Sunday, 18 November 2012

Guide to develop the habit of waking up early

Waking up early is suggested by virtually all personal development gurus. Its like the badge of honor in most personal development communities online. So I think it's befitting that this is the first post on my blog especially since building the habit of waking early was the first  habit that I built in my quest of bettering myself.

I would like to tell you my story of what my life was like before I developed this habit. I am a student and like most students I was not fond of getting up early especially if I didn't have to. Every morning my snooze button on my alarm was utilized and abused until I absolutely had to get up, as a result it was a mad dash to get ready and get out the door every morning. I've missed more classes and appointments than I could possibly count because of it. Without the constraints of having to get up for classes during the summer or Christmas breaks my sleeping patterns usually went straight to hell and  I usually wouldn't have surfaced to at-least noon. 

I realized that my habits of hitting the snooze button and staying up into the wee hours of the morning were self defeating and holding me back so I set out to change my situation. I spent many hours researching online and discovered techniques that other people had used to change their sleeping habits. I applied what I had learned and experimented with it, I failed at my first few attempts at developing the habit but eventually I overcame my old habits and can now happily say that I rise early everyday. My life is now much calmer due to the fact that I can take my time in the morning, it sets the tone for the rest of the day. I feel more accomplished by getting up early knowing I started my day the right way. My days also feel more structured and organised since I know that I will be up at a certain time no matter what.

This guide outlines the steps I took to get up every morning at the same time, If you have read other personal development posts about waking early then some of this will be familiar. To make waking early a habit you should complete a 30 day trial of getting up at the same time everyday. Habits are basically actions that you undertake consistently and automatically it is common procedure in the personal development world to commit to a habit for 30 days to make it permanent.

 Before you start
Determine what time you want to wake up at every morning. It is recommended that you get up at the same time everyday as consistency is the key when building habits. If you get up at different times the habit will not stick. I aimed to get up at 7am every morning as this was early enough for me, You can get up earlier or even later if you wish.

To prepare yourself for getting up early everyday You need to change your habit of using the snooze button on your alarm. To do this I practiced getting up during the day, This may sound silly but trust me it works. I first discovered this technique from Steve Pavlina, you can find the article here:

Basically I set my room to morning conditions, I pulled my curtains set my clothes out and set my phone at the other side of the room. as soon as my alarm went off I would jump out of bed, turn off my alarm and immediately get dressed. I would then reset the conditions and do another practice set. Do about 60 of these practice sets during the first week of your 30 day trial, this will ensure that your conditioned to get up straight away when your alarm goes off

If you are using your phone as a alarm, change your alarm tone as you are conditioned not to get up with your existing tone, The trick is to condition your self to get up to the sound of your alarm. If you use a alarm clock that only has the one tone get a new one with a different tone.

Rules for success
to ensure success in your 30 day trial of waking early follow these rules.

1. Got to bed early to rise early
If you plan on getting up at 7 am go to bed about 7 or 8 hours beforehand. This means you should be going to bed at 11 pm or 12 am. Getting enough sleep is the most important thing you can do to ensure success with this habit I cannot stress this enough.

2. Have a morning routine
I outlined a sequence of action that I planned on following as soon as I got up these where

  • get dressed
  • wash face and brush teeth
  • Get breakfast
  • Groom
doing this sequence of actions ensures that I don't go back to bed.

3. Do not miss a day
If you miss a day reset the challenge back to day 1, missing a day will break the consistency and break the habit.

4. Defeat grogginess
 when feeling groggy in the morning don't rationalize going back to bed, tell yourself it will pass in 20 minutes as it usually does. also drinking a glass of water and doing some star jumps will snap you out of grogginess.

5. Reward yourself
Reward yourself as soon as you can, The hardest part of waking early is getting out of bed in the morning, make it easier by rewarding yourself straight away. I drink a glass of Juice or  water after I get dressed and go to the kitchen.

If you have any questions or feedback about this article please feel free to comment.


  1. Interesting first post. I will be following your blog for more!

    I like the condensed information, it really is about just doing it and not thinking about it.

    One, thing, in your first paragraph you write 'its' instead of 'it's'. Just a small grammatical error, makes reading easier!

    Keep going!

  2. Hi Nicolas

    Your exactly right, If you have just been awoken during a deep sleep cycle you aren't in the right frame of mind to make rational decisions. The only thing you will want to do is turn off that blasted alarm and go back to bed for a while longer. Conditioning yourself to get up to your alarm takes out any decision making in the morning, You just get up and get ready for your day automatically . Its almost robotic as many morning I've found myself out of bed and dressed before my mind even starts functioning normally.

    Thanks for pointing that out, its fixed now :)

    Thanks for your feedback and thanks for following my blog I really appreciate it.