Let me tell you, at my most natural, I am all night owl. I know the whole “early bird gets the worm” thing, but I don’t really like to eat worms anyway.
And this was fine for a really long time…until I took on a new name: MOMMY. All the sudden, I was waking up consistently earlier than I ever had in my life, and nighttime went from exciting to exhausted. My life had flip-flopped on me, and whenever I rebelled against it and decided to attempt to relive my night owl life, I would hate my life in the morning when my children woke up and wanted all the things from me like food.
So I quickly figured out the night owl life was a thing of the past, and I’d have to train myself to become an early bird and like the so-called worm things.
This wasn’t an easy transition, but a necessary one. My dad told me once that learning how to cook either came from necessity or simple desire. If you didn’t have one or both of those things, you’d live your life eating microwave meals and take out and being just fine. (Well, probably not very healthy, but surviving.) And I think the same goes for becoming a morning person. For me, there was absolutely no desire, but it was absolutely necessary if I was going to be the kind of mother my children needed me to be.
So I set out to learn how to turn myself into a morning person. And I can boil what I learned down to 4 simple strategies, which create an easy little acronym:
If you’re curious how each one has to do with becoming a morning person, you’re in luck! Continue reading on 😉
One of the things I realized early on in motherhood was by the time nap time rolled around, I was done for. I was exhausted, in need of a break and was good for maybe 30 minutes of work or cleaning before I needed to rest my brain by either watching TV or reading. BUT for my own health, I needed to be exercising. So if it wasn’t realistic for me to think about working out anytime after 1:30pm (which occasionally does happen, but not consistently), and my kids were awake at 7am, what’s time is left for me to work out?
Like EARLY morning.
Like before-the-sun-is-even-up morning.
Like force-myself-out-of-my-warm-bed-and-out-into-the-cold-cold-world morning.
Waking up when my oldest son, Knox, comes in my room VERY awake and ready to start his day doesn’t provide a realistic time to get a good work out in. I wake up feeling behind. And because of that, most times I’m less productive, less motivated and overall less excited about my day. And every day that he’s the one to wake me up makes me feel like I’m behind for the rest of the day. So…early morning it is.
Now, before you think becoming a morning person was as simple as deciding to become a morning person, I’m here to tell you that it was absolutely not that simple. I struggled. I set my alarm and hit snooze. And hit snooze. And hit it again. And then my kid was awake and try as I might, I could NOT snooze him.
Enter my friend Erin. It’s my personal opinion that everyone needs an Erin in their life. She is self-motivated, loves to work out in the morning and fun to work out with. I have a few other friends who I work out with in the morning, but there’s one main difference: if I text them in the morning asking if we should bail and stay in bed, I know they’ll agree and we’ll all hit snooze. Erin doesn’t believe in snooze. Her moto is, “I’m gonna be tired no matter what time I wake up, so I might as well get a work out in.” And she’s so right.
So Erin is my accountability. The one time I thought I had convinced her to bail via text, she texted back 10 seconds later saying, “No! Let’s do it! I’m up, get up!” and I hated her. Until we were done working out and then I loved her again. 😉
I am NOT self-motivated (oh how I wish I was!) but I am so thankful to have a friend like Erin in my life who I know will be at the Y without fail because that’s what gets me out of bed in the morning. And once I’m out of bed, I’m golden.
I know I said I’m not self-motivated, but I still think motivation is a big part of becoming a morning person. What are you trying to accomplish with your morning-ness? For me, it’s getting healthy and fit not only for myself and my quality of life, but also for my children.
For them to see me prioritize health and fitness. For the knowledge that I’m doing what I can to make sure I’m around to watch them grow up and meet my grandchildren someday. My grandmother is turning 93 this year, and she looks and gets around like a 50-year-old. Seriously, she looks amazing. I can only hope to be just like her when I get older. And how does she do it? She watches what she eats and she also gets up in the morning and walks at the mall every day. Like I said, amazing.
On the mornings when I want to bail (and I haven’t texted Erin yet, knowing she’ll kick my butt out of bed through my phone) I remind myself that I’m doing this for my kids. And that helps to remind myself this is not just about getting skinny and fitting in a bikini. It’s about so much more and it matters.
Really, this should be “plan ahead,” but that didn’t work with the acronym, so it’s “schedule” instead. At night, I pick out a work out outfit and put it in my bathroom to change into in the morning. I coordinate with Erin and anyone else who’s working out with us what time to meet and what we’re going to do and set my alarm accordingly. My kids wake up at 7am, so I plan to be home then, so I can either take a quick shower while my husband gets their breakfast, or get their breakfast for them then hop in the shower. But either way, I plan ahead what’s going to happen the next morning so I know what to expect and I’m not rushing around like a chicken with my head cut off.
Right now, a couple friends and I are going through Kayla Itsines’ “Bikini Body Guide,” (not because I have any hope of actually wearing a bikini again…it’s just an awesome workout guide). One of the reasons I love it is because she lays out 12 weeks worth of workouts. I never have to plan my workouts and stand there at the gym wasting precious minutes coming up with a workout for the day. I look through it the night before to see how much torture I’m going to endure the following day, and bam I know to do when I arrive at the gym.
Being an early bird is NOT easy when you’re naturally a night owl, but it IS possible. If I can do it, literally ANYONE can do it. Now I know there are extraneous circumstances…I’d never advise a new mom to push herself to be any more of a morning person than she’s already forced to be with a waking baby. If my children are waking up consistently through the night, I am NOT working out in the morning. This is only possible for me when my kids sleep through the night and I am also getting “enough” sleep myself. (Is there ever “enough” sleep as a mom??)
I know my “HAMS” strategy is just the tip of the iceberg of ways to turn yourself into a morning person, so if you have any other strategies that work for you, please share in the comments! I’d love to hear any advice or tips you have!