From Night-owl to Early Bird – How I Became a Morning Person

I’ve struggled my entire life with waking up early.  No matter how hard I try to wake up early, I could never pull it off.  Sure, there are exceptions like when I was in school or when I had to get up early to go to work.  If I absolutely have to, I can manage to pull it off, but it’s been an ongoing struggle to do it with any kind of consistency.

A typical morning goes something like this – the alarm blares, jolting me awake.  I hit the snooze button to get another 15 minutes of sleep.  15 minutes later, repeat.  I might even set the alarm to get an extra 30 minutes of sleep in.  After finally getting up, I feel like the day’s already started off on the wrong foot.

But there’s just something about the morning time that is special.  It’s the start of a new day.  In the words of Og Mandino:

Welcome every morning with a smile. Look on the new day as another special gift from your Creator, another golden opportunity to complete what you were unable to finish yesterday. Be a self-starter. Let your first hour set the theme of success and positive action that is certain to echo through your entire day. Today will never happen again. Don’t waste it with a false start or no start at all. You were not born to fail.

I’ve always admired people that could wake up early, energized and ready to go.  I’ve always thought of the morning as a peaceful time, the best time for self-reflection and personal growth, a time to get things done and prepare for the day.  Even so, I could never manage to pull off waking up early.

I’ve tried so many times over the years to become a morning person.  I would decide that ‘starting Monday, I’m getting up at 7am.’  Monday came around, and I’d get up at 7am feeling great.  By the time Thursday came around, I’d be back to my normal habit.  Needless to say, my results were pretty bad.

Pretty bad until Recently.  After all of these years I’ve finally managed to become a morning person.  So how did I do it?

Clarity:

Get absolutely clear on what you want, and why.  If you’re clear on what you want, you’ll be able to come up with a plan that will help you to achieve your goal.

I decided that I wanted to get up at 6am every morning, Monday through Friday.  On the weekends, I decided that I would not sleep longer than 8 hours.  I decided that I’d use that time to work out and work on my personal growth.  I became clear on what an important role waking up early has on my life.

Turn your Desire into a Burning Desire:

Everything we do starts with desire.  When that desire becomes strong enough to do something, we will do it.  Now that you know you want to wake up early, how can you create a strong enough desire to make it a reality?

But how do you want to want to do something?

  1. Put in writing all of the reasons that you want to wake up early.
  2. Write down what you’re missing out on by not getting up early.  Write down everything you can think of.
  3. Write down what you’ll gain from waking up early every morning.  Write down everything you can think of here also.

You want to make sure that this list makes you really want to wake up.  If not, you should go back and add to it.  If you do this properly, you will really feel that not waking up early is more painful than waking up early.  You’ll build your desire to wake up early to gain all of the benefits that you’ve written down.

Some of the things I’m missing out on by not waking up early are less energy, starting my work day behind schedule and rushed, missing out on the most peaceful time of the day, and a feeling of no discipline.  Ultimately I think it will have an effect on the level of success I want to achieve.

Some things I would gain by getting up early are more energy, personal time to accomplish things I otherwise would not do, a feeling of accomplishment and discipline, more quality time with my wife, and more personal time in the evening.

Belief that you Can Accomplish this:

It’s not always enough to want to do something.  If you want to do something, but you don’t believe you can do it you not even try.  It’s important to build a strong faith that you can accomplish your goals. You must have confidence that you can do it.

Write down the reasons that you know you can wake up early.  Some of my reasons were that I’ve been able to wake up early in the past to go to work and school, and I’ve built such a strong desire to wake up early and I have confidence in myself that I can accomplish anything I really want to do.

Decide and Commit:

You have a strong foundation in place, but you must decide that you will do this no matter what.  Make the decision that you’re  going to wake up early, and commit to doing it no matter what.  When you truly decide to do something and commit to it, with conviction, you must do it.

You’ve gotten clear on exactly what you want and why, you’ve created a strong enough desire to want to do it, you have the absolute confidence that you can do it, and now you’ve made the decision and committed to it.  You’re almost ready to start waking up early, just a couple more things are necessary.

Plan:

You must create a plan that will allow you to achieve your goal.  Without a solid plan, you’re setting yourself up for failure.  Make a realistic plan that will allow you to accomplish your goals.

Here are a few things that I have in my plan for waking up early:

  1. Wake up at 7am for one month, then change it to 6am – This allowed me to “ease” into being  an “early bird.”
  2. Get to sleep before midnight – Although it’s different for everyone, 7 to 8 hours of sleep is the recommended sleep time.
  3. Wake up to happy music – Starting the morning with an obnoxious buzzer jolting me awake is not a great way to start the day.  I found a song that I woke up happy to, and it’s been so much more pleasant to awaken to.  I also change songs once in a while to keep it fresh.
  4. Put my feet on the floor immediately when the alarm goes off – I decided that if I can learn to sit up and put my feet on the floor immediately, I have a much better chance of not going back to sleep.  If I lay in bed and think about ‘just a few more minutes,’ I will certainly fall asleep.  Sitting up and putting my feet on the floor allow me to make much better decisions.
  5. No late night meals and no caffeine at night – This helps me to get a better night sleep.
  6. Enjoy the mornings – I decided that I would use this time for personal growth, and that it would be my special time for myself.  I now really look forward to this time!
  7. Review my plan regularly and make the needed adjustments – This allows me to monitor my results and make changes as needed to be successful with my plan.

Take Immediate Action:

This is where many people fail.  Once you’ve completed the steps above and have a solid plan, you must take action.  Without action, you’re just dreaming.  Nothing will get done.  And by not taking immediate action, your chances of being successful pass with each day.

Take some kind of action immediately – even if it’s a small action.  Some of the action steps I took were:

  1. Change my thinking – I changed my thinking to focus on my desire to wake up early.  I focused on wanting to wake up early, and believing that I can, and will do it.
  2. Review my plan – I reviewed my plan often, along with the reasons I want to wake up early and the reasons I know I can do it.
  3. Visualization – I regularly visualized myself waking up early, in a good mood, and seeing the benefits I’ve gotten from waking up early.

Once you accomplish this, make sure to review your results and adjust your plan as needed.  You might find somethings that work and some that don’t.  Don’t get discouraged.  Keep working to make sure your desire and faith are strong enough to accomplish this, and make sure that you have a solid plan and put it into action.

After putting these steps into action, I’m happy to say that I’m now officially an “Early Bird.”  Now I value the mornings.  I feel like I’m able to start the day off right and accomplish so much more than before.   I have so much more energy and my attitude has improved so much from this and I’m truly grateful that I made this transformation.

Have you made the change from Night Owl to Early Bird?  Please leave your comments below and let us know how it’s working for you, and what you did to make the change and become a Morning Person.

4 thoughts on “From Night-owl to Early Bird – How I Became a Morning Person

  1. This is so relevant to me right now. I’m searching my itunes library tonight for my perfect wake up song and starting Monday morning I’m using it.

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Jonathan! That’s a great rule of thumb, but it’s been tough for me most of my life. I finally am able to enjoy it and reap the benefits. I was talking about general schooling and college (long time ago). I’m no longer in school (although like you always educating myself), but I meant that I know now that I can wake up early because I was able to do it in those days, when I had to. I needed to give myself the proper desire, belief and motivation.

      I took a look at your blog also…very nice. I’ll be stopping by more soon.

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