Your Ultimate Guide For Waking Up Early
“To snooze or not to snooze that is the question” — Everyone
It took me four years of experimenting, and a lot of excuses, to finally reach a point where this habit is under my command, but it was worth it.
I presume the reason why you are reading this article is that you’ve tried to develop a habit of waking up early (probably more than once) and for some reason failed. Luckily, you don’t need to go through this again by yourself; you have me and my learning lessons.
Without a doubt, the habit of waking up early had the biggest impact on my life, because it allowed me to focus several hours on myself and my primary goals, which had an incredible influence on every area of my life. And if you develop it, it will have the same result on you and your life.
The importance of waking up early has been acknowledged by many successful individuals, such as:
✓ Indra Nooyi, PepsiCo CEO – 4:30 AM
✓ Richard Branson, founder, and chairman of the Virgin Group – 5:45 AM
✓ Michelle Obama, Former FLOTUS – 4:30 AM
✓ Tim Cook, Apple CEO – 4:30 AM (not waking up, he starts sending emails at this hour)
✓ Howard Schultz, Starbucks CEO – Before 5:00 AM
✓ Jack Dorsey, Twitter Co-founder – 5:30 AM
And many other incredible people. Before we get to the meat of this article, please stop for a moment and be honest with yourself: Is this one of the articles which you will bookmark and get back to when you have the time?
If the answer to this question is YES, go ahead bookmark it and skim the article, you will probably find a useful tip or two (and save some time).
“A year from now you may wish you had started today.” ~ Karen Lamb
But if you are ready to commit and establish a habit of waking up early, then I’ve got you covered.
The so-called 5 AM Club was over-glorified in the last couple of years, but waking up early doesn’t mean waking up at 5 AM. I am not saying you cannot do it, but I am saying that maybe you shouldn’t.
At least, not before you consider your current lifestyle One of the reasons why it took me four years to stabilize this habit is because I didn’t bear into consideration my way of life (then as a student), now as an entrepreneur.
Deciding an hour when you want to wake up depends on your current activities and responsibilities. Such as work (or university), family (do you have kids, a spouse or not), social circle, hobbies, traveling (flying) and other.
Getting up at 5 AM or 6 AM is extremely challenging if you are working night shifts as a doctor, or if you are a student that has to pull a lot of all-nighters and has a lot of parties. Or if you are flying a lot, and you spend most of the days jet lagged, then it’s physically painful to consistently wake up at the same hour.
So, to determine the ideal time, ask yourself the following:
Based on my current activities, both in personal and professional life, when would be a perfect wake-up hour?
Now you have a number in mind, let’s go to the real strategy.
As you know, waking up early has nothing to do with the alarm clock, but it has everything to do with these elements:
1. Your Goals & Mindset
2. Your Evening Routine
3. The Quality Of Your Sleep
4. Waking Up & Your Morning Routine Let’s go one at the time.
“Mind Over Matress” ~ Robin Sharma
We, humans, are creatures of instant gratification. And because of that, you will try to find any possible excuse to sleep in. Especially in the first several days of the habit.
The biggest thing you need to know is that you will have to sacrifice a lot, particularly in the first month. And you have to be prepared for it. You will have to pass on a couple of parties, you will experience energy drops and your productivity will suffer, at least in the beginning.
You need to put yourself in the first place. And you do that by setting goals. There are two reasons why goals are important:
There are goals, and there are systems.
An example would look like this:
Goal: I have lost 5kg (10pounds) by 1.4.2018
Systems: Eating less than 2000 healthy calories a day (without sweets, snacks, and junk food) + Physical activity: Cardio 2x week (swimming or running) + weight lifting 2x week + yoga for stretching.
I can go more into details, but now it’s your turn.
Once you have them, let’s get down to how to create your evening routine.
Instead of having to decide on these things in the morning and losing precious willpower and decision-making ability, decide on it the night before. Here are three things you should think about:
✓ What are your top priorities for tomorrow?
✓ What clothes you will wear tomorrow?
✓ What meal can you plan for tomorrow?
Time goes by fast, and if you don’t stop and reflect on things that are important to you, you will miss a lot of them.
That’s why you should always ask yourself what worked today? What kind of progress did you make? What are you grateful for? What made you happy?
And then picture your ideal morning.
This alone will influence your motivation to stay awake and stay away from the snooze button.
The most efficient method for changing the time you wake up is to do it gradually — 10-15 minutes earlier for 1-3 days until you feel used to
If you get up at 8 a.m. generally, don’t suddenly change it to 6 a.m. Try 7:45 a.m. first. Maintain for a couple of days, and then go to 7:30.
This will take some time, but the effects on your energy will be minimal, plus it’s the most enjoyable and it has a lower chance of failure. Just have in mind one thing, if you tend to change time zones often, it might be more challenging for you.
Once you decide which one is right for you, there are several things you should keep in mind.
Find an alarm that suits you.
“To snooze or not to snooze that is the question” ~Everyone
Your day shouldn’t start with a melody that scares you or annoys you; that beats the whole point of this habit. You should find a song that has a slow transition, and that brings out positive moods (note: it might happen that you end up disliking the melody).
My personal choice is the motivational speech from the video “Rise and Shine” – which you can find here.
Note: in the first couple of weeks, set the alarm clock away from the bad, so you have to stand up to get it.
For each day that you do your activity, you get to put a big X over that day. After a few days, you’ll have a chain. Just keep it at it, and the chain will grow longer every day. You’ll like seeing that chain, especially when you get a few weeks under your belt.
Your only job then becomes not to break the chain. Don’t break the chain. This method works, and it’s fun, especially when you keep it up for a while.
You need something that will throw you out of your sleep mode. First, drink a glass of water. Then go, wash your face and brush your teeth (you can floss as well if that’s your thing). Stretch and make your bed.
Open your window and let the light in (this won’t work if you are getting up at 5 AM, but some fresh air will do you good).
WARNING: Don’t check email, news, social media, blogs for couple of hours — zone out.
What you will do in the morning depends on your goals and the systems you need to follow to accomplish them. But the main rule is: whatever your activities are, focus on one hour at the time. Trying to establish 3 hours of habits in the morning (for working out, reading, watching a course, painting, and working on your passion projects), even though it might be possible, it will overwhelm you, and it can lead to failure.
Here are some of the suggestions:
✓Setting and evaluating goals
✓Physical activity (working out, running, swimming, yoga)
✓Reading (or watching courses)
✓Working on your passion project or your primary business/career
✓Spending time with your loved ones (partner, kids)
✓Preparing food (that you planned out the day before)
Note: you might experience energy drops in the first couple of weeks. But that’s normal until your body adjusts to the new schedule.
Pro tip: if you experience a sudden drop of energy, take a 20–30 minute nap during the day. It will happen that sometimes you don’t wake up when you planned, and it usually happens that we are disappointed and it destroys the rest of the day.
Don’t worry, be happy for the extra sleep and focus on the next important thing, tomorrow just improve.
What happens when I travel or change the environment?