Waking Up Early: Why We Can’t But the Successful Can

We all want to wake up early, here’s how we can.

Josh Nelson
Jun 17 · 4 min read

I’ve been trying to wake up early for a while now. And it wasn’t until last month that I realized what was holding me back.

Since this time last year, I would try to get up early to be productive or to make progress on a goal, but every time the alarm went off — the snooze button would win.

I got frustrated. It was safe to say I was about to give up. It was time to try and figure out how to be productive during the day, or late at night. I would tell myself, “It’s okay. You can just work on it late at night.”

I bet we’ve all been there. And I bet that we all know that doesn’t work. Yes, you can be a night-owl and get stuff done late at night, but that’s not the majority.

Simply put, successful people get up early. It’s been proven by countless studies, journals, and personal testimonials. So finally, here’s how they do it, and how you can too.

Get a schedule & stick to it

Every successful person has a schedule. They go to bed the night before knowing what they are going to do the next day.

Planning your day is essential. There is no way to get up early if you don’t have it planned. If your day isn’t planned, don’t expect to make the most of it.

Every CEO or big-time thought-leader, have assistants scheduling out their days weeks in advance. These successful people can’t afford to waste time, they need to make every chance they get productive.

We need to have this mindset. That our time is more valuable than we currently think it is. Once we adopt this mindset, we will stop wasting time doing things we know won’t help us achieve our goals.

We will start waking up early to work on something, or to learn something. Because we know that our time during the day is valuable.

Create a schedule & don’t try to schedule your whole week. Start with baby steps, schedule your day tomorrow. And of course, put in that schedule that you’re getting up early.

It’s a lot easier to stick to something once it is written down.

Change your environment

It’s not easy to wake up early if you have nowhere to go to be productive. Let’s face it, you won’t get anything done in your bed.

You need a place you can go to be with yourself. To be productive. Successful people have places in their house, or outside of it, where they can go to get stuff done.

For an athlete, that could be a gym. For a writer, that could be a study. Whoever you are, or whatever you want to get done, you need a place to do it. Wherever you choose to work in the morning, you need to do that work there every chance you get.

Changing your environment might not be easy, but it will most definitely be worth it. It doesn’t need to be a big switch, even something little can make a difference.

If you want to get up and run, put your shoes next to your bed. If you want to get up and read, put your book open on your desk. These subtle cues will remind you of your goal.

A bad environment can do even more damage than you think. If you go to bed with a messy room, and you have no place ready for you to work in the morning, it can mess up your whole day.

Not only are you less likely to get up early and be productive, but you are also more likely to be less productive throughout your day. Skipping that first goal leads to a negative spiral that is tough to reset.

Regardless of if you consider yourself successful or not, adopting this habit could get you on the fast track to that success.

I wrote an article about how one extra hour a day will lead to 15 days after a year.

Focusing on something for one hour will lead to 15 days worth of work towards that goal. If you want to read more about that, click the link below.


Just by doing these two things you can easily make a big stride in your productivity and lifestyle. Waking up early can easily change your life, are you willing to do it?

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Josh Nelson

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Marketing Strategist & Creative Marketer. Avid reader, daily writer, and lifelong learner. College Student-Athlete. Optimist.

The Startup

Medium's largest active publication, followed by +479K people. Follow to join our community.