Chip Colonna of Collierville, Tenn., is a morning person. Awake and out of bed by 4:15 a.m. Workout at 4:30. Out the door by 6, and arrives to his office at 6:30 a.m.
As director of marketing at Terminix, he’s a firm believer in the old adage: the early bird gets the worm.
Getting up allows me time to get organized, and that translates into a more efficient, productive day, he explains. And that makes Colonna a happy man.
Indeed, according to new research conducted at the University of Toronto, morning people are not only markedly happier than their non-morning counterparts, but are also healthier and more positive in attitude. Other studies show that early risers are also more proactive, and as a result enjoy more success in life.
Self-help author and motivational speaker Tony Robbins, who has mentored millions on the how-tos of achieving success in life, begs to differ. He sees no correlation between being a morning people and success.
I know people who are late-night people that are brilliant and incredibly successful, and I know morning people who are, too. I’m a nighttime person, says Robbins, adding that he routinely goes to bed as late as 3 or 4 a.m.
Still other studies claim that a person’s tendency to morning-ness or evening-ness (i.e., whether one is a morning person or not) is genetically predetermined by a person’s chronotype and therefore difficult to change. Again, Robbins cries foul.
This idea that you have a genetic structure that provides this unalterable blueprint, he says, is totally antiquated. It’s just not true.
Instead, he points to cutting-edge research in the field of epigenetics that claims a person’s environment, not genetic makeup, determines one’s behavior.If you think you were born to be a morning person or born to be a night person, you might have a pattern, but that pattern can be changed by conditioning, by changing your environment long enough, says Robbins.
In simple terms: If you’re not a morning person and want to be one, there’s hope.
Time-management expert Laura Vanderkam, author of What The Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast, says the secret to change is simple.
The difference in being a morning person boils down to habits, she explains. And we can all train ourselves to have better morning habits.
If you want to wake up early – and enjoy it – Vanderkam says you first need a good reason to get up in the morning.
You want morning rituals that make you excited. Do something you love. Maybe you love to paint, she explains. Or read a book or the newspaper. The point, she says, is to find something you want to do in the morning.
First, Perkins suggests working out a new bedtime, keeping in mind that we sleep in cycles of 90 minutes. Assuming your desired new wake-up time is 6 a.m., Jenkins explains, allow 15 minutes to wake up (5:45 a.m.), subtract at least five cycles of 90 minutes (10:15 p.m.) and allow 15 minutes to fall asleep. Your new bedtime should be 10 p.m.
Robbins suggests creating a list at bedtime of what you wish to accomplish the following day.
I like to lay out what I think are going to be my top three to five things for the next day before I go to sleep. What are the three to five most importance outcomes you want to create?