Waking up early and making it a habit

It’s not just about being a morning person; it’s about waking up early. There’s no telling how difficult that can be for most people – me especially. I’ve always wondered how it felt waking up early – like before the crack of dawn. I’ve been a late riser for many years until a few years ago when our family relocated from a quiet town to the fast-paced metropolis.

With traffic and hectic schedules to contend with, waking up late has become a luxury I could not afford. I had a lot of unlearning and relearning to do to keep pace, and it was imperative that becoming an early riser was one of them.

At first it seemed like an ordeal – I kept punching my alarm clock in snooze mode or shutting it off completely. However, it got me nowhere and my work begun to suffer. The HR department had me on their list for tardiness. I realized the urgency of changing my lifestyle.

I started out making it a daily habit by initially coming around at 6 a.m. or 30 minutes earlier than my usual waking hour. Then I concentrated getting used to it for a couple of days, cut back another 30 minutes, and so on, until I finally got my set goal of 5 a.m.

I literally kicked my old self from its morning lethargy and eventually got the hang of it in just a month of steely determination. Becoming an early riser felt good. A 30-minute exercise was usually enough to physically rev me up for the day ahead and clear my mind of any fogginess.

I’m very proud to say that as soon as my waking habits changed, my overall mental and physical outlook did, too! And I must say that it did some good to my job! My boss was off my back almost as soon as my timesheet improved. For a change, I was being eyed, not for reprimand, but for some upward movement in the workplace.

It’s not a secret that waking up early gives you the lead in your game, and here are a few simple yet very effective tips on how you can become early risers, too.
Hit the sack as early as possible. Don’t stay up later than 10 p.m. Young people need 6 to8 hours of good sleep to stay fit and healthy. Older people need about 7 to 9 hours to really rest and restore energy. Cut back on too much TV and internet activities. If you’re not sleepy yet, pick up a book or magazine and read yourself to sleep.

Start slowly but surely, not drastically.

Be realistic in your goals. If you’re used to sleeping at 1 a.m., try slowing down your pace by 11 p.m. and hit the bed by 12 midnight. Do this for a couple of nights then work your way to sleeping another hour earlier. Your natural clock would be your own enemy if you drastically forced yourself to sleep at 9 p.m.

Reward yourself.

Find something to look forward to in the morning – your favorite cappuccino, the morning paper, a refreshing walk by the bay, or anything that will give you another push. It could be a breakfast shared with the family – a rare thing today.

The newness of early mornings is not experienced by a lot of people, and it’s a shame. Why would you prefer to wake up to a mad rush when you could always have a fresh start in the day with everything almost under your control? It is a reward in itself. All the things that result from it are but bonuses.

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