Ok, I know this is hard to imagine but it can be done, even without cold water, slaps to the face or the world’s strongest coffee. You can even wake up refreshed and quickly, without needing your snooze button. You may even finding yourself waking up without an alarm. You want to know the best part? You’ve probably already done this before, you just weren’t aware. The secret is all about thinking of waking up as more than just a physical action. You have to prepare yourself in advance to wake up, otherwise Mr. Sandman is going to rule your morning hours.
You know those annoying people who seem to always be happy in the morning? Why do you think they’re happy? They’re happy because they have something to wake up for, something that they can’t wait to start doing.
These personal motivators are the key. Little kids do this all the time. Does Santa Claus ring a bell? Saturday morning cartoons? These were prime motivators for my brother and I for getting up at the butt-crack of dawn without an alarm clock. We would go to bed on Christmas Eve really early, because we knew that the sooner we fell asleep, the faster we could rip open our bounty.
Or on Saturdays, without an alarm clock, we would wake up and gorge ourselves with sugary cereal and rot our brains with cartoons. It’s funny what you can make yourself do with the proper motivation, isn’t it? So why doesn’t this work in our adult lives? Because we’ve associated waking up with some terrible things.
As a kid, waking up meant playing, cartoons, exploring… in general, having fun. As an adult, waking up means going to work, parenting, responsibilities, and much more. In short: you’re waking up to a grind. Not very much incentive, is it? We need a way to get out of that grind, and to wake up to something better.
1. Find something to wake up for
This is the easy part, and the most important. In order to get into the habit of waking up early, you need to put your attention on something during the next day (or later in the future) that you want to do.
This can either be a long-term project or goal, a few smaller things that you’ll be doing immediately the next day, or a combination of the two. But it has to be something that you have a passion for.
You remember how Peter Pan needed a happy thought to fly? It’s the same concept. It won’t work unless it’s something you really like. This is your adult equivalent of Santa Claus or Saturday morning cartoons.
Long-term projects/goals. These (in my own findings), tend to work the best. Take that project or goal that you’re excited about completing. If you don’t have one, start thinking about creating one. We humans love to meet goals, finish tasks and complete things. Especially the goals that we want to do.
Right now one of my major motivators for waking up is launching a website I’ve been developing for over a year. I’m getting really close to launching it, and it is thrilling to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Little Things. If you don’t have a long-term goal or project, a few things that you get to do during the day will work as well. For example, reading a chapter in a great book you’re started, getting to have a date with a significant other, playing that video game… anything. You just need something that will turn your previous negative feelings towards waking up into positive ones.
2. Develop a one-track mind
Now that you’ve got your goals, it’s time to use them. Before you go to bed at night, think about how you’ll be either 1) working on completing that project or 2) doing those little things you love the next day. It’s important to think about the outcomes of these goals, and what will happen once you complete them.
Using my website development example again, I think about how my website will finally start to make me money. That will be a huge relief, and once I start making money off of the site I can start developing the site further, which is the really fun part of the process.
3. A Better environment
Another helpful factor to waking up is making it pleasurable. I like reading in the morning, before I get ready. Also, I run before the day begins to help clear my mind and relax. If you like coffee, go ahead make it. It sure doesn’t hurt to smell that as you wake up. Sometimes I make a hearty breakfast for a treat. Don’t let your routine get stagnant and boring. Also, you’ll find it’s easier to wake up when you’re well-rested. Nothing you haven’t heard before, but honestly, a good night’s sleep is crucial.
4. Make it a habit
By making your morning ritual a… well, ritual, you will find it easier and easier to get up. It will become habit. I know people that get up 5am without an alarm and regardless of the day, because they’ve made it a habit. (Even on the days that they want to sleep in).
Ultimately, the trick is to make your mornings special, like they were when you were a kid. Be a little selfish and spend some time for you in the morning. It’s ok if that means waking up earlier, you’ll be able to do it. Before you go to bed, think about your goals, and how you’ll accomplish them the following day.
I’ve used this method myself and found that when I’m mindful of the big picture with goals, it’s much easier to wake up in the morning. I even find myself wanting to wake up. I know it sounds weird and a little sick, but it’s true. This method has personally helped me to become more productive, because I’m not slamming the snooze every 10 minutes and getting worthless sleep. I’ve already started my day!