There is something most successful people have in common: they rise early.
“Early” is a relative term (and a funny-sounding one at that). By “early,” I mean before most people wake and start to create distractions. For me, the day’s distractions begin at 6:45 AM when I have to get the kids ready for school. That means 6:45 AM is “late” for me. My “early” is 5 AM. That gives me time to wash up, work out, meditate, read, and get some writing done before the silence is shattered.
Disclaimer: In this article, I discuss my own opinions and/or observations on health topics. I am not a doctor. The information here are only observations and opinions, not medical advice. Please consult your doctor before making any changes that might affect your health.
The biggest benefit of waking early is that you will have time that is utterly free of distractions. Many of the most successful people get their most important work done while the world sleeps. You have time to focus. You have time to draw up a plan of attack to seize the day. You have a head start against all those who are planning on distracting you from your goals today.
There is no such thing as a “morning person.” People say that as if our waking times are genetically encoded in our DNA. A morning person is simply someone who got enough sleep by the time morning rolls around. I used to go to bed late and wake up late. I was not a morning person. Now I go to sleep early and wake early. Now I’m a morning person. To become a morning person you just need to get your fill of sleep earlier.
To wake up earlier, go to bed earlier. Count back 7.5 hours from when you want to wake up, and be in bed with your eyes closed at that time. I wake up at 5 AM. I try to be in bed by 9:30 PM. It doesn’t matter if you’re not in deep R.E.M. sleep. What is important is that your eyes are closed, and your body is resting for 7.5 hours a night.
I say 7.5 hours because most people have natural sleep cycles that run in increments of about 90 minutes. That means for most people, waking up after 6 hours, 7.5 hours, or 9 hours of sleep is refreshing. But waking up outside of the cycle—after 5 hours, 6.5 hours, or 8 hours—can make you feel groggy.
Once you begin waking up earlier, what do you do with that extra time in the morning? I read a book by Hal Elrod called The Miracle Morning, and it changed my life. In the book, he outlines six things you should do in the morning before you start your day’s work. Remember the acronym S.A.V.E.R.S.:
- Silence: Sit in silence for a few minutes. Meditate. Pray. Or just think of nothing and enjoy the quiet.
- Affirmations: Tell yourself what you will do and how you will be today.
- Visualization: Close your eyes and visualize how your day will go.
- Exercise: Go out for a quick jog. Do yoga. Or jumping jacks. Or push-ups.
- Reading: Read something that will help you. Something for personal development (may I suggest The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod?)
- Scribing: Spend a few minutes writing. It can be about anything.
Waking up at least an hour before my kids get up, and going through a morning routine like S.A.V.E.R.S. has changed the game for me. I found that the days where I didn’t wake up earlier and didn’t go through my morning routine ended up being disastrous, unproductive days. I wake up early every morning now, even if I went to bed late. Try it for yourself. It might just change your life.
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