Have you ever tried to develop an early morning routine of waking up before 6:00 am every day? For much of my life, this was the one habit that I couldn’t get to stick. But recently in the past year, I figured it out.
When I started waking up early I found that I could get more done by 11 am than I normally did in an entire day. I got more done, I was less stressed, and by 5 pm I could either relax or spend time with the people I cared about.
Now if you are somebody who is following a 9-5 route then you may be able to use your mornings to focus on your passions; to start writing or start a business from the ground up.
There is a lot that you can do in the morning but it really starts with figuring out how to wake up early. These are some of the things that I have found helped me rise before 6 am.
Also read: How to lose weight while you sleep
In order for you to commit to this new change, you need to understand why you need to make the change in the first place. When you focus on the benefits that you will receive, it’s going to be much easier to make this habit stick.
It all starts the night before. I used to get so frustrated because the night before I would be motivated and inspired; I would be looking forward to waking up early the next day and changing my life. But then what happens? I would wake up in the morning at 7 am or 6 am, I am tired and I hit that snooze button. I hit it over and over again and I don’t wake up early.
What happened? I didn’t put together a plan for the next day. I was motivated to wake up early but I didn’t have that “why” clarified. I needed to figure out a to-do-list that gave me step 1, 2 to 3 and am not talking about brushing your teeth or showering. I am talking about why am I getting up early? Is it because I want to write a book? Okay, great. Then step 1 write 500 or 700 words make it as simple and easy as possible for you but know exactly what you want to write.
Figuring out that “why” is going to help you in the morning, not just the night before. So before I go to bed I will either create a to-do-list or review a list I have already made. It will include up to 3 of the most important things that I want to get done the next day. Before you ever have a chance of getting out of bed early you need to have a purpose first – find something that drives you.
A simple step that will help you is to put your phone or alarm clock on the other side of the room so you have no choice than to get out of bed. It’s one of the oldest tricks on the book.
Take it a step further by putting a glass of water next to your phone. Right when you turn off the alarm drink the entire glass of water. This usually wakes me up and further prevents me from slipping back into bed.
Also read: How to sleep better and feel more refreshed
Now this next step is really important and it really got me to not only wake up early that next morning but to continue to wake up in the long-run and to build a habit. The idea is you need to wake up at the same exact time every morning but only go to bed when you are tired.
Maybe I didn’t get into bed until 11 pm or 12 am and I have 5-6 hours of sleep and that is not going to be good for the short-term but then that next night I am going to be so tired by 9 pm that I am going to fall asleep much quicker and I am going to get a more full-night sleep and I will start to build a habit of waking up at 5 or 6 am.
Eventually what happens is that you start to wire your brain to wake up at that time and you will start to wake up even minutes before your alarm clock goes off. Anybody who has an early morning routine will know this. That waking up early gets easier the more you do it.
Explain to your partner why you are doing this. First, it’s going to make sure that they don’t get pissed off when the alarm unexpectedly goes off at 5 am.
Secondly, it also creates accountability. So you don’t want to be the kind of person that doesn’t follow through on their word. If you say that you are going to wake up early, then you want to wake up early. You don’t want to let yourself down and you certainly don’t want to let the people that you care about down.
If you don’t have a partner, see if a friend wants to commit to making the change with you. If you don’t have a friend I think there are lots of websites that you could go to that might help with that.
Now, I know that I said that you may need to deprive yourself of sleep in the short-term for a night or two but that is definitely a horrible long-term strategy.
Most people only need 8 hours of sleep a night to function at 100% but the benefits go beyond alertness. It reduces stress, helps the body repair itself and it can even improve memory function. And to those who are addicted to the hustle mindset and think that they can sleep when they are dead; you will be dead much sooner if you get less than 7 hours of sleep per night.
One study following over 21,000 twins found that those who are sleep deprived have a 24% increased risk of death. I should have to sell sleep though, it’s pretty awesome! And you can do some additional things that really make sure that you are a having a great night sleep; close the blinds, use earplugs, use an eye mask, use a humidifier during the winter, and play rain sounds before bed. All these steps will help you get a full night sleep and wake up well-rested.
The last piece of advice that I will offer you is to keep it simple and attack this one habit by itself. Don’t try to take on 12 habits at the same exact time. And I get that this can be really frustrating advice to hear especially if you just finished watching am not your guru by Tony Robbins; you are motivated, you are fired up and you want to change every aspect of your life.
But think about the long-run. If you are able to develop this one habit this one month, and a new habit next month and so on for an entire year; that’s 12 new habits that you have developed and brought into your life. Now if you look in the long-term, look back on all those habits over 20 years you are going to look at a completely different person than if you hadn’t taken it slow and steady.
Also read: 12 Shocking Habits of Successful People
If there is something that I didn’t mention in this article that helps you to wake up early every day I would love to hear it down in the comments. Let’s start a discussion below.