Hustle for happiness

How to become a morning person [or at least pretend like you are]

Photo by Charles Deluvio on Unsplash

Ahhhhh mornings. The time when the sun’s warm and eager rays gently lull you into the day, as you awake from the perfect night’s sleep, feeling wonderfully ready to take anything on.


I’m clearly kidding. Most of my morning’s feel like this:

Photo by elizabeth lies on Unsplash

But, as luck would have it, I married a morning person 😱

I know, I know. Nobody was more surprised than I was. That is, until I slowly became one too 😱😱😱

Now I mentioned in this post that one of my key lessons from my 20s was figuring out what time of day I’m most productive. As much as I used to think I was a total night owl, I learned that I’m actually at my best in the morning (much to my disappointment).

But it wasn’t until this past year that I really started to embrace it. Don’t get me wrong, it takes me a solid five minutes to convince myself to actually get out of bed when my alarm first goes off (more on that below), and I’m a horrible person for the first 10-15 minutes, but once I’m up and moving, I am up for the day!

I hate to sound like an infomercial (because, whyyy) but no joke, if I, of all people, can learn to embrace that a.m. #hustle there’s hope for you yet. And because I hate people who just say, “if I can do it, so can you!” without any further explanation, leaving you to wonder if they found some magic potion you do not currently posses, I am sharing some tips to help you get started. You can address the thank you note to my numerous failed attempts – I learned a lot from those moments (case in point – despite “conventional wisdom” if you are hard of hearing and sleep like the dead, do NOT put your alarm clock across your bedroom🙄).

Schedule your sweat session for the morning

Not only does hitting the gym first thing in the morning make you feel like a god dang superhero, it gives you something to look forward to (how many people rolled their eyes when they read that?) But seriously, people tend to be creatures of habit so you’ll likely start to see some familiar faces and who knows, maybe even break that “no new friends” rule of yours?

If you don’t look forward to talking to people first thing in the morning, I get it* But at the very least you can look forward to starting your day with an endorphin high WHILE ALSO checking “go to the gym” off of your day’s to-do list before the sun rises. Daaaaaaymn you’re productive.

*true story: yesterday Paul and I went to a workout class one hour later than our usual and he commented on how chatty I was. That’s because I’m basically a zombie for the first 30 minutes of our usual class and by the time I finally wake up, we’ve moved onto the WOD and talkin’ time is oooova.

Have an accountabilibuddy

Okay so the real reason I can even pretend to be a morning person is Paul. He’s the real hero here. He has this amazing ability to just. get. up. and get moving. I have no idea how he does it. More than the inevitable interruption that happens when you share a room with someone who is up and moving around, he holds me accountable to the goals I’ve set up for that morning – whether it’s the gym, writing a blog post or even just getting to the day before the rest of the world wakes up. Whether it’s an early morning text to say you’re up or knowing that your friend is waiting for you at the gym so you better get moving, having someone else who can shame hold you accountable to your goals is so important – especially when everyone else is sleeping.

Figure out your alarm clock game

As I mentioned earlier, I cannot sleep with an alarm across the room, purely because I often don’t hear it. But I know this tip works for a LOT of people.

What I have found specifically works for me is setting two alarms; one to actually wake up and the second one five minutes later to say, “okay lady you REALLY need to get out of bed now”. I’ve found that five minutes is long enough for me to slowly wake up/groan about my tiredness/curse my alarm without actually falling back asleep 🙌🏻 More often than not, I spent two to three minutes telling myself that I actually need to get my feet on the floor and I don’t use the second alarm.

I purposely don’t use the snooze button – one because I don’t fully trust it and prefer setting alarms (I seriously set three to four alarms if I have an important early morning event #deafkidworries) and two the word “snooze” creates a mental exuse for me that says, “hey it’s cool, you can sleep for x more minutes”. Now this is purely what works for me – maybe you’re a one alarm and have to immediately put feet to floor in order to get moving (in which case, I bow down to you). It takes a little trial and error but ultimately you’ll come up with a morning wake-up ritual.

Put down the [insert device here] and replace it with some routine

You’re a busy person, with lots happening in your world, I totally get it. But those extra minutes you spent mindlessly scrolling through Instagram (guilty!) are minutes you could be preparing your mind and body for sleep. Plus, the lights your devices emit actually send signals to your brain to keep you up (so unless you’re totally wiped, going from phone to sleep in 0.02 seconds is hella hard). Yes, putting your device on “night shift” is a smart move, but an even better one to help you clock some zzzzs?

A bedtime routine. Yes, I know you’re not five. But your brain makes a million decisions a day – having a routine helps you mindlessly start to tell your body, “hey I’m getting ready to rock some rem cycles!” so you don’t have to make yet another decision. This is actually something I’m striving to work on (hmmm I feel a blog challenge coming on…). Whether it’s making tea, settling down with a few chapters of your book (don’t forget to turn on night mode if you’re reading on a tablet!) or taking some time to meditate. Do them consistently enough and your brain will start to associate these habits with getting ready for bed. The mind is an amazing thing isn’t it?

Pick a day or two for a slow morning 

This kind of piggybacks off the routine note – no matter what else happens during the week, Sunday’s have become the day we ditch our alarms and clock some extra zzzs as needed. We try not to overdo it (going from a 5am wake up to 11am wakeup is not great for your circadian rhythm), but rather enjoy the process of moving a little bit slower on Sunday morning’s. Now, all of that training to wake up at 5am during the week has meant that “sleeping in” looks like 8:30am more often than not, but, somehow I love it – sleeping in a bit, having coffee and reading the New York Times all before 10am is something I look forward to every week, and I love having the extra time in the day to get sh*t done.

Accept that not every morning is going to feel the same

It’s OKAY to hit the snooze button five times (just make sure you get up and give yourself enough time to get to work).

Often when Paul’s travelling I’ll switch up my morning. Most of the time this will mean moving my gym days around or going in the evening. Some of this is out of necessity – we tend to tag team making breakfasts and lunches, but it can be nice to break up the routine every now and then too.


I will say this – as you start to shift your routines, you will probably have a day or two when you are tiiiiiiired. That’s okay! It’s a process so instead of focusing on how tired you are, give yourself some mad props for having a hella productive morning instead. Better add some coffee with that props though… coffee is 👑


What do you think? Going to try to become a morning person? Already a morning person and have some other pro tips to share? Let me know in the comments below!

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1 Comment

  • Reply Sabrina November 30, 2017 at 1:55 pm

    Great post! 5 am is a little too ambitious for me – but I’m into the routine building, something to work on!

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