When you become an early riser, you’ll experience a lot of benefits, including feeling more energized and having more time to do what you want.
If you’d like to join the ranks of those waking up with the sun, there are some things you should know before you run off to set your alarm.
What exactly do you need to do to learn how to become an early riser?
Here are 5 tips I’ve discovered to be most helpful in making the transition from erratic sleeper or night owl to early morning wizard.
1. Choose to Get up Before You Go to Sleep
You’re not very good at making decisions when you’ve just woken up. You were in the middle of a dream in which [insert celebrity crush of choice here] is serving you breakfast in bed, only to be rudely awakened by the harsh tones of your alarm clock.
You’re frustrated, confused, and surprised. This is not the time to be making decisions about whether or not you should stay in bed! And yet, most of us leave the first decision of our day to be made in a blur of partial wakefulness.
If you want to learn how to be an early riser, try making your decision to rise at a specific time before you go to sleep the night before. This frees you from making the decision in the morning when you’ve just woken up. Instead of making a decision, you only have to follow through on your decision from the night before.
Easier said than done? Of course. But only for the first few times. Eventually, your need for raw willpower to get out of bed will diminish, and you’ll be the proud parent of a new habit!
Steve Pavlina suggests you practice getting out of bed during the day to get a few of the “practice sessions” out of the way without the early morning fog in your head.
2. Have a Plan for Your Extra Time
Let’s say you’ve actually made it out of bed 2 hours before you normally would. Now what? What are you going to do with all this time you’ve discovered in your day?
If you don’t have something planned to do with your extra time, you risk falling for the temptation of a “morning nap” that wipes out all the work you put into getting up.
Before you fall asleep, make a quick note of what you’d like to get done during your extra hours the following day. You could read a book, clean the garage, or write up that work report you’ve been putting off. Make a plan for when you wake up earlier, and you’ll do more than protect yourself from backsliding into bed.
You’ll get things done, and those results will fuel your desire to build rising early into a habit!
3. Make Rising Early a Social Activity
Your internet or social media buddies just don’t have enough pull to make your new habit stick in the long term. The same cannot be said for the people you spend time with as part of your early morning routine.
Sure, you could choose to read blogs for two hours every morning, but wouldn’t it be great to join an early breakfast club, running group, or play chess in the park at 5am?
The more people you get involved in making your new habit a daily part of your life, the easier it’ll be to succeed.
Consider finding an accountability partner who is also interested in becoming an early riser. Perhaps it’s a neighbor who you plan to go for a run with at 6 am. Or it could be your husband or wife, and you decide to get up earlier to spend more time together before the kids wake up.
Learn more about finding the perfect accountability partner in this article.
4. Don’t Use an Alarm That Makes You Angry
If we’re all wired differently, why do we all insist on torturing ourselves with the same sort of alarm each morning?
I spent years trying to wake up before my alarm went off so I wouldn’t have to hear it. I got pretty good, too. Then, I started using a cellphone as my alarm clock and quickly realized that different ring tones irritated me less but worked just as well to wake me up. I now use the ringtone alarm as a back-up for my bedside lamp, which I’ve plugged in to a timer.
When the bright light doesn’t work, the cellphone picks up the slack, and I wake up on time. The lesson learned? Experiment a bit and see what works best for you as you try to become an early riser.
Light, sound, smells, temperature, or even some contraption that dumps water on you might be more pleasant than your old alarm clock. Give something new a try!
One final thing you can do is put your alarm at least several feet from your bed. If it’s within arm’s reach, you’ll be tempted to hit the snooze button. However, if you have to get out of bed to turn it off, you’ll be more likely to resist going back to sleep.
5. Get Your Blood Flowing Right After Waking
If you don’t have a neighbor you can pick fights with at 5 am, you’ll have to settle with a more mundane exercise. It doesn’t take much to get your blood flowing and chase the sleep from your head.
Just pick something you don’t mind doing and go through the motions until your heart rate is up. Jumping rope, push-ups, crunches, or a few minutes of yoga are typically enough to do the trick. Here are 10 Simple Morning Exercises That Will Make You Feel Great All Day. (Just don’t do anything your doctor hasn’t approved.)
If you’re going to go for a full-on morning workout, remember to give your body at least 15 minutes to get moving before you start. Have a glass of water, stretch a bit, and then get into your workout.
If you live in a beautiful part of the world like me, you might want to use a bit of your early morning to go for a walk and enjoy the beauty of the world around you.
If you have a coffee shop open within walking distance, dragging yourself out of bed for a cup of coffee to savor on your walk home as the world wakes around you is a wonderful experience. Try it, and you’ll enjoy becoming an early riser!
Creating a new habit is always a challenge, especially if that habit is forcing you out of the comfort of your bed before the sun is even up. However, early risers enjoy increased productivity, higher levels of concentration, and even healthier eating habits!
Those are all great reasons to give it a try and get up a few minutes earlier. Try getting to bed a bit earlier and learn how to become an early riser with the above tips and conquer your days.
More on How to Become an Early Riser
Featured photo credit: Nomadic Julien via unsplash.com