You know the importance of sleep.

You know that you need to increase your energy to feel better throughout the day.

You know you want to be a morning person, but sometimes you just can’t drag yourself out of bed.

There’s a reason for that and it doesn’t always come down to diet and exercise, regardless of what most the popular articles want you to believe.  The problem often dwells between your ears.  It’s not a physical issue, it’s a mental one.

Here’s why you’re not getting up and how to actually wake up early…

1. You Don’t Look Forward to Your Mornings

You dread hearing the alarm go off.  You don’t feel like putting on your running shoes and stepping outside.  You would rather stay under the covers and snooze away the most important hours of the day.

It’s funny how different our thought process is in the morning when we’re tired, as opposed to the day before when we’re excited about all the things we plan to accomplish tomorrow.

The problem is, you’re not putting your favorite things first.  You feel obligated to go for a run or read a self-improvement book, but you’re not excited about doing those things in the morning.

Solution: Use your mornings for things you’re passionate about.  What do you love to do?  Read, run, write, hike, pray, meditate, work on a side project…whatever you’re passionate about, save it for the morning time.

2. You Don’t Follow a Schedule

You’re all set to wake up tomorrow morning.  You’re planning to get some things on your to-do list done, but which things exactly?

Do you know exactly what you plan to do tomorrow morning?

Too often, we have a broad idea of what we want to accomplish the next morning and it’s not as specific as it needs to be.  Stop that.  It doesn’t work.  (I’m talking to myself here too)

Solution: Set a schedule and stick to it.  Start your schedule on the hour you want to wake up.  You’ll know exactly what will get done if you get up, but even better, you’ll know exactly what won’t get done if you don’t get up.

Here’s an Idea: Use inconvenient backup time slots for the times you don’t get up.  Missed your morning run?  Run on your lunch break.  Sure, you can go for a run on your lunch break, but it may be much more inconvenient. This will not only motivate you to get up in the morning and do it, but it will also provide another time if something happens and you don’t wake up.  In other words, one way or another, it’s going to happen with a backup time slot.

3. You Don’t Take Your Schedule Seriously

Would you sleep in if you had an MRI at 5:00am tomorrow?  Probably not.

Why should your personal tasks be any different?  The doctor’s office isn’t more important than your personal goals.

Think about the true value of everything you want to accomplish during the morning hours.  What would your life be like in five years if you practiced a disciplined morning ritual everyday?

Solution: Treat everything on your schedule like it’s an important appointment, because it is.  If you wouldn’t miss a doctor’s appointment, don’t miss your run or your reading time.

How to Actually Wake Up Early

Shall we recap?  It’s actually pretty simple.  You just have to actually do everything required to get up.

Follow this list and you’re guaranteed to get up every morning:

  • Go to bed at a reasonable hour – preferably the same time every night.
  • Use these tips to improve your sleep overall
  • Get up at the same time everyday (yes, weekends included – I’m usually most productive on Saturdays)
  • Schedule your mornings the day before (or a week in advance)
  • Put your passion first.  Whatever you’re the most passionate and excited about, do that first.
  • Take your schedule seriously and stick to it.  Don’t give yourself time to go back to sleep.  Hop out of bed!

That’s really all there is to it.  And you know that.  The problem is actually sticking with it.

If you know you aren’t very disciplined in the morning, take care of all these things the night before and you’ll take all of the guesswork out of it.  Preparation is your best friend when it comes to mornings.

Want more on mornings?  Check these out:

Are you consistent with your morning ritual?  What do you use the morning time for?