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Eleven Hands-On Tips for Aspiring Early Risers
Enjoy the Morning
To get up before a sunrise at an hour designated by our ancestors as brahma-muhurta is enormously auspicious not only for meditation but also for any intellectual, spiritual and even some physical exercises. At this early morning you can enjoy reading your favorite books, engage in your creative hobby, learn a new art that you procrastinated for a long time. This is the time for all that you dreamed of.
Morning Is a Wonder of Nature
Advantages of Getting Up Early in the Morning
Advantages of staying awake from 5 AM till 9 AM are really plentiful. You are fresh and full of sheer enthusiasm. You are capable of achieving intellectual and spiritual goals. Even multi-fold ambitious ones.
To be able to come to a full awareness state from your sleepy consciousness you can do a simple procedure, wash your face with cold water. If this does not really help, squat a couple times, and your blood in your brain will run much quicker.
You will be amazed how emotionally enlivened you are at this moment. This state cannot be experienced in later, busy hours of the day. I presume nobody call you in this time with his trifle mundane problems. Nothing worries you.
Observe the Nature
You will be delighted to observe how the sky changes its color. Clouds are lazy and the air is still. Everything is placid in the nature. If you do not rise before dawn, you definitely lose half of the beauty and emotions of the day. The sky brighten well before the sunrise. Purple tinge of the upper clouds lowers and transfers into bloodish red color of the morning sky. It is overwhelming to see this phenomenon over the horizon of the sea.
In August, 2014 I met sunrise every morning during our trip to Bulgaria. I used a time-lapse mode of my Hero GoPro camera to keep these memorable moments. Here I made a short clip based on my pictures.
Time Lapse in Sozopol
Hands On Experience
Yet if the desire to enjoy these picturesque views is not enough to urge you to get up well before the sunrise, I will provide some other tips to kindle a spark of enthusiasm.
I am a long-time practitioner, and I know how many benefits this habit brings to your life.
I have not used an alarm clock for years because I trust my inner natural clock that wakes me up before 5 AM in any season whatever the circumstances. I allow myself to sleep till 8 AM only in emergency situations when I go to bed after midnight or during my travelling to other countries.
1. Start with an Alarm Clock. But only for a Short Time
To get used to this early-rising schedule, you can start by setting your alarm clock. By the way, this method is recommended by Steve Pavlina, a prominent self-development practitioner. The idea is to set alarm clock to wake you up at 5 AM. Then you do not sleep throughout the day, even though you may be tempted to. You do not watch TV shows in the evening. You should be content with mild reading. Detectives, horrors and news stories are prohibited, of course.
Any strong or artificial emotions from sport broadcasts, sitcoms, news or thrillers will result in bad sleep and disgusting dreams. And this is not the way you sleep.
Another great advice for getting to bed is to make a simple bedtime ritual, with mild music, maybe classic or meditational music, and some candles or incense.
Alarm clock is not welcome for your nerves, for your subtle psychological body, so you need it for a short time, probably for a couple weeks.
Then your biological clock should become stronger to prevent your ears from insulting sound. You will wake up before alarm clock rings. So you can get rid of it.
2. The Right Evening Is a Prerequisite for a Happy Morning
Do you know how a man feels after a hangover? I do not. And I hope that you will not ever experience it. Of course, you would better abstain from any kind of alcohol or other intoxicating drinks including tea and coffee. Forget about alcohol altogether.
Actually, any heavy food in the evening like beans, bread, cakes, meat brings about heavy mornings. It may be not so intoxicating as wine or vodka, not so severe at the first look, but anyway leading to serious after-effects and damage to your organism and your schedule.
Let me tell you how to spend your evening. Forget about your work problems, about your customers, phone calls. Many people unconsciously go on working on the subtle levels, pondering over their office objectives and problem solutions. By doing so you actually extend your workweek from 40 to 60 or 70 hours. And those extra hours are not paid for. So you prefer to work for free.
Why not spend this time away from the burden that poisons our existence. Stay with your wife and children in a cozy home not only with your physical presence but also with your mind.
Enjoy communication with your family members, reading, homemade art, self-contemplation, breathing exercises, even being alone.
Watch how the sun sets over the horizon if you can. Draw. Drink water. Do not eat within three hours of bedtime. Thus, your getting up will be easy and joyful.
3. Go to bed two hours before midnight
We have been taught that there are two large divisions of people. Some of them are early risers, or early birds, or “larks”. Others are night owls. In Denmark, they are also dubbed A-people and B-people, depending on their wakeup times.
Yet I believe that people label themselves on the basis of their past habits and circumstances. I know that the same person can be sluggish and industrious at the same time, or listless and ardent even though these qualities seem to be opposite to each other. We are formed by the environment and what qualities we choose to cultivate. Sometimes, when we are motivated and concentrated, we can make wonders.
I am sure that anybody who is disciplined enough to get to bed early, will realize the advantages of this schedule very soon. Our human lives are structured around cycles: seasons, lunar months, but the most prominent and tabgible is the circadian cycle, or 24-hour cycle.
And different forces of nature influence different parts of the day and night. Indian traditional philosophy states that there are three qualities of nature, or gunas. The first in sattva, goodness, the second is rajas, or passion, and the third is tamas, or nescience, it is the lowest, grim, the worst.
Night is under the control of nescience. Day is in the passion, and morning is under the goodness. When you try to stay awake in the goodness time, your life and conscioousness are purified and more balanced. But if you go to bed after midnight, your day is ruined. You feel drowsy, sluggish, soporific. You feel like energy has been sucked from your body.
With this early-rising and early-bedtime schedule I can sleep no more than five or six hours a day, and I do not feel exhausted or sleepy.
And I will share with you a secret. Every hour before midnight is recover your vital forces as much as two hours of after-midnight slumber.
That is why you’d better go to bed around ten pm. Thus, you will get advantage from two of most valuable hours for your sleep, from ten PM to midnight.
4. Make Your Morning Program so Intense and Joyful that You Crave for It
It is not enough to endeavor to look organized, cool and tough in the eyes of those surrounding you or in your own eyes.
You can wake up before 5 AM a few times but will slide back to your normal 8 or 9 o’clock, just in time not to be late for the office, and with after-midnight bedtime, eating and drinking in the evening like it is the last day of your life. I know young people who rise in the afternoon on a regular basis. To stay awake during a night they drink half a dozen coffee cups. Their minds are stirred by tons of useless news, computer games and information bits. Thus, all the discipline goes to hell.
To rise early is a feat, an exploit for many people. You cannot just force yourself to do an exploit on a daily basis unless you are a Spiderman.
I believe you need a positive motivator. If you want to go to a place you dreamed of, you can tolerate some minor inconveniences. Your positive energy will not allow you to stay in bed. You won’t be able to miss it. You do not need any coffee, tea or another stirring agent.
Your conscience will remember the joy of the morning, everything that you do: meditation, physical exercises, self-massage, contrast shower, freshly cooked meals, and your hobby that you love so much (for me this hobby – writing a book).
5. Make a Spreadsheet or Keep a Diary to Share with Your Friends
I made a separate spreadsheet in Google Drive, something like an Excel document, a table where I update several important parameters of my daily schedule. There I put waking up time, the number of squatting, push-ups, pull-ups, contrast shower (whether I actually took it), names of the meals that I cooked, the number of words for my novel that I write every morning. Usually I do 2,000 words a day, but sometimes twice as much.
6. Set Goals for a Month, and Check Your Progress at the Graph
If you set a goal of losing 10 kg of weight in one year and check your progress by writing down the exact number every day, then compare it with a gradual graph that you prepare beforehand, chances are you will move quite steadily. This long-time process does not require sudden, spasmodic, jerky efforts. You do it gradually, in small increments, or, in this case, decrements of your weight.
When you see a diary or a graph, your organism will send your brain some signals, and vice-versa. This subtle communication is greatly effective.
Let us say if is eleven o’clock in the evening, and you feel hunger. You go to the kitchen and open a refrigerator to check what food is available. If you check your graph regularly, you will think twice before actually eating anything. It can hamper your long-time efforts.
When you set goals for a week or a month, you have something to crave for. It is inspiring to see our progress, step by step on the graph. Any moment you will be able to see exactly where you are.
7. Do Not Eat after a Sunset
Our digestion gets considerably weaker after dusk. Thus, it is recommended to eat before two or three hours before the sunset. The ideal time is around six PM so that your organism has a few hours to digest food.
Many people treat this precept of ‘not eating after six o’clock’ as related to weight loss only. Yet, as I mentioned above, it is also a question of digestion.
If you take your meals three times a day which is a standard, the most ample should be your lunch, around one PM because the sun is high and the digestion is strong.
First meal, breakfast, around 8 AM, and last meal, dinner or supper, around 6 PM, should be lighter, not heavy.
To fill your stomach, you require only two handfuls of food. Imagine both your palms being filled with food. If you eat more, all the rest will be rotting inside your body.
8. Drink More Water
No less than 8 cups of water should be your daily standard. After you rise, heat up water. Do not use microwave oven. Drink lukewarm water, and after an hour one more cup of warm water with a little fresh lemon juice and a pinch of grinded ginger. Drink warm water throughout the day.
You can get rid of your habit of overeating by drinking clear water regularly. A cup of water half an hour before your meal quenches your appetite considerably.
Even though you can use herbal teas as a substitution, the main drink of your day should be water, clear water.
I use simple home filter for tap water. After water is cleansed, I boil it. It is also a good idea to boil water for half an hour and put it into thermos, then drink this ionized water throughout a day.
Avoid drinking coffee and tea. It excites your brain and brings about an unnecessary, harmful shake-up for your body. Taking caffeine leads to a dehydration of the organism and ruins its internal processes.
Evening coffee or tea is one of the main causes of a night wakefulness or insomnia. These drinks ruin your day schedule.
I do not mention lemonades, beer, and other poisons that are widely advertised. People consume them in ample, rife quantities. Forget their names. Forget how they look like. Avoid visiting alcohol and sweet drinks departments in your favorite supermarket.
9. Make a Bet on Yourself
I remember a story about an American who set a large banner near his house with a picture of himself and a text that run as follows: Whoever Sees This Man Smoking Will Get an Award of 100,000 Dollars.
In this way he did not have a chance of risking both his money and his reputation. He had to abide by his vow.
One of the peculiarities of one’s psychology is the tendency to abide by the promises given to other people and negligence toward promises to your own self.
In this case you can approach a man you trust and respect, and make an agreement that you will note your daily rising time in some special online document, or a spreadsheet. If you fail to do it, at least twice in a month, for example, getting up after 6 AM, you will have to pay this person 50 or 100 dollars.
I think this is a win-win agreement. Your friend has a good chance of earning, and you get your motivation.
By the way, it is better to pay ahead, and to get them back only after confirmation that your mission is successful. The fear of loss is the best stimulus.
10. Start an Ambitious Mission
Set an ambitious goal and write down steps that are necessary to achieve it. They should be well defined that can be measured and rated. It is better to distribute them over a timeline. You can write down the number of the pages that you have read, words of a foreign language that you have learned, the number of squatting exercises or written words of your novel.
Look at the graph and enjoy each step that you made towards your ambitious goal.
11. Feel the Incredible Power
One of the main causes of one’s indecision, or irresoluteness, is a distrust towards one’s self. Have you ever promised yourself to quit smoking or eating after dusk? And have you violated your vows? I presume so.
Giving up smoking is the easiest thing in the world. I know because I've done it thousands of times.
Each year we try to start over with a clean slate. Every month we promise to ourselves to be disciplined, honest, loving, open, and in a few days or even hours we fail to comply to our vows. We come back to our state of laziness, greed, indifference and even of beastliness.
But when you start to follow simple principles that I quoted above, you not only start to feel much better but also advance in any fields that you take time to put your efforts into. I mean advancement in your creative arts, sport. There are also collateral effects of an enhanced trust to your skills, believing in your talents, enthusiasm to set still higher, more ambitious goals.
You will feel the accelerating inner power that enriches your existence and gives your life a boost. Your life is not useless, chaotic, spasmodic anymore. You do not want to spend your valuable time for trifles that are not related to your life goals. There are no more lying on the sofa and watching dull TV shows, drinking alcohol.
Get this power in this way: Start by rising early in the morning, following several procedures of a simple morning program, make notes, work on self improvement every morning. Then you will get immense power in many facets of your life: physical, intellectual, spiritual and emotional.
Just Do It!
Do Not Procrastinate. Start Now!
Start now, I mean, from tomorrow. This is the right time to start. Just do it and feel the power of self-discipline and of rising early in the morning.
If you need an advice and support, I can help you. My name is Alexander Radich, and I will be happy to give you a shoulder of support. I can stay with you on your way to self-perfection. Feel free to contact me.