Maybe you don’t want to wake up at 5 a.m. Maybe you just want to wake up earlier. I’m going to tell you how (and why) I wake up early every day.

waking up early to see man feeding bird in park in Dublin, Ireland. gather your thoughts and journal by waking up early

But first, getting up earlier than you’re used to is not easy. When I was in college, I was the queen of the snooze button. My roommate hated it! That carried on into my early twenties when I worked the corporate job. But eventually, I discovered that once I was up, I actually enjoyed the quiet of the early morning hour before most people were up. And as a bonus, I was the most productive during the early hours.

Here are my 6 tips to waking up earlier:

1. Have a Why for Waking Up Earlier

This is possibly the most important reason for developing a habit of waking up earlier and sticking with it. You have to have a reason why.

If I didn’t have a reason why, I would probably snuggle up next to my husband and spend another hour cozy and warm in my bed. I must have a great reason to get up and start my day.

First, I have a passion for creating content and doing the work I love. I also have a passion for being there for my family when they need me. Those two things tend to run into each other later in the day. By getting up earlier than the rest of the house, I’m able to get a head start on the day and create content before people start tearing me away from my work.

Second, I discovered early on in my career(s) that in order to gather my thoughts for what I hope to accomplish in a day, I needed a few moments (an hour) to myself while the house was quiet. This quickly led me to learn that I create my best content in the early morning hours. Why would I not want to capitalize on those early hours whenever I could?

Third, sometimes that extra hour to myself in the morning has nothing to do with what I do for a living. When I worked as a CPA in corporate America, I used that one extra hour in the morning to develop a side project or side hustle. When I was arriving at the CPA job between 7 a.m. and 8 a.m., I was getting up at 5 a.m. just so that I could have an hour only for what I wanted to do. No one could tell me what I did with that hour. For me, it was to write Mindspeak. For you, it might be to start an Etsy store, work on your photography, or start a blog.

2. Go to bed sooner

Duh. No one is advocating that you get less sleep. This is easy math. How much sleep do you truly need? If you need 8 hours of sleep, and you want to get up at 5 a.m., then you need to be in bed falling asleep at 9 p.m.

I am thrilled if I can get 7 hours of sleep, so I typically get in bed around 9, and try to be asleep by 10.

Now, if you have admitted to yourself that you want to get up earlier, but you can’t possibly go to bed sooner, we can discuss in another post nighttime routines to help you fall asleep faster. For today, let’s concentrate on waking up early.

3. Drink a glass of water soon after rising

During the night, your body has depleted its water supply, and your body is in need of hydration, even if you’re too sleepy to admit it so early. Drink a glass of water soon after rising, and you will give your body a natural jolt, telling it it’s time to get moving.

4. Caffeine

I’m a caffeine drinker. That’s a habit that I just haven’t found a good enough reason for stopping. I’ve tried to think of one, but my doctor told me that my 1 to 2 cups of coffee in the morning is okay, and I’m relying on her expertise. And I just love sipping a warm mug of coffee in those quiet early morning hours.

Maybe tea is your thing, or maybe you just need warm lemon water. But I love having a warm cup of something as I spend an hour of quiet before the rest of the world joins me.

5. A Morning Routine

(Actually this is the routine before my morning routine)

Sometimes it’s a matter of putting your body on autopilot until you’re fully awake. In that case, have a routine. (Get up. Pee. Wash hands. Brush teeth. Feed dog. Walk to coffee pot. Start coffee. Let dog out to pee. Drink glass of water. Put creamer in coffee. By this time, I’m awake. Let dog back in. Both of us head to the office to begin the first hour of my morning routine.)

6. Take a shower or get dressed

Now, for you to wake up early, you might need to wash your face, take a shower, or get dressed for a workout. I don’t do any of these things in the first hour. The first hour is only for me to have my coffee, do some writing or reading, or to journal/plan for the day. It’s quiet time. If I were to take a shower or get dressed, I would wake up my husband, and that defeats the purpose of me getting an hour in a quiet house.

But for you, you might need to do these things in order to get up early. Maybe you’re getting up earlier in order to get your workout in early in the day because you’ve found you tend to skip the workout if you save it for after work. Or maybe you need to get out of the house for your hour to yourself. Maybe you like to go to Starbucks for your morning coffee and alone time. That’s fantastic, but that usually requires a shirt and shoes, so getting dressed might be part of your routine.

The point is, if you’re striving to wake up earlier, find a routine and create habits that inspire you to stick with it.

For me, waking up early and creating has become part of who I am. It might even surprise you to learn that I tend to rise early even on vacation. This is not because I’m a workaholic, it’s because I love that time of the day.

It’s your turn! What are your tips for developing a get-up-early habit? Or, maybe you refuse to get up early. I’d love to hear a counter-argument to my get-up-early requirement.

Photo credit: © Robert Sunseri

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