Friday, 14 August 2009

How I learned to become an early riser


this is an inspirational motivation for me......


Almost a year ago, I decided that I wanted to become an early riser and I took several steps to, essentially, teach myself how to wake up in the mornings. Despite the title of this post, I can’t really say that I learned to become an early riser. It would be more accurate to say that I learned more about myself and how I respond to the rigors of an early morning. Regardless of how we say it though, the end result is the same: I am now able to wake up regularly between 6 and 7am when I used to have to struggle to get myself out of bed anytime before 9am.

My quest to become an early riser began when I ran across an article on Steve Pavlina’s site called, of all things, How to Become an Early Riser. In it he described his attempts to shift from being a near-noon riser to being able to get up early in the mornings and be awake enough to be productive.

Cruising around his site I hit another article called 30 Days to Success, in which Steve suggested setting a goal of doing something for 30-days in a row as a sort of a trial period for some new behavior you want to adopt.

Your goal is to simply make it through the 30 days, you have no commitment to continue it afterwards. The idea is that you may find yourself having actually made a habit of your new behavior and that continuing beyond the original time period may be just as easy as not. Trying to become an early riser seemed like a perfect chance to try out the 30-day trial technique.

So, I set a simple goal: wake up everyday, weekends included, at 6am for 30 days straight, no excuses. I knew that I could wake up early. I’d never had problems waking up when I had someplace I needed to be, though I would often stay in bed until the last possible minute before getting up. It’s just that my will to get out of bed was in constant battle with my desire to stay in my warm, warm bed. The latter almost always won. I needed some way to stack the odds in favor of my will.

I figured that the hardest part about waking up is the actual process of getting myself out of bed, so anything that required me to throw off my covers and stagger around my apartment would require just that much more willpower. So, before going to sleep, I made sure to lay out some breakfast (juice and bread from the local convenience store) and my laptop next to my bed.

When my alarm would ring at 6am, I would immediately sit up, switch on my laptop, twist open the juice bottle and begin munching sleepily on the bread while my computer booted-up. From there it was a matter of eating and browsing the net until I felt energetic enough to hit the shower. By the time I’d finished taking a shower and getting dressed, it would usually be around seven o’clock.

Two hours before I even had to think about going to work, I had already washed, dressed, had breakfast, and done my morning e-mail check. Suddenly, I had enough time to work through that ever-growing pile of dishes in the sink, to toy around with those programming projects that I had been putting off, maybe even time to do some exercise. That last part never seemed to come to much fruition, but at least the dishes were clean.

Now, being that I started this early-rising challenge around the time of the Tokyo Game Show (when every games journalist in the world comes to Japan and treats Tokyo like their own private nightclub), I had more than my fair share of late nights. How did I reconcile my promise to get up at 6am with the fact I would sometimes find my head hitting my pillow around 4am? Well, I promised myself that I would wake up at 6am, but I never said that I would necessarily stay awake for the entire day.

On those days, I’d suck it up, wake up at six and do my usual morning ritual. By the time I finished, I’d be awake enough to be nominally productive for at least a couple hours before laying my head down for a pre-noon 2-3 hour nap. Even with the nap, I’d still be up again and fully-functional before 1pm. Not bad for the day after a night out with the boys.

Long story short, I made it through my 30 days. The first week, I was a bit groggy during work, but after that I felt fully up-to-speed and was really enjoying the extra few hours in the mornings.

One thing I did learn is that, left to my own devices, I will probably sleep indefinitely. After my 30 days, I treated myself to a couple mornings of sleeping in until I felt like getting up. In general, I’d wake up around 8, glance around, decide I felt a little groggy and promptly go back to sleep.

This would happen about every two hours until I finally dragged myself out of bed in time for a late lunch. From that experience, I learned that, whether I get up at 6am or noon, I still feel just as groggy and ready to go back to sleep. If I can just manage to power through that first hour after waking up, I’m fine. Before then, it’s anyone’s game.

That I need to push myself in the mornings to get anywhere is the key lesson I got from my month-long experiment. For the most part, I never wake-up and feel fully aware and ready to start my day. I generally have to work at it. But, knowing that and having techniques to deal with it, I can get myself up and about most mornings without a problem. And it’s nice to go to work some mornings knowing that you’ve already taken care of your errands for the day and that, once you get back, there’s nothing you have to do but read a book and hit the hay.

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