There are mountains of evidence about the power of waking early. Ben Franklin was on to something when he said, “Early to bed, early to rise; Makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.” In fact, when you read about the daily routines of some of the most “successful” people in both the modern world, and our history, you’ll see evidence of the power of early mornings, and the activity that becomes possible when it’s done. In fact, Ben Franklin himself is said to have had a morning routine that lasted two hours, from 5am-7am, every single day.
It’s not always easy waking up early. For years, I was a night owl, and I was even a bartender for many of those years, so it was easy for me to stay up until 4 or 5 in the morning and then sleep all day. I used to think all my great ideas came at night, especially after I had lubed up the creativity wheels with Polish potato vodka. When I took on a project that required I be awake at 3am each day, I thought there was no way I could do it. Or, I thought the only way I could make it work would be to stay up from the night before. That obviously doesn’t work, especially when I am out in the field for 12 hours at a time. So, I had to adapt. I had to force myself to go to bed earlier so I could get enough sleep before the alarm started buzzing at three o’clock. My livelihood depended on it, so I did it. At first, it was horrendous and I survived on 5 hour energy shots and I couldn’t believe people actually enjoyed waking up that early every day. They had to be full of shit. No sane person would do this to themselves on purpose. But then, my body, and my mind, started changing. I actually started “popping” out of bed at 3 am to conquer the day. The only down side, was that in order to implement any routine of the habits I was hoping to build for a greater life, I’d have to be up at 1 or 2 in the morning, and that just wasn’t going to work.
Instead, I left the position that required the early mornings and got a new one. This time, I could wake up at 4 am and still get the necessary time to complete my routine before I even had to think of work. This keeps me focused on the big picture. My routine only takes about two hours to complete, so by 6 am I have done more towards my dreams than many people do in a month. These two extra hours every day are reserved just for me, and what I find important when designing my life. The impact of all this consistent daily action is like compounding interest on my dreams.
Why I Now Enjoy Early Mornings
I think that quiet solitude is one of my favorite components of the early morning wake-up. Traffic is light if I drive anywhere. Sidewalks are empty. Hiking trails are less busy, and people seem friendlier. And, there is no rush. I am up 5 hours before I would have to be anywhere, so there is plenty of time to do anything that needs to be done, eat, digest, relax-whatever. Another experience I’ve come to love in the mornings, is the sunrise. I get so much inspiration watching the world come alive with the rising sun. The rest of what I consider the power of mornings, rests with my particular routine. I’ll be sharing those daily habits that make up my routine as we go through the next couple of weeks.
Tips on Waking Up Earlier
If you can see the value of waking up early, but think you can’t, here are some tips to help you get started. The important thing to remember is that you don’t have to do anything grandiose and huge. Don’t be afraid of baby steps. Any action is better than no action, and if you take too big of a leap, you may shock your mind and want to give up right away because it looks too hard. Honor yourself and the journey and take it one step at a time. Here are some things to try:
- Go to bed earlier. Get as close to 8 hours of sleep as you can.
- Put your alarm clock far from the bed
- Leave the bedroom as soon as you turn off the alarm. That warm bed has a way of drawing you back in if you don’t get away fast enough
- Do not negotiate! You’ll know what I mean when you start having conversations with yourself about not really having to get up. Maybe I can just hit snooze once…Trust me, this has been one of my biggest struggles. Apparently, I am quite the negotiator.
- Make a plan for what you’ll do with your time. I will be sharing my morning routine that is based on where I want to go and who I want to be in this world. Yours will likely be different. But, you don’t want to work so hard to wake up earlier, just to waste your time in front of a TV or a newspaper (unless that’s part of your goals).