Waking up early in the morning is difficult, but you want to do it because all the experts say you need to in order to be successful.
You need to get up early so you have enough time to get in your daily journaling. You’ve got to write down your goals every day or they won’t come true, right?
You want to be successful, so you need to get up early, do extra work, focus on what you want to accomplish that day, and push yourself toward success. That’s why you want to get up early…right?
You need a compelling reason to wake up earlier and do stuff.
In order to successfully change your sleep schedule and wake up earlier, you need a compelling reason. And that reason needs to be more important than sleeping how you have been sleeping.
Why is it that you want to get up early? Let’s say you normally get up at 6:30 AM, so now you read some articles on LinkedIn and saw some YouTube videos about the power of getting up early, and all of a sudden you want to start rising at 5:00 AM every day.
To get stuff done.
What stuff, exactly?
Do you need to make a todo list for the day, and does that really take an hour and a half to do? Is that todo list important enough to lose sleep over, or to at least change your sleep schedule?
Are you going to start journaling, so you can work out your problems on paper, recite your goals, and create a plan for the day? Is that really compelling enough, and even if it is, do you have to do it at 5 in the morning?
Your body will fight you on this.
Sleep is vitally important to our wellbeing, and your slumber must be protected. You have to get enough sleep to function optimally, so you can’t just get up early for kicks.
When you first start waking up early, you’ll probably just be missing out on sleep the first few days. It may take a little while for your body to adjust and start getting tired earlier in the day. This is normal, and you will probably just have to power through it.
You can’t just remove hours of sleep from your life…you just need to move them around. Sure, if you normally sleep 10 hours per night, you could probably get away with 8 or 9, but that’s not really what’s going on here. You probably get 6–7 hours, so if you just cut off 1.5 hours, you’ll end up in bad shape after a while.
If you want to get up early, you have to go to bed earlier.
My compelling reason was running.
For years I tried to get up early because that’s what so many successful people did. At least the ones I was reading about.
I tried to get up early to write because I thought writing novels would be cool. But maybe I’m not really a novelist, so I was just extra tired all the time and figured there was no reason to do that specific task early in the morning. That reason wasn’t compelling enough.
I tried to get up early to do some journaling. But it became mundane and mindless to write my goals down every day. While it’s important to have goals, merely writing down the same goal every day can make it meaningless. When you’re tired, your body learns to do things on autopilot, and writing down the same sentence or two every morning at 5:12 AM will take away the goal’s weight. When you think about that big goal, it needs to be when you’re alert and when you can focus. For me, it became a robotic action and therefore wasn’t compelling enough.
Running was compelling enough, and there’s a very specific reason why. I started running again after a super long break, and it was only natural to run when I got home from work. As my runs got longer, I had less and less time to unwind at night. I started thinking about running in the morning, but that seemed like a terrible idea because I don’t like to get up super early. I had tried it before (see above), and it felt bad. But now I was running out of time to do an activity I really wanted to do. I wanted to get better at running. I wanted to run longer and harder. I wanted to start training for a race. And then work started to get in the way of having a good run.
I was sometimes exhausted after getting home from work. Sometimes the traffic was so bad I didn’t have the time to get a good run in. Sometimes I wouldn’t have enough time afterward to cook a good meal.
Getting up early to run was the only option left because I had to get stuff done.
What’s your compelling reason?
So what’s your reason for waking up early? What stuff do you have to get done that can’t really be done at any other time besides the morning?
The key here is to pick a morning activity that paves the way for you to make a sustainable change in your sleep habits. Your reason for waking up early will become your reason for turning off the TV early at night. Your reason will become why you avoid alcohol during the week (it ruins your sleep quality).
What you can only get done early in the morning will be your compelling reason to make changes in your daily habits.
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