IPOD (with the option to play your playlist as the alarm goes off) or any MP3 player/CD player/stereo/radio or any other device in with a built in alarm feature in which music will play when it goes on
JUST DO IT sign
Personal development articles
the occasional sleeping pill
Did this ever happened to you?
Your alarm blares at 6AM. You wake up groaning. You can’t wait to shut the infernal noise. You toss around and your hand hovers over the empty space on the dresser. Oh wait, you had put it in a place far from you the night before as an attempt for you to finally get up.
You locate the source of the noise. It’s on a chair a few feet from the bed. After navigating the dark labyrinth of your bedroom, you successfully shut the damn thing off. Then you remembered you’ve set your second alarm in the bathroom. You went there to switch it off.
Now it’s quiet. You’re in the bathroom. You contemplate whether to wash your face. After all, you’re already here. Then your body sweetly whispers how nice it would be to go back to sleep. After all your class isn’t until 11AM and you only had 6 hours of sleep today. You try to silence it but it persists. You look longingly back to bed.
You climb back into the comfortable warm sheets. Well, maybe just a few minutes of shut eye wouldn’t hurt. You closed your eyes.
Next thing you know your friend’s calling you demanding where you are. It’s 11AM.
Welcome to my world.
Are you one of those people who no matter how much willpower they try they just couldn’t get out of bed? Who sleep is so important and oh so, overpowering? I mean, we just love our sleep. It’s just so nice to close your eyes and enter the sandman’s realm.
I’ve had too much of my share of the above scenario. No matter how much I try or what techniques I pull I couldn’t seem just to stay out of bed. I would always say 1 more hour of sleep wouldn’t hurt. I gotta get back to sleep again. All of these would result in oversleeping and missing my desired wake up time. My typical day doesn’t start till noon.
But I still wanted to wake up early. I think you pretty much know the numerous benefits tied to that and I wanted them. It was a pretty tough choice between the two but I’ve decided to put an end to waking up late. The many advantages just outweighed the desire to sleep in.
So here’s my plan to implement it. This time I’m going to make a change and see it through.
Each of us knows the number of sleep hours our bodies need. Mine is 7-8, any less than that and I’ve got system failure though I could do 6 but rarely.
Give an hour or 30 minutes time for you to unwind and get ready for bed. No matter what you must cease any activity that will keep you up. That means don’t do any more work!
My weakness before while doing my early attempts to wake up early was to stay up and work late into the night because I thought I wouldn’t get my tasks done the next day. It was a mistake I stubbornly cling to over and over again. I was deluding myself. If the tasks were urgent, I could them do them early in the morning. After I’ve realized what an obstinate fool I was and gave up this habit, getting up early in the morning became easier.
If you can’t sleep, it’s time for you to pop a sleeping pill. This will help you set your body’s clock to sleep at a time that will be sufficient enough for you to get the rest you need. Soon an amazing thing will happen. Your body will naturally set out sleep signals at an early time and you won’t need those pills anymore. They just artificially create a habit for your body to zonk out. Like I used to sleep at 1AM and I wanted to wake up at 7. My body wouldn’t shut down even though I was already lying in bed since 11PM. The outcome? I couldn’t wake up at the desired time because I lacked sleep. 2 pill popping days later, I was immediately sleepy at 11 and could wake up with little effort.
Now here comes the hard part…
Waking up early
The most important ingredient: patience.
Know your limit. If you normally get up at 8AM, don’t immediately set your alarm at 5AM. But can you get up at 7? Sure.
Start from there and work your way up slowly.
Maybe you can get up at 7AM for 2 weeks. Then slowly shave off a couple of minutes every 2 weeks.
Like my goal is to wake up at 5AM but I would normally get up either at 7-9AM during work days. Come holidays, I would oscillate between 8-11AM. So I’ve decided to cement the habit of getting up at 7AM first beforelaborously working my way up to 5. Baby steps. Too much change and you would grow discourage and the habit wouldn’t be properly set in. Think of it as a foundation for a building. Put up a flimsy base and the structure will just collapse like matchsticks. But set up a firm one and the building will be strong.
Get a calendar and a marker – the 30 day trial
I’ve decided to set a firm base by committing to do a 30 day trial of waking up at 7AM. I so badly wanted to start waking up at 6 but I squelch such desires. That was the reason why I failed my earlier attempts at getting up early before. I set up too high a bar and I end up disappointing myself too many times. This only got me burned out.
So you get a black tip marker and cross out the days when you’ve successfully achieved your goal. After I was past day 5 of my trial, I didn’t want to miss an uncrossed day. It can present your progress and I look forward with relish at crossing a day off. Because as Steve Pavlina points out, after 30 days you don’t have to do it anymore. And if you slack off you have to start all over again so think about it. You don’t want all those Xs to go to waste, right?
THE DETOX PERIOD – the initial stage
Like any diet, I believe a new habit process has its own detox stage where the body releases all natural resistance and try its damnest to thwart the new change you’re forcing upon it.
The first week of any habit implementation is usually the hardest but once you’re past that, it’s all smooth sailing.
Picture this scenario.
You wake up.
Your body groans.
You’re severely tempted to burrow yourself under the covers and get back to bed.
All of your hard earned effort will be lost with one day. Just one day. And your body will get off track. Habit implementation is a delicate process. It’s kinda like creating a new invention or a cell and anything you do will play a part in its initial stages of growth. When a habit’s growing, it’s sensitive, delicate and prone to change. If you don’t keep constant vigilance, if you don’t keep watch and feed it for a night, you’ll wake to discover in the morning it’s gone –kaput and you’ll have to start all over again.
Until you finished the trial, you can’t sleep in because the habit isn’t cemented yet. It’s still an infant. It has to grow strong.
In the initial stage when you’ve just started, your body is going through an adjustment phase. It’s confused. It’s out of whack with its routine so it’s scurrying around trying to get things the way they were. It’s like an undisciplined child so you have to toughen up and be firm with it. Once your body sees that nothing it can do will sway you, that you unrelentlingly purse your habit, it will bow down and obey you.
At first it will do all means to get you back into bed. Keep in mind that this adjustment phase is just temporary. It can last anytime from 3 days to more than a week. In my case it took 3 days for me to get up wide awake and alert. I still have some days where it was hard getting up but not as excruciatingly difficult as before. Now I can’t fathom the idea of not getting up at 7. In fact I feel uncomfortable doing so. This is the goal I was leading up to.
My first 2 attempts (the beginning of the trial!) were failures and I only barely succeeded waking up on the 3rd (the first X of the trial). Don’t allow failures to deter and unnerve you. Learn from them.
In those first 2 attempts, I overshot my goal. My first attempt I thought I’d immediately jump ahead to the big fish: 5AM. Big mistake. I woke up at 10. So fine. Humbled, I decided to make it at 6AM.
I woke up at 7:30AM.
Analyzing these later, I realized I was just committing the same mistake I did before. Overestimating what I can do. So let’s see. I’ve been waking up at 7AM before so let’s start from there. I had naturally woken up at 7:30 so the former shouldn’t be a big problem.
The next day, I woke up grouchy and complaining and berating myself for my own self inflicted torture as I trudge towards the bathroom.
Read the continuation: How to Wake Up Early Plan Part 2
How I chronicled my 30 day trial in waking up early: Waking Up Early- Day 1