Some people wake up instantly alert, focused, and ready to get to work on a new day. Others set their alarm an hour or more before they actually have to get up because they drag it out so much, and even once they are up, it takes them another half-hour or more to really be with it. If you fall into the first category, you probably don't need this list (although you may find a few helpful techniques to start off even better). If you're in the second category, and want to move closer to the first, this list is for you!
1.Start The Night Before
The things you do before you go to bed the night before can make a huge difference to how you feel in the morning. You've probably read a list of things to avoid late at night, like caffeine and exercise (and no, that doesn't mean avoid exercise altogether). There are also positive things to do, rather than avoid... here's a way to sleep better and avoid bad dreams.
2.Give Your Subconscious A Wake-Up Time
Just before you go to sleep, choose the time you want to wake up. Form a clear mental image of your clock showing that time. Repeat it, mentally at least: "I am going to wake up at 5:00 AM". Picture yourself seeing your clock showing that time, and yourself getting up. This primes your subconscious to send you an alert when it hits that time, and your subconscious has a very good time sense, even if your conscious mind has no access to it.
3.Get Up When You Wake Up
One of the biggest mistakes you can make if you want to get up easily and be alert without needing to wait is to hit the snooze button. Your body has an instant response to waking up of being completely awake and alert. That response generally lasts less than a minute. If you get up during this time, however, you will remain awake and alert. You even get the same benefit, to a lesser extent, if you just start thinking about a complex topic... it's much more effective if you actually at least sit up, though.
4.Don't Snuggle Your Wife/Girlfriend
This is sort of an extension of the last one, but taken farther (and the one I have the most trouble with). If my wife wakes up with me (I wake up at 5:00 AM, so it doesn't happen all the time), and rolls over to snuggle me... it just kills pretty much any chance of my getting up before my body settles back down to being drowsy.
5.Get Moving Early
Physical movement gets the blood pumping stronger, and that includes to your brain. If you have a chance, an early morning walk or work out can work wonders for your alertness and focus. Physical activity also helps clear mental fog, and any stress left over from the day before or any bad dreams (though you don't need to have bad dreams).
6.Take A Shower
This one is especially important if you implement number 5, above. A nice cool shower after working up a sweat is very refreshing, and gives your mind a little down time to deal with whatever issues have been clouding your mind lately. A shower is usually "safe" time, meaning you're unlikely to be interrupted or required to do anything, so your mind can let go of the barriers it holds up the rest of the time, at least a little bit.
7.Visualize Your Goals Being Accomplished
This one really can't be beaten for being alert and focused. What better motivation is there than vividly imagining your goals already accomplished? It gives you a reason to dig in and get moving on whatever project it is that you're working on.
It's amazing how much impact your physical posture has on your mental state. If you become aware of your posture, and which aspects of it reflect which moods, you can actually choose your mood by adopting the posture that reflects that mood. It's not instant, but it is rapid. Try it some time... put yourself in a confident posture, and remain mentally aware of it so that you don't slip out of that posture. Stay that way for a few minutes and you'll see the change in your mood.
9.Visualize Explaining Your Favorite Topic
This is another great way to get the mental juices flowing. Just picture yourself explaining all about your favorite topic to someone new to it, someone who is fascinated by it. This is like taking motivation and alertness, distilling them to a serum, and injecting that straight into your brain.
Just as a warning, though, this one loses its power if you use it TOO much... though ACTUALLY doing it, not just visualizing it, takes a lot to get to that point.
There you have it. Follow these techniques, especially number 3, and you'll be alert, aware, and focused every morning. You may even be so alert that you annoy other people who aren't. If so, direct them to this page to annoy them even more!