Waking up early isn't for everyone. Whether you spend your nights tossing and turning or get your full eight hours, getting up at the crack of dawn is rarely effortless.
Most jobs call for early days, and many even require long commutes, forcing workers to be awake and ready before the sunrise. Even if you're a morning person, it's difficult to feel prepared for the day when it's still dark outside.
But getting up to seize the day is important for anyone with a dream.
"Some of the most successful people in the world live by the fact that they get up early in the morning to seize the day, and that's how they are more productive than most," said Jade of Jade's a Mermaid, a vegan lifestyle blog.
Just because you don't enjoy jumping at the sound of your alarm at 6 a.m. doesn't mean you can't still work to make the best of these hours. Here are six ways to take advantage of early mornings.
Form a mission
One simple trick to getting up early is having a quality reason to do it.
"Your ability to wake up early and seize the day starts with the awakening of a deep desire to make the most out of life," said Melissa Colleret, life coach and entrepreneur. "This might be in the form of a mission that you are enlivened by."
However, you don't have to know exactly what your mission is, she said: You can work to find or create one. Colleret has her clients write down all the reasons why waking up earlier would benefit them, and what sort of things they would do if they had more time.
"My number one piece of advice for anyone who goes to work and struggles to wake up for it [is to] … find ways to love what you do," she said.
And if you don't love your job, work a few extra hours on creating a side hustle or applying to other positions so you can leave instead of settling for a mundane career.
Set boundaries with technology
Technology has provided us with nearly every possible tool we could need right at our fingertips. But with social distractions consuming our time, it's easy to misuse these devices.
"The Netflix era we live in makes it too easy to watch hours of entertainment when in fact we need to rest," said Colleret. "Avoid what I like to call the 'Netflix trap' by setting intentional boundaries around the shows, movies and time spent watching these."
She also advised not to use your phone as an alarm clock because of its temptations and stressors. To get a good night's rest, it's better to leave your phone out of reach and use a traditional alarm clock.
Create a routine
Sticking to a flexible schedule keeps you in check. Don't underestimate the power of timing – when to start dimming the lights, what hour to go to sleep or what time to set your alarm for the next day.
"First ask yourself what you want to accomplish in the morning," said Colleret.
From there, you can create a timeline that works for you and your lifestyle.
"Going to bed at a reasonable hour is obviously going to help getting up in the morning," said Jade. "But making the intention to get up early in the morning is the most important thing, because you're putting it out to the universe that you are determined to wake up and seize the day before the morning has even arrived."
When you do get up, have a routine. Exercise, make coffee, write down your blessings, eat a healthy breakfast and plan your to-do list for the day – whatever works best for you.
"When I think of seizing the morning … I am referring to waking up earlier than you feel comfortable, in order to dedicate that time to the things that tend to be put off or, worse, that never get done," Colleret told Business News Daily.
Jade recommends waking up an hour earlier each day so your body can adjust to the change. If you have specific goals you'd like to achieve, don't use the excuse of not having enough time. Use those extra minutes to tackle your dreams.
Keep your diet in check
You know what they say – eat well, feel well. Feed your body what it deserves and it will reward you with more energy and a better focus.
"Stop pretending that having [alcohol] every night is helping your body restore," Colleret said. "That bag of chips you ate after dinner is actually making it harder for you to wake up feeling refreshed. Lighten up around dinner time and hydrate in the morning."
While it's important to eat well overall, everything is better in moderation. You can – and should – still treat yourself.
"I love a few glasses of wine and am no stranger to wild nights out, but I'm talking about what we do most of the time," Colleret said. "On most days, I am sipping herbal tea and having a bath before bed; I highly recommend it."
Make it a game
Sometimes all we need is some healthy competition to feel motivated and inspired. Colleret suggested partaking in challenges, like a 30-day seize-the-morning challenge with friends, where each person sets a wake-up time and a goal they'd like to achieve in their extra early-morning hours.
An example of this type of challenge is 21 Damn Early Days, a program where thousands of people commit to waking up at 4:30 a.m. for 21 days to focus on their personal interests and goals.
This is especially great for people who struggle with waking before late morning.
"I'd be curious to find out their answer to the following question: 'What would be happening in your life that would make it fun and exciting to wake up each day at the crack of dawn?'" Colleret said. "I'd then ask them what's stopping them."