Wake Early Habit Overview

By Leo Babauta

Creating the habit of rising earlier is one of those great habits that makes other habits easier.

Why? Because if you can adjust your waking time, you have some extra minutes to do other new habits, like exercise, meditation, writing, etc.

It’s like found time, not being used. I’ve found it to be better for new habits than the time you might have at the end of the night, because by that time you’re tired and just want to relax. The last hour before bed is not a good time for exercise or writing for many people. If it is for you, you don’t need to change.

So waking earlier is a great habit that enables future habits. It’s also a great way to enjoy some quiet time before work, or before your family wakes up if you have kids. It’s how I get my best work done.

Unfortunately, waking up earlier is not as easy as setting an alarm to whatever time you like. Sleep patterns are difficult to change, so if you try waking up at 6 a.m. when you normally get up at 9:30 a.m., you won’t enjoy it and you’ll suffer for awhile and then probably crash because you’re too tired. That’s not a fun habit change, and it’s not the best way to make sure you stick to it.

What has worked for me is gradual change. Just 10 minutes a week, though you can do 15-20 if you don’t think you’ll have a hard time. If you do 10 minutes a week, after a couple months you’ll be nearly an hour and a half earlier than you are now. Remember, this is a long-term change, not just an overnight fix. This program is about lasting changes that you can stick to.

Ironically, I’ve been waking up later in recent weeks because of some changes to our schedule (we’ve been moving, and a few other things have come up). The biggest obstacle for me has been watching a TV show with my wife (we normally have a glass of red wine and watch a couple shows before bed). So I’m going to solve that by setting a bedtime, telling her about it and asking for her support, and committing to you guys to waking earlier and reporting regularly in the forums. I’ll be doing this change with you, which will be fun!

The most important thing you can do to make this change a success, besides gradual change, is making a big commitment. Commit to your spouse, to your friends, to people on Facebook and Twitter. Or join an accountability group and commit to them. And report on your habit each morning.

If you can’t find an accountability group, try the Wake Early Open Team. Just reply to the topic/thread, and commit to the change. Then report back each day.

Let’s take a look at the Wake Early Habit Plan.