6 Tips for Becoming a Morning Person
Author: Bo Stern | www.sheology.co | @bolovesjoe
As I shared in this post, mornings have become a sacred space for me. It began in 2007 with a one-week commitment to join Jesus in my guest room every day at 5:30, and has since become my life. Eleven years in, 5:30 is still my default wake-up time. I do sleep in occasionally, but only when my schedule still allows an hour of solitude before I do anything else. I can no longer imagine the old life I used to live…snooze button, snooze button, oversleep, sheer panic!, race around, get ready, out the door and straight to my office or meetings. In those days, mornings were greeted with the affection of an oncoming Mac truck. I didn’t know it was stealing my peace and eliminating the best and most creative hours of my day; I just thought it was normal. Breaking away from normal has led to exceptional.
In the mornings since, I have not only prioritized and revolutionized my time with Jesus, I have written three books, developed three conferences and launched a new web site. I have built new habits that have led to greater happiness and much deeper relationships. Mornings are gold. They are untapped potential. They are the seed ground for everything else that happens in my life. It’s still amazing to me because I was NEVER a morning person before, and now I don’t think I could be anything else.
Sold? Ready to pursue some pre-sunrise purpose? Do you hear that shouting from the cheap seats that you are brave and strong and you can DO this? That’s me, guys! That’s me! We’re in this together. Let’s take back our mornings like the badass women we are. Here are a few things that have worked for me:
1. Go to sleep earlier. Early to bed, early to rise makes a girl healthy, wealthy and wise. I don’t know that I could out-clever that cliche. In order to get up earlier, I have to go to bed earlier and going to bed earlier requires saying no to things I used to say yes to. Instead of going out to dinner with friends at 7:00, I meet them for happy hour at 4:00. Instead of catching up on the news at night, I do it in the morning or during my lunch break. In short, getting up earlier and going to bed earlier just require more planning ahead - more big-picture thinking.
2. Have a dedicated space. This has changed lots of times for me over the years as kids and friends have moved in and out of my guest rooms, but I still have one space that’s just for mornings. Going to the same place every morning creates a cocoon-like feeling there for me. “This is where I go to meet with God. This is where the magic happens.” The space needs to be private, comfortable and quiet. Those are the only real requirements - and since it’s 5:30 a.m., quiet is pretty easy to find.
3. Prepare for resistance. I get the coffee ready the night before, so when I’m lying in bed at 5:15, I know I’m just one push of the button and 4 minutes away from a hot cup of coffee. I have coffee cups that make me feel happy on different days: An orange one that I love to use as fall arrives, a pottery mug with “Bend” stamped into the clay on the side that I use when I’m particularly in love with my city, another pottery mug (they’re my favorites!) I bought on a date with my boyfriend that I use when I’m missing him. When I know something is waiting that brings me joy, it helps overcome the sadness of leaving my comfy bed. I make sure my space is cleaned and uncluttered the night before. I keep all my journaling stuff together and easy to access. I buy pens that I love. All these things create a atmosphere that welcomes me into morning.
4. Create an epic morning playlist. I know lots of people choose worship music for this application; I do not. I choose soaring instrumental soundtracks like Lord of the Rings and Transformers and Pirates of the Caribbean. This is what I want the backdrop of my life with Jesus to be: wild adventure. If worship music does that for you, fantastic. If polka gets the job done, then by all that’s good and right in this world, you polka, sister! If Kenny G does it then…no. Just no. Saxophone music is not for studying. But anything else will work! Just have that playlist ready to go when you roll out of bed in the morning.
5. Have a brain dump list. As much as I want to believe my mind is fully and entirely set on Christ when I am reading His precious and beautiful Word, that is a small bit of baloney. My mind is often set on grocery lists and people I’m worried about and bills I need to pay or even on dreams I want to dream. I have discovered the beauty of the ordinary sketchbook. It remains open throughout my time in the Word each morning so I can easily jot down anything that comes to me that I need to get out of my brain before moving on. Once I write it down, it’s the notebook’s responsibility and I can move on into my study time without so much spinning. Here’s the picture of my brain dump page the day the idea for She.ology landed.
6. Don’t fear the dry times. Because you’ll have them. Even when you’re making great effort to lean into God and His Word, there will be days that nothing cool jumps off the page and nothing makes you cry and no ideas for big adventures land in your spirit. It’s okay. It’s normal. If you met a friend for coffee every day for eleven years, some days would be magical and some would be methodical. It’s not a sign you’re doing it wrong; it’s just a sign that you’re a human being in relationship with the Invisible Divine and the walls between our here-and-now and the Grand Eternal can be extra thick sometimes. Fear not. Keep going. Morning will show up with morning. I promise.