It is well to be up before daybreak, for such habits contribute to health, wealth, and wisdom. – Aristotle
Give yourself a valuable gift: the first hour of the day.
Few habits have the power to transform your life as does the habit of rising early. Not only does scientific research support the notion that getting up early increases productivity, but numerous high achievers credit this habit as critical to their success.
But the high correlation between success and rising early isn’t why I strive to maintain the habit. For me, getting up early gives me a sense of well-being. Early mornings are quiet, peaceful, and energizing.
Getting up early provides you…
- One quiet hour for yourself during the most crucial part of your day: the beginning.
- The opportunity to control your day, rather than allowing your day to control you.
- Time to do the things you really love to do, but somehow never have time for.
For most of my life, I have been an early riser. But as I’ve been writing more over the last several weeks, I’ve begun staying up an hour or so later than usual, which has resulted in my sleeping in later than usual. So when my 5 AM alarm rings, I get up and re-set it to 6 AM.
This small change in my routine has made for many a rushed morning. And because I’m not getting that extra hour, I’ve been unable to do a few essential things that set up my whole day for success: planning, reflection, and goal-setting.
In a previous post, I challenged readers to get up early and offered a number of ideas for cultivating this new life discipline. Here are some things I have personally found helpful to consistently rise early.
1. Have a reason. Know what you want to accomplish. How will it benefit you? How will you utilize the time? Once you know your why, or your reason, keep that in mind as your motivation.
2. Make gradual minor changes. Sudden drastic changes in sleep patterns can be difficult. Instead, try rising 10-15 minutes earlier over a period of several consecutive days.
3. Create a space for solitude. Whether it’s a comfy chair, a desk or a kitchen table, find a place to sit quietly and gather your thoughts.
4. Prepare for the morning the night before. Once you decide what you’re going to do with the extra time, you should take a few minutes to prepare before going to bed.
5. Sleep earlier. I know, this is obvious, right? If you’re going to start getting up earlier, then you’ll need to start going to bed earlier.
6. Make yourself accountable. Being accountable to others (and to ourselves) is a big incentive to stay on track. The simple act of telling someone you intend to do something can be very powerful, whether it’s your spouse, a family member or a friend.
7. Give yourself enough time. It takes about a month to get free of a bad habit and develop a new one, so allow yourself enough time to see if it works for you.
Awareness always precedes change, so the first step to eliminating my negative habit is to recognize and acknowledge it. Now that I’ve developed an awareness about the behavior I am trying to change, I am well on my way to replacing it with the desirable behavior – getting up when the alarm rings.
I have also found that becoming aware of a weakness attracts solutions into our life. For example, once I realized that my writing was interfering with my sleep schedule, I started to notice some opportunities to better utilize my time in the evenings, allowing me to complete my writing and still get to bed on time.
I also noticed that I had stopped preparing for the morning the night before. By making a few small changes, I can set myself up for success.
So, over the coming weeks, I will use these insights to help me transform this weakness into a positive habit – one that will add richness, energy and happiness to my life.
If you are not already doing so, I invite you to experience the power of rising early.