Is there anything more comforting than the idea of lying in bed with a thick blanket, knowing that you have two or three hours before you have to get up for work? You know the feeling…You wake up, roll over to check your phone, and thank the heavens above that you get to bury your face into your pillow and go back to sleep.
But I want to challenge you to question this habit. If you’re someone who says they want to become successful, getting a few extra hours of sleep is something that you are going to have to give up if you want to see results. Why? Because waking up at 4:00 am every morning to put in two hours of extra work is what’s going to separate you from everyone else. If you want to train for that marathon, the early morning is when you can get a run in while your competition is sleeping. If you want learn how to become a more productive financial advisor, waking up before work to study market trends and research company financial statements is how you will obtain the knowledge to rise above other people that are fighting for the same clients as you.
I’m a firm believer in using the morning hours to get work done. I have the alarm on my phone set for 3:45 am for each day of the week. That’s 3:45 am Sunday-Saturday. I don’t take weekends off. I don’t stay up until 11:30 watching football with my buddies. I don’t hit the snooze button and say, “I’ll do it later.” I lay my son down for bed at 8:00 pm, spend close to full two hours alone with my wife, and then we’re both in bed and asleep by 10:00-10:15 pm. That gives my nearly 6 hours of sleep each night. So for 18 hours/day, I’m awake and working on my goals.
“The difference between dreams and success is, dreams need effortless sleep and success needs sleepless efforts.” – Nishan Panwar
One of the most common questions that people have when I present the idea of waking up early is: “But what am I supposed to do in the morning?” It’s simple. Use the time to map out a plan of action that aligns with your goals. Whatever it is that motivates you, align your actions with that vision. Do you want to be an artist and sell paintings/drawings for a living? Good…wake up and work on your craft. Do you dream about developing an app? Great…spent an hour or two each morning learning how to write code for mobile games/apps. I don’t care what it is that you want to do, wake up 60-120 minutes earlier than normal and use that time to make progress. If you’re not sure where to begin, research those who have been successful in your chosen field and learn their habits.
The wonderful thing about waking up early is that once you start to see results, your passion will fuel your desire to jump out of bed in the morning to keep working. When I was waking up at 3:45 am each morning to research how to launch my business, it took me a few weeks before I had compiled enough information that I felt comfortable sharing all of it with my wife and close friends. Once I did that, I was hooked. I couldn’t wait to get up each morning to work on cash-flow spreadsheets, our business plan, a timeline for the business development guidelines, etc… Every step that I took towards launching our business was another log that kept my fire burning. I was beginning to see the fruits of my labor, and it was an intoxicating experience.
If you spend your mornings working on whatever it is that you desire, you’ll eventually see the results. If it’s working out to get in shape, you’ll see the results after a few weeks of hard dieting and exercise. If you need to study to take the GRE test to finally go back for your graduate degree, the material will start to settle in and you’ll be more comfortable for the test. Whatever it is that you’ve decided to accomplish, the results will come. You just need to put in the time.
“Some people dream of success…Others wake up and work hard at it.” – Anonymous
The last point that I want to make regarding rising early is the long-term benefits of the extra two hours you gain. If you’re someone who is sick of your job and you want something more with your life, two hours every day gives you fourteen additional hours of work each week that everyone else around you is not putting in. That means over the course of a month, you’ve gained nearly 60 hours of work. That work, if executed correctly, will give you the advantage to finally achieve that one goal that’s always been in the back of your mind. If you put in the work and are relentless in your efforts, you will have the opportunity to leave behind everyone else that continues to complain about their circumstances but refuses to do anything about it.
So wake up early, put in the time, and never lose sight of what you’re trying to accomplish. On mornings that your alarm goes off and you don’t want to wake up, picture that goal in your mind. See yourself crossing the finish line of the marathon, or opening the front door of your business, or standing in an art gallery in front of your paintings. Just know that the work will pay off. But first, you have to get up.
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