Zen Habits’ Tips for Waking Up Early [Part II]

Zen Habits' Tips

Yesterday, I started commentating on Leo Babauta’s article, “How I Became an Early Riser.”

Today, we’re going to wrap up that commentary and tie it with a bow.

Let’s boogie.

5) Do not rationalize

As I said yesterday, I’m not a big fan of doing anything that requires fighting the urge to get back in bed.

It’s never worked for me before, and if you’re struggling to wake up early yourself, I doubt it’s worked for you, either.

This is one of those “If I could, I would” techniques that I’m not very fond of.

In other words, it ain’t happenin’.

Let’s continue.

6) Allow yourself to sleep in once in a while

I do appreciate the sentiment of this.

But here’s the thing…

I want to make waking up early a keystone habit in my life. Which means, once it happens, there’s a good chance I’ll avoid sleeping in altogether.

Now, if it happens every now and then, it happens.

I’m not going to lose any sleep over it.

But until waking up early is a habit I’ve integrated in my life, I’m not going to ‘reward’ myself by sleeping in.

Seems like I’d b defeating the purpose…

7) Make waking up early a reward

Leo says when he first started waking up early, he would reward himself with coffee and a book.

Unfortunately, neither of those have me chomping at the bit to get out of bed. In fact, most things don’t.

BUT — I do agree with this tip… to an extent.

Look at it this way…

When you think about Christmas… or going on vacation… or anything exciting that meant waking up early… it was EASY. And it was easy because you were excited about what you were doing. Kinda like having a reward for getting out of bed.

The problem is, to make this work, you have to be really pumped about the thing you’re doing.

And so far, for me, I haven’t found anything like that. But I do know it’s something I need to work on.

It’s a good strategy, but it definitely has its flaws.

8) Take advantage of all the extra time

This right here is the REASON I want to wake up early.

Doing so would give me a couple hours of uninterrupted time to do almost everything I need to do for the day.

Exercise, meditate, give thanks, visualize, affirm, work on my mission. ALL before anyone in my home is even awake.

Leo put this perfectly in his article:

“By the time 6:30 am rolls around, I’ve done more than many people do the entire day.”

My thoughts exactly.

Only problem is, it’s not really a ‘tip’ that forces you out of bed. But it’s certainly a step in the right direction.

9) Enjoy the break of dawn

This is one of those ‘feel-good’ tips that I find works more in theory.

When I wake up at 5 am where I live, most of the time, it’s pitch black outside. Especially in the winter. It’s not until 6:30–7:00 am that the sun starts peaking over the mountain.

If I woke up early just to enjoy the break of dawn, I’d be outside freezing my balls off for hours. Plus, the break of dawn happens at different times throughout the year. So this isn’t something that could become habitual or routine for me.

But if you’re living somewhere where you can get outside right away, do it.

There’s nothing more refreshing than the morning sun.


And there you have it.

As you can see, there’s a lot of wisdom to unearth in Leo’s article.

Some of his tips are a little iffy, but others are spot-on.

My only problem, in general, is that, when it comes to waking up early, for many, it’s really not an easy task.

Many of us have been fighting the urge to get back in bed as long as we can remember. So it’s going to take a little more firepower to break the habit.

Some of these tips might work for you, some might not.

And until I find some strategies that work for damn-near everyone, I’ll still be hunting for the answer.

Regardless, thanks for the great tips, Leo.

But the hunt to win the morning is still very much on.


And when you’re ready 👇👇

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