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How can I make a habit of waking up early in the morning?

This question originally appeared on Quora. Answer by Ariel Banayan, co-author of Master Your Morning Sidekick Journal.

You make a habit of waking up early in the morning by (1) having clear cut reasons for wanting to become an early riser (2) planning for the morning at night (3) sleeping on time (4) filling your morning with either necessary or exciting activities and (5) staying motivated and holding yourself accountable.

Why do so many of us have trouble waking up early in the morning and starting our day with intention as opposed to reacting to our alarm clocks negatively and having that feeling carry on throughout the course of the day?

  • Is it because we like feeling rushed in the morning?
  • Does that extra five or 15 minutes of sleep really give us more energy for the day?
  • If you really think about those questions, the clear answer will be no.

The truth is, if we wake up and are immediately forced to start our day by quickly getting ready and going to work or school without having any alone time to set ourselves up for a perfect day, we’re not giving ourselves the space and comfort that we need to live as happily and productively as possible.

The steps that you need to take to become a morning are simple and easy to follow:

1. Understanding Your Why

You’ve heard it countless times before, but understanding exactly what your goals are – WHY you want to start waking up early is the most important question you need to ask yourself if you want to become a morning person. The reason being that we tend to forget quite often why we make decisions to change our lives and when we forget, we lose the emotional fuel we need to continue to make progress on our goals.

Some of the better questions you can ask yourself (which will also help you understand what actions to take in the morning) are:

  • What do you want to change in your life, and how can extra alone time in the morning help you make that change?
  • What life goals do you consistently not make time for and how can you act on those goals with some time every morning?
  • What’s preventing you from waking up early right now, and how can you counteract the negative consequences of those things?

Answering these questions with sincerity will make a drastic impact on whether you actually end up becoming a morning person.

2. Planning For The Morning The Night Before

Waking up early isn't easy and to become a morning person you need to make the transition as simple and smooth as possible. One of the ways to do that is eliminate all the decision making you usually do in the morning. Decision fatigue is a real problem, and in the morning you need all the energy you can get. You can't waste it making petty decisions about what is going to look cute to wear today or thinking about what you really feel like eating for breakfast today.

You need to have the following items done before you go to bed:

  • All your bags packed and ready to go for the next day so that you don't have to do anything besides pick it/them up on the way out of the house.
  • The clothes you want to wear the next day should be decided and laid out where you can just grab them and put them on after you brush your teeth.
  • What you want to eat for breakfast (if you want to eat breakfast - I definitely recommend it to get your energy up in the morning - specifically some carbs for long-lasting energy).
  • The first few tasks you want to knock out in the morning - or rather what the first few hours of your morning is going to consist of.

3. Sleeping On Time

How can you ever expect to wake up early and have the energy you need to tackle the day if you can’t get to bed on time? How can you ever cultivate the discipline you need to wake up early every single morning if you can’t get into bed early enough to make sure your body wakes up satisfied?

Getting to bed on time plays a huge role in whether you become a morning person, and it isn’t only because you need to get a certain number of hours of ZZZs. Getting to bed on time is crucial to becoming a morning person because it helps you cultivate necessary discipline, and shows you exactly how all of your decisions build on each other.

Let me put it this way: Successfully becoming a morning person is NOT just about merely making a decision to open your eyes and get out of bed at a certain hour. My decision to wake up early tomorrow morning, let's say at 6 a.m. requires way more than just getting out of bed at 6 a.m.

I not only have to wake up at 6 a.m. when my alarm actually goes off, but it requires me to go to sleep at an early enough hour so that I have the energy I need for the next day. To allow myself to sleep early enough so that I can wake up on time at 6 a.m. with energy, it requires me to avoid going out too late, or making commitments that will harm my ability to sleep early.

There's this really, never ending cycle of decisions that we make that all play on one another.

We think that our decisions are really separate events that aren’t intertwined as intricately as they actually are. Every single decision you make has a lasting effect on your future actions.

4. Have A Reason To Wake Up - Having A Purposeful Morning

To become a morning person, you need to have something that you want to do in the morning, a task you want to accomplish early on before the madness of the day starts to slow you down. An appointment or meeting you need to go to. Maybe you have fitness goals you want to act on early in the day.

You need a reason to get up because if you wakeup with no purpose, you'll get up, think about why the hell you're awake so early and you'll end going back to sleep. You need to have something that you're energetic about and excited to complete because it is either a necessary task you can get out of the way and clear up your day, OR an activity that will drive your day in the best way possible, give you some energy, and get your happiness going early on.

5. Holding Yourself Accountable

Why is it that when we read an article like this or watch a YouTube video of successful people telling us how amazing it is to wake up at 5 a.m. and start the day we get excited as hell to create all these positive changes in our lives, but can’t keep that mentality for more than a few days (if not only a few minutes)?

To truly stay to committed to our goals, we need to have information that continues to guide us on the right path, motivation to keep us going and help us remember why we made the decision to change in the first place, and accountability to keep us in check when we really aren’t feeling up for it.

You can voluntarily keep yourself in check by telling your friends and family about the fact that you want to be a morning person – and more specifically that you are going to become a morning person.

You can look up videos and talks about the importance of the morning from famous and successful people to keep you motivated. You can look for strategies on the best ways to spend the morning time you have. It’s really about finding ways to keep yourself engaged, excited, and with a concrete goal in mind that you can continue to act on.


In the end of the day, every single step I outlined above is hugely important to successfully becoming a morning person and creating the perfect morning routine to start the day. Know why you want to do it, think about what you can do with the extra time, start working on the discipline you need to get it done, and tell everyone about the change you want to make.

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