Throughout most of my life, I lived for the night. The thought of waking in the early hours of the morning seemed like a horrible crime. I would stay up as late as possible, sleep in as long as possible, and do everything possible, to avoid it. My days consisted of two things: work, and couch time. I was literally accomplishing nothing, yet believed this was life.
For the typical person, this is their life — trading their time for a paycheque, until you’re out of time and the paycheques stop coming. But, when I finally stopped snoozing my passion and made the switch to early rising, something amazing happened — I started to get stuff done! I finally found time to pursue what mattered and no longer had an excuse not too.
So, how do you make the switch? Simple. Don’t hit the ‘snooze’ button! Resisting the ‘snooze’ is one of a few key factors in any early morning routine.
Tip #1 : Don’t use it!
Try placing your alarm–usually your phone these days–out of reach somewhere that requires you to physically get out of bed to shut it off. Once you’re up, you will be less tempted to jump back under the covers.
Tip #2 : Head for the shower.
Jumping in the shower as soon as you rise will increase your success rate even further, but if you find this uncomfortable, just make sure to adhere to the mindset of: Once the alarm goes off, keep it off! But remember to immediately get out of bed before you have any chance to fall back asleep. Though difficult at first, this method is surprisingly effective.
Now, I did NOT succeed in my goal of waking at 4:30am, overnight.
What worked for me, was simply rising a little earlier, each day, until I reached my desired goal. For me, the ideal time was 4:30am, which I established over a 30 day period of tweaks and adjustments, by focusing on what I hoped to carry out in the morning.
I had two goals: first, hit the gym by 5:00am, and second, write from 6-8:00am–that’s it. Because this routine focuses on meaningful tasks that fill my morning with purpose, creating the habit was actually easier than I anticipated.
Tip #3 : Ease into the routine.
Don’t try to make a drastic switch from, say, 7:30am – 4:30am, overnight. This is exhausting, and will make you cranky, setting yourself up for failure. Start small and try rising 15 min earlier, each day, until you’ve reached your desired time.
Tip #4: Make it a habit.
As the weeks go on, your body will gradually adjust, requiring less and less effort to wake on its own. This is the power of habit, and usually takes no more than a month to develop.
So, how has waking in the early hours of the morning changed my life?
Truthfully, it’s the greatest gift I ever gave myself. By waking early and making my passions a priority, my life has become a lot more meaningful, and I no longer need to make excuses for why I can’t do this or that. There is no such thing as: too busy, too tired, too stressed, etc., It’s just a matter of prioritizing what’s important to you.
My morning routine was born from this belief, and gave me all the necessary drive to spring out of bed and do MY work ( passion) , before work ( a paycheque for nurturing someone else’s passion). I now have more energy than ever, I look and feel great, and I have more restful sleep. By completing my most important work first, I start the day on a positive note, creating momentum which carries me throughout the rest of the day.
I like the idea of doing YOUR work ( passion) , but why not do the work, AFTER work — in the evening?
I’m sure in some cases this is a legitimate possibility, but for most of us, it’s simply to easy to make excuses after work. If it isn’t excuses, its other obligations. After work, you’re either too tired, have social engagements, or your kid’s soccer game you forgot about..oops!
Point is : things come up — that’s life. Which is why it’s really important to do your most important tasks first. Make them priority Numero Uno. So no matter what happens, you don’t ‘snooze’ your passion — your life’s work.
Trust me, I’m not all about work and routine. I love to spend a Saturday, relaxing, alone with my thoughts, essentially doing ‘nothing.’
Doing something, for something’s sake, is highly overrated.
However, you know what’s better than a lazy afternoon doing ‘nothing’…Making your passion a priority, and then spending the rest of the day, however you choose, knowing that you’ve already completed your most important work.
I no longer feel guilty about how I choose to spend my time because I do my most important work first, before I there’s a chance to make excuses not too. How I choose to spend the rest of the day essentially becomes irrelevant.
Waking at 4:30am, isn’t for everyone, but it has changed my life for the better without question. If you’re thinking about starting a new morning routine, I sincerely urge you to give it a try. Make it a 30 day challenge!
These productive hours are yours for the taking, and it’s surprising how much you can do while others sleep. During this time of the day there are no excuses; nobody is calling, or emailing, or texting, you only have one responsibility, and it’s the most important of all! — Don’t ‘snooze’ your passion, wake up and live a meaningful life!