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Why I Wake Up at 5 am (And Maybe You Should too)

Imagine this….it’s cold, raining, and pitch black outside.

Your alarm clock goes off…it’s 5 am and you are trying to wake up two hours earlier than you ever have in your life.

It’s day one of this new ritual….you’re pissed. You’re just not having it at this ungodly hour.

You think to yourself…I could get up and start my day or I could just go back to sleep.

You’re at a crossroads.

This is when the excuses come into your head while you’re laying there….

  • “I’m just not a morning person.”
  • “My bed is way too warm.”
  • “It’s cold and raining out.”
  • “I don’t even have clean gym clothes.”
  • “I’m way too busy today.”
  • “I guess I’m just  a night owl.”

And the excuses continue….

Guess what? They will continue to happen that way unless you get ahead of your excuses.

The truth is successful people wake up early.

“Success is nothing more than a few simple disciplines, practiced every day.” – Jim Rohn

Benjamin Franklin, Howard Schultz, Grant Cardone, Barack Obama, Richard Branson, Dwayne the Rock” Johnson, and Tim Cook just to name a few.

Model your life based on the success of others.

The average US person wakes up between 6-730am. If you’re able to get up at 5 or 530am you will have 1-2 hours of uninterrupted time.

With a head start on the rest of the country you get to decide what you want to do with your time.

You get to take back your time.

The mornings are time for you to be selfish. Besides, self-improvement is a selfish activity!

We have been taught to think of selfishness as unhelpful but unless you take care of yourself you won’t be as good to others.

When you focusing on habits of self-improvement you will slowly become the best version of yourself…which in turn leads to being better for everyone else as well.

You simply can’t love and connect with others until you love and connect with yourself first.

Waking up early is a great time to be selfish for all the right reasons.

Benefits of the Dreaded 5 a.m. Hour

Are there really benefits to waking up early? Won’t you be tired and not be able to make it through the entire day?

This what I thought before I realized the power of waking up early.

Instead of “barely making it through the day” it had the opposite effect. I have more energy and drive than I ever did waking up at 7am.

You will find that by the time you arrive at work you are calmer, have more clarity and ready to take on any challenges the day presents.

1. Being Awake Early Allows you to Have a few Rare Moments of Solitude and Quiet Time

The best part of waking up at 5 am is the quiet time.

“The monotony and solitude of a quiet life stimulates the creative mind.” – Albert Einstein

No one else is awake yet and you can have peaceful, quiet, and most importantly, uninterrupted time with your thoughts.

This makes the mornings a great time to focus on your goals or meditate to clear your mind before starting the day.

2. Rising Early Forces you to Plan Your Days Ahead of Time 

You need to have a reason to get up or your body will want to go back to sleep.

The chances of you getting up before the sun without a plan is slim to none.

Each night before I go to bed I know exactly what my morning routine will be the first hour of each morning. The main goal is to create consistent, positive habits that will put me in a place to succeed the rest of the day.

Eventually, I have made this habit a routine so that it’s automatic, I know exactly what I’m doing each morning.

Find something you love to do. This could be walking your dog, going on a light jog, reading, or meditating.

3. Waking Up at 5 a.m. Allows You to Journal Your Thoughts with Greater Clarity 

Daily journal writing is one the simple ways to create more discipline in your life.

As soon as I wake up I start writing in my journal.

Once you get up from sleep your conscious mind awakes, but don’t forget the subconscious mind never sleeps and has been brainstorming your problems all night long.

Before I go to bed each night I make sure to ask myself something I have not been able to figure out.

As soon as you wake up start writing about the problem you were facing and see what comes out. Don’t worry about legibility or sentence structure. Focus on writing until you can’t write anymore to find clarity and a solution to your problem.

4. Rising Early Allows you to Tackle the Hardest Tasks First 

The early mornings are the best time to take on the hard stuff.

Don’t waste your mornings on pointless tasks like clearing your inbox or organizing your desk.

“The fundamental level of success is doing the hard things first. If you go for the feared thing first then the rest of the day is easy.” ~Robert G Allen

This is time to focus on deep work. With no distractions or notifications, you can truly focus on the most important work you need to do.

This could be working on your toughest problem, developing a new habit or working on your biggest project.

I have used the mornings as a way to create the habit of journaling and repeating my daily affirmations. Previously I tried to do at night but constantly forgot or found myself inconsistent.

Getting a positive, efficient start to your day will build momentum and stay with you throughout the day. Even if you get sidetracked later in the day you achieved the most important and toughest work already.

5. You Can Start Your Day from a Centered State without Feeling Rushed 

How awful is it when you bash the snooze button only to wake up late…all of a sudden you have the “oh shit” moment. You quickly shower, grab a coffee and run off to work.

Feeling rushed is a horrible way to start your day. By getting up early you will feel less rushed and you give you time to be organized. It’s ok if you run late every once in awhile you’re human, but if you are constantly late it’s a habit. It’s one that isn’t effective or polite for family, friends, or your boss.

Sleeping in usually leads to rushed, frantic mornings where it will be easy to skip the gym or go to work unprepared.

6. Rising Early Allows you to Prioritize Exercise 

Morning exercise is beneficial for so many reasons but the main one is is simply getting it out of the way.

If you can workout in the morning you won’t be tempted between happy hour and the gym after a long day at the office.

It’ll be very hard to be a strong grounded man if you’re not making a habit of lifting weights, running, or whatever workout you prefer.

7. Waking Up at 5 a.m. Cultivates the Habit of Discipline 

“Discipline equals freedom.” – Jocko Willink

When you’re consistently getting up early you are creating a habit of discipline in your life.

Not only will you have more time in the morning this habit of discipline will spill into other areas of your life.

You will also build confidence in your own willpower. If you can get out of bed when its dark, rainy and cold you are proving to yourself you can do anything.

As Jim Rohn said, “Discipline is the bridge between goal and accomplishments.”

8. Waking Up Early Allows you to Accomplish More During Your Day

Simply put, waking up early gives you more hours in the day. Waking up early will give you the most productive and energetic part of your day back in your life.

“You have 24 hour hours in a day, you sleep six of them. Now you have 18 hours left.” – Arnold Schwarzenegger

Your mind and body are ready to function at peak levels, get some coffee or take a shower to activate everything.

Most of the time evenings are rarely the most productive for even night owls.

The majority of people spend their evenings mindless watching TV, scrolling through their feed and doing stuff around the house. Obviously, this is because we use the majority of our energy throughout the day.

By waking up early you will be structuring your day around the peaks of energy.

Your new wake up doesn’t have to be 5 am automatically, especially if you’re in the 730-8am range right now. By eliminating 2-3 hours of sleep overnight you are setting yourself up for failure.

You need to create this habit and be very intentional with your goal.

Here’s how…

How to Successfully Transition Into Waking Up at 5 a.m.

1. Create a Night Time Routine

Getting up earlier is all about creating a great plan.

If you are waking up at 7 am now and want to try 5 am tomorrow doing it cold turkey, without a plan will make it nearly impossible.

“He who fails to plan is planning to fail.” — Sir Winston Churchill

If you want to actually get up and get going in the 5am range you will have to start winding down earlier. Create a routine that you will adhere to every single night.

Waking up early is horrible at first and you will find a way to make plenty of excuses to sleep in. Minimize these negative thoughts by planning ahead.

  • Lay out your gym clothes or running shoes
  • Have a book or journal in a place where you see it instantly
  • Position your phone or alarm clock far enough away to where you have to actually get out of bed.
  • Have your coffee or energy supplement ready to go

2. Turn Off Your Electronics

Before bed try to avoid electronics for the last 30-60 minutes of the day. Every hour you are exposed to your phone you stop melatonin production which is key to getting sleep.

3. Visualize Your Success  

Studies have shown that when Olympic athletes visualize for one hour it’s equivalent to seven hours of physical practice.

As you begin to wind down before bed and put away electronics spend 5-10 minutes using various visualization techniques.

Some people will write out their visualizations while others will sit in a dark room and actually image their goals as being complete. Whatever method you choose the important part is that you visualize yourself already feeling your goals as accomplished.

If you’re not the most visual person find images of the car you want to buy, the house you want to own or the body you want to achieve. These images will be fresh in your head when you go to sleep and your brain will help find ways to achieve them while you sleep.

4. Focus on Your Breathing

If you’ve had a long day the last thing you want to do is go to bed mad, frustrated, or in a bad mood. Focus on your breathing patterns to change your physiology so you can go into bed relaxed instead of lying awake, thinking of your problems.

5. Express Gratitude

“Gratitude is the healthiest of all human emotions. The more you express gratitude for what you have, the more likely you will have even more to express gratitude for.” ~Zig Ziglar

As best selling author and KFM guest, Lewis Howes, talks frequently about the importance of gratitude before going to bed. He makes it a point to tell his girlfriend or someone in his life how much he appreciates three things before hitting the pillow.

Final Thoughts

“Each morning we are born again, what we do today is what matters most.” – Buddha

It’s empowering feeling to wake up before the rest of the world has hit the snooze button three times.

Waking up at 5 a.m. might be the worst idea ever only if you don’t have a plan for the early hours. You owe it to yourself to try waking up earlier, even if you’re not ready for 5 a.m. yet.

There is no need to wait until 2018 to create a resolution either. As you know, most resolutions fail.

Instead, make waking up early a ritual for December as you will inevitably eating and drinking more for the holidays. Stay ahead of the calories by waking up earlier and getting into the gym.

Yes, it will be dark and cold, but once you hear that alarm get out of bed and start making your life happen.

I promise it will be worth it. Form your “resolution” a month before everyone else and see how much your life changes.

by Michael Leonard

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