A few years ago, Bedros Keuilian, Craig’s friend, mentor, and business partner was struggling.
He was overwhelmed in his business, suffering from anxiety attacks, and unable to make his life “work”.
When he came to Craig for help, the advice he received was incredibly (or as he saw it “frustratingly”) simple.
Wake up earlier.
At the time, Bedros had bought into the label lie that he was, “Not a morning person.” But Craig challenged this belief and gave Bedros a few simple prescriptions to help him wake up earlier and control his mornings (you can read more about this story on page 54 of Bedros’ book Man Up!)
The results were nothing short of incredible.
Within a few short months, Bedros had transformed himself into the quintessential “early morning Operator.” He had less stress, more freedom, and more success all because he made the decision to wake up earlier and attack the day.
And in this article, I’m going to teach you how to do the same thing.
But before we get started, I want to make something clear. Becoming an early riser isn’t mandatory for success. There are plenty of millionaires and billionaires who sleep through the early morning hours. But they are the exception, not the rule.
If you want to have more control of your schedule, more free time, improved productivity, and less stress, waking up earlier is the easiest way to achieve these goals.
And making it’s easier than you might imagine. Here’s how you can do it step by step.
1. Ask Yourself “What Is the Price of Hitting Snooze?”
The snooze button is a lot like a drug. It feels good in the moment, but it comes at a high price.
But most people never take the time to consider the real price they are paying when they hit snooze and say “Not now” to their hopes, goals, and dreams.
Think about it like this…
Let’s say that right now, you’re making $50 an hour.
When you hit snooze, you immediately waste 30-minutes of your day. There goes $25.
Instead of getting up and attacking your biggest objective, you decide to waste the most important part of your day for a few pithy minutes of “sleep” (if it can even be called that).
But the impact of this decision stretches far beyond the first hour of your day.
After hitting the snooze button, you wake up feeling behind. You rush through your morning routine, skip your self-care practices, and decide that you’ll do your “legacy work” (like working on your book, building your side hustle, or launching a new product) tomorrow.
You show up to work feeling stressed and anxious and, as a result, you lose 2-3 hours of productive time (let’s call it $150) because of your lackluster state.
You come home late, fight with your spouse, feel guilty for missing out on quality time with your kids, and then struggle to fall asleep the following night (there’s another $50-$100).
And when you do the math on what this vicious cycle is actually costing you, you quickly realize just how detrimental that enticing little button is.
At $50/hour, hitting the snooze button just once could be costing you more than $300 a day in productivity and peace of mind.
And my question for you is simple.
Is it worth it?
Are those few extra minutes of light sleep really worth the price that you are paying? Are they worth the stressful workdays? The strain on your relationships? The brain fog, disappointment, and frustration?
The first step to overcoming your late mornings is to acknowledge the price that you are paying every time you sleep through your alarm. And I can tell you from experience, the price is higher than you realize.
2. Start Slow
If you’re currently waking up at 7-8 am (or later), you should not attempt to wake up at 5 am tomorrow or even next week.
You’ll jack up your circadian rhythm, confuse your body, and make the process way harder than it needs to be.
Instead, work with your body and start slow.
Start by waking up (and going to sleep) just 15 minutes earlier than you do right now. Stick to this new time for a week and then push it back another 15 minutes next week.
Repeat this until you hit your ideal wake up time and becoming an early riser will be easier than you ever imagined.
3. Use Sleep Cycles to Your Advantage
I’m going to let you in on a little secret.
You do not need eight hours of sleep to perform at your best. In fact, trying to sleep for eight consecutive hours could be one of the reasons that you struggle to wake up.
The key to waking up feeling rested and recovered is build your sleep schedule around your sleep cycles.
According to most sleep experts: It takes most people 20 minutes to fall asleep, most sleep cycles last around 90-minutes and most people need, on average, 35 sleep cycles a week (roughly 7.5 hours a night).
With this information, you can fine-tune your sleep schedule to make sure that you’re waking up at the end of a sleep cycle when your body is ready to get up and go.
For example, if your goal is to wake up at 5 am every day and get five sleep cycles a night, you can reverse engineer the ideal bedtime for peak performance.
If you need five sleep cycles at 90-minutes each and you need 20 minutes to fall asleep, this means you need to be in bed no later than 9:10 pm every night.
Use this information as you start working your way back to an earlier morning and you’ll be surprised how easy it is to spring out of the bed when your alarm rings.
4. Be Ruthlessly Consistent with Your Sleep Schedule
When you first attempt to become an early riser, consistency is everything.
If you’re waking up at 5 am Monday to Friday and then sleeping until 9 am Saturday and Sunday, you’ll eventually regress to your late mornings.
It doesn’t matter whether you slept four hours or eight, you must commit to waking up at the exact same time every morning to make the habit stick.
If you’re out late and can’t get five full sleep cycles, don’t worry about it. Wake up at the same time and take a cat nap later in the day to make up for lost sleep.
5. Improve the Quality of Your Sleep to Reduce the Quantity you need to Thrive
The quantity of your sleep does matter. But it doesn’t matter nearly as much as the quality of sleep you achieve.
For example, Dave Asprey, infamous biohacker and founder of Bulletproof, is famous for sleeping only 4.5-6 hours a night.
But here’s the thing…
Unlike most of the “sleepless elite” Dave has actually conducted extensive tests showing that his body is functioning at above-average levels even with such a limited sleep schedule.
The reason is simple. He has invested hundreds of thousands of dollars into cracking the code to a perfect night’s sleep.
To improve the quality of your sleep, you don’t need to go crazy and invest in insane biohacking gear or expensive sleep tracking experiments. You just need to follow a few simple rules.
- Blackout your room: If you can see your hand in front of your face, it’s too bright.
- Keep it cool: Specifically, turn your thermostat down to 65-67 degrees F.
- Follow the 10-3-2-1-0 Formula: Click here if you aren’t familiar with this.
- Take the right supplements: Namely zinc, magnesium, CBD, melatonin (no more than 0.5 mg), and fish oil
- Invest in the nicest mattress you can afford: You’re going to spend 30% of your life sleeping, it’s worth the price to make sure your sleep is on point.
If you will implement these tips, I promise you will have the best sleep of your life and be able to perform at peak levels with only 6-7 hours of sleep a night.
6. Make Early Mornings a Positive Thing
If you spend enough time around early risers, you’ll notice something “weird”.
None of them need discipline to wake up early. They don’t talk about what a “struggle” it is or how “hard” it was to wake up on time.
Instead, they actually enjoy the early mornings.
They have changed the story in their head to make early mornings a positive thing. They look forward to the peace, quiet, and solitude. They enjoy the feeling of accomplishing their most important work before the rest of the world is awake.
They love waking up early.
And to successfully become an early riser, you must do the same thing.
Instead of focusing on the struggle of waking up early, focus on the positives.
Mentally (or physically in a journal) stack all of the reasons why you are excited and grateful to wake up early and the process will become much easier.
When you create a positive mental story around the early mornings, you won’t need discipline to wake up on time. Instead, you’ll be excited to jump out of the bed and attack your day.
7. Use the Two Alarm Trick
One of the most common tips you’ll hear to help you wake up earlier is this:
Instead of sleeping with your alarm next to you, put it across the room so you have to get out of bed in the morning.
And this sounds great in theory.
But for those of us with partners who aren’t interested in becoming early risers or little kids who wake up at the slightest sound, this tactic isn’t practical.
Instead, I encourage you to use the “two alarm trick”.
Set one alarm on your phone and put it next to your bed. Then, set another alarm to go off no more than two minutes after your first alarm and put it across the room.
The first alarm will wake you up and the second alarm will make sure you get out bed without accidentally waking up your spouse or kids.
It’s a simple tactic, but it works like magic.
8. Reward Yourself Every Morning
To make the transition to becoming an early riser, you need to work with your psychology instead of against it.
Specifically, you need to make waking up early fun and rewarding.
Listen, with enough time, you’ll learn to love early mornings. You’ll enjoy the feeling of finishing work early, making time for yourself, and having a few hours of complete and uninterrupted silence each day.
But when you’re just getting started, these rewards can pale in comparison to the challenge of peeling yourself off the bed (even when you tell yourself a positive story).
To make the habit easier, find a small way to reward yourself each morning.
For example, if you love coffee, spend a little bit more on a gourmet roast and take a few minutes to savor those first few sips.
Or, if you love music, spend the first 15 minutes listening to some of your favorite songs while you lounge on the couch.
Find something, no matter how small it is, to reward yourself with each morning.
9. Get Accountable to Someone Else
Sometimes, despite doing everything right, it can still be a struggle to overcome the comfiness of your warm sheets and get out of bed to start your day.
To overcome this morning inertia, I encourage you l to enlist the help of an accountability partner to get the extra push you need to get out of bed.
Whether you hire a coach or message a friend, tell them about your goal to wake up early and create painful consequences for failure.
For example, when I first tried to wake up earlier, I told Craig that I would send a message every morning at my agreed upon wake up time. If I didn’t, then I agreed to send $50 to a charity I despise.
And overnight, I went from struggling to wake up on time to immediately jumping out of bed the second my alarm rang.
10. Plan Your Day the Night Before
If you don’t know exactly why you are waking up early and exactly what you plan to do once you’re awake, you will never be able to adopt the habit of early rising.
Take a few minutes every day, once your work is completed, to schedule out your morning routine and priorities for the following day.
When you know what must be done and know that you must wake up early to accomplish it, success becomes simple.
When you have projects that you are excited to tackle and fun non-work activities scheduled for the end of the day (providing bumpers and boundaries to prevent workaholism), it is much easier to beat the snooze button and attack the day.
11. Get a Dog (No, really)
And finally, there is no “wake up hack” on planet earth more effective than adopting a furry new companion who will wake you up at the crack of dawn every single morning begging for your attention.
The only “snooze” button a new puppy has is getting outside for a walk and I promise you, there is no faster way to adopt an early morning routine than having a furry little ball of love whining and whimpering for your attention.
Want to achieve your 12 month goals in the next 12 weeks and start down the path to building your billion dollar empire?
Then click here to get access to the 90-day reality maker blueprint. The same tool Craig gives to his $25k/day 1-on-1 coaching clients (a tool that has made many of those clients millionaires).
Well walk you through step by step exactly how to reverse engineer your biggest goals and achieve them in 90-days or less.