How to Be Motivated in the Morning
What you do in the morning sets the tone for the day. When your morning is chaotic and stressful, the rest of your day will probably be too. Being motivated in the morning takes planning. Few people are natural early birds. With some simple changes, you can create an organized and a calm morning routine. When you’re motivated in the morning, you’re more productive all day.
Developing Healthy Eating and Sleeping Habits the Night Before
Prepare your breakfast and lunch the night before.With getting yourself ready, caring for pets and kids or juggling before-work chores, you’re packing in a lot of activities in the morning. Lighten the load by preparing breakfast and lunch the evening before. When all you have to do is grab your meal and go, you’re less likely to skip breakfast because you’re in a rush and you’ll avoid grabbing unhealthy fast food for lunch.
- Keep your energy levels high. The energy you got from eating dinner the night before is depleted by morning. Eating a high-fiber breakfast stabilizes your blood sugar, which helps you feel energized and more focused. You need energy for maximum motivation in the morning and all day long. Avoid refined carbohydrates such as doughnuts because they create a blood sugar spike and then a crash.
- Keep your breakfast simple and nutritious. Boil eggs and refrigerate so they’re handy for busy mornings. Enjoy a hard-boiled egg with an English muffin and a banana for a balanced breakfast. Another option is to cook oatmeal overnight in a crockpot. Enjoy hot oatmeal and fruit in the morning and refrigerate leftovers for a quick breakfast the rest of the week.
- Pack a balanced lunch. Use a wide-mouthed mason jar to make a high-protein salad. Place salad dressing at the bottom of the jar. Next, layer veggies such as cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, carrots and chickpeas. Add lean protein such as grilled chicken. Finally add leafy greens on the top, close the lid and refrigerate. The salad will stay fresh overnight since the greens are separated from the dressing. When you’re ready for lunch, simply shake the jar to spread the dressing and then pour into a bowl.
Eat a healthy dinner.Your body uses food from dinner as fuel while you sleep. You’ll wake up with more energy and motivation when you power your body with the right foods the night before. Eat lean protein such as grilled chicken, fish or beans. Add vegetables and complex carbohydrates such as brown rice or quinoa.
- Your body uses a lot of energy to digest food. Eating a heavy meal near bedtime makes it harder to fall asleep. Eat two or three hours before bedtime. This gives your body time to finish digestion before you hit the sack. Avoid sugary or greasy foods since they can lead to a blood sugar spike or heartburn. Both make it harder to fall asleep.
Shut off electronics before bedtime.Tablets, smartphones, computers and TVs all activate your brain. You’re in thinking mode instead of relaxation mode. An activated brain makes it difficult to fall asleep. Once your sleep is disrupted, you’ll have a hard time getting motivated in the morning. Turn off all electronic devices at least one hour before bedtime.
- The artificial light from electronic devices disrupts your circadian rhythm. It suppresses the sleep-hormone melatonin, which causes you to stay awake longer. Disrupted sleep means you’re sluggish and irritable in the morning.
Avoid caffeine before bedtime.Caffeine makes you feel alert for several hours. You’ll take longer to fall asleep and have restless sleep when you consume caffeine at night. You’ll wake up feeling groggy instead of energized. Avoid caffeinated beverages such as coffee, tea or soda for at least four hours before bedtime.
- Drink non-caffeinated beverages instead such as caffeine-free tea or warm milk. These have a soothing effect. You’ll having an easier time falling and staying asleep.
Skip alcohol near bedtime.Having a nightcap before bed isn’t as relaxing as it seems. Alcohol is a depressant so it causes you to feel sleepy at first. As the alcohol wears off, it has a stimulating effect. You’ll wake up and have a hard time going back to sleep. Alcohol also disrupts your sleep cycles, so you won’t get the type of sleep that you need to feel rested.
- Limit alcohol to one or two drinks a day. Have your last drink at least two hours before bed.
Create a bedtime routine.Bedtime routines are not just for children. Train your mind and body to fall asleep and stay asleep. A good night’s rest is crucial to starting your morning feeling energized and focused.
- Read an old-fashioned book or magazine. You’ll fatigue your brain and fall asleep more easily when you read. Avoid reading from an electronic device because the light from the device can keep you awake. Plus, you’ll be tempted to check your messages or apps.
- Relax your muscles. Taking a warm bath or doing gentle stretching are some ways you can release tension from your body. Your muscles are tight from your busy day. A bath or stretching helps you unwind and more easily fall asleep.
- Aim for seven to nine hours of sleep each night. This amount allows you to move through all the cycles of sleep. There are four phases of sleep that repeat approximately every 90 minutes. If you sleep for less than seven hours, you cannot cycle through all the phases.
- Recognize that sleep is important to your overall health. Sleep deprivation leads to memory loss, lack of concentration and fatigue. Consistently sleeping well boosts your immune system and helps you control your weight. A good night’s rest improves your energy, motivation and overall wellbeing.
Taking Charge of Your Morning
Avoid hitting snooze.When you’re warm and cozy in bed and your alarm goes off, your first instinct is to hit snooze. When you snooze your alarm and drift back to sleep, you’re resetting your sleep cycle. The next time your alarm sounds, you’ll be groggier because you’re interrupting a new sleep cycle. This is called "sleep inertia." Get into the habit of waking up the first time your alarm sounds. You’ll be more alert and motivated to get going with your day.
- Keep your curtains partially open. When light fills your bedroom in the morning, waking up is easier. Light in the morning tells your body to naturally awaken. It will help you get into a lighter stage of sleep, so when your alarm sounds, it’s easier to get out of bed.
- Set your alarm for 10 or 15 minutes earlier. You can ease into your morning more calmly as opposed to rushing around. Sit up slowly in bed and do some stretches.
- Make an effort to go to bed around the same time each night, even on weekends or days off. Consistency is key to healthy sleep patterns. Your circadian rhythm stays in sync when you have the same bedtime routine each night.
Simplify getting dressed.Have two or three ready-to-go outfits in your closet. For example, have your shirt, pants, and belt on one hanger, with matching shoes below. This takes the guesswork out of choosing an outfit for the morning.
- Sleep in your workout clothes. If you want to work out first thing in the morning, you’ll have one less thing to do if you’re already dressed to hit the gym.
Rehydrate your body.You’re dehydrated when you wake up since you’ve fasted all night during sleep. Drink a glass of water or a small cup of juice with your breakfast. This wakes up the cells in your brain. It’s an instant way to feel more alert and motivated.
- Drink caffeine moderately. A cup or two of coffee or tea helps you feel more alert. Avoid caffeine overload. Any more than three cups may make you feel jittery and distracted. It can actually decrease motivation because you’re unable to focus.
Get physically active in the morning.Not everyone benefits from a full workout first thing in the morning. If fitting in a workout means you’ll cut into your seven to nine hours of sleep, then working out later in the day may be better for you. However, doing brief amounts physical activity in the morning will help you feel more awake and energized.
- Move around to music while you’re getting ready for the day. Listen to music and dance while brushing your teeth or making your coffee. Even two or three minutes of movement goes a long way.
- Take a brisk walk outside for five minutes. A quick walk gets your blood pumping and activates your brain. You’ll be more motivated to start your day.
Place a white board and basket by your door.Keep things organized so you remember all your essentials such grabbing your keys and feeding your dog. List the things you need to do before you leave the house in the morning on a dry erase board. Also keep a basket by the door and place the things you’ll need for your day.
- Put your keys, transportation passes, wallet, handbag, sunglasses and backpack in the basket. In the morning, you’ll know exactly where all of your essential items are so you can grab and go.
- Write a checklist of things you must do before you leave the house on the white board. Scan the board each morning so you can leave the house knowing you’ve remembered everything. For example, list “feed cat, grab lunch, take coffee.”
Building Your Motivation in Your Life
Build optimism.Having a positive outlook helps your motivation. You see desires and goals as attainable when you have an optimistic, can-do attitude. Lack of optimism may lead to procrastination, or putting off things you want to or need to do. You avoid doing something that is good for you because it seems too hard. Build your optimism by journaling. You can train yourself to take action in the morning and all day.
- Think about something you’ve been putting off doing, like going back to school.
- Make two columns in a journal. In the first column, write down the challenges you feel are keeping you from achieving your dream (in this case, going back to school). For example, “I don’t have money to go back to school. I don’t have the time.”
- In the second column, write down how the goal benefits you. What would your life be like immediately after, a year after and five years after you achieve it? For example, “I have the qualifications for my dream job. I can earn more money. I can buy a house.” Recognize the feelings of joy and pride that come with these accomplishments.
- Build on your feelings of joy and pride. Take one small step toward your goal. For example, you might research college programs, or contact schools to find out about financial aid.
- Write in your journal each week, noting your accomplishments as well as your challenges. Make notes on how you can overcome the difficulties you faced from the week before. You can keep your motivation high by acknowledging your progress and using problem-solving for the difficulties.
Reward yourself for reaching your goals.Incentives help with motivation. Just like when you reward a pet with a treat for doing something good, you need to reward yourself. Set rewards for each small goal you reach. For example, play a 10-minute game on your tablet if you get your chores done.
- Monetary rewards are often the most motivating. For example, if your goal is to walk for 20 minutes each day with your friend, give your friend . When you show up and complete your walk, your friend gives you your money back. If you don’t show up, they keep your money. You’ll find that you’re highly motivated to walk every day.
Create boundaries.When you’re stretched in many directions, you’ll have little time to reach your own goals. Having too many obligations saps your motivation. Say “no” to unnecessary commitments. If you don’t take care of yourself, no one else will. Only take on obligations that are essential and say “no” to the rest.
- Avoid agreeing to commitments because you feel guilty. If you agree to do something simply to spare another person’s feelings, you’ll end up feeling resentful and bitter.
- Make a list of your priorities. Focus on what’s important to you and how you want to spend your time. If something falls outside of your priorities, politely decline.
- Be brief yet firm. You don’t need to give someone a lengthy explanation. Be succinct, honest and polite. Simply say, “No, I can't organize the fundraiser this year. Thanks for thinking of me. Good luck with your event.”
Surround yourself with motivating people.When you surround yourself with positive and driven people, you’re more likely to be motivated and stick to your goals. You’ll hold each other accountable. Positivity is infectious. When those around you are optimistic and motivated, your own positivity will grow.
- Connect with a mentor. For example, maybe you want to go back to school, but no one around you seems to support you. Contact a school and ask to get connected with a student who successfully completed the program. Talk to them about their tips for success.
Sources and Citations
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