One bad habit I have struggled with for years is not waking up on time. It is as if I have two persona’s; the person I am awake and the zombie I am in wee hours of the morning. Through trial, error, and hard-work, I have mastered the art of consistently rising early. I now have more time to enjoy my life each day, experience less stress, and sleep better as a result.
1. Set a Back-up Alarm
No matter what kind of alarm you currently use, I encourage you to go buy a second alarm clock. Buy the most obnoxious clock you can find that will not automatically turn off after an elapsed time. I purchased one of those old school clocks where the hammer hits the bells. It was a perfect choice because it didn’t shine any light at night and because the ringing ANNOYS the heck out of me.
Place this clock as far away from your bed as possible and up high if you have children or a height challenged fiancé. This will force YOU (not an angered family member) to be the one who has to get up and turn it off.
This works for two reasons:
- You are more likely to get up when your normal alarm clock goes off because you dread hearing the second alarm.
- Once you are out of bed, you’ll draw a line in the sand. You learn not to place as much as a butt cheek back on your bed. By making that commitment you are free to start your day on time, every time.
2. Be Consistent
Simply go to bed around the same time each night. You have an internal body clock. The more you sleep and rise consistently, the easier it becomes to wake-up when you want to.
I set a deadline. I tell myself I need to be in bed between 10 – 10:30 p.m. It doesn’t mean in bed asleep, but at least in bed with a book (no technology). That keeps me consistent as it normally takes me a similar amount of time to fall asleep each night. Plus it is easier to perform, since the act of physically going to my bed is something concrete that I can control.
3. Drink a Tall Glass of Water
Every night, I drink a large cup of water. When the alarm sounds I suddenly realize how loudly the toilet is screaming my name! This one takes some trial and error as you have to find the right amount of water that works with your bladder. If you drink too much water, you may just end up waking up in the middle of the night or even worse, wetting your bed!
4. To-do List
Every night before bed I write down what I plan to do for the next day. I often will include time frames in which each thing will take place. For example:
5:55 a.m. [Rise]
6 a.m. – 7 a.m. [Exercise]
9 a.m – 5 p.m. [Work]
6 p.m. – 7 p.m. [Sky Diving]
And so forth…
Not only does this keep me organized and productive, but it gives me a reason that I have to get up. Ever notice how you can’t make yourself wake-up on your days you have off, but somehow you manage to get up in time for work/school each day? If you have nothing planned for the morning… plan something fun. Use that time for you, otherwise you would just be sleeping it away. Perhaps you can watch a favorite show, read, write, exercise, mediate, or simply reflect.
5. Planned Excitement
Pick something that you enjoy doing each day and save it for the morning. You may have to be creative on this one, but just think outside the box.
When I was in high school I would think about how exciting it was to make myself look “cool” for the ladies. Now I save checking my gmail and social media accounts for first thing in the morning. I don’t allow myself to check it at any other time during the day. That way when alarm goes off I get excited to jump out of bed since I am anticipating communication on my accounts. If you are a social media addict, maybe just pick one account to save for the morning.
Tools and Motivation
What is the single best thing that helps you wake-up on time?
“This post first appeared on How to be Happy.”