How to Get Up Early, Have a Miracle Morning and Improve Yourself
Sounds great, and it is.
Getting up early is difficult — and good
Nowadays I’m getting up early. Okay, don’t think too much of it. It’s not that I’m waiting at five o’clock next to my bed in a yoga pose until the sun rises.
The early hours of the day are the most important when it comes to productivity. Give them the respect they deserve by not wasting them away in bed. Just give a nice early jump start to your day! Even if you have trouble getting up early or getting up at all.
Believe me, I know how it feels. You know you should get out of your bed, but you and your bed … you’re two inseparable buddies. Like a negative and positive magnet that have found each other. Especially in the morning the attraction seems extra strong, under the warm blankets and on that pleasant mattress.
Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise-Ben Franklin
Beneficiaries of getting up early
Although you may think differently when you judge the situation outside the blankets with half an eye — a jump start for your day is really what you want.
Not only for the main reason that the morning hours are the most productive hours of the day.
There are some important beneficiaries of getting up in time:
- According to researchers at Oxford University, you reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and live longer if you don’t exceed the necessary sleeping time of 7.5 hours.
- Your sleeping improves because going to bed early and getting up early fits better into your natural circadian rhythm.
- You gain more time. The math is simple — more time awake equals more time to get things done. If the quality of your sleep improves and you are spending 30 minutes less in bed this can add up to huge amounts of time. The average person lives 27,375 days. So if you are 25 years old, you have 18,250 more days to live. That means, by sleeping 30 minutes shorter each day, you’ll gain a bit over 380 days in awake time. Now I’m 50 years old, so on average, I should have 9,125 days left to live. I must say, the prospect of gaining 170 days awake time to be more productive and to work on improving myself by only getting up 30 minutes earlier, is rather appealing to me.
- According to Christoph Randler, ‘the early bird really does get the worm’. Early birds are more proactive than evening people — and so they do well in business, says Christoph Randler, a biology professor at the University of Education in Heidelberg, Germany.
‘When it comes to business success, morning people hold the important cards,’ Randler told the Harvard Business Review of his research. ‘[T]hey tend to get better grades in school, which gets them into better colleges, which then leads to better job opportunities. Morning people also anticipate problems and try to minimize them. They’re proactive.’
Rise and Shine!
Sooner or later you’ll have to believe in it: Rise and Shine!
Rather sooner than later. Because it will improve your life. You’ll feel healthier and happier. And you’ll have a better day. Now, who doesn’t want that?
So, do not worry about your inseparable love and think about the possibilities that the new day offers you, now that you are coming out of your bed instead of wasting even more valuable time under the covers.
Since a year I’m getting up earlier than ever before. But for me, switching from being a night owl to an early riser (and yes, it is possible) has been a major beneficiary to and improvement of my life.
My working week exists out of days at a regular job in the office and days I can work from home (on writing, studying, my own practice).
Since I’m usually the owner of my own time, I can decide at what time I can set the alarm clock. That used to be between 7:30 and 8:30 a.m. Every morning my alarm used to go off, the first thing I found was the snooze button. And also the second thing, and the third thing.
But now my alarm goes off at 6 a.m. This also has to do with the fact that my husband gets up at the same time. And I must say, it is an improvement of my life. And fun too!
Now to make sure I really get up and not press the snooze button, I’ve put my alarm clock at the other side of the room to force me out of my sleep with violence (we may thank Plato for this weapon of terror).
As soon as it goes off, I have to get out of bed to prevent Kaiza from waking up. I do not want to wake Kaiza, I just want time for myself.
So I get up. And since I have already taken the hardest step, it only takes a little bit of discipline to move on further, instead of crawling back into my bed.
It has helped me in so many ways that I’d never go back. Here are just a few.
The Benefits of Waking up Early
Better Quality Sleep
If you wake up at the same time every day, your body will adjust and not only will it be easier for you to rise in the morning, you will also feel pleasantly tired at night and fall asleep faster.
Greet the day
It is wonderful to be able to wake up and greet a new day. I’m always grateful for every new day.
Greeting a wonderful new day is one thing I’ve done for many years now. It enriched my life. It is a way to live closer to nature, to deepen your sense of connection with nature. When you’re already distracted the moment you roll out of your bed, it is a reminder to pull your attention back and to center your life in connection with the rest of nature.
Every day, think as you wake up, today I am fortunate to be alive, I have a precious human life, I am not going to waste it. I am going to use all my energies to develop myself, to expand my heart out to others; to achieve enlightenment for the benefit of all beings. I am going to have kind thoughts towards others, I am not going to get angry or think badly about others. I am going to benefit others as much as I can.-Dalai Lama
I used to start my day by jumping out of bed, late as usual, and rushing to get myself into the shower, getting dressed properly (being annoyed that I could not find anything decent to wear, because I didn’t have or take the time to sort out my clothes), rushing to get into my car and arrive at work late.
Without having had anything for breakfast at all. I would walk into work, being overstressed already, annoyed with myself and behind everyone else. Not a great way to start to your day.
Now, having my morning ritual, I’ve already gotten so much done before I arrive early at work at 8 a.m. And when everyone else gets into work, I’ve already gotten a head start.
So, leave earlier for work and spend that extra time in the office being productive. Besides, if you arrive at work early, even if you don’t do anything, your colleagues will think you are a hard worker. For me, there is no better way to start off a work day anymore.
If you live in a noisy house with yelling kids, this could be your chance for the quiet alone time you are looking for. The early morning hours are so peaceful, so quiet. I truly enjoy that time of peace, that time to myself, when I can think when I can read, when I can breathe. This is also a great time to journal, to write your first thoughts of the day down.
I start my morning with a meditation of about 10 minutes, after which I write and do some yoga. I enjoy the silence in the house knowing that I have plenty of time before the daily busy life starts off.
Where it used to be the evening, now the early morning became my favorite time of day. I see my morning as a gift to myself. By getting up early, I do not have to hurry, and I can take the time to start the day in a way that improves my life.
Enjoy the sunrise
When was the last time you woke up and watched the sunrise? People who wake late miss one of the most magical moments of the day: the rise of the sun.
I love how the day slowly gets brighter, the glory of dawn, when the sun rays start to break through the clouds, touching the dew on the ground, slowly turning the sky lighter blue, painting nature again in awe-inspiring colors.
Morning begins with the sun light
It stretches its rays to gently touch
Peaceful earth being asleep
Time for the ground to wake up
Every morning starts a new day
With flowers that open their blossom
Trees commencing their blooming
A perfect day to start with you
Rise and shine early, and you actually have time for breakfast. I’m told it’s one of the most important meals of the day. How often do you skip it? Breakfast fuels your body after a night of fasting. This meal will supply you with the energy you need for the day.
Although a lot of nutritionists agree that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, there are still a lot of people who are skipping it due to being too rushed in the mornings. How does your body react to this?
It is claimed that people who skip the first meal of the day have a tendency to eat more during the rest of the day, but research has shown that on average there is no difference in weight between those who do eat breakfast and those who do not. In short, there is little certainty about the effects on your health when you skip breakfast. Most scientists agree on one thing: more research remains necessary.
Some German scientists examined it. A new, small-scale study by the German University of Hohenheim shows that skipping breakfast can have two major consequences. It would cause you to burn more calories during the day, but would also make you more likely to develop inflammation.
They followed 17 adults for three days and allowed them to eat for three days each time using a different pattern. They found little difference in all three cases but noted higher concentrations of glucose, more insulin resistance and the presence of markers that indicate inflammation after lunch among volunteers who didn’t eat breakfast.
In that group, there was also more oxidation of fat, which comes down to the fact that their body began to break down their fat reserves. But according to the researchers, that is not immediately good news. That could cause a deterioration of the metabolic flexibility, the ability of the body to switch from the burning of fat to carbohydrates. Which could lead to more inflammation in the long-term.
Anyhow, I decided that eating breakfast in the quiet of the morning while writing in my journal or writing on my first draft of an article, reading a chapter in alife-changing book and drinking my shake and a coffee is exceedingly more enjoyable than gobbling something down on the way to work, or at my desk.
So my favorite breakfast is a shake:
- 1 medium banana (fresh or frozen)
- ½ cup sliced strawberries, blueberries, or chopped mangos.
- ¼ cup 2% plain Greek yogurt.
- ½ cup baby spinach.
- ½ cup unsweetened almond or oat milk.
- Optional: 1–2 basil leaves, 2–3 mint leaves, ½ teaspoon peeled, chopped ginger.
On some days I exchange it for a fruit platter with nuts and lots of berries!
Mornings, for me at least, are the most productive time of day. I like to do my writing in the morning, when there are no distractions, before I check my email, messages or Medium stats.
I get so much more done in the (early) morning. Also on an office day. Then, when evening comes around, I have no work that I need to do, and I can spend it with my family.
There’s no better time to review and plan for your goals than first thing. I always set myself one goal — next to the regular things I have to do during the day — that is important for me and that I want to have accomplished. A goal for me could be writing (on) an article or a poem. Or composing a song. But it could also be planning quality team with my beloved, friends or family. Or making plans for a special dinner that evening.
The above is about setting a special goal for that day. In the longer perspective, every morning, you should decide which one thing you can do today to move further towards something you want to achieve during your life. These extra thirty minutes or hour in the morning could be just what you need to finally finish writing that book or to make your business a success.
Less time in traffic jams
Depending on where you live, the time you leave for work can be the difference in your commute of ten minutes to an hour. I know it is for me in the Dutch rush-hour traffic. This may even save you some money on gas.
Commute early, and the traffic is much lighter, and you get to work faster, and thus save yourself more time. Or better yet, commute by bike. (Or even better yet, work from home.)
How to Become an Early Riser
You don’t have to change into an early bird from one day to the other. You can implement this gradually, by starting to wake up just 15 to 30 minutes earlier than your usual wake up time. Stay on this for a few days and get used to it. Then set your alarm clock another 15 minutes earlier. Do this until you’ve reached your goal time.
There are a few simple actions that kick you out of your bed and into your day. Below I’ll list three habits that have allowed me to stay an early bird. Make them a ritual, hold on to them to make sure you ‘Rise and Shine’ early every day!
- Throw cold water into your face — The first thing you should do when you roll out of your bed is to throw a hefty blow of cold water in your face, preferably about 3 times. The nerve endings in your face are in direct communication with your brain, giving this a sign that the day has begun. This way you prevent yourself from stumbling back into your warm bed.
- Stretch! — Okay, double folding isn’t necessary. But by performing a short series of stretches of your own choice in your morning ritual as a standard, you’ll signal your body to start up for a new (working) day. Moreover, it takes the knots out of your muscles from lying 8 hours in bed. A useful and accessible (stretching) series is the yoga sun-salutation.
- Drink cold water — Every evening put a bottle of fresh water in the fridge, so it is well cooled in the morning. With some slices of lemon, if you wish, for an extra vitamin boost. Drink it in the morning and activate your whole body by giving it a short cold boost and immediately hydrate it. Especially the latter advantage is one that should not be underestimated. At night, your body dehydrates considerably, which is disastrous for your productivity.
Have a Miracle Morning!
Recently I read two books by Hal Elrod: Miracle Morning Millionaires: What the Wealthy Do Before 8AM That Will Make You Rich (The Miracle Morning) and The 6 Habits that Will Transform Your Life Before 8 a.m. I can recommend anyone to read them.
In both books, the author advocates a fixed morning routine with habits that’ll help you improve your life, grow and even become rich. I’m applying some of these habits in my mornings, and I like it very much. Below is a list of the habits I’ve chosen to incorporate into my morning routine:
Meditate — That way you start the day calm and clear, instead of dull and stressed. I usually meditate for about ten minutes, simply focusing on my breathing.
Affirmations — Reading out affirmations aloud is a great way to train your subconscious so that you will eventually behave as you would like to behave. I have affirmations that remind me to be grateful, to be loving towards the people around me, affirmations that put me in the right working mood and that help me choose healthy food.
Visualize — this works great! By visualizing how you are achieving your goals, the resistance to actually doing it is reduced because your subconscious thinks that you have already done it. I usually visualize on how I can get myself closer to achieving my set goals.
Write in your diary. Very simple: I write what I’ve experienced yesterday, what is on the agenda today and what I am grateful for. This reflection helps me clear my head and it places my worries in the right perspective. When I read it backwards, it also gives me a lot of insight into my own development.
Write on an article. I have my earlier morning habit (writing (on) an article every day) interwoven in the routine, and made it slightly less intense. I now draft an article, but the first version does not have to be finished right away. As long as I make a nice start.
Read in a life changing book — Reading life changing books has been such a positive influence in my life. I have no words to describe the benefits of reading in these pearls of wisdom and life lessons and the impact it made on me to be able to change my life for the better.
So every morning I make sure that I read at least one chapter in one of these life changing books. And someday, I hope to write one myself. I think having my early morning routine might just allow me to do this!
So Rise and Shine and have a Miracle Morning!
Each morning we are born again. What we do today is what matters most-Buddha