24 Tips To Becoming An Early Riser
Written by Glen Stansberry of LifeDev.
Since I've become a full-time freelancer, I've found one of the hardest things to do is to get up early. Without the threat of being fired, there just hasn't been a whole lot of motivation to get out of bed in a timely fashion.
I've quickly learned that getting up is crucial to success as an entrepreneur. And better yet: waking up early is really just a habit. You don't need any skill to do it. You just need to wake up consistently to condition your body to the routine. Here are some tips I've picked up along the way to ease the process of developing the habit of getting up early.
The most important thing to keep in mind is that you have to be motivated to get out of bed. Motivation is the only thing keeping us homo sapiens from lying in bed all day eating twinkies.
1. Create a conducive environment to wake up to. It may sound strange, but how messy my room is greatly affects how easy it is to wake up in the morning. I've found that if I have an orderly room to wake up in, I'm more inclined to bypass the snooze and start my day.
2. Get enough sleep. This one isn't a mind-bending concept, yet it's still the number one reason most people struggle with early rising. Aside from all the health benefits to getting enough sleep, it makes it a jillion times easier to wake up early. (A jillion folks. I had to use a fake number to show the importance.)
This probably means that you'll have to make some sacrifices in order to go to bed at a proper time. Don't worry, you won't even miss the late hours once you start seeing the benefits of waking up early.
3. Plan your day the night before. Writing down all the big, important things you'll be doing the next day give you the extra spring in your step to wake up early and quickly. If you've got a purpose, you've got a big reason to wake up.
4. Don't read in bed. Spending as little time as possible in bed will actually help your body realize that the bed is for sleeping, and not lying awake for hours. The goal is to fall asleep within 10 minutes of getting into bed.
5. Don't eat directly before bed. If you eat more than two hours before you go to bed, your body will have to digest the food, keeping you awake.
6. Eliminate stress. Stress is one of the main causes of poor sleep. Relax yourself before getting into bed. Try controlled breathing exercises, yoga, or any other tactic to lower your stress level. This is good for you anyway.
7. Reward yourself. Don't think for a second that the reasons for getting up have to be totally work-related. Remember waking up really early on Saturday mornings to watch cartoons? That's right: motivation. Occasionally give yourself rewards to anticipate the next day. A favorite show, ice cream, your favorite breakfast... anything for you to look forward to.
8. Exercise. Early morning exercise is great for waking a body up. It gets the blood flowing, raises levels of serotonin (happy chemicals), and will start your day off on the right foot. Exercise ultimately makes you feel better about yourself, and if you do it in the morning, will also help you wake up.
9. Don't lie in bed awake. The goal is to almost literally jump out of bed. The longer you stay in your bed, the more tempting it is to hit the snooze. And getting 10-20 minutes extra sleep after you've already woken doesn't really help you. It sends you back into a restless sleep that drains your energy before repeating the torturous process of waking up... again.
10. Sleep with windows open. The fresh air is better for you, and allows you to sleep more deeply.
11. Try to get up with the sun. Sunlight has many benefits to waking up. It raises that blessed serotonin level, regulates your circadian cycle, and keeps you up. But any sort of light will do for waking up before dawn (you overachiever, you).
12. Be Consistent. Make sure that you go to bed and wake up every day at the same time. Consistency develops habits, and waking up early is only a habit.
13. Listen to your body. Your body does a pretty good job of telling you what it needs. If you're still feeling tired, go to bed earlier. Your body will find a suitable sleeping pattern soon enough.
14. Go outside I've found that going outside and reading or exercising first thing in the morning is great for waking up. Feeling the breeze and sunlight on your skin, hearing the sounds of morning, all these things together stimulate just about every sense in your body.
15. Change alarm sounds often. Don't let your body get used to hearing the same alarm every day. Drudgery never motivates, my friends. Use alarms that are pleasant, and change them often so they stay pleasant. There's nothing worse than waking up to something that sounds like a horn on a Chevy.
16. Lay everything out the night before. Collect and lay out all your clothes and any other peripherals you'll need the night before, so you don't have to make those decisions in a sleepy state. Having to make decisions in the morning can make you not want to wake up.
17. A.M. Radio Associating waking up with fun things like music can train your mind to think that, "Hey, waking up isn't so bad after all!"
18. Use the extra time productively. - What's the point of getting up a few hours earlier if you don't do anything productive with the time? Your brain is pretty smart, and if it figures out that waking up earlier doesn't really have any benefits, game over. There has to be a reason for getting up.
19. Write down why you're getting up. What will you be doing when you wake up? If you write down the actions that you'll be doing the next morning with your extra time, you're giving yourself incentive to wake up.
20. Plan important events in the morning. This, if anything, will force you to get out of bed and moving. Schedule meetings, interviews, anything that requires you to get up and moving by a certain time.
21. Find an accountability partner. If you're having trouble sticking to early rising, find someone who will hold you accountable to early rising. This should preferably be someone who is also trying to wake up early, so you can help each other in your quest for early morning dominance.
22. Tell people about your early rising. Letting the world know about your early morning prowess is yet another way to keep yourself accountable. Nobody wants to live a lie, right?
23. Avoid Naps. It's a proven fact that nappers sleep worse at night. Naps break critical sleep cycles that keep us from getting the proper types of sleep we need.
24. Track your progress. Use a goal tracker like Joe's Goals to simply track how you're doing. Visually seeing your progress is a great way to stay motivated and focused on the goal.
These are just a few ways that you can improve your ability to wake up earlier. Finding the best routine for you is the most critical, and requires some experimentation. The key thing to remember is that waking up should be a pleasant experience. If you can make waking up something you look forward to, you're already halfway on your journey to becoming an early riser.
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