HOW TO WAKE UP EARLY
The secret to training yourself to get up early so that you start your day off right, bright, and early.
So you want to wake up early, huh?
Maybe you've heard about the habits of highly successful people and got inspired to start setting your alarm bright and early. Perhaps you love the idea of having leisurely, quiet time to yourself in the morning so you don't start the day off in a panicked hurry. You've heard that the early bird gets the worm, and maybe now it's time you see for yourself if that's true.
It's one thing to WANT to get up early. It's another to actually do it.
For those folks who struggle to get out of the warm, comfortable bed in the morning, we've compiled 6 tips for waking up early.
1. Prepare like you care
Waking up early starts with successful planning the night before. Don't half-ass preparation. If you don't properly set yourself up for a successful sleep, you're not going to feel great when you wake up. As important as it is to set an alarm to wake you up in the morning, you need an equivalent reminder the night before to start getting ready for bed.
Create a nighttime routine so that you're asleep early enough to allow yourself to get the necessary hours of shut-eye your body needs. Keep your room cool, dark, and quiet when you sleep. Before bed, shut off electronics that emit blue light energy, which tells your body to stay awake. Read or journal, dim the lights, and get comfortable.
2. Associate waking up with something awesome
Make waking up early bearable by rewarding yourself with something that you really enjoy and that you ONLY have in the morning. For example, you could allow yourself some time to read a few pages of a favorite book, enjoy a special breakfast, or bask in that glowy morning light. If you're waking up early to exercise, consider making a fantastic playlist or buying a new pair of sneakers to spice things up. As you perform your morning routine and do that thing you love, take a moment and truly tune-in to how it makes you feel. Relish in it. Make a memory. Then, the next morning, recall how you felt so that you start to associate waking up early with that feeling.
In contrast, if you experience something negative in the morning (e.g., reading work emails that stress you out, watching the news), then you'll associate the morning with stress. This will not make you look forward to waking up early. To keep your mornings enjoyable and peaceful, ban yourself from doing anything potentially upsetting or negative until a certain time.
3. Make a morning mantra
The struggle to wake up early is fought in your mind. What's your first thought when you hear your alarm? If it's, "I'm tired. I need more sleep. Just ten more minutes," guess what's going to happen? You'll press snooze again and again. The sleep you get during this snooze time isn't quality sleep either, so it's a lose-lose. If you can control your mind to ignore the thoughts about how tired you are, waking up early will be much easier. How can you avoid thoughts of snoozing? Repeat a morning mantra that will remind you why you're waking up early. It can be something funny, tough, or inspiring. If you set an alarm on your phone, you can add a label to it so that you see your mantra when you reach for your phone to shut off the alarm. Some ideas:
Today is a new day. Let's start something good.
You are a badass. Now wake the heck up!
You may hate me now, but you'll love me later.
It's 5:00 a.m. Do you know where your coffee is?
It's never too early to start crushing your goal.
Repeat this mantra to yourself as your brain starts to focus.
4. Move it, move it
If conscious thought is way beyond your capacity first thing in the morning, then let your body take the lead. The second your alarm goes off, start wiggling your fingers and toes. Another trick is to immediately put your feet on the floor so that you're forced to sit up right away, even if your head is in your hands. Blink your eyes open and move your eyes and neck around to stretch everything out. Get the blood flowing so that your body gently awakens your mind.
A classic trick to get yourself up? Try putting your alarm clock on the other side of your room so that you HAVE to get up in order to turn it off.
As soon as possible, get away from your bed by getting out of the bedroom. Out of sight, out of mind, right?
5. Ease, please
You may have a target wake-up time in mind. That's fantastic! Let's say it's two hours earlier than you currently wake up. Imagine all that you can do with two extra hours in your morning! For most people though, suddenly shifting your sleep schedule two hours earlier is a drastic change that could backfire. Luckily, as you wake up earlier over time, your body will adjust. So set your alarm in 15-minute increments to get to your target sleep/wake time. By that logic, it will only take you 8 days to reach a wake-up time two hours earlier.
It's worth mentioning the value of consistency with sleep cycles. If you sleep in on the weekends, your body may get confused. If you're truly committed to building the habit of waking up early, then you'll have to stick to it on weekends too. To make yourself still feel like you're rewarding yourself on the weekend though, consider doing something extra special for yourself on early weekend mornings (e.g., whipping up an elaborate breakfast, doubling the amount of "me-time").
6. Establish external accountability
Having someone hold you accountable can motivate you to get up and out of bed. If you make plans with someone else early in the morning, you'll know that they're counting on you to show up. That knowledge can be the game-changer in making sure you don't sleep in.
How can you create external accountability? Find an accountability partner. Make plans with this person the night before about the next morning's check-in. If you're meeting in person (possibly for exercise or a coffee date), arrange an early meet-up time with this fellow early riser. Make sure your accountability partner is comfortable waking up early so that you don't let each other off the hook. If you're virtually checking in, send a text message and take a photo as proof that you're awake.
Training yourself to wake up early is a process. Have patience with yourself and recognize that it may take a few tries before it becomes completely routine.
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