How to Get Out of Bed When You Don’t Want To (Step-by-Step)

How to Get Out of Bed When You Don’t Want To (Step-by-Step)

Don’t want to get up? Some mornings are like that. You just can’t figure out how to get out of bed when you don’t want to. Well, you do want to, but then again you don’t. Usually the not wanting to part, and thus, the not getting up part wins out. We’ve all been there and done that. The real question is: How do we fix this dilemma? How do we get up when we don’t want to get up?

Maybe we don’t want to go to work or school, so that’s why we delay getting up. Or maybe it’s something deeper and more serious like depression or anxiety. Either way, the very act of just getting up before you start thinking works wonders.

This simple (primitive?) yet powerful and fail-proof process can give you the boost you need to stop falling victim to your inaction (AKA laying in bed.) It also gives you the courage to start fixing what ails you – or at a minimum, start reaching out to someone who can help.

Regardless, just getting up in the morning and thinking only after you get out of bed is the first step to moving forward when you don’t want to get up.

Since you most likely Googled “how to get out of bed when you don’t want to” or something similar, then on some level you do want to change – that is, you do want to get up after all. Hopefully, I can help you with that.

how to get out of bed when you don't want to step by step

How to “Just Get Up” When You Hear the Alarm Clock

It may seem like I should have some elaborate plan for how I “just get up”, but the truth is, making it elaborate would derail the whole thing. It’s not supposed to be elaborate.

The fact that we are always psyching ourselves out and talking ourselves out of getting up in the morning while laying in bed complicates matters more than enough already. To successfully get up, you have to silence that voice of senselessness in your head.

The wonderful thing about getting out of the bed within 5 seconds of the alarm is that you will immediately feel a sense of accomplishment even though you didn’t do anything that required rational thinking. I assure you, the rational thinking brain is not available early in the morning when your alarm goes off. The sooner you realize that and act accordingly, the better off you will be.

The only way to silence it is to get up within 5 seconds of the alarm going off. If you wait any longer, you will start hearing the chatter in your head and fall victim to its pleas to stay glued to the bed.

make getting up when you dont want to a habit

Build on Your Success of “Just Getting Up” and Make It a Habit

Getting up early at the sound of your alarm for one day is fantastic, but it’s not going to do you any good if you never do it again. You have to do it every day. Doing it daily means it desperately needs to become a hard-wired habit that you repeat on autopilot.

Not only are you tricking your brain by making the decision to get up before your groggy, excuse-making brain can try to make the opposite decision for you, but you are also developing a habit that is automatic and will never require your morning brain’s snarky input.

The thing is, at first, it’s not going to be automatic because it’s not yet a habit. The other thing is, it might take a bit longer than you’d like for it to become a bona fide habit that has adequately reinforced neural pathways to back you up neurologically.

It could take 1 to 2 months to ingrain this habit – not 21 days like so many people say. It took way longer than 21 days for me. You are vulnerable during this 1 to 2 month period because it will be easy to slip back into your old ways. Don’t let that happen. Keep your getting up ritual and your thinking completely separate and really focus on “just getting up.”

But how do you focus? In the meantime, until those neural pathways are cut deep enough, you will have to do something intentional to interrupt your conniving early morning brain’s demands.

You can do something like counting backward from 5 and getting up no matter what when you reach 1. This is what Mel Robbins explains in her must-read book the 5 Second Rule. The simple act of counting 5-4-3-2-1 and then getting on her feet and facing the day changed her life. She went from being depressed, unemployed and facing bankruptcy to becoming a world-renowned motivational speaker.

If you want this bad enough, you will continue with a routine of intention (counting and then getting up, for example) for as long as it takes for the process of getting up to come naturally to you. Once the habit is established, you’ll know it because it will seem weird to you if you don’t get up at the sound of the alarm.

improve mindset to get out of bed when you dont want to

Your Mindset is Key

Mindset is key to everything, not just getting up when you really don’t want to. However, since we’re on the topic of waking up when we’re not especially hip on the idea, mindset becomes especially important. You won’t get very far with establishing your automatic wake-up habit if you have a crummy attitude.

Even though your bed is ground zero and the time the alarm goes off is Offical Go Time, your mindset floats around in your mind all day 24/7. If at any time during the day you allow yourself to criticize your 5-4-3-2-1 forced wake-up or whine to yourself about how hard it is and how tired you are, you are setting yourself up for failure. 

Obviously, you can’t and shouldn’t stop your thoughts all day long, but it’s helpful to filter out the negative ones that focus on your new morning routine. It’s better to replace those thoughts with some that are more supportive and conducive to your progress and success.

If, for example, you really are tired because you’re not used to actually getting up when your alarm goes off, instead of dwelling on being tired, make a mental plan to set a bedtime that gives you adequate sleep.

Ask yourself a series of useful bedtime routine questions:

✔ When should you go to bed?

✔ When should you turn off or remove your phone from the room?

✔ Should you lay your clothes out the night before?

✔ Should you set the timer on your heater so the room is warm when it’s time to get up?

✔ Etc., etc…

Spend your mental energy on that bedtime plan – and stick to the plan in the morning of course, but that isn’t the point here. The point is to re-purpose your thoughts that aren’t supportive of your “just wake up” habit and mold them into something useful.

As you get more proactive about ignoring your negative thoughts and intentionally introducing positive thoughts, the better and more automatic it will become (another habit you’ve established.)

With enough practice, you will become a thought master, and as a result, also a wake-up master. Even if you don’t necessarily want to get up (few people do want to get up early, BTW), you will still have the mindset to get up anyway.

inspired to get up in the morning when you don't want to

Keep Yourself Busy and Inspired

After you get up, you’ll realize you really did want to get up. The whole thing about not wanting to get up in the morning was just a narrative you were selling yourself because you got stuck in a habit loop. Now that you’ve replaced that bad habit with a good one, you can move on to the next step.

There are plenty of things to do once you actually do get up.  Stay busy and you’ll be taking full advantage of your mornings. To keep the momentum going, you have to keep yourself busy with a morning routine you look forward to.

A morning routine looks different for everyone because everyone enjoys different things. An early morning gym session is heaven to some people and downright torture to others. Some people pump iron and some people knit scarves. That’s what makes us all unique.

Be true to yourself and spend the earliest part of your mornings doing what you want. Find activities and rituals that inspire you to continue getting up. Fit them in before work by getting up earlier than you need to, if you aren’t doing that already by the time your “just get up” habit is established.

Set Up Breakfast, Coffee or Gym Dates First Thing in the Morning

Nothing says “get up now!” like accountability. Set up as many early morning dates as you can (not work meetings because these early morning encounters must be fun) and challenge yourself to be on time for those dates. 

There’s no better time to meet a friend or family member than first thing in the morning when you’re both fresh and energized for the day. Energy levels drain quickly by the end up the day. 

Discussing life over a bagel and tea is a great reason to want to get out of bed, so make that happen. Make fun happen in your life.

If fun with loved ones is calling at 7am, then answer that call and get up. You’ll love the way it makes you feel and your relationships will probably improve across the board, too.

wake-up call - how to get out of bed when you dont want to

Ask for a Wake-Up Call

When push comes to shove, go for the shove. You know how you can request a wake-up call at a hotel and the obnoxious phone rings right at the time you asked to be awakened? Why not do the same thing now?

If you need more hand-holding, so to speak, and you aren’t getting on well with 5-4-3-2-1, then ask for a wake-up call. Ask someone (your spouse, housemate or roommate) to come into your room or ask a friend or family member to call you on the phone at your wake-up time and motivate you to get up.

This accountability strategy can be highly effective when you don’t want to get up.

They don’t have to do it forever, but it does help at least for the first little bit while you’re still mentally wrestling with yourself in the morning.

find a purpose if you dont want to get up

Identify Your Purpose and Review It Daily

Everyone should identify his or her purpose and write it down. If you don’t know what your purpose is, think about it and have it written up before you start your “just get up” routine.

Figure out what you feel your purpose in this world is and why getting out of bed will help you live that purpose. Ask for help if you need it, but don’t overthink it. Maybe a friend or family member can give you some ideas to get you started.

It doesn’t have to be long-winded. Sometimes even just one sentence is effective. Even if it’s just as simple as wanting to have time to play video games and have one source of enjoyment in your day of otherwise mundane crap, that will suffice until you find a different purpose. 

Video games aren’t really a purpose, but at least they’re something to lure you out of bed until you can say you want to get up. Once you reach the point of actually wanting to get up, your purpose will undoubtedly change. Everyone’s purpose tends to change or transform over time.

This can be written during any time of the day because obviously you only need to write it once, but you should read it immediately upon getting out of bed in the morning.

I keep mine on the mirror in the bathroom and read it right after I wash my face so that my eyes don’t feel groggy while reading. You can also keep it just out of reach from your bed on the other side of your nightstand, on a nearby windowsill, or somewhere similar. Just don’t make it easily accessible from the bed so you’re not tempted to keep laying there. The idea is to get up (even though you don’t want to) and read a short message to yourself about why getting up helps you achieve your purpose (or a goal) in life.

review life purpose daily - how to get up when you dont want to

Regardless of where you keep your written purpose statement, as soon as your feet hit the floor and your eyes are in good enough shape, read it. I really like seeing mine on the bathroom mirror because when I finish washing my face, it’s right there in front of me. I don’t have a choice but to see it. (As a side note, I have my purpose statement inside a clear sheet protector and taped to the mirror so it doesn’t get wet from water splashing up on it.)

It’s important to read your written purpose statement every day. The more times you read it over the course of your 1 to 2 months of building your wake-up habit, the more you will want to get out of bed.

Take the Plunge & Get Out of Bed

Hopefully, one or more of these strategies has resonated with you and will help you on your journey of learning how to get out of bed when you don’t want to. Doing something you don’t want to do, but that you know you should do can be a tough, uphill battle.

If you can approach it carefully, one morning at a time and share your struggles and worries with another person or by writing in a journal, you will find that you make a lot of progress in a short time.

When all else fails, sometimes the best thing to do is just keep your brain shut off until you get out of bed. 5-4-3-2-1 and get up…

I'm the owner of WhyGetUpEarly.com and an enthusiastic early riser. Let's discuss why that is... and maybe I can make you a believer in magical mornings as well!

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