It can be hard to feel motivated in the morning, Sometimes just getting out of bed, getting dressed, and getting out the door on time feel like insurmountable tasks. Winter doesn’t help: the alarm goes off, you look out your window, and instead of a beautiful sunrise, you see a pitch-black sky dotted with stars. The day may be long, but the daylight is short.
Fear not! There are ways to set yourself up for success in the morning—and the rest of the day. Below you’ll find our 8 best hacks for a.m. motivation.
A successful morning starts with your evening routine.
Our most effective tip for morning success is to prepare before you go to bed the night before.
1. Get lunch. Set aside a lunch-sized serving of your dinner and have it ready to grab from the fridge in the morning. It’s easier to plan ahead than to rely on having enough energy in the morning to put together a healthy lunch.
2. Dress for success. Lay out your morning outfit and gather any other necessities (think gym bag, laptop, etc.) before going to bed. This way you’ll have less to think about when that alarm goes off and more time to relax before your day begins. Plus, you’re likely to put together a nicer outfit the evening before, when you have a bit more time, than when you’re rushing around in the morning.
3. Clean up. Tidy up your home before bed. Spend 10 minutes doing the dishes in the sink, picking up the shoes that never seem to end up in the shoe basket, and wiping down the bathroom. No one likes to wake up to a sink full of dirty dishes. Create a more soothing environment in the morning by prepping it the night before.
4. Sleep hygiene. So you’ve chosen your outfit, prepped your food, and tidied your space. Now for the most crucial piece of business: getting to bed on time. Nothing makes waking up more unpleasant than having stayed up too late. Set a reminder on your phone to start winding down at least a half hour before you want to be asleep. You’ll be glad you did. Not a good sleeper? Read these tips on how to get a better night’s sleep.
Rise and Shine
Leverage your previous evening’s preparations and stay on track when the alarm rings.
5. Get up when the alarm goes off. As tempting as it is to press snooze a few times, resist the impulse. Snoozing will suck time away from your morning routine. Besides, the few extra minutes of sleep you get after the alarm rings are not truly restful and may make you feel groggier and more tired. It’s better to set your alarm 10 minutes earlier than your usual wake up time and actually get out of bed when it rings. And don’t look at your phone.
6. You time. Spend 30 minutes each morning on something you enjoy. If you aren’t already a morning person, this may be difficult. Ease into it a few minutes at a time and work your way up to a full half hour. If you like to work out in the morning, put in a 30-minute session to energize your morning and the rest of the day. Or maybe you’d prefer brewing yourself a cup of tea and spending 30 minutes immersed in a good book or journaling. When you make time for yourself and your hobbies in the morning, you have a reason to jump out of bed eagerly when the alarm goes off.
7. Breakfast. Fuel your body. By eating something (preferably with a little bit of protein in it), your body will realize that it’s time to take on the day. Those calories get your metabolism moving and increase your morning energy. Tough time eating in the morning? These bring-to-work breakfasts will help you create a new routine.
8. Avoid your phone. Who hasn’t gotten sucked into Facebook or Twitter before they’re even out of bed? It’s easy to get in the habit of looking at your phone first thing in the morning, but it can cause your morning to be rushed and much less fun. Shower, dress, and feed yourself before pulling your phone off the charger.
Many people dread mornings, but you don’t have to be one of them. Use this winter to take charge of your morning and enjoy those peaceful early hours. As the Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius said, “When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive—to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love.”
Dana Lester has a bachelor’s degree in nutrition and dietetics. During her time at Oregon State University, she worked on creating the Green Office Certification Program, which helps campus offices assess themselves for environmental sustainability. She is passionate about holistic wellness, eating fruit, and writing.