I made a habit to get up at 5:00 a.m. every morning over two years ago and I’ve been sticking to it pretty well. Sometimes I’ve moved to 5:30 a.m. but then that leaves me only half an hour until I like to start work and my day just doesn’t go as well.
I haven’t always been an early riser.
For years I felt really frustrated when I opened all those smart books about the highly effective habits of successful people. Each one of them told me that successful people wake up early. That simply wasn’t me.
I identified as a creative night owl. My best artwork developed after the sun went down, but the rest of my life wasn’t working out so well with late bedtimes after 12 a.m.
I hated waking up with the mid-morning sun in my eyes and half of the day already gone.
I wanted to know how to actually start getting up early after I’d been a night owl my whole life. I didn’t really believe it was possible, but for some reason, I gave it a try.
8 Steps that Helped Me Start Waking Up Early
1. Go to bed by 9:30 p.m.
Going to bed earlier and getting enough sleep at night is the most effective way to get your body ready to wake up early.
2. Set three alarms for the morning, at 15-10-5 minutes apart.
I use my phone as my alarm. It’s easy to set as many alarms as I need to this way.
BONUS TIP: It always works best when I keep my phone plugged in out in my kitchen. Most importantly, I have to walk further to get to it to turn it off. Secondly, this keeps me from browsing social media right before I go to sleep.
3. Get up the first time your alarm goes off.
Put your alarm in the kitchen or living room — somewhere where it echoes off the walls and sounds really loud. At least put it somewhere away from your bed, across the room. YOU HAVE TO GET OUT OF BED RIGHT AWAY FOR THIS TO EVEN HAVE A CHANCE OF WORKING. Drill this into your head and mentally prepare yourself.
Once you get up and turn off your alarm, take your half asleep self straight to the bathroom and…
4. Take a shower.
You should shower immediately after you get up. Do not turn left, do not turn right, do not pass go, DO NOT GO BACK TO BED. Stand there like a zombie under the hot water as long as you have to. The water always wakes me up nice and slowly.
5. Turn the lights on.
I get it, you won’t want all the bright lights on as soon as you get up, but once you’ve taken your shower you may still feel a little groggy and you will need something to encourage your brain to wake up.
6. Turn music on. (optional)
If you have little people that you don’t want to wake up, just plug into your smart phone with some ear buds and pick your favorite playlist as you heat water for a cup of tea.
7. Eat something.
After I get dressed, I have a cup of hot tea with a light breakfast of peanut butter on a piece of Ezekiel Bread toast or oatmeal.
Did you know? “The ideal time for breakfast is within an hour of waking. You are much more likely to overeat later in the day if you don’t have something within the first hours of daily activity. Eating breakfast can even help improve mood and cognition.” —Live Strong
8. Choose a ten-minute self-care activity.
Read for ten minutes. Write down one word or phrase that stands out to you in your journal.As you practice this, you'll be able to not only better retain something that you learned but see progress in your personal growth.Click To Tweet
Or spend ten minutes doing a gentle yoga routine.
Some gentle stretching also really helps you stay up once you’re awake if you still feel tempted to go back to bed.
I love this short morning wake up yoga routine with Adriene on YouTube. My day goes the best when I incorporate both of these activities in my mornings, spending a full twenty minutes to fill my soul before I start work.
The Benefits of Waking up Early
Establishing good morning habits and waking up early successfully is so worth it. Remember that it might not feel good right away.
Your days will automatically be more productive.
You’ll get to work on time.
You’ll feel less stressed.
You’ll have more patience with those around you.
You’ll make better eating decisions throughout the day.
You’ll find yourself hitting more of your goals.
You’ll find yourself feeling more confident and capable.
With time, you’ll begin to feel inspired in the romantic quietness of the early morning hours as you sip your coffee or tea while you watch beautiful sunrise colors stretch across the sky.
It takes Time to Form a New Habit
New habits typically take about a month to form. Don’t be hard on yourself if you don’t feel like this sticks right away.
If you’re stubborn about sleeping in like me, you might get up to turn off your alarm and wake up 15 minutes later right there on the floor where you came to turn off the alarm and simply laid down and went back to sleep. I’ve done this more than once.
When I tell you I struggled to learn to get up early, I’m telling you, I STRUGGLED. But I won.
4 Tips to Make the Habit Stick
1. Commit to change.
Decide that you are going to do this, no matter what.
Stayed up till midnight or later?
I guarantee you will go to sleep earlier in the evening after a day or two of being sleep deprived as you work on your morning habit to wake up early. You are a champion. You can do this.
2. Don’t stop.
Tried it for a couple days and relapsed? Stuck to it for a couple weeks and then slacked off? Honey, that’s normal. That’s life. Don’t give up. Set your alarms again and start again. You’ve got this. You can do this.
3. Start with manageable goals.
I always give the advice to start getting up at a do-able time. I started out with a 6 a.m. rising. Then I moved up the time when I got used to 6 a.m. Some people just need to start with a morning routine period — maybe it’s simply starting to get up by a specific time each morning and establishing that routine of showering, eating, and self-care.
4. Keep your morning schedule on the weekend.
I know. This is hard. This isn’t for everyone, but this has definitely helped me stick to an early morning habit. I’ve discovered that starting a weekend morning nice and early allows me to make the most of my weekend. I may sleep in for an hour, but I don’t recommend sleeping in more than an hour past your week day rising time.
Comment below if you decide to learn the habit of waking up early. We would love to be your cheerleaders!
The post 8 Practical Steps to Establish the Powerful Habit of Waking Up Early appeared first on Urban Southern.