Quite a few of my clients tell me they are night owls who want to start waking up earlier…. but they’re not sure how to get started. They tell me things like: “I plan to go to bed earlier but then next thing I know I’m watching a show on Netflix, responding to texts and messages or surfing on Facebook.”, “I have clients and customers who expect me to answer them late at night.” Or “Often I have social functions I attend in the evening and I end up staying too late. Then I need time to unwind.”
I am not surprised by these statements, we’re all busy and have distractions galore that we’re competing against. Fortunately, there are ways around it though and you CAN learn to wake up early…yes, even when you’re a night owl.
#1 YOU MUST WANT IT! What is your purpose for wanting to wake up earlier? What do you plan to accomplish? Is this something you are interested in? Or is this something you are committed to? Is it because you want to become fit by exercising daily? Is it because you want to feel more energized and productive throughout the day? Is it because you want more focused time during the day to work on writing your blog or a best selling book? Because there is a big difference between being interested in or committed to…. if you want to be successful with early morning wake up, you need to be committed to it.
#2 SET YOURSELF A BEDTIME ALARM. Set an alarm on your smartphone for 45 min prior to the time you want to go to bed. (It varies by individual but generally you’ll need 6-8 hours of sleep per night for peak performance.) When your bedtime alarm goes off, begin winding down with a bedtime routine. Winding down includes no more screen time, turn off your gadgets and electronics (lol I know this may seem like mission impossible at first but I promise you can do it if you’re committed enough). You can do relaxing activities such as reading a book, journaling, taking a bath, meditation and even sex with your partner has been proven to promote a great night’s sleep.
#3 PLAN YOUR MORNING ROUTINE. Plan ahead. Decide what your morning routine will consist of and write it down. I recommend a morning routine that begins with some cardio exercise followed by activities such as gratitude, goal setting, writing, personal development or reading. (I have developed my own routine called the Morning GRACE Method which consists of Gratitude, Real Time Goals, Affirmations, Creative Living and Exercise. Reach out to me if you’d like a copy of my routine.)
#4 SET YOUR ALARM CLOCK WITH THE NEW TIME AND MOVE IT ACROSS THE ROOM. This will force you to get up out of bed to turn it off…DO NOT PRESS SNOOZE. DO NOT GO BACK TO BED! Get dressed and leave your bedroom immediately to begin your morning routine.
#5 PREP YOUR MIND. If you are constantly telling yourself that you’re a night owl and that you can’t wake up early…then you will create that in your life. It will become a self fulfilling prophecy. Our thoughts and words are powerful. Yes, you are in the habit of staying up late right now so it will take committed time and effort to change your habits and for your body to adjust to the new routine, and if you stick with it, you will be successful! It’s incredible how our bodies can adapt to change if we commit ourselves to the change. Here are some things you can begin saying to yourself to ease the transition:
“I am becoming an early riser.” “I am finding it easier and easier to wake up early.” “I am excited to wake up early so I can accomplish <insert your goal>.” “I am committed to improving my productivity, increasing my focus and growing my business by waking up early.” “I’m excited to take full advantage of the day tomorrow.”
#6 BE WILLING TO MAKE SACRIFICES AND SET BOUNDARIES. If you really want this you will need to trade some of your leisurely late night activities for the peaceful, productive morning hours. If you have clients who expect you to work late at night, then you’ll need to establish boundaries. Let them know what you’re up to and tell them when your cut off time will be for responding to emails or messages. Most people will respect your hours if you stay firm. If you attend events in the evening, aim to leave the events at a reasonable time. (It’s okay to still have a life and attend late night functions sometimes…as long as it’s not on a continuous basis.)
One of my clients, (let’s call him James) implemented the strategies above (including daily exercise) and he was amazed at how much more productive and energized he felt throughout the day. In the beginning, he really struggled with shutting down at night and with not pressing snooze when his alarm went off. He also needed my encouragement and support for setting boundaries with clients, friends and family. Over time James developed the new behaviors which are now habits for him! He started blogging on a daily basis for his business, his confidence grew and he feels he has a better business/life balance.
If you would like more support with rising early, I offer personalize coaching programs and I also offer access to a free Facebook group which you can join here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/Your5amWakeupChallenge/