Waking Up Early: One Year Later
The habit of getting up early has been the most life changing thing I have ever done. A little over a year ago, I wrote this post about how to build a killer morning routine. Today, I’m still getting up several hours before I have to and I want to reveal how I did it and what happened to me.
Update 4/14/2015: I wrote a book based on my experience waking up early for a year. Go get your copy!
How to Wake Up Early
All I had to do was build a habit of waking early and then I’d figure out what to do after that. My trick was to watch a new episode of some addictive TV series first thing in the morning while I sipped my coffee. That usually worked to get my ass out of bed!
Once my grogginess wore off and I became more awake, I sprinkled in some positive habits that I found in the book The Miracle Morning. This was Silence (meditation), Affirmations, Visualizations, Exercise, Reading, and Scribing (journaling).
I used Lift app to keep track of my habits and keep me motivated.
A few other habits I experimented with were lucid dreaming practice, pushups, planks, pull-ups, going for a walk, yoga, spending time in nature, breakdance practice, practicing piano, write blog post, drink more water, eat vegetarian, sleep by midnight, make music, log expenses, cold shower, dance, say no to one thing, delegate at least one task, random act of kindness, organize for ten minutes, declutter, get rid of one thing, listen to audiobook, listen to podcast, no caffeine, no sweets, no social media, etc.
The Problems I Faced
Some habits stuck and others I never seemed to do. I noticed I tend to fall much easier into habits of journaling, reading, and meditating every morning because those were pretty easy. I actively enjoy all those.
I sucked at exercise habits. I’d rather go out for a walk than hit the gym. I did do mild yoga and occasionally lift some weights, but that was never a big part of my routine. Denial habits like “no caffeine” were really hard to do as well.
Missteps, Laziness, and Hibernation
There was a period during the winter where I just didn’t want to get out of bed. The house was cold and I started to fall out of the habit. After my first out of body experience, I got really into trying to induce them on purpose. I read trilogy of Robert Monroe books and several on lucid dreaming. I was having success with it and became obsessed! I felt more inclined to try to sleep and dream rather than wake up and be productive.
Eventually my lucid dreaming habit started to wane. I would use the Wake Back to Bed technique and while I still got up at 6 AM, I was back in bed sleeping by 6:30. Many times I would have very vivid dreams, lucids, or out of body experiences. I’d write them down and I would learn from them. But most days I would just find that I would sleep until I had to get up for work.
I started staying up late again which made it even harder to get out of bed. My morning routine was pretty much dead. I stopped caring about it for several weeks. I felt bad kind of. But I knew I’d pick it back up eventually.
I realized my morning routine was getting boring. I didn’t know how to shake it up.
Once the weather got warm and the sun started coming out earlier, I felt the urge to get up early again. I just called this my hibernation phase.
How it Changed My Life
Before I started my morning routine, I was depressed and hurting. I was not a spiritual person at all, but I was interested in meditation to help relieve stress and yoga as exercise. But everyone is into yoga these days. In fact, most spiritual concepts were foreign to me. I associated spirituality with superstition and religion and I believed I wasn’t “one of those people.”
After watching Sean Webb break down how emotions work in his Body, Mind, and Spirit 101 videos, I was blown away. I was very much interested in this idea of a True Self and a False Self. This turned me onto the concept of the Ego and how it’s to blame for all the suffering we experience in the world. This led me to reading my first book from Eckhart Tolle, the Power of Now. What a game changer this was.
I had a new reason to meditate every morning – to get in touch with my True Self and identify my False Self, the ego. This got me into Buddhism and Zen. So refreshing!
But I didn’t stop there.
Curiosity and Non Judgement
In one of Robert Monroe’s books, he talked about how his curiosity led him further down the rabbit hole of out of body experiences. That’s what happened with me. Once I had my first OBE, I started reading everything I could about them.
Lo and behold what people discovered during out of body experiences was the same kind of stuff I was reading in my other spiritual texts. They were talking about the same stuff! All the world’s religions are based on the same kind of spiritual principles, most notably around this idea of God. And through out of body experiences, you can actually experience God for yourself. I still haven’t yet, but maybe one day. Author William Buhlman in his book Secret of the Soul talks all about this.
My mind was being opened up at every corner. I kept journaling, meditating, and reading. I went down the rabbit hole and noticed when I would feel fear or judgment before approaching a topic. For instance when I started realizing the overlap between spiritual concepts and aliens and ETs, my bullshit radar went off. But I realized it was really just stereotyping and judgment of paranormal material being superstitious, fake, or batshit crazy.
But I let my curiosity guide me, why not. I could use my own discernment to judge for myself. A friend lent me Barbara Hand Clow’s Alchemy of Nine Dimensions and holy smokes, she just took everything I knew already and turned it up to 11. Again, stuff I discovered through meditation, yoga, and Buddhist practices were lining up with my discoveries in out of body experiences and lucid dreaming. And here was a book that was putting these concepts in a context of the cosmos and the multi-dimensional nature of reality. And aliens, ETs, angels, demons – it was all part of it.
Mind blown. Opened up once again.
Then that same friend turned me onto George Kavassilas who had a 6 hour YouTube lecture that would blow my mind even more. I started listening to his podcast Super Woo Radio and all of this was so far out yet so interesting to me. I kept my skeptical hat on tight, but loose enough to keep an open mind. I ventured into fringe knowledge and esoteric subject matters and it changed the way I see the world forever.
Some Life Improvements
- I see the world through a much broader perspective
- I have a drastically more open mind and heart toward all beings
- Meditation is the number one habit of all, it’s the foundation
- Reading and journaling have been huge for me
- I’m no longer depressed, in fact I’m more inspired and driven than ever
- I appreciate a slow walk through nature without rushing
- I have read a ton of books, podcasts, documentaries, and YouTube videos
- I feel more inner peace and less anxiety and fear
- I am thrilled about my upcoming life and getting older
- I’ve had dozens of lucid dreams and out of body experiences
- I am learning to follow my joy despite my fears and doubts
My Current Routine
This is a list of the things I do in the morning. I don’t always do ALL of them. I have room for flexibility. Sometimes if a book is really grabbing me or I’m really into writing this new blog post, I’ll keep going. Even if that means not doing something else. Let this list serve as a guide for some stuff you might want to do tomorrow morning.
- Wake up at 5:20 AM
- Meditate for 10-20 minutes
- Read or write affirmations
- Write for 30 minutes (journal or blog)
- Walk for 10-20 minutes
- Yoga or Stretching for 10-20 minutes1
- Light weight lifting or pushups
- Practice Piano for 10-20 minutes
- Read / Audiobook / Podcast
- Watch YouTube videos on subjects that interest me
- Shower and get ready for work
- Practice Lucid Dreaming (sometimes)
- Do nothing for 10 minutes (sit outside)
- Spend time outside
- Read an old journal entry
The morning routine in and of itself it doesn’t exactly change a life, but it opens the door to many life-changing habits.
Recommendations for You
If the only thing you did each morning was meditate for 10 minutes and journal for 5 minutes, that alone would make a shift in your life. You would be taking 15 minutes a day to think about your life. And chances are you’ll get inspired to do something – start running, quit that job you hate, go vegetarian, plan for that trip, start that project, finish that other project, etc.
I feel every person should spend at least 15 minutes a day focusing on their own personal development. It’s a no brainer! Why would you ever want to sleepwalk through life and ignore yourself? If we all spent time each day learning and practicing how to become a better, more integrated and whole human being, the world would be a better place.
But that’s thinking too big, just focus on yourself. Give yourself that time in the morning and start living on purpose!
I wrote a book based on my experience waking up early for a year. Go get your copy!
This article also appears on makermistaker.com and is published here with the permission of the author
Title photo credit