The 30-Second Bedtime Habit remains one of my all0time favorite habits, regardless of where we are in the world… In fact, I’d argue that anytime life shifts away from our normal routine, this is the habit that becomes even more important than pretty much anything else! The idea is simple: Making tomorrow-you’s life easier by taking 30 seconds before bed to do yourself a quick favor. This idea came as we were in the midst of writing our book, Becoming a Consummate Athlete, when we were at a training camp in Girona coaching young athletes, out on the bike 5-8 hours each day, still running, and still working on our podcast and writing my own articles for places like Bicycling. It was a busy month.
And because we were in the midst of that busy month (that would quickly get even more turned upside down considering this was early 2020), I realized what a difference your actions before bed can make. Not just your bedtime “how to go to sleep” routine, but how you’re prepping for the morning ahead. I recently told Peter I’ve realized that being an adult means you’re constantly trying to make life easier for your future self…
Heading to bed after a long day on the bike, with work projects that made it in just under deadline, and a run that barely got finished, plus a nightly athlete talk, it was tempting to collapse into bed with zero prep for the next day. But then, I considered that I would have to get up and do that same day all over again (new day, new ride, new article), so right before I did a dramatic collapse, I decided to take 30 seconds (literally) to make the day smoother.
Conventional “how to exercise in the morning” wisdom talks a lot about setting out your workout clothes for the morning, but it shouldn’t stop there. We know that there are so many other, smaller ways to optimize the morning. Some of these can be set up as those one-time rockslide habits, like having a spot designated for an unrolled-and-ready-to-go yoga mat, or having gear organized well enough that finding a running kit in under 30 seconds is never a problem. Some setups, like a glass of water on the bedside table, need daily resetting.
I put my yoga towel back in place on the floor. I set a glass of water by the bed. I plugged my Bluetooth headphones into their charger. The next morning morning when I woke up, I was absolutely not in the mood to do my yoga routine. But the mat was there, so I did it. My journal was ready for gratitude journalling with a pen sitting on top of it. I had a glass of water waiting to be chugged. I didn’t want to do a run, but I had charged headphones and a charged watch, so I did it.
I was so much happier. This isn’t just a training camp thing. I’ve carried it with me since then. Try it! Before you go to bed, simply ask yourself, “What’s one small thing I can set up for success in the morning?”
A few examples (some of which take more than 30 seconds but you get the idea!):
- Setting out your mat for morning yoga
- Putting a glass of water on nightstand
- Queueing up the meditation you want to do
- Pre-cooking your healthy breakfast (soaking overnight oats, hard boiling eggs, chopping smoothie ingredients)
- Setting out workout clothes, checking the weather
- Downloading the podcast/playlist you’re going to listen to while you train
- Charging your phone/headphones/watch (you have a charging station, right?)
- Putting the bike on the trainer and making sure it’s working correctly
- Doing a quick five-minute house clean, including starting the laundry or dishwasher (this is the first thing that we do when we get to a new place)
Are there any other little routines that make big differences to your day? Think about them now, maybe making some notes in a journal or even pausing to set up your bedroom, before heading to the next chapter!
We talk more about all these habits in our book, Becoming A Consummate Athlete. For tons of easy habits to add to your life to make big changes, check it out or book a call with us to talk through some changes you could make that will make the biggest impact on your health and fitness!