Sunday, March 22, 2015

I want to start! But...mornings...

First of all, do you really want to? 
I mean actually, truly, REALLY want to?

Plenty of students SAY they want to join a morning dance team, a 7AM weights class, a zero hour band; and plenty of adults SAY they want to start exercising before work each day. But if you don't really want it, deep down, then there's no magical inspirational talk or organizational guide that will help you follow through with it. 

On the other hand, if you truly want to dance, lift, play, or run, there's no snooze button, sleep mask, or other stock excuse that will stop you! 

So let's assume you are committed to starting and I'll give you some tips to help you transition through your early morning adjustment! 

Over the last 20ish years, I've found myself in a surprisingly large variety of 6AM activities, and these are the methods that have helped me keep up with what others might call madness. 
1) Buddy up! Find a friend who has the same interest or goal and decide to tackle this change together! It'll be more fun when you're not alone, and you'll be less likely to quit if you have a friend to look forward to. Plus, you might even save on gas money if you can work out a carpool schedule. 
2) Before your first week, time your drive...then add 3 extra minutes in case of busy traffic or frosty windows! Take a test drive so you know what to expect, but don't skimp on the driving time or you'll end up starting your day with nerves and negativity. On the bright side, if you don't need those extra 3 minutes then you'll arrive a little early and get to spend time with other people who are as punctual as you are!
3) Lay out your clothes every night: You'll feel more "together" and less rushed in the morning, even if you hit snooze a few times. 
This might mean ironing, gathering your jewelry, or even investing in a good bag with compartments to help you organize your packing. Whatever it means for you, I promise you'll sleep better knowing you're ready for the day ahead. Please note: if you are doing something active like basketball or dance, you should lay out BOTH sets of clothes ahead of time or you might end up without your normal shoes (or worse yet, your pants) when you change for school or work! 
4) Prepare portable breakfasts and snacks on the weekends. Aside from scrambling to find your clothes in the dark, there's nothing more daunting than rushing out the door and knowing you won't get to eat your first meal for another 6 hours! I've written about this before, so I'll refer you there for more info about eating on the go: http://amandamirandabutnotmandy.blogspot.com/2014/09/breakfast-of-champions.html?m=1
5) Simplify your hair and makeup routine.  Could you wash your hair at night? Or at least shower/shave/etc at night? If you're like me, and your hair will turn into Night of the Living Dead if you wash it at night, then try dry shampoo in the mornings! I'm a fan of Batiste (It's cheap and surprisingly effective--http://www.batistehair.com). Some brands, like Tresseme, even have "dry" shampoo mouse for naturally curly hair! (http://www.allure.com/beauty-products/hair/2010/tresemme-fresh-start-waterless-foam-shampoo) Do you really need to curl your eyelashes or lotion up before heading to the gym? If not, keep those supplies in your gym bag and take care of it after you exercise... Little shifts like these can really cut down your morning prep time!
6) Start your day by smiling about the things you love. Sure, you probably love sleeping too, or at least lounging in bed and checking your facebook updates. But by starting your day with dance, music, or exercise, you're enriching your life in a way that sleep (and facebook/tweeterville/etc) won't!

So don't let the early start time keep you from things that will help you enjoy life or reach your goals.  The benefits far outweigh the sacrifice of an earlier bed time. And after a while, you'll find yourself waking up on holidays thinking your day doesn't feel quite right without that early morning adventure! 



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