No Energy in the Morning? Do This!

“How the hell did I get up at 5am and go to the gym at 6?” I wondered as I pushed myself out of bed at 9:30, wondering if I shouldn’t just lie down again.

About a year before that, I had been working on a book trilogy while working full-time. I would get up every morning at 5am and either get two hours of focused work in, or go to the gym and train.

Then, a year later, I could barely get up before 8 am. What changed? (Apart from the pandemic)

It’s not the amount of sleep I got. (I would sometimes be in bed for 10+ hours and still feel like a zombie)

It’s not what I ate, or how much I ate.

It’s not coffee, or lack there-of.

The problem was a simple combination of two things: A terrible evening routine, and a lack of purpose.

Let’s start with #2: Humans are inherently “efficient” in nature – or “lazy”. We don’t like to do exhausting things if there’s no reason. That was (and still is) critical to our survival and evolution as a species. (Think of tools and factories – nothing more than inventions to work less for the same results!)

So if you feel like getting up in the morning is a big struggle every day… maybe you don’t have enough of a reason to get up!

Sometimes, that’s just true. When you’re stuck at home with nothing but work, some days, staying in bed and daydreaming sounds like the better option.

But if you WANT to jump out of bed, ready to kick ass, you need something that motivates you. Something you look forward to. Or something you want to achieve.

If you don’t have that, no other trick will help much.

How you feel in the morning is determined by the evening before

The Evening Routine

The other problem was actually a couple of hours earlier – the way I behaved the night before.

It’s easy to watch Netflix on the couch until you’re tired, then brush your teeth and fall into bed.

But you can’t do that.

Want a quick hack?

If you do nothing else, once you’re ready for bed, lights turned off, phone turned off – sit down on the floor, couch, or anywhere else (not the bed), and relax for a few moments. I like to sit cross-legged on the couch, a relaxed meditation-like pose.

And all you have to do now is take deep breaths and focus on being right here, right now. Let your worries drift away as you focus on your breath.

Take this moment to “close” the day. It’s over now. Everything you didn’t do, think about, or worry about – you can continue tomorrow. And all the worries that are still with you – put them to rest for now. The day is over. No more thinking, no more worrying. Take just a minute to do this.

Finally, look forward to tomorrow. No, literally. What are you looking forward to? What excites you? What will you do that brings you closer to your dreams, success, or even just brings you joy?

If you can, focus on that for a moment and feel excitement and determination. Feel the confidence that you will crush your goals and to-dos tomorrow.

Smile, thank yourself, then go to bed, knowing that you are done for today, and will do great tomorrow.

Why it works

By mentally finishing up the day, you release at least some worrying, ideally most of it, from your mind. You give yourself permission to move on. Usually, this worrying isn’t helping anyway, so why bring it with us to bed?

And the second part reminds you of why you get up tomorrow, what you will achieve and enjoy tomorrow. This will be on your mind when you wake up. Without a reason, you might feel tired and unmotivated. With a strong reason, you may feel sleepy but determined to get shit done.

Do this every evening. Before going to bed, take two minutes and properly end the day – you will feel much better in the morning!

Bonus: Dim the lights about an hour before bedtime, and reduce screen time to a minimum – I love f.lux for my computer, which dims the screen and warms the colors, which is much easier on the eyes at night (and reduces blue light, which prevents your body from getting tired!)

I also do some yoga and stretching for about ten minutes before the described evening routine, a great way to unwind and calm the mind (and do something “useful” before bed, rather than watching another episode).

Enjoy!

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