The “Why” of Getting Up Early

Oct 17, 2014
Joe Buhlig
~3 mins

It’s 4:55 am. I roll over to check the clock and realize I’m awake before my alarm goes off. That’s always a good feeling. But why am I awake at this time of day?

Morning people all over the internet love to tell you about the benefits of getting up early. There are studies that show morning people to be more successful and these folks love to point it out. They think everyone should get up early.

I can’t say that I agree. I don’t know that it would work for everyone. I know some folks that are definitely night owls and it would take a miracle to get them up at 5 in the morning.

But if you’re someone who wants to be one of those neurotic people who gets up early, you’d better have a darn good reason. Without it, you’ll be back to your old habits on day 2.

One-off Early Mornings

Think about the times when you need to get up early. You can drag yourself out of bed when you have a 6am flight to catch. 4am is no problem during deer season (yes, there’s a bit of redneck in me). You can wake up at 5am to beat traffic when traveling for Christmas. It’s not an issue because you have a good reason to be up early. You have a good “why.”

If you have a compelling reason to get up early, you do it. There might be some grumbles along the way, but you still do it. Translate that to every day. If you give yourself a good “why” for getting up early, you’ll do it.

My “Why”

For me, waking up at 5am is an everyday occurrence. However, it would be a nightmare if I just woke up and then tried to figure out what to do. I might as well stay in bed. Instead, I’ve figured out a “why” for my mornings. And no, waking up early to clean the house is not a compelling “why” for me.

My family typically starts to move around 7:30am. That means that I have 2.5 hours to myself if I’m up at 5. That’s the perfect time for me to do things that I don’t have time for during the day. It typically involves reading my Bible over a good breakfast, reviewing my goals, spending some time in the woodshop (though I’ve been missing that lately), catching up on web articles, reading a book, and writing for this blog.

Each of those items are things I love. They’re a great way to create momentum and energy for the rest of the day, and they give me a great “why” for getting up in the morning.

That’s the key. If I wasn’t doing something that I really looked forward to, I would stay in bed. But I know that if I stay in bed, I won’t have a chance at any other time in the day. So 5am it is.

Considerations:

  1. I’m not advocating a lack of sleep. In order to get up early, you have to go to bed early as well. Make sure you’re getting enough sleep. I typically start my way to bed around 9pm as I need about 7.5 hours of sleep a night.

  2. I would highly recommend putting together a Morning Ritual — a simple checklist of the items you want to do in the morning and how long you would like to spend on each. You don’t want to waste time in the morning figuring out what to do. Have a plan beforehand.

  3. Lay out breakfast and clothes the night before. I even set up my computer and iPad for my reading and writing the night before. If it’s easy to sit down and go right away, you’ll remove the resistance and possible distractions when trying to follow your plan.

  4. Be consistent. The only reason I wake up before my alarm goes off is because I’m up at the same time, every day of the week. That includes Saturday and Sunday. If you keep a daily routine, it becomes natural and easy.

In order to get up early and enjoy it, you need to have a compelling “why” behind it. Without that, you’re setting yourself up for failure. Enjoy getting up early!