I was lying in bed, wrapped up tightly in my doona when my dad came crashing through the door. It was the same routine this morning as it was every morning.
‘Ca-arly! Ca-arly! You’ve gotta get up for schooooool!’
He did this every day in a weird stunted accent we invented years earlier. He walked over to my window blind and snapped it open, letting the sunrise hit me directly in my face.
‘Shhh!!!’ I said. ‘My head hurts!’
‘Shhh!!!! My he-ad hur-urts!!!’ He mocked me.
I’m making dad sound like a giant asshole but he really isn’t. I used to get him to wake me up in the morning because I couldn’t just turn him off like an alarm clock. He’d keep going until I was awake. Daddy Smaggle is a plumber and has woken up at 5.30am every working day of his life and he’s on fire in the morning. He’s bouncy, happy and full of energy. He may actually be the only proper morning person in my family. I can get up in the morning just fine but I’m never super happy about it. There’s always an element of me psyching myself for the day.
The good news? You can totally fake being a morning person. For real, I do it nearly every day. When my alarm goes off in the morning, I’m usually quite pissed off about it. I’ll hit snooze once or twice and then I spend that snooze time doing some positive thinking.
‘This morning is a gift.’
‘This morning will be beautiful!’
‘This morning, I’m going to get some shit done.’
After about ten minutes of this kind of thinking, I can usually get my feet on the ground and start getting dressed for the gym.
If you’re like me and you need a little extra kick up the bum in the wee small hours, here are a few things that will help you out…
1. Reframe your thinking
I’m very lucky in that I work for myself and I love my job but that doesn’t mean I wake up every day and think ‘Yay! Campaign reports! Reformatting 30 blog posts that broke! Woo hoo!’
There are boring parts of every job but you know what makes boring tasks even more boring? Constantly talking about how boring they are. If you wake up in a shitty mood and you’re determined to hold on to that shitty mood, it’s going to taint everything you do that day.
When you wake up in the morning, the first thing you need to do is reframe your thoughts for the day. Start the day with sparkle, not resentment. It’s the best way to set yourself up for a killer day.
2. Smile at yourself in the mirror
I know this one sounds batshit crazy but it’s been scientifically proven that even faking a smile can improve your mood. The same thing applies when you smile when you answer the phone – it makes you sound happier and brighter. When you get a chance, smile at yourself in the mirror for thirty seconds this morning and see if it makes a difference. If it does, great! If it doesn’t, you’ve just smiled for 30 seconds so there’s no harm done. Give it a go.
3. Write down a positive affirmation that will be theme of your day
My word for 2018 is ‘spark’ and I’m working that word into my daily positive statements. Every day, I spend about ten minutes writing in my notebook/dairy. My goals for the year, my positive intentions for the day and my to-do list. When I write down my positive intentions for the day, I try to use the word ‘spark’ in them.
Today I will be sparkly and bright.
Today I will ignite a small spark that may become a raging fire.
I will spark joy in my readers today.
These affirmations aren’t exactly Shakespeare but you get the point. I have them written in a notebook on my desk and I constantly refer back to it to remind myself that I’m actively being positive today and every day. Whatever it is that you’re trying to achieve, make it a central focus of your morning by writing it down. By making a daily ritual of acknowledging your goals and making an active choice to have a positive attitude, it makes mornings much less painful for you.
4. Turn complaints into compliments
For example, if you wake up in the morning and find that you’ve run out of coffee pods, rather than whining about it, turn your language from ‘Fuck! No coffee pods!’ to ‘Awesome! No coffee pods, this means I can buy an amazing latte from that new cafe down the road.’
5. Do some exercise
You don’t have to go for a full-on quarter marathon run around the block but gently easing your way into the day with some movement is one of the best ways to start the day. I do an F45 class every weekday morning (yes, every weekday morning) and I’m at the point now where I can’t function unless I move in the morning. Occasionally if I have an early meeting or I have to travel somewhere I’ll skip my morning class and I’m just grumpy and tired if I don’t do it. If you don’t have time for a full-on exercise class, do 3 rounds of 7 Minute Workout Challenge. That’s 21 minutes of movement and you can smash it out in your living room. I do this when I’m holidaying or travelling as a kick start to the day when I’m away from my beloved F45.