Waking up early has been one of the best consistent habits I’ve incorporated into my life, and I thought I’d share a few tips on what this can look like for you.
I’ve been consistently getting up at 4:30 for almost the past decade, and since I’ve become a more dedicated meditator, this has typically been when I’ve enjoyed meditating the most – in the quiet hours of the early dawn.
I’ve always gotten up pretty early, but from high school up until a few years after college I stayed out later, and usually drinking was involved. This led to less productive mornings.
When I quit drinking a couple of years ago, thats when I really got serious about a morning routine that for me includes spiritual study (currently I’m studying audio lectures by Mickey Singer), meditation, some form of exercise, and sauna,
I also sometimes write during this time, although thats not a consistent behavior like the other parts of my morning routine.
Here are my tips for becoming an early riser:
- Don’t make drastic changes. Start slowly, by waking just 15-30 minutes earlier than usual. Get used to this for a few days. Then cut back another 15 minutes. Do this gradually until you get to your goal time.
- Get to bed earlier! If you stay up late, it’s going to be hard to get up, because at the end of the day you do need to get your rest. I suggest going to bed a bit earlier and start building an evening ritual that incorporates relaxation, reading, and other things to start sending signals to your body that it is almost time for sleep.
- Use your iPhone alarm clock to help you get started. I haven’t used an alarm clock in years but if you need the extra help, use it! And when it goes off, get out of bed and get moving. Stretch it out, and move on towards your day.
- Don’t stay in bed once you are awake. Build a routine that supports getting out of bed as soon as possible. I like stretching and immediately doing my meditation first thing in the morning before too much information starts making its way in to the mind.
- Don’t allow your mind to talk you out of getting up early, or getting you to skip your meditation. It’s an easy thing to let slide, so stand strong in your intentions.
- Give yourself some flexibility to sleep in occasionally if you enjoy it. Make it a reward.
- Make it fun. Enjoy the sunrise. Meditate, and then give yourself the reward of a great cup of coffee or tea. Read your favorite book. Take a walk. Here in St. Petersburg I like to walk down to Vinoy Park and watch the dolphins swimming at the dawn. Sounds like a dream, and I’m grateful to have this experience! What could your special morning ritual be that brings you joy?
- Enjoy the quiet beauty of the dawn! As much as you can, look outside (or better yet, get outside!) and watch the sky turn light. It’s beautiful. If you are fortunate enough to face east and have a view, bask in a glorious sunrise. It’s so beautiful, and I appreciate the peace when the world still is quiet. So much promise for the day to come.