I’ve found it difficult in the past to maintain, for any decent stretch of time, the practice of waking up early. There have been periods during which I have woken early for a few weeks, possibly even a few months, but it’s never ‘stuck’ like I would like it to.
But recently I’ve made it happen. It was the jet lag after our 7 week in Australia that began the trend, starting with the 4am wake up my daughter gave me the day after we got back. But since then I’ve been getting up at or before 5:30am consistently. And I don’t think that’s going to change.
How? I think the main reason is that now that I’ve got young children, I place an extremely high premium on any spare time that I get to myself. To exercise, to think, and to get things done. And the only time there is available to do those things - not when you’re exhausted after a full day of work and kids - is early in the morning.
Enabling early morning wake ups
The first thing I’ve changed is that now I go to bed earlier. Generally I’m in bed, if not already asleep, by 10pm.
In the past one of the biggest blockers to me getting up early has been my alarm and my escape from the bedroom waking up my wife. And you DON’T want to do that. So I bought myself a ZBand silent/vibrating alarm so that when the alarm goes off, it’s only me that knows about it.
I’ve read about tricks you can play on yourself, like setting a loud alarm in another room or downstairs a few minutes after your main alarm. The idea being unless you get up and turn it off it will wake everyone else up, which you obviously don’t want. I haven’t needed to resort to these tactics yet.
A key enabler for me is that I’m more driven now. I’ve got goals, and I know the amount of work required to reach them. I know that if I leave my WOD until the evening, it’s possible (likely) it won’t get done. I know if I leave my project work, and day-to-day todos until ‘some other time’, it all gets on top of me and I feel stressed. The cost of not making time to exercise and get my projects done is, or is going to be, far worse to me than the pain of getting out of bed early.
The benefits of waking early
It’s so nice and peaceful in the morning. No TV, no noisy kids. Peace.
It’s me time
Looking after two young children and working full time doesn’t afford you too much time to yourself. Getting up early gives me that 1.5 - 2 hours to myself everyday, regardless of what’s thrown up later in the day and evening.
I can relax and enjoy my evenings
I used to skip dinner with the family when I came home, because the food would just sit in my belly during my workout once the kids had gone to bed. Getting my WOD done early means I can sit down and enjoy that time with my wife and kids. And I used to cram all the other things that need to get done in the evenings: cooking, getting necessary todos and jobs done, study and/or extra curricular work, time with my wife, preparation for the next day. Waking up early allows me to get the urgent and necessary items out of the way so I can relax and enjoy the evenings.
Successful people get up early
A lot of successful people attribute their success to getting up early.