5 Ways to Wake up Earlier
You’ve heard about the benefits of waking up earlier: more focus time, exercise time, more organized planning time, reflection time, etc. You don’t need to be sold. Understanding the benefits is easy, but the tough part is actually doing it.
I’ve managed to be up between 5 and 5:30 every day for the last year and then some. I use this time to meditate for 20 minutes and then write some thoughts in a journal. At times, I’ve done some breath work and also tried adding in exercise in the morning session, but the meditation & journaling are the bedrock of my morning routine before kids wake up.
I’ve found a few things that work for me to get the momentum and keep waking up early and maybe they’ll help you as well.
There are quite a few that never worked for me. Putting my phone in another room before bed sounds great, but I use my phone to cast shows at night. Not watching TV before bed would be taking away one of the rare quiet, relaxing periods of the day where my wife and I can do something uninterrupted. Choose the tips that work for you.
5 Tips That Have Helped Me Wake up Early
- Consistent scheduling — alarm to go to bed.
You don’t need to actually set an actual alarm, but you need to pick a consistent “in-bed time” and then a “eyes closed time”. It’s helpful for me and my family for me to have a “start bedtime with the kids” alarm on my watch where I get a silent reminder to get the bedtime process started. Just decide on these times and be more aware of them.
We shoot for about 30 minutes for kids bedtime prep and then we are in our own bed. I try to get eyes closed about 1-hour later, sometimes 1.5 hours.
2. No negotiations — don’t rely on your “morning self”.
The first 30 seconds of your day when you are waking up is absolutely not your ideal frame of mind. Your lizard brain tells your body says “stay in bed, your plan is silly. You can do that other stuff later after a bit more sleep.”
If you stay to negotiate, you will cave. Your best bet for success is to not tolerate morning negotiations, just movement. If you can stand up and make it to the bathroom, you are 75x more likely to stay up and not sleep in.
3. Water on the face.
Once you get to the bathroom, one of your tasks should be to take a second to splash your face with water. This triggers something in your body to get the heart pumping and a tiny little jolt of adrenaline. This can help cement your path to staying up.
4. Less Pressure, more forgiveness.
Don’t be ‘all-or-nothing’. If you wake up earlier but not exactly as early as you like, take it as a win. If you mess up and sleep in completely, just focus on tomorrow. Keep trying, keep your self-talk positive. I get trapped inside ‘streaks’ and get terrified of breaking them. Streaks can be helpful until they are not. There’s nothing magic about the streak, but there is something magic about momentum and cementing habits. I wake up at 5am 99% of the time, but if I miss a day somehow (kids & dogs cause all kinds of midnight messes…) I let it roll right off me and pick it back up the next day.
5. Do something with your time that brings you joy.
How did you feel on Christmas morning as a kid? Tap that energy. Waking up early to do something you don’t like will not help. Meditating works for some people, but it’s not necessary use that time to meditate. If you hate running, struggling to wake up at 5am to run will be a recipe for failure. Try writing, reading a book, exercising, or something else that fires you up. It’s your time and you only get so much! Framing your morning time as yours to do with what you want and can’t wait to do will multiply your chances for success.
Hopefully these ideas will help you find that lost hour in the morning. It has been a game-changer for me and has provided lots of time for me to focus on my day and get started in the right state of mind.