If you haven’t heard of Leo Babauta before, you definitely need to check out his website Zen Habits:

Zen Habits is about finding simplicity in the daily chaos of our lives. It’s about clearing the clutter so we can focus on what’s important, create something amazing, find happiness.

As a way to be more active in implementing new habits, and changes, if your life, he started a program called Sea Change, which is a subscription program based on Zen Habits. Each month is dedicated to a different habit, and Leo writes exclusive content and takes you through a realistic plan for following the new habit in your life, alongside accountability forums.

This month (June 2014) the habit has been Waking Early.

I used to think that I was a morning person, I used to wake early, get things done, and go to bed early. However, then I married an late night person, and we had a son. These two things stuffed up my sleep, badly. When I signed up for Sea Change a while ago, I was looking forward to this month as I really valued my early mornings, and when June arrived I dived headlong into my Waking Early habit expecting to easily start waking up nice and early…

But it was really hard!

That said, it might not have been hard, if everything hadn’t conspired against me:

  • Both my wife and son were sick for a lot of June, which meant they didn’t sleep well, and thus I didn’t sleep well.
  • My wife started a new job, which changed around everyones schedules, added some stress, and thus we didn’t sleep well.
  • We’ve just hit winter in Australia, and it hit really hard, so waking up early when the house is freezing is very hard.
  • Following on from the previous point, our heater broke… making it harder to keep the house warm.

That said, it’s not all doom and gloom. I did manage to start the habit, and I have successfully woken and left bed most mornings around 6:30am. Next week I am shifting it to 6:20am, and 6:10am the week after. It’s not as early as I wanted to get to, but it’s a start.

So what have I learned?

  1. Waking Early isn’t simply a case of setting an alarm and getting up when it goes off.

    It’s about getting enough sleep. If you environment around you prevents you from getting to bed at a decent time, then you’ll struggle to get up when your alarm goes off – and if you do wake early, repeated late nights and early mornings really drains your energy.

  2. Waking Early is fantastic.

    I love getting up early and enjoying the quiet when the rest of the house is asleep. It’s a great time to get some reading done, or work on personal projects, or even clean the house!

  3. You can’t waste your early morning time, or it will ruin your day.

    On the days I woke early (usually after a late night), but procrastinated or did random things without a purpose, it ruined my motivation for the rest of the day. This resulted in me being tired, stressed, and very unproductive.

Overall, I really enjoyed Waking Early – and I will continue to work on it, however looking back at the past month, I honestly am surprised at how hard it was!