To help My Working Way stay sustainable, this post may contain affiliate links. Check out our policies and disclaimers.
You hear it everywhere: successful people wake up early.
It’s hard not to be tempted and give it a try. Who doesn’t want to be successful?
I wanted to figure this out for myself. So I decided to bite the bullet and commit to waking up at 5 AM for a month.
In this post, I’m sharing how developing an early morning mindset has transformed my life, the benefits of waking up at 5 AM and a few practical tips to make the habit stick.
But let’s start with a very important point…
Why I Failed Waking Up At 5 AM
First, let me tell you why I failed a few times.
Saying that waking up early leads to success is the same as saying that having breakfast leads to success. In other words, there is no direct correlation.
Waking up early is a tool.
To be successful, you have to learn how to use this tool properly.
I’ve been obsessed with joining the 5 AM club for years. Like many of us, however, my focus was on building the habit, rather than establishing WHY I wanted to build it.
And that’s why I failed in the beginning.
I planned to create the habit first and worry about being productive later.
It doesn’t work like that. It really doesn’t.
There are loads of hacks to learn how to wake up at 5 AM consistently. But there is only one condition to make it stick: you must have a PURPOSE.
Without a good reason to wake up early, there is little chance you’ll be able to do it consistently. It might work a few times but you’ll soon lose momentum and revert to your usual routine.
The tipping point for me was when I decided to start this blog. With a busy day job and two young children, my days are packed. By the time I get to the evening, I just want to relax and spend time with my wife (and I’m too exhausted to work anyway).
I had to carve out some time to turn this blog idea into a reality. And that’s when joining the 5 AM club became a condition to success.
From then on, I had a purpose to develop an early morning mindset. But I soon realised that the benefits of waking up at 5 AM far outweigh the initial hurdles to building the habit…
The Benefits Of Waking Up At 5 AM
Let me be straight with you: waking up at 5 AM takes effort and discipline, even with purpose. It won’t magically change your life overnight and turn you into a super-human. But it will make a difference, progressively. Small habits compound and that’s how you change for the better and make a difference.
Here are some of the benefits of waking up at 5 AM I have experienced.
You will have quality time just for yourself
This is the number 1 benefit for me: carving out time for yourself.
Think of it as paying yourself first. Regardless of how the day pans out, you know you will have achieved something that matters to you. It could be self-care, personal development or working towards your goals – that’s up to you.
I had been struggling to find enough time to launch and maintain My Working Way until I joined the 5 AM club. Now, it’s a no brainer: the work I do for myself in the morning is invaluable.
I also use the time for reflection and self-awareness by doing a mix of activities such as journaling, reading, meditation and yoga.
You will benefit from the power of compounding
When you invest your money for the long run, you will benefit from the power of compounding – your interests generate interests, and your wealth grows faster.
With a deliberate morning routine, it’s the same!
If you use your time in the morning to work towards your goal, even for 15 minutes, you can be assured that you will be progressing every single day.
15 minutes a day for a whole year is equivalent to 91 hours, or 13 working days!
Imagine what you could do if you focused a whole hour towards your goals each day!
You will be more confident
The mere fact that you wake up at 5 AM makes you feel special. You are doing something most people don’t do.
There is a sense of quietness at 5 AM highlighting that, as you get on with your day, most of the world is still asleep.
This does wonder for your confidence and self-esteem.
You will be ready to face the day on your terms
Before joining the 5 AM club, I would wake up at 7 AM and rush to get my daughter ready for the day. I had to drop her off at nursery at 8 AM and then rush to work. And on with the day, non-stop until 7-8 PM…
My day hasn’t changed, but my ability to face the daily grind has completely shifted since I developed a morning mindset.
When I wake up at 5 AM, I am in control. I am proactive rather than reactive. I set my own terms.
And when 7 AM comes around, I am 100% ready to face the day!
You will sleep better
It took a few days for my internal clock to adjust to the new morning regime. At first, I would struggle to fall asleep earlier and ended up feeling groggy in the morning.
But after a few days, my sleep pattern had completely changed.
In the last few years, as responsibilities increased in my life, I found falling asleep an ever-growing challenge. I had too much in my head and was beginning to feel anxious about the prospect of finding sleep.
I’m not saying that waking up at 5 AM is the cure for insomnia. But it made a huge difference to my ability to fall asleep in the evening. I rarely struggle anymore, even when I have a big presentation the following day!
You will give more to others by putting yourself first
“Put on your own oxygen mask first”.
This is obvious when you’re on a plane. After all, how can you help others if you run out of oxygen?
It’s very much the same in your life.
If you wake up at the last minute, only to run around, mind your family and solve business problems all day – you’re not looking after yourself.
One of the benefits of waking up at 5 AM is that you get to put on your own oxygen mask first. Take time for yourself. Do what matters to you. And find peace before the day starts for others.
You’ll soon find that your ability to help others increases as you have had time to focus on yourself already.
You will witness the most beautiful sunrises
One of the most beautiful things about having an early morning mindset is that you’re one of the lucky few to witness sunrises every day.
I love a good sunset, but there is something truly magical about sunrises.
Perhaps it’s because it represents the start of something rather than the end. The hope of a new day, a new beginning. Or perhaps because it’s such an exclusive thing to witness, as most people are still fast asleep.
In the morning, I work by a window exposed to the first rays of sunshine. And every time, I stop whatever I’m doing to enjoy this incredible view (assuming clouds aren’t in the way – I live in the UK after all!).
9 Tips To Reap The Benefits of Waking Up At 5 AM
There is a lot of advice out there to help reap the benefits of waking up at 5 AM. Here, I’ll share what worked for me – the most impactful tips to build an early morning mindset!
- Start small – going cold turkey might work for some. Not for me. I started from 7 AM and reduced my wake-up time by 15-30 min over two weeks
- Go to bed sooner – there is no magic potion to make you strive with less sleep. Don’t think that you need less than 7-8h sleep. If you are serious about waking up at 5 AM consistently, aim to go to bed earlier (I aim for 9.30 PM).
- Use the 10-3-2-1-0 formula – no caffeine 10 hours before bedtime, no food or alcohol 3 hours before, no work 2 hours before, no screens 1 hour before and never use the snooze button.
- Make a plan the night before – never assume that you’ll have the motivation to get things done if you haven’t planned it the night before. Instead, rely on discipline. Decide what you’ll do and don’t try to get out of it in the morning. However, make sure you’re not planning too much. It has to be achievable if you want your routine to stick.
- Automate everything you can – set up the coffee machine, put a glass next to the sink, set your lights on timer etc… Whatever you do in the morning, if you can automate it, do it. Not only will it ease the start of your day, but it will also motivate you to get out of bed as “things” are happening without your input.
- Make all excuses void – what are the things that could make you fail? What would keep you in bed? Whatever your excuses are, find ways to make them void. Deactivate your snooze function, put your alarm away from your bed, etc…
- Have a large glass of water the moment you wake up – not only will this benefit you as we lose a lot of water during the night (though breathing), it will send a message to your body that the day has officially started – all systems go!
- Start with something you love doing – I start my day with a strong espresso. I just love the taste of coffee. I look forward to it and it has become a strong motivator to get out of bed (especially as I don’t drink coffee for the rest of the day). Find something you like doing and make it “step 1” of your morning routine.
- Join a community – So here’s a secret that made a huge difference to my ability to wake up at 5 AM consistently: accountability. I am part of a community dedicated to reaching financial independence, Financial Joy Academy. We are a group of like-minded people with similar goals. The community has a “5 AM club” which is essentially a virtual co-working space. Having others alongside you at 5 AM is an incredible incentive to show up every day. Can you find others to keep you accountable? (if you’re curious, check out FJA here and use this link for a 15% discount).
Find what works for you…
I have really benefited from developing an early morning mindset, but not everyone will reap the benefits of waking up at 5 AM. Some of us are night owls and that’s absolutely fine.
It’s up to you to experiment and find what works best.
Going back to my first point in this post, it’s really all about PURPOSE. Decide what you are wanting to achieve and then it’s just a matter of tweaking your daily routine – whether it’s early morning, mid-day or late evening.
What’s your view on waking up at 5 AM? Ever tried to do it consistently? What are your tips?
Please let me know in the comments, and if you’ve found this post useful, I’d really appreciate a share!