Have you ever wondered why children seem to get up earlier at weekends than weekdays, even earlier on Christmas morning or birthdays? Why is it, when we are off on holiday we seem able to be able to get up and go far easier than when it is a normal day ? The fifth of the ideas below answers those questions, but before we get there, the first four have equal significance to be able to get up earlier.
Now, before we get started, this is not easy, it needs some perseverance, and once the cycle and habit is set, you'll wonder just how you never made the effort to adjust before - trust me, it is amazing.
Waking early (and by early I don't mean 7:30, I mean 5 - 5:30 am, gives a time of peace, tranquility, a chance to do the important things before anybody impacts on your day. Add to that the feel good factor of having achieved a number of your key objectives before most people are up, and all of a sudden, there seems to be far more space in your life.
So here are the 5 hacks :
1. Remove tech from the bedroom. It is a place for sleeping, not a cinema, office, concert hall - it should be a sanctuary - a cave to be safe, warm and at peace.
2. Cut down on evening daylight. Not just going to bed earlier, but by turning off tech, phones, laptops etc, which emit artificial light, our brains become less exposed to stimulation, and so sleep becomes easier, deeper and more beneficial.
3. Feel the pile. By touching down on the carpet or rug as soon as possible, sitting up, the temptation to hit the snooze button is gone. If your commitment is just 'to sit up with my feet on the floor every day at 5:30, then guess what, you will naturally move on to something else - the appeal of snuggling back down has gone. It becomes a mini-habit (as outlined by Stephen Guise in his book of the same name).
4. Get active as soon as possible. Get the blood flowing, the oxygen circulating, the brain will kick off in style, the body ready to go. An early morning run is a great way, but similarly, yoga has a huge impact at the start of the day.
5. The key point of all - and why children manage this perfectly on Christmas Day - Having a reason and purpose to get up. It doesn't have to be as massive as a pile of presents, it could just be something as simple as being able to take 15 minutes in the shower, rewarding yourself with a fine breakfast, writing an article. As you go to sleep, think of the next day's purpose and treat, and you'll wake up ready to go.
As I said at the start, this is not the easiest thing ever, it is easier once you are there and have worked through the commitment though. Even better, are those treat days at the weekend, where you can give yourself the morning off, but guess what, by 7am, you will be alert, ready to go, and enjoy a day full of achievement.
Maybe not everyday will seem like Christmas Day when you were a child, but, there is every chance that what you will achieve will be better than the best present you ever opened on 25th December.
I’m not going to sit here and pretend that it was an easy shift to make; it was bloody hard to change 25 years’ worth of habitual conditioning. With that said, after two weeks of performing the five techniques I’m about to share with you, it got significantly easier to go from horizontal to vertical. You will need to force yourself to stick to the actions if you want to see a difference, but after 10 consecutive working days (don’t worry, you can still sleep in on weekends) of performing the actions you’ll be singing with the larks in no time.