The Night Before
- Get everything done as soon as you get home. Maybe you have more self-control, but the moment I flop down to watch Netflix, I'm done with chores for the night. The solution I've found is to stay upright and moving until everything's finished. Get dinner going right when you get home, prep tomorrow's lunch while dinner cooks, and set out your clothes before putting on your pajamas. You might not have any energy left at the end of a workday, but you do have momentum; use it to check off your nightly to-do list, then start to relax.
- Yes, you have to lay out all your clothes (and everything else). Look, I hate getting this tip, I hate doing it, and I hate that it works. Before shifting my schedule, the dread of choosing clothes or packing lunch in the morning could keep me in bed for an extra 15 minutes. Having it all, and I mean all, laid out the night before — gym clothes, work clothes, lunch — has been a game changer. It makes things immeasurably easier in the morning.
- Get under the covers as soon as you're done with your nightly checklist. I used to fall asleep fully clothed on top of the covers because I was too tired to even get under them. My tip is to unmake the bed and get under the blankets as soon as you're ready to unwind with Netflix, Instagram, a book — whatever. Put in your retainer. Turn off as many lights as you can. When you start nodding off, you're all ready for sleep. Just put everything down and shut your eyes.
- Move your bedtime forward incrementally. I've heard this works, but I personally have a hard time making it happen. I think it's still worth a shot, though. You can start as slow as you want. I'll sometimes challenge myself to go to bed just one or two minutes earlier than the night before.
- Make it so you have no choice but to work out. This is like backing yourself into a corner every morning. If you prep your workout gear the night before, for example, it's more of a hassle to unpack than it is to put it all on and go. One tough morning, the only thing that got me out of bed was the thought that I had to wash my hair that day, and I didn't want to do it without working out first.