I have a confession to make: I hate waking up early! Yes, I realize I own a blog called Why Get Up Early and I’m supposed to be ultra gung-ho about waking up early – but I’m human, too. Even though I regularly experience the perks of waking up early and as a result, crush my to-do list every day, the reality is that due to my past, I still struggle with the question, “Why get up early?”
And I don’t think I’ll ever stop struggling. I don’t think anyone ever gets over that struggle of fighting with a warm, comfy bed in the early morning. It’s a part of daily life. There is no magic bullet.
Why do we always seem to hate the very things that will help us the most – such as getting up early? It’s like we have some innate desire to screw ourselves over and resist growth while getting nothing in return for doing so. It’s actually just a caveman-rooted desire to stay in our comfort zone and avoid “danger”, but I digress…
Why Wake Up Early if I Hate It?
Morning people exist (especially manufactured morning people like myself!), but it’s not always because we particularly want to be one. It’s almost always because the discomfort of how life is now is greater than the discomfort of change.
Or, as Tony Robbins more eloquently said it:
Change happens when the pain of staying the same is greater than the pain of change.Tony Robbins
Regardless of how much I know why I’m getting up early, the story doesn’t change much from morning to morning. I’m stubborn. Every morning, I have to drag myself out of bed, all the while objecting to doing so in my head.
And FYI: the argument in my head every morning is pretty violent. Somehow, I think mental machetes and silent threats are usually involved. 😉
But by the time I reach the bathroom and start splashing water on my face, I always realize I made the right decision to get up early. I immediately become thankful I have decided to be the type of person who wakes up at 5:30am whether I feel like it or not. That right there is the key to becoming a morning person; all you have to do is make the decision to become one and don’t flake out on your decision. Be a person of integrity.
Why Am I Admitting to You That I Hate Waking Up Early?
I tend to stay pretty consistently upbeat in other blog posts so that you have plenty of encouragement and tips for waking up early.
This blog post is a lot different than most of my others in the sense that it discusses the irrational human aspects of early rising.
It’s important that you know it’s completely normal to hate waking up early – even if you get up early and generally enjoy being productive in the mornings. It’s normal for morning people to hate mornings.
I Hate Waking Up Early, but It Changed My Life
As much as I hate waking up early, it has allowed me to make a lot of progress in my life. It gives me the chance to do, think, and experience things I never otherwise seem to have time for.
Waking up early has allowed me to ditch all of my excuses and slowly build a fun business over the past year that has become profitable enough to quit my job.
And possibly most importantly, waking up early has given me an hour of sacred, slow-moving personal time each morning that helps prevent me from feeling overwhelmed with life. If I were to get up only when it’s time to go to work or start attending to the needs of family members, my day would be nonstop chaos. In fact, that’s how my days as a “non-morning person” used to be: chaotic and stressful.
The fact that I now prioritize attending to my own needs for a while each morning and then ease into my day does a ton for my sanity.
If you also hate waking up early, I strongly advise you to suck it up and try it anyway. Give it a shot for a couple of months and see how you fare. And go to sleep earlier!
But… I Still Hate Waking Up Early…
Don’t get me wrong, I’m grateful for and fond of early mornings, but I hate waking up early and probably always will.
More specifically, I hate the process of waking up early that I, personally, experience: The alarm going off, burning eyes, vague sense of alertness, cold floor if it’s winter… Your experience might be different (better or worse), of course.
For me, it’s like this: From the time my alarm clock goes off until I feel the water on my face in the bathroom, I hate every second of this whole waking up early thing, but the rest of the time…? I love it with every ounce of my being.
Triggers & Habit Stacking are the Foundation of Waking Up Early When You Hate It
Triggers take the emotion out of decisions and help us make the ones our rational selves want us to make. Triggers are the crutch when we are weak – such as when the alarm goes off in the morning.
I can’t imagine a moment of greater mental weakness than when my alarm goes off and I’m all cozy in my bed. That moment literally makes or breaks the flow and productivity of my day – and I need a trigger to guide me to make the right decision. I can’t trust myself to make the right decision on my own during a moment of mental weakness and neither can you.
What is a Trigger and How Does It Help Those of Us Who Hate Waking Up Early?
What is a trigger?
Triggers are the matches that ignite the flame. Triggers make things happen without any real effort on our part. Triggers get us from “I hate waking up early and I don’t wanna get up!” to “OK, I’m up. What should I do with my time now?”
As James Clear says in his bestselling book Atomic Habits, which, btw, I discuss more at length in my blog post about how to become a 5am-er, triggers kick off a system that allows us to mindlessly trudge through a plan we have designed and have determined will improve our lives.
Systems: You Need Them in Your Life
Systems are vital to your success when doing and continuing to do something you hate but want to do anyway – such as waking up early. If you want to wake up early or do anything else that you find difficult or uncomfortable, devising a system and focusing only on sticking to that system is the only feasible way to do that thing you hate and do it with a smile.
Ever notice how successful people continue being successful? It’s like there’s some secret to their success that allows them to bang out one accomplishment after another…
There is. It’s called a system. Successful people follow systems. Successful people wake up early (even if they hate it) and follow their systems (even if they don’t feel like it).
Motivation is Like a Crack Addict
Motivation is the key to success, right?
Successful people shun motivation. They know motivation is not going to help long-term because motivation is very fickle. In the moment, motivation is all lovey-dovey and promises the world, but it doesn’t deliver on that promise when your alarm goes off.
Relying on motivation is like relying on some random crack addict off the street to run your business or babysit your children.
You don’t need motivation. You need a system.
You will never succeed at waking up early or anything else until you put a fail-safe system in place to protect you from yourself and your own bad decisions that you make on autopilot.
Some decisions are so automatic and subconscious that you don’t even realize you made those decisions until it’s too late. Nip those bad decisions in the bud with a system…
Atomic Habits Will Help You Hate Waking Up Early Less
Atomic Habits is currently the only book about building habits that I recommend, as most others are either garbage or pure information overload (or both). Atomic Habits gets straight to the point and organizes the action steps in a way that anyone can implement.
You’ll most likely never stop hating waking up early, but Atomic Habits will help you hate it less.
Why is an Ordinary Event Like Washing My Face Important?
Washing my face is the trigger to snap out of my initial resistance to waking up early and to get on with my day. To be perfectly honest, I didn’t consciously realize that particular activity was the trigger to kick off my day until I started writing this blog post.
I knew that washing my face is something I automatically do when I walk into the bathroom at 5:30am, but I didn’t realize the significance of it.
If I don’t wash my face at that moment, I would get thrown off track and probably go back to bed. Yes, even me, someone who willingly wakes up at 5:30am 7 days a week and started a whole blog dedicated to waking up early. Even me. Maybe especially me.
This whole waking up early thing never gets any easier. Only systems that put you on autopilot make it easier. Remember that.
What is an Example of a System for Waking Up Early?
My system is to wake up, wash my face, and think later – after I wash my face. I literally have zero thoughts going through my head between the time I get out of bed and wash my face.
Like I mentioned in that same blog post linked to above about becoming a 5am-er, I don’t even turn off my alarm until I return from the bathroom. Why? Not turning off my alarm until I’m awake allows me to avoid a bad habit I’d been doing for years: Turning off my alarm and crawling back into bed.
Due to many years of conditioning and laziness, I associate my bed and turning off my alarm with the bad habit of convincing myself in that moment of weakness to go back to sleep.
My solution (system) is to avoid that chain of events entirely.
Nowadays, it goes like this: Alarm goes off, get out of bed, go to bathroom, wash face, open shades, make bed, turn off alarm – then go do something else. At that point, I’m not tempted to crawl back into bed for some low-quality, fragmented sleep that will only increase my grogginess.
Get Triggered to Cancel Out Your Early Rising Hatred
Your trigger might be something else other than washing your face. It probably will be. I don’t know – I’m not you! It could be making tea or coffee. It could be catching a glimpse of the sunrise. It could be repeating affirmations you have hanging on the wall or starting to meditate.
Whatever you decide your trigger is, just make sure it’s something you do willingly or automatically already when you wake up. Those familiar habits you already have in the morning can work to your advantage when waking up early even though you hate it.
A couple of minutes of incoherent grumbling and groggy, burning eyes is a wonderful trade-off for a changed life that is finally moving in the right direction.
I guess you could say I have a love-hate relationship with waking up early.
My (now only occasional) burning eyes get remedied by these preservative-free eye drops, btw!
Admit You Hate Waking Up Early & Do It Anyway
What about you? Are you willing to endure a couple of minutes of discomfort so that you can start transforming your minset and life? Let me known in the comments.
All it takes to wake up early is admitting that you hate waking up early and then doing it anyway.
As a final thought, consider this: If waking up early were easy, everyone would be doing it and no one would hate it. Everyone would be eating junk food, gossiping, scrolling social media, watching TV… and waking up early?!? Now, that would be weird.