The average person sleeps about 8-9 hours a day. Now, just imagine for a second how much more exciting and successful your life could be if you would gain 3 additional hours of valuable time every single day.
Imagine, getting up at 5AM without being tired and buzzing with energy throughout the entire day.
In only one year, you would gain almost 1100 hours or 45 days.
What would you do with all that extra time?
You could take your business to the next level, you could learn a foreign language, you could spend more time with your family…
But, isn’t it terribly difficult to get up early every day?
Sure, forming a new habit is always somewhat challenging at the beginning. You may be struggling a bit the first few days. After one week it is already much easier and after 3-4 weeks you will have created a new habit and it surely won’t be a big deal any longer.
So, yes, you probably will be tired for about a week. But, your body gets used to the new rhythm and to having less sleep very quickly – much quicker than you may think.
And you know, it is not so much the quantity of sleep you get, but much more the quality of your sleep that really counts.
Several years ago, I was sleeping almost 9 hours a day. And still, several times during the day I felt very tired. Now, I’m sleeping only 6 hours a day and I’m feeling much fresher and much more energized.
Here is the simple formula to greatly improve the quality of your sleep and to make getting up at 5AM really easy:
1: Change your beliefs about getting up early
Most people believe that they need 8 or 9 hours of sleep a day to “function” properly. I know from my experience and from the experience of many other people, that 6 hours is absolutely enough.
Re-condition your mind and tell yourself that after a short period of adaptation you will be feeling absolutely great with only 6 hours of sleep a day and that it is NOT a big deal at all to get up at 5AM.
2: Don’t eat several hours before going to sleep
I recommend, you don’t eat anything after 7PM. Also, avoid drinking coffee, black tea or alcohol 6-7 hours before going to sleep.
If you eat before going to sleep, additional energy will be required by your digestive system, the quality of your sleep will suffer and you will wake up tired in the morning.
3. You need a good reason to get up early
Think about why you would like to have more time in your life. What drives and motivates you? This will help you to get up early.
I also recommend you write a task list for the following day and you define what task(s) you will tackle first thing in the morning. If you get up early and then you don’t know what to do, there is a “risk” that you just go back to bed.
4: Calm your mind before going to bed
Make it a habit to meditate or relax 20-30 minutes before going to bed. Don’t work or watch TV just before going to bed. If you do that, your mind keeps on running, it will take you longer to fall asleep, your sleep won’t be as deep and relaxed as it should be and you will be tired the next day.
5: Make a firm decision to get up at 5AM and turn it into an exciting challenge
Before falling asleep, tell yourself to get up at 5AM – no matter what! Visualize yourself having a deep, relaxing and energizing good night’s sleep and getting out of bed at 5AM feeling refreshed and excited to start the day.
That way, you condition your subconscious mind and getting up early will be much easier.
Make “getting up at 5AM” an exciting challenge. Most people won’t even try their entire life, many of those who try give up after only a few days… Yes, getting up early is a habit mostly used by highly successful people.
Will you succeed? Of course you will!
6: Don’t Snooze
I know, it’s tempting to snooze when the alarm clock rings, but it only makes your challenge of getting up early more difficult. You snooze once, the next day maybe twice, then you stay half an hour longer…
Don’t think, don’t negotiate, don’t try to find any reasons why it would not be a problem to stay a few minutes longer… just get up, just do it!
You can even practice this behavior during the day: Lie down, set your alarm clock to ring in 5 minutes, relax and pretend you are sleeping… and as soon as the alarm goes off, tell yourself: “Time to get up, I’m looking forward to another exciting day…” – and just get out of bed.
7: Put your alarm clock out of reach
If the temptation to snooze is too strong, put the alarm clock further away from your bed so that you have no other choice than getting out of bed to switch off the alarm.
8: Time to fully wake up
Ok, you just got out of your bed, but probably you are not fully awake yet. Open the window and take 5-10 deep breaths of fresh air. I also recommend some light physical exercises for at least 10-15 minutes to fully oxygenate your body and to get ready for the day.
9: Be proud of your achievement
Less than 1% of the population gets up at 5AM and typically it’s only the high achievers and the super successful people. So, take a minute, enjoy your achievement and be proud of yourself.
This may sound a bit childish, but it’s really important. Having this feeling of accomplishment will provide you with additional motivation and it will make getting up early easier for you the following days.
10: Make sure your nutrition is healthy and balanced
The quality of your nutrition has a huge influence on your energy level. The higher the quality of your nutrition, the more energy you will have and the less sleep you will need.
I recommend you buy a good book on healthy nutrition. Here are some basic tips to give you some ideas: Eat more fruits and vegetables (ideally organic), drink enough water. Avoid alcohol, fast food, junk food, too much coffee or black tea… Reduce your consumption of sugar, unsaturated fatty acids, meat… as much as possible
Trust me, it’s not as difficult as you may think and it gets easier every day
Once again, getting up early will probably be somewhat challenging at the beginning, but it gets easier every day. You just have to push through the first 7-10 days. This takes some discipline and will power, but it is well worth it.
Yes, you will be tired at the beginning, but after a week or so you will realize having more and more energy during the day and feeling less and less tired.
Our goal here is to be buzzing with energy throughout the entire day while sleeping less. There is no point in getting up at 5AM if afterwards you are tired for the rest of the day.
Some people recommend to make getting up early a slow and incremental process, where you get up 15 minutes earlier every 1-2 weeks.
When I decided to get up earlier, I immediately went from about 8AM to 6AM and about a year later I decided to give 5AM a try and it worked quite well for me.
But, you can experiment with both approaches.
Are you an early riser? What was the most difficult part for you in developing the habit of getting up early?
Do you know about any other great tips to make getting up early easier?
This Isn’t a Disney Movie: No One Is Going to Save You
I think we’ve all been hypnotized. Hypnotized by movies, books, and stories that we’ve heard growing up as children.
All of these stories can provide a great source of inspiration, but as you grow up, you start to realize reality isn’t necessarily the same. When life doesn’t go right, goals don’t get accomplished, you can’t overcome a bad habit, or when you feel stuck in life – no genie magically comes out of a lamp to save you. (more…)
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How to Stay Motivated to Achieve Your Goals
Time is the raw material of our lives. How we choose to spend it, shapes our life accordingly. So having the motivation to spend it on achieving goals is crucial to creating a life we want.
What is Motivation?
The Oxford dictionary defines motivation as the desire or willingness to do something – our drive to take action.
Scientifically, motivation has its roots in the dopamine pathways of our brains. When we do something that feels good, that’s dopamine kicking in. Our actions are driven by the desire for that reward (the good feeling).
Author Steven Pressfield describes motivation more practically. He says we hit a point where the pain of not doing something becomes greater than the pain of doing it. He sees motivation as crossing the threshold where it’s easier to take action than it is to be idle. Like choosing to feel awkward while making sales calls over feeling disappointed about a diminishing bank account.
However you choose to think about it, we all want to harness motivation to achieve our goals.
How to Get Motivated
James Clear, the author of Atomic Habits, says that most people misunderstand motivation. They think that motivation is what gets us to take action. In reality, motivation is often the result of action, not the cause of it. Once we start a task, it’s easier to continue making progress. Like Isaac Newton’s first law: objects in motion stay in motion.
This means most of the resistance when working on your goals comes right before we start. Since motivation naturally occurs after we start, we need to focus on making starting easier.
4 Ways to Make Starting Easier
1. Schedule it
One reason people can’t get started on things is that they haven’t planned when to do it.
When things aren’t scheduled it’s easier for them to fall by the wayside. You’ll end up hoping motivation falls in your lap or hoping that you’ll muster enough willpower to get it done.
An article in the Guardian said, “If you waste resources trying to decide when or where to work, you’ll impede your capacity to do the work.”
2. Measure something
It’s easy to feel uninspired when you don’t know if you’re making progress or what you’re even working towards. That’s why you need to make your success measurable in some way. Starting is easy when you know exactly how much closer your current actions will bring you to achieving your goal.
3. Extrinsic motivation
This type of motivation is from external factors. It can be either positive or negative. Positive motivation consists of incentives like money, prizes, and grades. Negative motivation consists of deterrents like being fired, having a fight, or being fined. Extrinsic motivation doesn’t work effectively long-term, but it can work well in the short term to get you started on something.
4. Make it public
Keep yourself accountable by telling friends and family your goals, or even sharing them on social media. This makes it easier to start something because you’re pressured to not let others down.
How to Stay Motivated Long Term
When we say we want to feel motivated to do something, we don’t want to be pushed or guilted into doing a task. We want to be so attracted and drawn to the idea that we can’t resist not taking action. That’s why it’s important to build a foundation that will set you up for consistency.
These are 5 techniques that will help you do just that:
1. Stay in your goldilocks zone
The goldilocks zone is when a task is the perfect level of difficulty—not too hard and not too easy. In this zone, we reach peak motivation and focus.
For example, let’s say you’re playing a serious tennis match against a 4-year-old. On this level of difficulty, you’ll quickly become bored and not want to play. Now let’s say you’re playing a serious tennis match against Serena Williams. On this level of difficulty, you’ll quickly become demotivated because the match is too challenging.
The Goldilocks zone is in the middle of that spectrum. You want to face someone with equal skill as you. That way you have a chance to win, but you have to focus and try for it. Adjusting your workload and goals over time to stay within your Goldilocks zone keeps you engaged and motivated long-term.
2. Pursue intrinsically motivated goals
Being intrinsically motivated to achieve a goal is when you want to achieve it for what it is. There are no external factors like a reward or the risk of being fired. The drive behind your actions is coming from within.
For most intrinsic goals we pursue them because they will enrich our lives or bring us closer to fulfillment. That makes these goals extremely sustainable long-term because they directly affect our quality of life and the things we care about.
3. Use “chunking”
Chunking is the technique of breaking down a goal into smaller short-term targets. By doing this you achieve multiple successes in your pursuit of the main goal. This triggers the brain’s reward system and drives you to keep going.
Traditionally, you may set a goal that you expect to achieve in one year. That’s a long time to commit without seeing any results along the way. By chunking your goals into monthly or quarterly targets, you get the consistent positive reinforcement you need to stay motivated long-term.
For example, instead of trying to lose 50 pounds in one year, try to lose 4 pounds every month for 12 months.
4. Be flexible
We’re all victims of circumstance. Things happen along our journey that we can either adjust to or quit because of. That’s why it’s important to have leeway and flexibility when you’re pursuing a goal. If you expect everything to go perfectly, the inevitable failure can make you disengaged and desireless. When you plan for things to go wrong, you make sure you can keep up for the long haul.
5. Pursue your goals in a sustainable fashion
Don’t lose hope when you’re not an overnight success. Overnight successes are the 1%—for the most part, they don’t exist. What we see as an “overnight success” is actually countless hours of work behind the scenes finally hitting a tipping point. Pursuing goals is a story of patience, persistence, and unseen effort.
Don’t compare yourself to others. Comparison is a recipe for a drop in self-confidence and satisfaction. It also cultivates a mindset where you think you haven’t done enough. As a result, you may raise your expectations and put more pressure on yourself.
This is pointless because things worth achieving take time. So we obviously won’t compare to the things around us when starting.
Mastering motivation is a superpower. With that ability at your fingertips, you can accomplish your goals and shape a life you want to live in.
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