Why I Wake Up At 5 a.m. (And How Waking Up Earlier Can Help You Achieve Your Goals Too)

Do you want to become a morning person? Here are five simple tips for waking up early.I never used to be a morning person.

The teenager in me who slept until noon every weekend cringes at the fact that my alarm rings every weekday at 5 a.m. and I bound out of bed, ready to start the day.

But over the past two years, I’ve discovered that I do my very best work early in the morning.

That often means waking up hours before I need to leave for work to pursue my passions, whether that be writing blog posts, sending freelance pitches or hitting the gym to train for my next race.

It seems I’m not alone. Several writers and entrepreneurs I admire (Peter Shankman and Jeff Goins, included) are in this same camp. Business Insider also recently highlighted 27 CEOs and leaders who wake up early- I’m definitely in good company.

The reasons I love waking up early are pretty simple:

  • I’m able to think clearly first thing in the morning. After a long day at work paired with an evening networking event or dinner plans, I come home EXHAUSTED, both physically and mentally. Often, the stresses of the day weigh on me and I’m in no place to write (or even go to the gym and run). But in the morning, after a solid night’s sleep, my mind is clear.
  • Generally, nobody emails me until around 7:30 or 8 a.m. That means I get a solid two hours with no email distractions. And let’s face it…email can be VERY distracting.
  • In addition to my email being quiet early in the morning, my house is quiet too. My family and puppy are still asleep, and the house is literally silent as I make my coffee and set up shop in the kitchen.
  • The gym is EMPTY at 5 a.m. I’m able to squeeze in an effective workout using all my favorite machines in 45 minutes, whereas when I go at night, I often have to modify my workout or wait for machines, leading me to stay there even longer than necessary.
  • Once I get to my full-time job, the multi-tasking begins. Working in PR means managing several projects at one time, fielding phone calls, responding to emails and attending meetings. When I wake up at 5 a.m. and begin working, I’m able to focus solely on one task at a time, allowing me to complete those tasks quicker and more effectively.

Do you want to become a morning person too? It’s easier than you think.  Here are five simple tips for waking up early:

1. Go to sleep earlier. Seriously. It’s as easy as that. Figure out how many hours of sleep you need a night (I hover between 7 and 8 hours), decide what time you’d like to wake up, count backwards and GET IN BED! I know staying up late to watch that third *most dramatic hour ever* of The Bachelor can be tempting, but DVR it or catch up on your favorite TV shows online later.

2. Decide your goals the night before. Before you close your eyes, decide what you want to accomplish by waking up early. Knowing ahead of time what your plans are will help you stick to them. For example, if I know I need to go to the gym, I select a distance I want to run and keep that goal in mind. If I’m aiming to draft a blog post, I try to brainstorm an idea so that when I wake up, I can start writing.

3. Do not hit snooze! Whatever you do, do not hit the snooze button. The snooze button is an evil, dangerous invention and once you hit it once, it becomes easier and easier to talk yourself out of your morning plans. Trust me, I know.

4. Shower (And get ready for the day). For me, taking a shower jumpstarts my day. My alarm rings at 5 a.m., I shower, blow dry my hair, do my makeup and am downstairs by 5:50 a.m. ready to work. Being completely ready for the day means that I can work straight until 8 a.m. when it’s time for me to leave for my full-time job.

5. Treat yourself. Make waking up early enjoyable! While I get ready for work, I generally treat myself to a half hour of catching up on one of my favorite TV shows on Hulu (multi-tasking at its finest). Before I start blogging or freelancing, I indulge in a cup of coffee and two slices of cinnamon toast. I relish the feeling of not rushing in the morning, and treating myself to these small, but meaningful moments encourages me to continue my routine.

Do you wake up early to reach your goals? If so, do you have any additional tips for waking up early?

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