Worth It: How I Find the Motivation to Get to Bed on Time

I suck at mornings and I need motivation to get it together. I’m a mediocre sleeper and I’m awful at falling asleep so naturally mornings are not my jam. I’ve struggled with mornings my whole life. My mother’s favorite anecdote about High School Emily is that she could wake me up at 7:30 and I was at the school, make up done and showered, by 7:45 (in all fairness we lived about two minutes away from the school). 

My Morning Motivation Problem

I’ve carried this hatred for mornings my whole life. It is the Monday to my Garfield. I’ve flirted with being a morning person off and on for years. I’m usually really good at it after we “Spring Forward” the clocks (I know that makes no sense but Brenton can back me up on this, apparently I’m good at losing two hours) but I struggle to keep it up. I’ve tried everything to be better at sleep. Chamomile tea, lavender oil, sleep sprays, no phones before bed, a steady bedtime routine, and bedtime lotions. I’ve read books about sleep. I’ve tried CBD gummies. I meditate. I did all the right things and still even as recently as last week I was skipping my morning routine for extra sleep. 

The most successful thing I’ve tried (prior to last week) was having Brenton wake me up and drag me from the bed Freaky Friday style. Unfortunately, he is much too kind of a human to actually pull me from bed and my sad pleas to sleep in or negotiations to go to the gym that night always won. Recently, it got to the point where I was skipping the gym just to stay in bed (for more than my healthy 8-9 hours). This lack of morning routine set my days up for failure because I never fully woke up or got my post workout endorphin high that let me take on the day. It put me in a negative mental spiral where I decided that I was doomed to suck at mornings and would never get back in the habit of mornings. It got dark and I got annoyed.

What Changed and Gave Me Motivation?

So after all this drama, self hatred, and frustration around sleep what finally did it for me? My drama was too much for me. I decided I was worth getting up and having a healthy workout, walk my dog, drink coffee (or tea) with Brenton, and get my head on straight before I started the day. In other words, I decided I was worth it. I decided I was worth giving myself unconditional love by taking care of myself in the morning before I went in to work to take care of others. I decided I was worth it. And honestly, it worked. 

Will the Motivation Last?

Now I’m not saying I won’t ever sleep in again (especially when I need that rest or I’m sick) but I am saying the mind is our most powerful tool. Did I want to sleep in today? Absolutely! Did I get up and go to the gym anyways? Yes, because I’m worth it. “I’m worth it” is now my morning negative thought pattern interrupter. Every time I doubt my ability to get up and start the day or every time I debate asking Brenton if he can walk Herman alone so I can sleep in I grumble – no, because I’m worth it and I get up and do the damn thing. 

Now I’m applying this to everything I do. Will this work forever? Only time will tell. But does it work for now? Yes, because I’m worth it.

Reminder: Be Here Now

Be here now.

I know that can sound like some hippy fluff but when you really think about it, all we have in life is this moment.

How many moments have you let slip by without noticing them? I know I’ve let most days slide by without more than a minute of mindfulness at most. My excuse is always the same “I just didn’t think about it” or “I was too busy”. But the truth is that this is not a way to live. Humans are meant to spend time being present, in whatever way that resonates for them. Not only because we want to savor in the memories but because it will also make us more effective in every other aspect of our lives.

Mindfulness

Mindfulness or any form of metacognition (thinking about how we think) can help us combat anxiety, monkey brain (frazzled reactive thinking) and build our creativity. My Aquarius ass has always wanted to be more creative; it’s one of the reasons why I started this blog. I know that when I am on my yoga, meditation, exercise routine it is so much easier for me to create but I also know how hard it is to cultivate and maintain a routine in our fast paced society.

Being Busy isn’t Better than Being Here Now

To build this routine I had to make the conscious decision (with the help of a great presenter Sally Thornton at the HR West Conference) that being busy is not cool. By that I mean that being a workaholic won’t produce better results and that having a jam packed schedule doesn’t make me successful. A way to prevent myself from being too busy to practice mindfulness I schedule these things in to my day. Every night before bed I meditate. I try to schedule time on my calendar to brainstorm or think creatively AND I leave as much blank space in my days as possible.

There is nothing wrong with scheduling time for you to rest. Not only is it crucial for your mental health but it’s also kind of fun. Enjoy a glass of wine or read a good book, it’s good for your brain.

Be Here Now

Please take some time this week to be here, right here, and notice the world you are in at this moment. Meet yourself where you are and give your soul a big thank you for being here and getting you through the day. It doesn’t have to be all hippy dippy chanting or meditation (though I am always here for that as well) – just make it authentic to you.

Whether your mindfulness takes the form of a yoga with Adriene video, painting, guided meditation or an interpretive (or wildly improv’d) dance it doesn’t matter as long as you are present. Take a time out and after you do drop me a comment on how you feel.

Use Your PTO

I beg you, please, use your PTO. 52% of employees in the US have unused vacation time.

The American workforce wants to feel like they are the most productive, hardworking and successful which is totally normal BUT we are going about it in the wrong way. The work martyr is not the best employee. Extra time spent working, plugged in, generating ideas, or sitting in the office does not equal a more productive workforce – it leads to a burnt out, exhausted, less productive society. As human beings we need sleep, time to reset (meditation) and food to be productive. We cannot pour from an empty cup; as a society so we must TAKE OUR VACATION DAYS.

I know, taking your PTO can be a pain. What if you miss an important decision or you come back to hundreds of emails that you need to sort through? After looking into the research behind taking vacation the pros definitely outweigh the cons.

Employees who experience burnout are more likely to make a costly decision. Unfortunately, 26% of employees are experiencing burn out according to the American Institute of Stress. Why are burnt out employees more likely to make major mistakes? Because they are unable to break out of their day to day to remember the little details. Research shows that around 95% of our thoughts are repetitive. We get so caught up in our day to day and our “must do” lists that our brains automatically switch in to auto-pilot. Think about a time you were going to break out of your routine and stop by the store on the way home from work. Did you stay present long enough to remember to stop by the store or did your auto-pilot kick in and you ended up in your driveway without the groceries you meant to pick up? Odds are good that if you have taken time off to reset and recharge you remembered to stop – but if you have been overworked you may have missed your opportunity. (Meditation is another great tool for keeping burnout at bay but vacations are just as important!)

Another reason to take time off is to recharge your creativity. If you travel you are more likely to feel inspired and generate more creative ideas. Also travel, even domestically, has positive effects on both physical and mental health. Even taking time off for a staycation helps increase creativity and build more gray matter in our brains. The more time we can spend breaking from our routines the better we can innovate once we return to our routines.

Have I convinced you to take time off yet? Tell me where you want to take your next trip to in the comments below!