We all know how to wake up early when we really have to.
If you’re off to work, going on a trip or you’ve got young children, you’ll be familiar with the dawn of the day.
But would you do it consistently by choice?
Being an early riser is possible, but why would you want to?
There are three excellent reasons why learning how to wake up early can dictate your day:
1. You have a window of opportunity
The day is fresh, the place is quiet and you’ve got an hour or two to yourself. This is prime time, and it’s yours for the taking if you want it.
2. You waste less time later
Once you know how to wake up early, you can go to work sooner. Leaving early means less traffic and a quicker commute, unless of course you work from home.
You can also take some time to prepare for the day ahead -- always a good way to ensure you use your time well.
3. Time for the ‘above and beyond’
If your time really is at a premium, it can be difficult to do more than maintain the status quo. After all the work, chores and commitments that take up most of the day, how many minutes are left?
More to the point, how well do you use them?
That early hour is perfect for personal development of almost any kind. In fact, that’s how this website was created.
Okay, that’s the ‘why’ part; here’s the ‘how’...
Go to sleep only when you’re ready
Some people believe that going to sleep at the same time each night is the answer if you want to know how to wake up early consistently.
But every day is different.
You can use more energy one day, then less the next depending on what you do. Trying to go to sleep at exactly the same time each day, regardless of what your day was like, means you won’t always be tired enough to fall asleep.
Going to bed at the same time each night is okay. Just don’t expect to go to sleep at the same time.
Get up at the same time every day
If you want to know how to get up early, consistency in the morning is key. Begin each day at the same time and then go to bed when you’re genuinely tired.
To start with, don’t worry about actually getting up any earlier. Focus on getting up at the same time every day, including your days off.
Use two alarms
This is a more humane way to get yourself out of bed than the frankly masochistic method of using just one alarm far away from you bed to jolt you into action.
Keep alarm #1 next to your bed. This is your ‘snooze’ alarm. Set it a few minutes earlier than alarm #2. It gives you some time to get to your second (out of arm’s reach) alarm before it goes off.
Once you get into the habit, you can establish a better morning routine because you know when and how your day starts.
Work towards your target time
If you typically get up between, say, 7:00 and 8:00, and you want to get up every day at 5:30, don’t do too much too soon. Stagger your earlier starts.
Commit to a week of waking up at, say, 6.30 and be out of bed by 6:45. Gradually shave off time in 15 to 30 minute increments until you reach your goal.
Have something to get up for
Relatively early rising is hard at first. It takes a mix of motivation and self discipline to get lock in the habit.
What’s your motivation for getting up early? Make sure you have a plan, a purpose and a reward for your 'golden hour'.
Prepare the night before
When I wake up, I appreciate going into a nice, clean kitchen and starting my day with a cup of tea. On the flip side, going into a messy kitchen or sitting down with my drink at a messy desk isn’t quite so appealing.
Whatever you do to make the next morning start smoothly is invariably worth the time and effort you take to do it.
Lock in the habit
If you want to know how to wake up early consistently, commit to this for 30 days. By then, you’ll reach the point at which you don’t need your alarms.
If, after that time, it’s still not for you, look back on it as an interesting experiment and go back to bed. :)
Learning how to wake up early and doing so daily will open up hundreds of previously untapped productive hours each year.
What will you do with them?