Lots of people like to sleep in a bit. It’s very comfortable, at least when the weather turns. When the nights are getting longer, and it’s cold outside your bed, staying under the blankets is super nice. You should try to wake up early.
Here are 5 reasons to wake up earlier, but first let me introduce some concepts behind waking early.
Early Risers Are More Successful
The only problem is, it will hurt your progress in whatever you’re trying to achieve in your life. Let’s get it out of here: early risers are more successful in life.
Almost all over-achievers wake up early so they can get things done. When their competition is dreaming of winning, the early risers are actually winning.
I always used to set my alarm clock at the latest time possible. Depending on where I had to go that day, I would put my alarm sooner or later. The problem with this is that you never get used to getting up at a certain time, so no matter when you wake up you feel tired. Also, it doesn’t enforce good behaviour but rather incentivises short term thinking and instant gratification.
Arnold Schwarzenegger Knows
I listen to a lot of podcasts during my commute, when doing the laundry or cleaning, when I go for a run or weight lifting training. One of my regulars is the Tim Ferris Show, a podcast where Ferris tries to deconstruct world class performers.
Most of his guests have two things in common; they all wake up early, and they all practice some form of meditation. Of course, there is probably some selection bias happening here, with Ferris (who is a strong believer in meditation himself) actively looking for guests, but still. There is some truth to waking up early and meditating, otherwise all these successful entrepreneurs, politicians, athletes, writers, soldiers wouldn’t do so.
The Arnold is perhaps a great example to use to make my point. Probably everybody reading this knows who Arnold Schwarzenegger is.
Schwarzenegger started lifting weights at age 15, became a top-class weightlifter, powerlifter, Mr. Universe (body building) at age 20, won the Mr. Olympia contest 7 times before becoming a famous and successful actor. He is also a business man and investor, and served two terms (8 years) as Governor of California. Talking about over-achievers…
One of the stories Schwarzenegger told on the podcast is that he rises early. He was very straightforward to that.
Usually he wakes up, works out for an hour, then makes breakfast, feed his dog, play with his dog, and then it’s 6 am…
The reason behind this is simple; he gets more things done than most other people.
But, you might say, how can I wake up so early? Let me introduce Mr. Jocko Willink to you.
You set your alarm clock and when it beeps you get out of bed
The Scariest Man In the World
Willink is sometimes described as the scariest man in the world. As a former Navy SEAL commander he is definitely an intense personality. He is a big, scary looking dude who is super intense on taking extreme ownership of your life and responsibilities.
He is also a guy who wakes up extremely early. His advice is so simple. When people ask him “but how do I wake up earlier?” his response is: “you set your alarm clock and when it beeps you get out of bed”.
When Jocko tells you to get out of bed, you better get out of bed.
And you better listen to Arnold and Jocko, since you are the average of the five people you associate with the most.
5 Reasons to Wake Up Earlier
Reason 1 – You get more done
When you wake up before the world around you wakes up, you’ve got so much extra time to get things done. If you’re always struggling to get your writing for your blog in, start waking up an hour early and use those sixty quiet minutes to write.
If your passion is not writing a blog, use those minutes to read, meditate, study or any other activity that you really want to do but you normally don’t have time for.
Reason 2 – It gives you time to actually exercise
Are you one of those people that works out twice per year? One time in January and one time right before summer? If so, then start getting out of bed earlier! Your problem is most likely focus and or time and I get that. If you wake up an hour early you are able to get a lot of exercise in.
It will be good for your health. The first day you get out of bed, are super tired and probably hate yourself (and me for telling you to wake up). But then you put on your running shoes and start running. Run! You’ll notice that when you are outside and just start running, it’ll actually feel good!
You’ll see people half-asleep on their way to work and you’ll laugh at their pathetic life. You are an early riser, you actually run, you win at life!
PS: If you don’t like running, go for a swim/bike or take a few swings at your punching bag. Do push ups, sit ups, burpees. Lift some weights. Put the biggest barbell you can find on your back and squat down. Then squat back up. That pain you feel in your legs is weakness leaving you. The most important thing is that you actually do some exercise first thing in the morning.
Reason 3 – You get ahead of your competition
Nobody likes waking up early. So what I’m asking you to do is something you probably don’t like at the beginning. I’m not bullying you. I’m building a badass version of the old you. Only badasses wake up before 6 am. If you can do that, and your competition can not, you will win.
You will run faster, lift heavier weights, get more writing done, and most of all you will feel so much better. Be proud of what you achieved. That positive attitude will carry over to all your activities, both in your professional life as well as your personal life.
Reason 4 – To take ownership of your time and your life
The world is yours when you wake up before the enemy
That’s another quote by Jocko Willink and he’s right. You have to take extreme ownership of your life and your time. When you don’t, other people will take ownership over your life, telling you what to do (which is usually making them rich).
Take ownership over your own life, and start working on your goals.
Reason 5 – Work on your goals
This is a combination of reasons 1 and 2. You need more time to work on your goals, because you already spend 40-50 hours per week working. On top of that, you have a commute, and when you come home there’s all kinds of errands to run.
Wake up at 6 am (or earlier for the real bad asses!) to work on your goals. Whether that’s launching a new blog, starting a podcast, studying to get that promotion, working on your physical health, or moonlighting your side hustle.
Just Do It
How do you wake up earlier? Just wake up earlier! It doesn’t matter that your bed is nice and comfy. Put your alarm clock at 6 am but preferable earlier, and the second it goes off you jump out of bed. Beep beep, rise and shine!
It’s not that hard. In the beginning it might feel difficult, your first reaction is “But I don’t want to”. Go through it. The first days will be hard. You will be tired. You will want to fall asleep in the afternoon. Don’t. Keep setting your alarm clock for 6 am, keep waking up the second it goes off, and build this habit.
Then, if you want to, you can gradually wake up earlier than 6 am. Perhaps every week you subtract 5 minutes. You wake at 5.55, then a week later at 5.50 etc. You’ll notice it won’t be as hard as you’d think. Before you know it you’ve put waking up early in your FIRE lifestyle.