When your alarm goes off in the morning, do you hit Snooze, or do you wake immediately? Or perhaps a more appropriate question… HOW MANY TIMES do you hit the snooze button? Truth.
New research has been released which will make my friends (hopefully) stop making fun of me. My whole life, I have been an early bird, even as a teenager – I wake early, I eat lunch early (11:30 a.m.), dinner early (5:30 p.m.), and I go to bed early (9:45 p.m.) pretty much all the time.And now it appears this lifestyle might be contributing to my health, well-being and happiness.
As research has it, I do what it takes to be successful. So, what’s the big secret? According to this new research early risers aren’t just nicer to be around in the morning, they’re also happier, healthier, more self-satisfied, and even experience more career success than the rest of the population.
Studies are showing that you hold the key to your success — starting your day in the early morning. While most people are snoozing or still sleeping, research says that success has much to do with being a morning person. I know, shocking right?! (Actually, I’m not shocked. As a Women’s Success Coach, I know this, but perhaps you didn’t).
Research indicates that the tasks that require self-discipline, such as working out, getting through annoying paperwork, returning emails, or crossing things off your to-do list, are simply better done in the morning. Morning people are said to be more optimistic. Morning people are also known to use more positive words, such as “awesome” or “super.”
While the world sleeps, getting more done in the morning is a beautiful thing, and I am living proof. Waking early actually DECREASES my stress level and anxiety for the day. It allows me to start my day in a much slower, more steady pace. It allows me to enjoy the moments more. When I wake early, I catch up on emails, grab a coffee, read the paper, it’s quiet, I have time to myself, and it literally feels like a gift. I encourage you to try it.
When I don’t wake early (and press the occasional snooze button), my mornings are a different story. They are frenetic. When I hit that snooze button, BAM, the day somehow starts on fast-forward. It’s hectic, I’m crazed, breakfast is rushed, kids are rushed, and this rushy pace, this aura, sets the tone for the entire day. It’s the anti-zen.
But the good news is, we all hold the power. And we can all get off the fence, and do something about it now.
The pioneer in this field of research is Laura Vanderkam, author of the book, What The Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast. I recently saw her interviewed on the Today Show, which is what sparked the idea for this blog post. After extensive research, her findings were that the most successful people were those who devoted a heavy amount of time, dedication and commitment in the morning to things or people that they loved.
“Mornings are a great time to get things done. This is golden time for yourself. Yes, there are some people who may be confirmed nigth owls, but everyone else, with a little bit of work, can become a morning person. And studies show, morning people are more successful people.” – Laura Vanderkam.
Here’s how to make yourself a morning person:
1. Program yourself to go to bed earlier at night.
Skip Letterman and opt for DVRing instead. Power-down all your electronics early. Pretty simple… you’ll wake up less tired, and get more done.
2. Waking up early should not be punishment, therefore to give yourself an incentive: Do something you love.
Get out of bed early and read a book, the newspaper, sit on your porch and sip a coffee, play with your kids. Do something YOU ENJOY DOING. That will give you greater incentive to wake up earlier, and start your day off on a more positive note. This is your time to do things not that you have to do, but rather want to do. They should be pleasurable. “The best morning activities aren’t things you have to do, but things that you want to do but just never seem to get around to.” says Laura Vanderkam.
3. Start gradually.
Experts say that to become a morning person, therefore increasing your chances of becoming a more successful person, start slow. Don’t expect to set your alarm for 5 a.m. tomorrow morning (instead of the usual 7 a.m.) and wake up smiling like Mary Poppins and Suzy Sunshine! Go slowly and gradually. Start by going to bed 15 minutes earlier, and waking up 15 minutes earlier. Also, planning ahead allows greater ease to do more in the AM. For example, by literally laying out your workout clothes by your bedside so they are easily accessible in the morning is a big help. “And then it’s just a matter of habit building. Creating habits can take enormous willpower and energy, but maintaining habits actually conserves it,” says Laura Vanderkam.
It ain’t easy, but who said anything worth having is?
I have subscribed to this lifestyle for over 20 years now, and I can tell you, it works. —
Tell us, are you a morning person? If you’re not, is this something you’d try? I’d really love your thoughts on this topic.