While we’d love to wake up bright-eyed and bushy tailed each morning, it’s seldom the case. We like our beds, sleep, and not waking up until the last possible minute. If you feel like your morning is increasingly passing you by, you can train yourself to rise and shine. Really.
First, understand the psychological make-up of a morning person.
A morning person is more likely to be Type A, someone who believes in the saying: “The early bird catches the worm!” They want to be up and at ‘em to get a jump on the day.
“These people are more optimistic and self-confident. They feel that they can control their destiny by working harder and smarter towards fulfilling their dreams. When people wake up late, they feel that the day has gotten away from them and that they are already behind. This is depressing and leads to giving up. It is not only a sign of low self-confidence, it also perpetuates it because these people are likely to be less accomplished and less successful, always on the catch-up treadmill,” says psychiatrist and author Dr. Carole Lieberman.
Preparation is key.
“From the moment you wake up—even before you open your eyes—take a minute and think of a few things you’re grateful for,” says Joan Pagano, certified personal trainer and author of Strength Training Exercises For Women, who explains that it takes just 21 days to get into a habit. Maybe it’s the delicious cup of coffee you’re about to prepare, the good friends and family in your life, a book you are thoroughly enjoying, your pet. Either way, breathe it in and smile.
Put something that you look forward to at your bedside, such as a pretty cup and saucer ready for hot water to make coffee and a granola bar or other healthy snack, suggests Dr. Lieberman.
Wake up mindfully.
Take a few minutes to limber up on the side of your bed before jumping out of it. Ease into the physical demands of the day by consciously moving your body from head to toe, and loosen up the joints to get the blood flowing to prepare for the beautiful morning and day ahead.
Drink at least two to three glasses of water immediately upon waking.
“It truly does wake you up instantly, and while at first it might not give you that caffeine jolt, I promise that eventually it will have the same effect!” says Valerie Groth, a social worker and life coach.
Do your exercise routine in the morning.
The energy that you create in the morning will carry you throughout the day. “If you have any hesitation about getting out of bed and would rather sleep in, remind yourself how much better you feel after your exercise routine,” says Pagano.
Have a go-to song ready to play.
Whatever music makes you smile and feel good—have it close to turn on when you wake up.
Work in increments of 10 minutes.
Rather than say, “I’m going to get up at 7 a.m.,” if you’re used to getting up at 9 a.m., start with 8:50 and gradually work backwards to your goal, suggests celebrity fitness & nutrition expert JJ Virgin.
Eat a blood sugar steadying dinner.
Think lean clean protein, healthy fats, slow-release high-fiber carbs, and loads of leafy and cruciferous veggies. “You won’t get midnight cravings, and you won’t wake up in the middle of the night with a blood sugar crash,” says Virgin.
Have a healthy breakfast upon awakening.
“My friends and clients are always amazed at my energy levels. I credit that to my veg-filled breakfasts: Either a green smoothie or a huge salad topped with a veggie burger,” says Groth.
Go to bed earlier.
It’s simple but true. Try slashing an hour from your day and go to bed an hour earlier. You’ll wake up earlier and be more refreshed to start your to-do list while you still have energy to complete those tasks.
Read more: How to Boost Beauty While You Sleep