How to wake up in the morning

I recently challenged myself to learn how to paint like a master. I needed to paint everyday.

The thing with the idea of painting everyday is that I need to actually do wake up from bed everyday and this is a much bigger problem than it seems because technically, nobody is forcing me to do so. I only have myself to get out of this divine place of pleasure that is my bed. (Believe me, my queen size bed is awesome.)

I already know that the best way to improve at anything is to show consistency in the effort. I can’t miss one day every 3 days because I prefer to sleep one more hour. It will only eat up my day, slow me down and bring down my morale, slowly leading me to giving up. Keep in mind that we, as humans, tend to unlearn much faster than we learn anything.

At first, I thought that motivation would be my best weapon. And the first day it was ! I woke up, took my pencils and filled blank canvases with the rage of the beginner to finally go to sleep the heart filled with hope and the insurance that my life was already written because, you know, I had so much done in one day.

But then came the second day… As I came back at my drawings, I could only see the flaws. I didn’t think I had spent a whole day working and that was already a lot. I was only considering the road ahead and not aknowledging the road past. Plus, did I mention that my bed is still the most comfortable place on earth. Why show up again the second day ? I thought I could rest for a while, it wouldn’t really slow down my career… And so I watched a movie.

You simply can’t fail in bed.

And that’s was make it so friendly. So familiar. Even with the best spirit, the best motivation, even with the greatest will, you’ll only work 2 or 3 days a week without a set of strong techniques. Every day will be a negociation with your brain because it will feel so good to take a day off. Another day off et so on.

I needed to break this negociation cycle. I needed to understand that every time I negociated with my brain, I had already lost ground.

In the end, it’s all about showing up. And that’s all.

If you force your brain to work intensely for 15 minutes, then the hardest part is over. Because you’re not only going to work 15 minutes. You’ll be engaged in the mental flow of your task and you’ll want to finish it.

You’ll get 30, 45 minutes or even an hour from it. Just repeat the process for every task.

And that’s not all, by doing so, you’ll get your body and your mind used to start working for 15 minutes everyday. And soon you won’t have to negociate anything because it won’t be a choice among others, it will be what you do by default. And that is what you want to reach.

I did struggle at first, but after six months of trying new things, refining what worked well, I ended up waking earlier than I ever did when I had a day job and go to sleep later at night with spending a minimum of 8 hours of work on my craft. Not 8 hours a day in a day job where ou check Facebook and chat with your colleagues every 10 minutes. 8 hours mentally dedicated to the tasks of my routine with planned breaks. And maybe I am a psychopath, but I’d like to reach 10 hours a day, 2 months from now.

What I found out is it is impossible to simply find plain motivation in doing everyday something you don’t want to do. And making a bad drawing is something you don’t want to do. But you have to do some bad drawings before you get to the fist good drawing of the day. So you need to find a parade to make yourself want to get into pain.

There are a lot of different ways to educate your body and your mind to blindly go to work every morning, and everyone is different. You have to find your own way, the one that will fit your personality the most, depending on what you like, what you need and excites you on a daily basis.

My personal advices are as follows : — Prepare everything the day before : If you need to figure out what to do before you can do it, you’ll never wake up. Everything concerning decisions must be accomplished the day before. The morning is for doing, the evening for planning. — Find a physical routine. I used my breakfast to help me. I forced myself to have a solid breakfast every morning. After a month, my body followed and I got hungrier and hungrier with every passing day. That will make you wake up ! — Don’t forget your body needs 15 minutes to fully wake up once you opened your eyes. Take that time to wander for a while, prepare coffee or take a shower. Don’t immediately get to work. — Find a real motivation. If your only goal is to draw, you’ll never make it. This is simply not powerful enough. You need to be really excited by something bigger. The idea of taking a new step further in a project. The idea of buying yourself a new computer. Whatever, without this, you’ve already failed.

Take a moment to think about it. 15 minutes a day is not much. Just do it every morning after coffee and try to hold on. A new habit will be created and it’s a produtive one !

Just give it a try. Or maybe you do have your own way to wake up in the morning ? Your own set of techniques to help you start whenever you don’t want to ? Consider sharing them with me, we could have a chat about it. That would definitely make my day worth waking up.