At any given time, I’m sure I could name at least ten things about my life that I would like to change. Don’t get me wrong – I appreciate my life and I focus more on what’s right than what’s wrong. I know how important it is to be content with where I am right now. But we’re all works in progress and life is always willing to teach us more about what our strengths and weaknesses are. It may sound contradictory – saying I want to change and be content with myself at the same time – but that’s my reality.
There is always going to be some area of our lives that feels neglected. And I’ve discovered that taking the time to pay attention to these neglected things, even in a small way, makes me feel more appreciative, more fulfilled and definitely more confident.
In this new series, “Upgrade Your Life”, we’ll give suggestions for how you can make small, gradual changes to impact your life in a big way. No matter what it is you want to do, there are baby steps you can take to get there.
This first post is focused on How to Become an Early Riser.
I’ve never been a morning person. Almost every morning is rushed and frantic. I rarely have time to eat breakfast before I get to work. I often find myself snapping at the kids and rushing them because I’m running late. This pattern has been bothering me for awhile.
I often think about how I can steal away a little more time to myself. It finally occurred to me that I need to start getting up earlier. I want to have at least one hour to myself each morning to exercise, write, meditate or do whatever my heart desires before everyone gets up. This is a way for me to start the day with me, myself and I and get centered before I face the day. This is no small task for me, as I’ve always been a late to bed, late to rise kind of person. And yet I’m convinced that this change, daunting as it may seem, will be worth it.
Here’s my 5 step plan:
1) Go to bed early enough to get X hours of sleep. You probably know how much sleep you need to function at your best. I need about 7 hours most nights. I can get away with 5 – 6 sometimes, but I try not to make a habit of that. If getting up early is a real priority, then you’ll do what you have to do and make the necessary sacrifices to get to bed.
2) Get up at the designated time no matter what. To start off, I’m just focusing on getting up at 5 am. I won’t put any pressure on myself to get up and do this or do that. This way I won’t feel overwhelmed. Just the effort of getting up at 5 am and staying up is an accomplishment for me. When I get up, I make myself leave my bedroom. I keep an alarm next to my bed and one over by the door. That way I can’t rationalize as I continue to lay there in the warm bed.
3) Express the importance of this project to the family. It’s surprising how much support you get when you let it be known that you need it. I told my family about this effort and how it was a serious thing for me, and they didn’t laugh at me! When my alarm goes off now, my honey nudges me and tells me to get up. His support helps tremendously.
4) Focus on what you will get out of it. When I say focus, I mean somewhat obsess over it. I’m doodling “5 AM” all over my journal. I’m writing about it. I’m talking about it. I’m thinking about how I will feel during that early morning hour to myself….what I’ll do…how proud of myself I will be…how this morning treat will positively affect the rest of my day.
5) Don’t beat yourself up or give up when you oversleep. Everyday last week I had the intention of getting up at 5 am and I didn’t achieve it not once. It was very discouraging but I kept trying. This week has been much better. I’m determined. I want to prove to myself that I can set a small goal and be consistently focused on it until it becomes a real habit. If I fall off for a day, I’m right back on it the next day, trying to get back on track.
No matter how many mistakes we make or how slow we progress, we are still way ahead of everyone who isn’t trying. ~Author Unknown
Love this article! Ive been struggling with waking up,.that l set an alarm for 5am, then another for 5.30am then the last one at 6am but i still dont wake up until lm late. I guess l need to be more determined, the cold in my bedroom doesn't help as well, staying in the warm blankets always seems like the better option.lol
I am nite person BUT the times when I do rise early I don't feel tired, I sleep better at night & I get so much accomplished during the day.
I loved this article!!! The hard part is putting the kids to bed on time lol.
It's amazing how getting up a few hours earlier than before makes such a big diff in my day. Kitchen cleaned, lunches fixed, etc.
Thanks for the tips!
i need to read this over and over. I didnt even go to work today because i didnt feel like getting up.
Man o Man! I have been a bum for about a year & a half..i.e going to bed late & getting up when ever. But now I have school & am required to not only get myself together but my toddler son as well. I will try some of these handy tips b/c getting earlier than expected is HARD. But I try to get up w/ just enough time to get out the door, now I realize that the small window of time can really help out my day. Thanks for the article!
These tips were the perfect read for today as I'm trying to start getting up for a 6am yoga session. Signing up for unlimited classes and practicing 3x/wk is a challenge I've just accepted. I've got everything ready to go for tomorrow morning!
This is so timely! I've been really struggling with this lately. I'm a stay-at-home wife and I take my husband to the train station every morning. No matter how many alarms I set, I never get out of bed until he is ready to walk out of the door. I then have to rush and throw on sweats and run blurry eyed to the car so that I don't make him late! I am going to give these steps a try because I am so sick of myself
Great post! I find it's actually easier for me to wake up when I HAVE something to do. A few years back I committed to doing this set of workout videos EVERYDAY for 60days (Insanity). At first it sucked, but after a while it got easier to get out of bed just on the strength of the fact that I'd been doing it for so long. Definitely need to get back into a routine! 🙂 ~H
Great post! I try to make an effort to wake up every morning at 445 or 5am to go for quick run. I try to do this on the days that I have class at night or I know I have something going on BUT that damn bed always wins the fight. Thank you for this because this is very encouraging to get my lazy butt up!
I like this as well, I dont like to get up early, but once I am up thats it. It's making it past the 2-3 alarms i set and continue to hit the snooze for 30 minutes or more..sometimes and hour. (i know SMH too). But every week i strive to get up early. I am going to try these tips. Thanks goodness i dont have any little people, It's just me. Thanks for the Tips
Ditto to what Jenelle said! Thank you so much for this article! I am always late…always. It is a wicked habit that started from elementary school and followed me to high school, church, work, etc. I needs help cuz i know that it is not a good thing. Pray me that i will be early for the rest of the year!
I like this. I have "two" alarms: the 5:00am alarm that I need to get up to and then, the 5:30am that serves as my back-up. The problem is, it's not really a backup if I intentionally wait for the 5:30am and plan on snoozing thru the 5:00am alarm!
What will help me is if I get my clothes and lunch together the night before (for both me and the baby), program the coffee maker, and pack my gym bag as well. This combined will help to shave off a lot of time in the morning, allowing me to not have to rush!