Jun 11, 2008
Why Waking Up Early Can Be So Hard
While I’m pleased to see I’m not the only one to wake up early and enjoy the benefits of doing so, I know from bitter experience that for a lot of people, it’s not an easy path to take. There’s resistance, both internal and external that can make it difficult. Becoming an early riser wasn’t something I nailed on the first try, and if you’ve tried it you may have had some of the same struggles as well. Let’s take a look at a few of those obstacles to better sleep and early rising and talk about some workarounds.
Obstacle #1 – Jumping Mt. Everest In One Step
I can’t say it any better than the fine folks at Trizle: It’s easy to fail when you try and climb Mt. Everest in one step. Even really smart, successful people fall prey to this. If you’re trying to develop a new habit that’s strength based (such as getting better at something as opposed to breaking a habit that’s an addiction), you can’t go wrong with the slow and steady approach (even if our instant-gratification culture views that as the weak way to do things). If you get up at 8am and your goal is 6am, don’t try 6am the first day. Ratchet back a bit at a time.
Obstacle #2 -You’re Just Not That Into It
Face it – when you want something – you really want it – you do what it takes to make it happen (assuming you know how to make it happen, that is). When you have an exciting vacation planned, waking up early to hit the road is easy. If you don’t have a compelling reason to want get up early, if you’re not emotionally and mentally invested in it, then it’s going to be really hard. You’ve got to get your reasons clear in mind, and you’ve got to be able to tap into that emotion when the alarm goes off. Forget willpower – think want-power. Do you want it strongly enough?
Obstacle #3 – Staying Up Really, Really Late
As much as we’d like to, we can’t burn our candle at both ends. Often people try to start the early riser habit without making any change in the time their head hits the pillow. But waking up early involves shifting your sleep schedule, not simply shortening it. If you’re looking to get up earlier in the morning, you’ve got to give a little to get a little. Remember, waking up early frees up time in the beginning of the day, so if you’re hesitant to go to bed earlier because you have too much to do, don’t forget that you’re simply shifting time, not giving it up.
Obstacle #4 – Hanging On To Late Night Entertainment
Certainly, there’s a trade-off that has to occur when you wake up early and go to sleep earlier to compensate. Maybe there’s a show you want to watch or an online game / community you want to interact with. But you’ve got to make the call – if the benefits of waking up early are worth it to you, set the VCR / DVR to record those shows. Save the online stuff or evening face time for a different time slot. Make a conscious decision that you’re trading something “good” for something that’s “better.” I’m not saying it’s easy – just that it’s worthwhile.
Note: You may be in the place where the people you really want to interact with are only available later at night, and shifting that isn’t an option that is worth it to you. There’s nothing wrong with that. Early rising isn’t the ideal choice for everyone. If that’s the case, keep your eye on this series as I discuss things that can help make the sleep you’re already getting more restful.
Obstacle #5 – Only You Know This One …
I’m positive that there are other obstacles to waking up early that I haven’t covered in this short post, and I’d love to hear your input in the comments. In my Becoming an Early Riser program I have 20 mini-workshops that help build habits that make it easier to get better sleep and wake up energized, but I’d be very interested to see if there are obstacles I haven’t included that I could work into the program as bonus material.
I’ll tell you what – lay out your biggest obstacle(s) in the comments below, and if I haven’t covered it in my program, I’ll work on developing a mini-workshop to help you move past it and I’ll send it to you via email so you can blast it out of the water. If I have covered it, I’ll let you know. (And if you just want to dive in now, you can get the program here).
I’ll see you in the comments!