“Create the life you can’t wait to wake up to.” -Josie Spinardi
Sunshine peaking in. Iced coffee. Slow paces around the kitchen. Soft music. A fresh start. These are some of the things I think of when I think of mornings, and the reason why they have brought me so much joy compared to how they used to. It’s controversial being a morning person. To many, the idea of having to move a muscle before 11 am is betraying yourself. To most college students, the only reason to get up “early” is waking up five minutes before logging into Zoom. But there’s something about waking up in your cozy space before you need to do anything; about deciding what you put into the start of your day. You don’t just wake up early because you need to be somewhere. It’s a little thing called intention that changed everything for me.
Intention: “A determination to act in a certain way” (Merriam Webster).
“I thought I was so busy because the job demanded it and because life demanded it and because everything wanted more from me. I didn’t know it was my choice. I didn’t realize this was the life I was choosing; the life I was creating.” -Courtney Carver
If you want to be able to start your morning early, it’s important to figure out why you want to wake up early. For me, I realized staying up at 2 am every night wasn’t doing anything for me. I wasn’t productive at night, and it was the time when all of my racing thoughts and ruminations liked to evade my space. There was something about waiting for the light that was a lot more beneficial to me mentally than just sitting in darkness. In both situations, you’re alone with your thoughts. But when you’re sitting alone at night, you’re probably still dwelling on what happened that day. In the morning, you have everything ahead of you and you get to decide how to approach it.
I’ve decided the morning is preparation and nighttime was filler. If I woke up about two hours before class, I would be able to move at my own pace to get ready. If I wanted to cook a decent breakfast, I could. If I wanted to work out, I could. If I wanted to walk outside my apartment across the street to buy coffee, I knew I had the time. I’ve realized that if I was trying to do too much the night before, I was just thinking about sleep. It was always a lot easier if I let myself rest and wake up earlier to do it and start my day off with the intention of being productive. If I had nothing I needed to do and I just felt like sitting in my cozy space with my favorite music, I wasn’t in any rush. When I started to realize what I loved about the mornings, it just made sense to put them into my routine.
I’ve also realized that how the start of my day goes affects everything. If I have a good and productive morning, I’ll feel that way for most of the day. If I start it off cozy and relaxed, I’ll feel a little bit calmer. If I put myself in an outfit I like and immediately start doing things, I’ll have a burst of energy. And if I do all of this with positive intention in my brain, I’ll be in a more positive mindset. I’ve also noticed the opposite. If I wake up and spiral into negative self-talk, it’ll put me in a bad mood all day. If I procrastinate in the morning, I’ll feel stressed out and not be able to pinpoint why because it was so early on. If I wake up late and feel rushed for my classes, I’ll feel off balance and not as sharp as I prefer.
The energy you put into your morning sets up your entire day, which is why it’s important to be intentional so you can set yourself off on the right foot. Like most things, what you put in is what you get out. Maybe not everyone is wired to be a morning person, but I’m also a firm believer that it’s possible to rewire yourself to be able to do certain things, including your biological clock. It all comes down to intention: what you get out is what you put in.