I have finally managed to break myself of my late night habits and create a new habit where I wake up every morning just as the sun rises, so I thought I would share my methods with others who may be struggling with this as well. Don’t worry, it’s a lot easier than you might think. If I can do it, I assure you, anyone can.
Do not think or rationalize The most important part in this whole process for me is NOT THINKING. When your alarm rings in the morning, do not think at all, just get up. This may be easier said than done at first, so when you are first starting out with this, don’t have a plan for the morning the night before. If you have a plan to run, or meditate, or do yoga or whatever you may have in mind the previous night, when that alarm rings, you may just find yourself hitting the snooze button and saying that you will do it later. This has happened to me a lot. Even though I would get that thing done eventually in the day, I did not like that I changed my alarm time and went back to bed. So at first, don’t have a plan, the only thing you need to know is when you hear that sound you get out of bed, you will figure out the rest of your morning once you are up and about. Once you build this habit, its useful to have an overall purpose for the day, that gives you a reason to wake up and seize the day. But at first, creating a plan may lead to thinking about the plan when you wake up, and if waking up is already difficult for you, the last thing you want to do is think about something. You want to just get out of bed. The longer you wait in bed, the more time you have to convince yourself to go back to sleep. For me it took me 1 solid week of consciously rushing out of bed without thinking as soon as I heard the alarm. Deep down, I had a good idea of what I wanted to do with my morning, but I never made a clear plan for it. Now I hear the alarm, sit up, look out the window and calmly get out of bed because the habit has been ingrained in me.
Go to bed earlier. This may sound like an obvious one, but it is nonetheless a hard habit to break if you are not used to it. Readjust your mental clock so when 7:30pm rolls around you tell yourself it is 10:30pm. So whatever time you are used to sleeping, for me it was midnight to 1am, start doing all the things you do at that time 3 hours earlier. Now if its movie night with my wife, we make sure to start it by 7, not 9 or 10. So by the time its 1030, I am in bed ready to sleep. Even if you can’t sleep, get in bed by a set time every night, read if you have to, but get into bed mentally ready to sleep. Once you start waking up early once or twice, you will be surprised how quickly you will fall asleep earlier as well.
Set a fixed wake up time every day Create a balance between your old habits and your new ones. Not everyone has to wake up at 4am, so if you don’t need to wake up that early to get things done, don’t. I have my alarm set for 6:45 every day of the week. That allows me to stay up a little late to get things done, like I have been used to for a long time, but also wake up early enough to get a morning workout in. I work well at night, so I did not want to change my habits to the point where I would need to sleep at 8 to wake up early. I wanted a blend of both habits. Give yourself room to work with and create the schedule the way you want it. Don’t follow other people’s schedules just because it seems impressive to wake up at 4am every morning. Make your routine the way you want it and the way that suits your lifestyle best. It is more important that you wake up the same time every morning than making sure you fall asleep at the same time every night. The falling asleep will take care of itself once you are tired, the more important thing is building the habit of waking up.
Its okay to have one day to sleep in For me Sunday is my sleep in day. I relax and rest in bed till about 9 because I know I have all day to accomplish everything I want to accomplish in the day. Reward yourself for your discipline and take one day off, as long as it’s only one day and not every day.
Be sure to have good reasons for why you want to wake up early If you are doing it just because many people say that’s the way you should live your life, the habit won’t take root. It will break. Any habit or routine has to come from within you. So write down your reasons for why waking up early will be useful for YOU and remind yourself of them. I have labeled my alarm on my phone “today will be the best day of your life.” As soon as I see that, my brain is now programed to just sit up and get out of bed. I see the note and it hits me that today will be a beautiful, amazing day, so I WANT to get out of bed and start the day. Writing reminders for yourself is a very useful way to transform an action into a habit. And once its a habit, the battle is over.
I now love waking up early and seeing the sunrise. I missed a lot of beautiful sunrises in my life. But I have now been able to form a new habit and am getting immense value out of it. In fact I wrote this post early in the morning and watched the sunlight hit my house as I wrote it. Waking up early was worth every minute.