Waking up is basically the bane of my existence. Waking up early has, for most of my life, been the stuff of myth and make-believe. My entire family chronically gets up late so maybe it’s genetic?
Regardless, if I could just get up with enough time to shower, dress and stuff something into my face before getting to work on timeish, I was happy.
When in the past, I’ve tried to get up early; I end up wasting an hour or more pointlessly hitting the snooze button over and over again. Since this type of “rest” or “sleep” is useless and I don’t exactly accomplish anything during this time, I was basically just losing 5 percent of my life trying to rouse myself. And I know I’m not alone in this.
But as they say, “the early bird gets the worm.” And after reading The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrond, it became clear to me how helpful it could be to wake up early and get the day started off right. If nothing else, getting a workout done in the morning is the only way to ensure it gets done as trying to fit in after work when I’m already tired is an iffy proposition at best.
So I made it my mission to get up early and start the day off right.
I’ve read plenty of tips on getting up early before. Steve Pavlina recommends practicing waking up quickly to ingrain it in your subconscious mind. Mark Sisson recommends weaning yourself off the alarm clock, and some e-book I found on Amazon recommends repeating some odd chant while rubbing various body parts (like the arms and shoulders… come on people). And of course, everyone recommends getting enough sleep.
None of that really worked for me (although the “enough sleep” thing certainly helps), but I have found a few key points to implement that have helped me and may help you defeat the semi-conscious temptation of pressing the snooze button over and over again.
Basically, I made waking up a process. Going from asleep to awake takes time, so there’s no need to try climb Everest (i.e. get out of bed) immediately. On the other hand, it’s a lot easier to simply do the next little step. These little steps also aren’t commitments, so your devious, subconscious mind has a more difficult time convincing yourself to give in to your enticing pillow, mattress and blanket.
1. The first thing I do is wake up to music instead of an alarm. The music comes from my computer in the room over, so I can’t just go turn it off. I have an alarm set to, but it’s for 15 minutes later.
2. Upon hearing the music, all I have to do is turn on the lamp on the side and take a drink of water. (This is a tip from Hal Elrond’s book; we all wake up a bit dehydrated, so water can help wake us up.) It also helps if you leave the blinds open so the natural morning light comes in. Darkness is for sleeping, so light, any light, helps.
3. Then my goal is just to keep my eyes open. This alone helps you wake up. You can then move your arms and legs a bit to get the circulation going. Finally sit up a bit on your pillows. Then I like to grab my cellphone and either check email or browse the Internet or play Angry Birds. Just do something.
4. Then when the second alarm goes off, I’m usually ready to go, or at least ready to take the next little step which is the shower. Showers help the waking up process, but cold showers are the best. Of course, cold showers suck. But you can get the benefits of a cold shower in mere moments. A few seconds of cold water hitting you in the morning will smack the asleep right out of you. Then you can turn it to warm and actually enjoy the rest of it.
This process has aided my ability to wake up early spectacularly (along with trying to get more sleep). Customize it to your situation (my method wouldn’t work as well for a married couple who wakes up at different times, obviously). But the general idea is to make waking up a process with little steps instead of a giant hill to overcome immediately. In so doing, waking up early becomes rather easy, instead of the brutal impossibility so many of us have come accept.