The Zen of a Morning Person: How to Love 6.00 a.m.

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Waking up in the morning

People look at me as if I were crazy when they tell me to be ready at a time like 10 in the morning, then they see me set my alarm for many hours before the scheduled time. They repeat very slowly, “10… You know I said 10, right?” I end up having to nod assuredly to make sure there is no communication barrier.

Little do they know, I intend to make the alarm even earlier than they saw me set.

Sure, there are plenty of people who wake up even earlier than 6, but remember many people absolutely dread mornings.

Even on days when I don’t have obligations like usual at 8 a.m., I still make the effort to wake up hours earlier prior to anything. Why do I do this and how do you learn to become a morning person?

Notice the lack of noise in the morning

When you’re all alone in the morning there’s simply less background noise because everyone else is still asleep. Consciously note that and embrace its calm. This silence allows you to focus on the morning rituals such as journaling or meditation.

I’ve noticed there are fewer cars driving through my neighborhood at 6 a.m. so there’s no outside distractions going on either.

Although the sounds of nature’s crickets chirping at night may make you feel peaceful at times, it’s good to just have an empty environment on occasion so I cherish the morning peace just a bit more than the night.

Take pleasure in the sound of your own thoughts and actions without external disturbance as the new day begins for you.

Take more time in doing your daily essentials

Perhaps you’re an important person and you need to respond to countless emails every morning or maybe write some sort of report. Once you practice waking up earlier, you’ll be amazed at how relaxed you can be when you are able to tackle these things at a calm pace.

Not only are you no longer sprinting out the door, you are getting things done while not simultaneously having adrenaline rushing through your veins. You don’t have to multi-task anymore so slow down and work on things with a focused mindset.

You also make room for things you couldn’t do before. Many people mention that they never eat breakfast. Do you know how important the first meal of the day is? I feel dreadful throughout the entire day if I don’t provide myself some morning fuel. Wake up a little earlier and make room for breakfast; your body will thank you for it.

Shift your mindset

Ok, so maybe you just aren’t a morning person. You don’t want to get up earlier nor do you care about having to rush in the morning.

That’s fair. It’s not the worst thing in the world to think that way. I just have to ask you why do you feel that way?

Think of the mornings as a way to make up for yesterday’s shortcomings if you had any. Think of the mornings as a way to be awake without having to do anything. See, you don’t have to do anything in the morning. Just let your body be awake without having to do anything. You spend enough time being conscious having to do something for others, just sit up and be awake.

Mornings have so many different interpretations that you are bound to find a way to love it. It can be a brand new start for you filled with new opportunities. Why not wake up and meditate on it?

The argument: I only get X amount of sleep!

I’m sorry, that’s no excuse. Here’s something you can do and it’s sort of something that takes time.

Every morning, set your alarm one minute back. If you have it set at 7:30, the next morning set it for 7:29. There you are now waking up one minute earlier. Continue this trend and after a few months you’ll be waking up an hour earlier and more! If you’re feeling really dedicated, maybe set it back by two minutes a day. It’ll only be a couple of weeks until you have an entire half hour.

If you’re going to sleep later than what you think is ideal then make it a goal to get everything done so you can rest. Don’t give yourself an excuse as to why you can’t possibly wake up at 6 a.m. Plenty of people do it and there are tons more who wake up even earlier. Join us as an early bird and soon you will establish morning rituals that can be complete in a calm manner. Remember to subscribe below to receive weekly OR daily updates!

Question: How do you intend to become a morning person?

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Vincent Nguyen is the author of Self Stairway. After landing his dream job with Empire Flippers he dropped out of school and moved to Davao, Philippines to work closely with the company's founders. Don't worry, he still publishes every Monday and hasn't missed a single week since starting this site in January 2013.

Latest posts by Vincent Nguyen (see all)

32 responses to The Zen of a Morning Person: How to Love 6.00 a.m.

  1. This is a timely post for me. I’m trying to get in the habit of getting up 1 hour early (5am) so I’ll have time to think and write. It’s a challenge but I’m working on it. Thank you for writing about this topic.

  2. I wake up between four and five and I’m usually up and writing by 5:30. It’s my favorite time of the day.

  3. Mornings are just lovely. This very morning I had to step outside and snap a few pictures of the fresh snowfall here in Vermont.

    I wake up at 4am on weekdays, 6am Saturdays, and “sleep in” on Sundays . . . usually ’till about 7am. I don’t have to be to work until 9am. That’s 5 hours before I have to “start my day.”

    These are my most productive hours. I can workout, write, do some chores. Whatever I choose.

    And the quiet is unmatched — especially here in my little barnhouse out in the country.

    Mornings really are the best time of the day. Opportunity is never so abundant as at the start of the day.

    Cheers!

    • Wow, the imagery of a small barnhouse in Vermont littered with snow seems amazing! I’m glad you’ve got time for morning rituals (if we can call them that) and that you consider 7am “sleeping in.” Personally my sleeping in time would be 9am, so you’ve got me beat!

  4. Me and mornings have a love/hate relationship. Getting out of bed is probably the the most mentally draining thing I have to conquer. So while I hate getting up, I actually love being up. Maybe it’s not that I hate mornings per-se, but that the getting up part is crazy hard.

    I have a friend that says “If it were easy, everyone would do it.” That’s something I try to live by in many areas of life, this is no exception. The morning sets the tone for my entire day. I try to make it a good one.

    Thanks for the tips. Check out Andy Traub if you haven’t, he’s got a book out on How to Become an Early Riser. :D

    • Hi Jared,

      The act of getting up really is the hardest part for most people, I can see why. What usually happens for me though is that the moment I hear the alarm I try my best not to even think about it and jump out of bed. If you give yourself time to think about the actual act of getting up, the worse it gets.

      A lot of that sounds like something I preach in my other article “Tired of Being Tired.” I’d recommend reading that right after reading this article, Jared. :) I stress the importance of a good morning and argue it affects physical and mental health.

      Thank you for the recommendation!

  5. I’m a 4:30 a.m. person for workouts. 6:30 person for general waking. Early bird gets the worm, right?!?!

  6. Hi Vincent,

    My alarm always goes off at 5.45 and I’m usually out walking or jogging with my dogs by 6.30 – I must admit, I sometimes lie dozing for a while before I get up, but I always regret it. As you say, it’s so nice and quiet early in the morning.

    However, if you’re going to get up early, you’ve got to go to bed early too – I’m on a campaign to get to bed by a reasonable time because I know I can’t survive on 5 or 6 hours’ sleep and I sometimes go to bed far too late, usually because I get absorbed with what I’m doing online.

    A regular routine’s the best answer, because then your body gets used to getting up at a particular time and it’s not such an effort.

    Thanks for an interesting post on a subject that’s currently very close to my heart!

    Sue

    • Hi Sue,

      Strange enough, I don’t recall ever having that lying around dozing before I get up happen to me before. It’s strange, but when I wake up when I’m “supposed to” I just dart out. I think we should turn it into a game for ourselves. See if we can awaken ourselves and jump out faster than the previous morning.

      That’s true, lately I’ve been going to sleep later simply and waking up earlier. I slowly begin to feel the effects so I have to pinpoint my ideal hours again because I seem to be missing my target these days.

      You’re welcome, Sue! Come back any time.

  7. I absolutely love getting up early; this is a great post. The best way to go about it (for me) was to get up 5 minutes early for a few days…then 10, etc. The habit turned out to be more solid that way. A glass of water with lemon to start…then the sky is the limit!

    • Thanks, Tony! You’re about the third person to mention drinking water with lemon to me! I may have to steal some of your ideas and modify my morning routine. :) Thanks for commenting, Tony.

  8. I don’t know if it is some chemical thing, but I usually have warm, positive dreams that I want to remember. So I often wake up early to just journal about a dream. If I write about it early, then I can remember it (I sleep with my laptop). I also like to wake up early and plan my day while I am still in my warm sleeping bag. My best planning is usually done between 5 and 6 in the morning.

    • It’s a good idea to keep a dream journal, especially if you’re a fan of lucid dreaming (something separate from what you’re discussing.) It’s fun to look back the next morning with no recollection and re-remember what happened the night before in your mind. Planning your day is a good way to analyze whether or not you need to rush anything and by having it all out you know to take things slowly and really enjoy the morning. Thanks for sharing, Bob.

  9. You know I’ve gone through several rounds of training myself to get up earlier and though it doesn’t always work (or is desired), I have found when it does work for me. It works in the Spring/Summer when it’s daylight earlier in morning. This way, I can leave my light blocking curtains open and have the sun naturally wake me. Other than that, I normally get up around 9 which is fine with me! :-)

    • That’s a really good point! For some people who love waking up with the sun, it’s more reliant on the season. Waking up at 9 isn’t bad, as long as you have time to do what you need to do and just enjoy the morning. I’m still going to be three hours earlier though (ignoring time zones.) :)

  10. I agree with the difference between a morning quiet and a night quiet- I find that at night my mind is tired after full day of work, and it’s difficult to journal or meditate. The days I am able to wake up early I get so much done! It reduces my stress, because when my day “officially” starts I already feel like I have accomplished so much :)
    I will definitely try setting alarm a couple of minutes earlier each day, so I can make it a solid habit.

    • Glad to see I’m not the only one to have picked up on the difference! No one else has mentioned that part here so I thought I may have been crazy. :)

      Let me know how that method works for you!

  11. I love mornings. I’m naturally not able to sleep past 7am, even on weekends but I love that time. I’m always energized, and can enjoy my tea, my National Geographic, and finish an entire day’s worth of activities before my boyfriend even wakes up.

  12. Waking up early is amazing. Nobody else is awake, I’m alert, and I’m able to do great things.

    What you do immediately after waking up also informs how alert you’ll be etc. I try to make sure that I eat eggs immediately after waking up to start generating serotonin with the protein.

    • I’ll be honest, I’m too lazy to cook in the morning most days now. I used to fire up the pan right away too but not so often these days. Maybe I should start that habit back up!

  13. Great article. I did the one minute setback in late 2012. Started at 8:30 and worked my way back to six so it is very possible.

  14. Another great one Vincent ;)

    I usually get up around 4-4.30 – By nature I’m just so much more productive in the morning and often have more done by 10.00 then I do for the rest of the day.

    The key things I have found is to ensure you get some exercise, I start every days with walking/running for 30-45 minutes, which really boost my energy level even more, along with a healthy breakfast!

    • Hey there, Mads!

      I’m proud to say that I’m still kicking butt and getting up early even while I’m over in the Philippines. Although yesterday I didn’t wake up until 10:30 because I didn’t sleep until about 4am. :P

      • Fair enough, I’m fearing letting go of the habit as well, mainly based no the time different when working with UK or US People, not much point getting up at 4, if you are hardly in bed yet for sure! ;)

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