The benefits of getting out of bed early can’t be denied — it’s why so many top executives are early risers. Our days become chaotic quite quickly, but there’s a tranquil feeling in the early mornings. When you get up early, very few people will be calling you, emailing you or texting you. With so few distractions, you can enjoy the most important meal of the day (while 31 million other Americans skip it) and then start your day off strong by working out early (which increases your mental clarity for 4-10 hours). And just imagine the time you can shave off your commute by dodging morning traffic.
Time is your most important asset. But it’s still a struggle for many to get up early enough to make the most of it. How do you go about creating a repeatable morning ritual that works? Here are eight ways I’ve found:
- Keep your alarm away from your bed. This makes it impossible to hit snooze. You have to get up and walk over to your phone. Since you’re up, you’re already that much more committed to staying awake.
- Turn all the lights on when you wake up. As soon as you get out of bed, turn on all the lights. Your body will probably be angry with you, but it’s an effective way at speeding up the process.
- Be grateful for something or someone. It helps to start the day off on a positive note. Think about someone or something that you’re grateful for. It can be one of your best friends or even something as simple as having electricity.
- Recite your goals. With so much going on in our lives, it’s hard to remember what we’re after. Recite your goals to yourself and how you’ll reach them each morning so it’s easier to stay aligned. Studies show that only 40 percent of Americans set New Year’s resolutions and only 8 percent achieve them.
- Meditate. Meditation is a powerful practice for providing your mind with more clarity, less anxiety, more creativity and less stress. Investing 10 minutes of your time can be extremely beneficial. There have been reports of executives who credit meditation with having the largest impact on their lives.
- Disconnect before bed. In an increasingly mobile world, more and more people are taking their mobile devices to bed. The blue light that emanates from these devices suppresses melatonin, making it tougher for people to sleep. Try disconnecting at least 30 minutes before bed to make it easier to fall asleep.
- Sleep early. Adults need at least 7-9 hours of sleep. Naturally, this means you need to sleep earlier if you want to rise early and join the 5 a.m. club.
- Do NOT go back to bed. Going back to bed for “just another five minutes” is an easy trap to fall into. Don’t do it.
If you haven’t tried it already, give waking up early a shot. The competitive advantage you get from doing this is almost unfair, and there’s plenty of data to show how it can help you.
What are some other effective morning rituals that work for you?
Eric Siu is the CEO of San Francisco-based digital marketing agency Single Grain. He also interviews entrepreneurs on his podcast, Growth Everywhere.
The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched StartupCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.