I’ve always been amazed at people who wake up early. I like to think I’m a morning person, but I’ll be honest, it’s pretty challenging to pull yourself out of bed at 5 am every morning. After doing a ton of research on the benefits of waking up early – the conclusion came to the same thing. Successful people wake up early. Happy people wake up early. And the most productive people wake up early.
Everyone from Oprah, Michelle Obama, Twitter’s CEO Jack Dorsey, Apple’s CEO Tim Cook, President of Ariel Investments, Mellody Hobson, and even Kris Jenner rises at 4:30 am to get in her exercise regimen. All of them wake up between 4 am-5 am.
Now I had to ask myself, “what in the world we’re all of them doing this early in the morning?!”
It all came down to one thing. They were all investing in themselves before the day started. And two of them kept coming up, which were, exercising and mediation.
Michelle Obama said, “If I don’t exercise, I won’t feel good. I’ll get depressed.” Kris Jenner said, “So I feel like I’ve done my cardio; I’m prepared mentally, emotionally, and physically to go and tackle a day.
Science is proving waking up early equals better quality of life
Tim Cook has even said that he goes to the gym every morning to keep his “stress at bay.” Even Oprah says she meditates for about 20 minutes and does a morning workout afterward. Ok, there is clearly something here that I am missing.
Now here’s where it gets interesting. Science is proving this. A study published in the Harvard Business Review concluded that those whose performance peaks in the early hours are, on average, in a better position for career success. In addition, it revealed that morning people are generally more proactive and are more likely to anticipate problems and deal with them effectively.
And to add, according to a study carried out at the University of Leipzig – it proved that there is a strong association between early risers and greater satisfaction with life and reduced vulnerability to mental health problems.
Now I thought to myself, “well, I’d like to be successful, happy, and productive, so maybe I should give this early rising thing a try.”
I knew the only difference between these super successful people and me was their habits. (And of course, their money, power, and fame).
But I knew if I could model their habits, positive change would inevitably occur in my life, yielding me greater satisfaction, health, and productivity. So that’s what I did.
I think I tried every textbook “waking up early strategy” I could.
From moving my alarm to another room, forcing myself to rise from bed to go to another room to turn off the alarm. To setting three alarms within 10 min of each other. I even laid out all my gym clothes the night before so it would be easier to get out the door.
Each of them somehow, I found an escape route. Because I had two phones, I would set one alarm and move it to another room, but when it ranged off in the morning, I’d use my other phone in my bedroom to call my alarm phone so that it would turn off.
There were even moments where I did wake up, and I would tell myself, “just five more minutes.” You know how this goes. Five minutes turned into another 45 min. Eventually, I would finally get up and be upset with myself throughout the rest of the day.
I also had to get over going to sleep at a decent time. I needed a bedtime. This was new to me. I honestly thought “bedtimes” were just a childhood thing. Wrong!
With all the distractions, pings, social media timelines – you can easily distract yourself well into the night, which can have huge ramifications when you wake up in the morning.
Feeling groggy, tired, and my eyes-burning was something I absolutely hated, but I kept doing it to myself every night for some odd reason. Falling asleep with my phone – trying to scroll to see that last picture on Instagram or finishing an email I need to send off in the morning.
I challenged myself to wake up early for about two months. It was tough, but it wasn’t until one morning that really did it for me.
Something had to change
One morning I arose, and just like I always do, my phone alarm rang in the other room, and I woke up quietly trying not to wake my fiancée, Kiara, to tippy-toe to the other room to turn off the alarm.
After I turned it off, I crept back into our bedroom, and Kiara said, “back in the bed again, huh?”
That’s when it hit me. I was pathetic. All I could see in my head was a pathetic husband and future father who couldn’t show up for himself to be a caretaker and provider. Ok, as you can see, my mind definitely exaggerated a bit! But this is how I felt standing there in the cold dark room trying to ease my back into bed at 5 am.
I kept thinking something was going to change, but nothing was. I knew I had to make a change if I truly wanted to see results in my life.
It’s like that famous saying goes, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.”
Well, this was me, and according to this quote, I was insane to think that my life would change if I didn’t change myself first. I didn’t change, so the same results continued to manifest. Who was I kidding.
After Kiara said that, I immediately put on my clothes and went straight to the gym. Something clicked, and my willpower went right into action.
After my workout and shower, I started working from home and experienced an enormous sense of satisfaction around 9 am that day.
The satisfaction stemmed from knowing that I can muster up the willpower even when I feel like I don’t want to do anything and, of course, the famous “runners high” after you get from a good workout.
After waking up at 5 am for a week after that day, I felt like I was getting some “pep in my step.” I felt like I wasn’t at the effect of circumstances in my life. I felt like I was in control of my life. Not only that, but I also felt like life was working for me, rather than against me.
It was a sense of ease and flowed throughout my day, which I fell in love with. This control over my day yielded me the ability to bounce back from adversities quicker.
Since that cold dark morning of March 2020, I’ve continued to wake up at around 5 am every morning because of the benefits its provided me.
Here are some suggestions you can implement into your morning routine:
- Gratitude journaling
- Meditation (my favorite and by far the most significant habit that’s played a role in my success and health.)
- Hitting the gym
- Reading an inspirational, self-help, or leadership book for 20 min
- Visualization exercises on your future goals