This was me for 26 years:
– Travis Birkenstock was my spirit animal
– Up all night
– Reports and writing only achieved after midnight
– Switching to study at night at University.
– HATED waking up early
– Favorite days are training days when I wake up before 6 am and see the sun rise on my way back from the workout
– Waking up early in the weekends
– Bed time: 11 pm at the latest
– Loves day parties, which mean sleeping early.
How did this radical change happen?
This all happened when I broke my foot in 3 places and had to be in a wheelchair for nearly 6 months. The think was: I had to go to physic twice a week – and the only available time was 6:30 am. So I was FORCED to get up. And then I decided to keep it up and made a habit out of it.
Here is my blueprint and advice, in case it serves you too.
1. Know your limits.
Ask yourself what you do best in the morning or not. When I wake up at 6 am my brain is not active. I just grab gym clothes, which I leave right by my bed and go exercise. I still concentrate better a few hours after waking up. But running and exercising don’t demand my ntellectual support, so I just do that. Once that’s done I am actually awake and feeling GREAT (partly due to endorphins). So don’t try to wake up and write a book if that’s not how you work. Just use the morning slot with something you can actually do.
2. Plan ahead – don’t rely on willpower.
If you are not a morning person you are not going to become one with sheer willpower alone. My trick was to lay my gym clothes next to my bed every night and place my alarm clock far from my bed. So I actually had to get up to hit the snooze button. 99% of times that made me just go for it. It’s less tempting to get back to bed.
3. Plan to hate it.
I hated the alarm clock each morning. HATED IT. But with the above strategies, I just did it. Eventually I started to wake up before the alarm clock. Yep, that’s called building a habit. It doesn’t happen overnight (no pun intended) but it does happen and it GETS EASIER.
4. Find external motivation.
For me, physiotherapy was something just had to do if I wanted to walk again. Once I had recovered I wanted to keep up the habit so I decided to exercise in the morning. But I can be lazy and working out again after the surgery was painful and boring (more about this here) so I needed extra motivation. Again, don’t rely on willpower! I decided to pay a personal trainer. Which meant that not going was the same as loosing money and no one likes that. I then went further and found a trainer who came to my house twice a week so he could just drag me out of bed if required. So, arm yourself with something that is more important to you then that extra hour in bed. There are some great apps for it as well, so do some research and find your strategy.
5. It gets easier if you sleep earlier.
Obviously, once it gets easier to get up early you also begin to sleep a bit earlier.
6. Make it a challenge.
If after 21 days you still hate it, then don’t do it. But stick to it for a period before giving up. And if you hit the snooze button once a week that is FINE. Plan to fail sometimes, no one is 100% perfect! It’s consistency that matters, not perfection!