at least one good thing that I did in the day. Even if it was staying in the fight through a difficult situation. It is critical to be your own biggest supporter and not to discount the things you are doing well.  

Finally, when I wake up I started taking a moment to encourage myself and pray.  Many times when the alarm goes off, the blankets and the pillows call me. Why is it that it ALWAYS seems like you are getting the BEST sleep in the moments before the alarm sounds?  Pillows are extra fluffy...bedding is extra cozy… but now I practice self talk and remind myself the importance of sticking to my plan, striving for greatness, and pushing past my comfort zone.  That helps me to focus my mind on progress instead of circling the thought “I just wanna go back to bed”. From that point I say a brief prayer thanking God for another day, asking for the strength to get through the day in a meaningful and productive manner and that I can be a blessing to others.  I say a quick prayer for individuals and then tell myself “you got this” and get up and get going.

For a bonus and because I love to sing, when I get the chance (and am not disturbing others) I crank up the music and sing my heart out to my favorite classic songs.  When my first task of the day is the gym I try to get the first 15 min or so of cardio in an empty gym or cardio/bike room and sing as loud as I want. Again, I love to sing and singing makes me smile.  I may not be the greatest but playing both the lead and background singers brightens my day.

I decided to run my mornings and not let the mornings run me and it has completely changed the course of my day and ultimately my life.  That’s how I conquered my mornings and I urge you to do the same! Your journey may or may not look like mine but by incorporating some of the basics you can absolutely transform your ams!

-Shut off distractions before bed

-Debrief your day and put yourself in the right mindset BEFORE going to bed

-Try to create a peaceful environment for when you wake up

-Take a moment to focus your mind and energy before stepping out of bed

-Do something that makes you smile to start the day

Plato said “the first and greatest victory is to conquer yourself”.  Once you start, little by little, controlling and maximizing the things you are in control of you will start seeing major changes in your life.  

And never forget, you are amazing and you are beautiful.  If nobody told you today that they believe in you, I want to be the first to tell you that I BELIEVE IN YOU!

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