There are a great many men that led their lives as early risers: Theodore Roosevelt, Steve Jobs, Ben Franklin, Howard Schultz – from the past till today, men have continued to beat the morning sun to take an extra bite out of life.
As a younger man, I lived the night-owl life. I often found the midnight hours to be my most creative of all, allowing me to hammer out projects, tinker with things on the basement workbench or write some of my best presentations. These hours created some of my best moments, but rarely worked well with a day-job schedule. While creativity and other benefits are often associated with night owls (and apparently according to research higher IQ’s), there is just something about the morning hustle that steps up your game.
“Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise” – Ben Franklin
Benefits of Waking Up Early
Northing beats looking into the sky as it begins to brighten. Your brain awakens and your internal clock keeps right on schedule. While everything else is still and quiet, you can begin to acknowledge the world and think about your day. Make a hot cup of tea, plan your day or meditate – whatever makes you have a productive start.
For most people, planning to do exercise in the evening can lead to disaster as many things can come up, including pure laziness. I’m one of those people who have tried and failed constantly. However, working out in the working can change this pattern. Make a daily habit – one of the first things you do after waking up is tying your workout shoes. Once this habit builds, it will become second nature. The great thing about morning exercise is that it gives you energy the rest of the day and a sense of accomplishment. How many men can say that they accomplished something big before arriving to work for the day?
3. A Winner’s Mindset
Taking the morning by the horns seems to give a sense of control. At first, it may be a ongoing battle with your internal demons telling you to stay in bed or hit the snooze button. The goal is to make your mind resilient. Most morning folks tend to be more active and goal-oriented – they are proactive and dislike being distracted. Disciplining your brain takes time. Remember the morning is your time – your goals, your planning, your achievements. Use it wisely.
4. Reduce Stress
Using the first hours of the morning to set the tone of the rest of your day can reduce stress immensely. By beating the morning sun, you have time to plan and eat a full breakfast. You can usually beat the morning traffic rush too or have enough time to drop the kids off. Many people I work with enjoy “the quiet hour” which is that timeframe before all your colleagues have arrived in which you have time to think and focus. This is one of my most favorite parts of waking up early. In the end, all the “rushing around” makes the most dreadful and stressful mornings of all. Repeat this 5 times a week and you start to see what life is going to be like.
How to Wake up Early
For many, waking up earlier is a way to take more control of life. Note however that not everyone is most productive as a early riser- experiment and see what works for you. If you want to try waking up earlier, you need to choose a time such as 5:30 am and a goal of how long it will take for you to get there. Generally people recommend to try moving your wake-up time back in 15-30 minute chunks over a few weeks until you reached your goal. On the other hand, I personally just say go for the gold and set your new time tomorrow. While the first few days may be a little more miserable, (that’s what coffee is for) the mornings will get easier and easier and before you know it you’ll be crushing your mornings.
Other tips include moving your alarm further away from your bed. No tempting snooze slaps are needed. On the weekends, try to get up as close to your weekday time as possible to get your body well-adjusted. Lastly, have something in your morning to look forward to. Whether it is a solid, healthy breakfast or doing something you’re passionate about…getting up early is much easier when there’s something in it for you.