I’ve recently developed a habit that has made my days productive. Back when I still lived in my home country, I’ve always had tons of ideas in my mind. Things thoughts remained in my brain because I lacked the initiative to confront them. I always thought of the obstacles and consequences that come with ideas maybe because of how complex my life was back then. I only had one goal then — earn money.
I was in a lot of debt, so I needed to grind every single day. I was rostered at least three 12-hour shifts in a week, sometimes more. Recently, I realized that me doing all that work was just a lousy excuse for me to sleep at least 12 hours a day. I didn’t want to wake up early because I thought I needed to catch up on the hours of sleep I lost doing those shifts. So —
I decided to force myself to wake up early.
It was difficult to be honest, but I think this should be everybody’s goal. It’s a SMART goal, it’s specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely. I’m a shift worker so I’m usually rostered different times a day. I started to focus on developing immutable habits that I think helped me achieve this goal.
1. I ASKED MYSELF, “WHY DO YOU I WANT TO WAKE UP EARLY?”
The first thing I did before all of this started, was to get some coffee, a pen and a piece of paper. The most important factor in waking up early is to have a reason why and then my motivation came afterwards. I made a list of some of my short and long term goals. I wanted to write again, learn how to bake, try day trading, and hopefully one day make an exercise routine.
2. I READ VARIOUS ARTICLES AND FOCUSED ON WHAT WILL WORK
I read an article entitled “How I became an Early Riser” and it really helped me a lot. I never did everything the article said but it was a small step into that accolade. Remember, waking up early depends on your reason and what you want to accomplish. Of all the tips I’ve read, I found two that really helped me a lot. The first was putting my phone one meter away from me. So, whenever I hear my alarm clock going off, I have to get up to stop it.
Second tip was consistency, slowly but surely. As soon as you’ve decided, don’t make drastic changes. If you usually wake up at 12:00 noon, try to set your alarm to 9:00 am initially and then gradually adjust as days go by the hour until you reach your goal. I made a mistake trying to wake up at 7:00 am on day one of this regimen because my body couldn’t handle it. Starting at 8:00 am then down to 7:00 worked really well for me. It’s still a work in progress and hopefully the day comes that I can wake up at 06:00 AM.
One of the common reasons why people hate waking up in the morning is having severe headache with mild nausea. It doesn’t matter how many cups of coffee you drink, if you sleep more than 7-8 hours of less, you will have these symptoms. The article Sleep Foundation, has studies that an adult needs at least 7-9 hours to feel energized.
3. STOP PROCRASTINATING
“If there’s something you want, there’s a way, and if there’s something you don’t, then there’s always a reason.” It’s a saying we had back home that I translated rather horribly that I think applies to habit number four. Back then, I kept telling myself — “I can sleep more today since I was quite tired yesterday.” I only realized it lately that I was just giving myself a reason not to achieve my own goal. We all learn from our mistakes, so what I do now is when I’m tired the day before, I adjust my alarm a little bit. Remember the hours you need and focus on it, it works well for me. Additionally, If you want to do something, do it right away. I usually start my day with a, “I need to” goal. Remove the word ‘maybe’ from your vocabulary.
4. DON’T OPEN SOCIAL MEDIA AS SOON AS YOU OPEN YOUR EYES
It’s still a work in progress for me because as soon as I open my eyes and shut the alarm, my reflexes tend to open my Facebook or messenger for me. I end up sitting at the edge of the bed for a couple of hours. Hours lost that I could have used doing something else productive.
5. SET UP SHORT – TERM GOALS FOR THE DAY
Setting up reminders is what helped me the most. I changed the notification bell on my device into something goofy like duck sounds just to make it fun. I regularly create a basic list of the things I want to accomplish on that day and it’s quite cute to hear a duck reminding me to do something on a regular basis.
6. APPRECIATE SMALL VICTORIES
I have to admit, it is quite hard developing a habit. But it is worth it especially if you see all your effort turning into progress. Do your best to stick to your schedule, but never forget to celebrate small victories and appreciate the impact of your progression in your life.