Changing Habits: How to Wake Up Earlier in the Morning

I began 2019 with a great routine of waking up early. This new habit came into place mainly thanks to the motivational work of Hal Elrod in The Miracle Morning.

I was so inspired by the book to reclaim, and make the most of, my morning that I welcomed the changes with open arms. I even shared a blog post on the 5 things I had changed about my morning routine and the benefits that I was seeing as a result.

I was so enthusiastic about the positive effects of my new approach to the morning that I was certain it would stick. However, as with a lot of things, the habit started to slide.

As I embraced some time off work to focus on creative projects and travelling, the need for an alarm clock and specific wake up time started to fade. Sure, the lazy mornings and lie ins were great at first, but as my wake up time got later and later, I started to feel lethargic and unambitious about the rest of my day.

Starting a new job and creating a new routine meant that I decided to tackle this stumbling block and bring back my own miracle morning!

(Okay, it’s perhaps not quite that life-changing, but it does make me feel pretty great, and that’s enough for me).

  • Do you struggle to get up in the morning?
  • Do you want to make more of your day?
  • Or, would you like to feel more alert and motivated as you head out of the door each day?

Here are some of the things you can do to make it easier to wake up earlier in the morning 

You can do it. Once you get into the habit, it’s not as hard as it sounds!

Set a ‘get up’ rule

I started by creating a rule that helps me to get up at 6am every day: I don’t hit snooze.

Once my alarm goes off, I know that it’s 10x easier to move then and there, than it is to say ‘I’ll just have five more minutes’ and try to wake up for a second time. No decisions to be made, no arguments had: the alarm goes off, I get up.

Getting out of bed is easier when you can remind yourself that you have a rule in place. Whatever you decide for your own rule to be, make sure you stick to it as you start developing the habit as it will start to feel more natural and like a routine.

Put your clothes by your bed

I definitely don’t jump out of bed and straight into my work outfit, but it has been really helpful to put some big, fluffy socks and a warm jumper next to my bed. It can be tempting to say ‘oh, it’s too cold to get out of bed now, I’ll just stay here’ but I’ve removed that hurdle by making sure I can be warm as soon as I get up.

Similarly, if you find it difficult to get up because it’s too cold, try putting a jumper or dressing gown beside your bed. Or, if you want to get up to go to the gym, put all your kit out ready the night before so it requires little extra effort to get changed into it.

It’s all about reducing the hurdles you might face to actually getting that first foot out of bed!

Put the light on

This is a really simple but effective tip. If it’s completely dark, your body and mind are more likely to think that it’s time to be asleep – and that’s hard to fight against!

The early morning dim light can be incredibly peaceful and calming, and whilst that’s great to take advantage of if you’re not struggling to feel awake, turning on the light can help your brain to recognise that it’s now the morning and time to be more alert.

If you find it really difficult to actually wake up early, try turning on the light as soon as you can.

Think about why you want to wake up earlier

A great way to stay committed to rising early is to start by think about why you want to do it and what you’d like to achieve.

For example, I like to wake up early so I don’t have to rush around and become stressed. I like to take time to get some chores out of the way so the evening is free. Hey, I may even use this time to do a workout!

Whether you want to make time for breakfast, to workout or to avoid running late all the time, having your own reason for waking up earlier each day makes it easier to justify the benefit of getting up (to yourself) rather than staying tucked up in bed.

You don’t want to miss out on the time you’ve created to find some extra relaxation or productivity in your day, would you?

Do something you enjoy

Use some of your new found time to do something relaxing and enjoyable. Not only will it help to make getting up early more inviting but it’s a great way to begin your day.

When I used to rush out of bed at the last moment, throw on some clothes and run out of the door to work, I’d feel anxious and flustered. I’d often wish that I had more time in the morning to sit and read, listen to a podcast or play with the cat. But, the only way that was going to happen was if I took responsibility for making it happen.

By waking up earlier, I can ease myself into the day. I use the quiet time in the morning to do something I enjoy so I feel calm and ready for the day ahead.

Whether it’s just sitting down with a coffee to watch the news or allowing yourself to make and enjoy a delicious breakfast, use some of your time to do something for yourself.

Stick to a sleep schedule

As Dr Matthew Walker says in Why We Sleep, we should all “stick to a sleep schedule”. We should, as much as possible, aim to go to bed and wake up at the same time each day.

Not only is this good for our overall health and wellbeing to make sure we’re getting enough sleep, but “people have a hard time adjusting to changes in sleep patterns”.

Although that might help to explain why it can be difficult to wake up earlier at first, it’s comforting to know that if you stick to your new routine, the habit will become much easier with time.

Prioritise sleep in the evening

If you start by making sure you’re getting (or at least prioritising) deep, restorative sleep in the evening then it’ll be a whole lot easier to wake up to a schedule feeling refreshed and ready for the day ahead.

There’s so many things that you can do to help improve your sleep such as reducing evening screen time, cutting back on caffeine and creating the right lighting in your home for the evening – but the best thing I can suggest is to read Why We Sleep by Dr Matthew Walker (hey, there it is again!).

It’s hard to argue with the research and information that he presents. Sleep is important, so we need to treat that way.

Creating a positive evening and morning routine will have much greater benefits than just giving you more time each day.

What does your morning routine look like?

Are you an early riser too? What helps to keep you motivated to get up and how do you make the most out of your time in the morning? Let me know in the comments!

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