How I accidentally became a morning person

I’m not naturally a morning person. Left to my own devices I’d get out of bed five minutes before I need to leave the house.

I remember as a child my dad having to come into my room multiple times each morning to wake me up for school. As I became a “responsible adult” I got the place where I even set my alarm for 18 minutes before I HAD to get out of bed so I could hit the snooze button twice and then get up. I dreaded the sound of the alarm clock. Perhaps in part because I often dreaded the day.

The only time I found it easy to get up early was when I had something I really wanted to do the next morning. Need to get up at 5am to go snowboarding? No problem, I’d wake ten minutes before my alarm went off.

Three years ago I got sick and tired of being out of shape and a few of my annoyingly fit friends encouraged me to do a triathlon. I signed up for the Boulder IronMan when it was still a year away. I started training with a coach and it quickly became evident it was going be difficult to fit a couple of hours of training each day into my already full schedule. So, I decided to get up early in the morning to work out before my family got up and I accidentally became a morning person.   Now, I’ll wake up early even on the weekends when I don’t particularly want to.

Since then my friend Michael Hyatt has written a lot about the benefits of being an early riser. Mike’s got his list, but here are five things I’ve discovered I have by getting up earlier:

  1. Time to think and pray
  2. Time alone (I’ve got four kids and I try to get up at least an hour before the first one gets up)
  3. Time for breakfast (this is supposed to be the most important meal of the day and I used to grab something unhealthy on my way out the door)
  4. Time for exercise
  5. Time to read and write (see above about having four kids)

We all have things we’d like more time for. My friend Andy Traub has written an excellent little book called Early to Rise that will take you on a thirty day journey to becoming an early riser. Even though I was already an early riser I’ve been working my way through the 30 Day Challenge and loving it. Each day he offers a short essay of encouragement and an early riser action tip. This morning’s tip, ship something, hence my first blog post in a very long time.

The book doesn’t come out until next month, but Andy’s offering a few free early copies at EarlyToRisebook.com (click on the Free Book button on the right).

Most of the people who discover I get up so early say something to the effect of, “I wish I could do that”. Well, the truth is you can, and Early to Rise will help. Thanks Andy.

What time do you get up?  What do you do with the first two hours of your day?

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • http://www.andytraub.com/ Andy Traub

    First, congrats on shipping. You’ve always been a great encouragement and inspiration to me Jon. You’re another example of what happens when someone gets up early, they change their life and the lives of those around them for the better. I’m glad you’re enjoying the book and I’m glad a few hundred more are looking through it  in the early stages before it’s released. 

    • http://coachradio.tv/ Justin Lukasavige

      Thanks for writing this book, Andy. I know it’ll help a lot of people.

    • http://www.jondale.com/ Jon Dale

      Andy, thanks for writing this book.  It’s been fun to watch your journey over the last few years.  I’m really proud to be your friend.

  • http://coachradio.tv/ Justin Lukasavige

    Great points, John. I normally get up at 5:30 almost every day. I’m ready and in a good mood when I have to get the kids up at 6:30 for school. 

    I started doing this about 2 years ago and I rarely deviate from it. It started as a way to let my wife sleep since she’s not a morning person and I could at least try to be. Turns out, I actually enjoy it.

    Looking forward to Andy’s book.

    • http://www.jondale.com/ Jon Dale

      You’re going to love Andy’s book. It’s a fun read.  

      I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how our generation needs it’s own Zig Ziglars.  I’ve got a feeling Andy is one of them.

      • Andytraub

        Wow, thanks friend. Humbled by that.

  • Michael

    Great post Jon. And an encouragement for me. With 2013 almost here…it sounds like a new resolution for me! Hope your recovery is going well!

    • http://www.jondale.com/ Jon Dale

      Michael, I’m doing so much better, thanks!

      One thing I’ve discovered, is it’s always better to start any new habit today than next week :) .  

  • http://www.JeffDrummer.com/ Jeff Jones

    I will begin getting up at 5 am on Jan. 2nd now that I have resigned from the band. I can actually focus and have consistency in my life.  While I was on the road I would often go to bed at 1:30 am making it hard to get up early knowing I would have to do the same thing the next day as well. Thanks for the reminder and encouragement. Looking forward to the book as well.

    • http://www.jondale.com/ Jon Dale

      Jeff, I’d love to find out more about what your plans are moving forward. I’m a big fan.

      There’s no doubt, early to bed, early to rise :) .

  • Cory Smith

    Great post Jon, so as you talk about the morning, what does your night before look like? How does getting up early change your night routine?

    • http://www.jondale.com/ Jon Dale

      That’s a fair question.

      I can’t consistently get up early without going to be earlier as well.  I usually go to bed between 9:30 and 11.  I don’t have a consistant time.  

      Lately I’ve been training harder and getting sleepy closer to 8pm.  However, I think part of that may be this health issue that I wasn’t aware of until a week ago.  

  • http://www.flurrycreations.com/theblog John Bergquist

    Kristine and I started getting up at an ungodly hour 4-4:30 about a year ago. She was the main inspiration. While I am a morning person, that early seemed insane. But then one day I joined her and I have not looked back. We have our prayer time and then head to the gym. When it isn’t raining a flood here we head out on our 25 mile bike loop. What I’ve noticed is that it has me connecting more with friend’s in Europe and the east coast. It also allows plenty of time to catch up on my reading, writing and plans for the day. We even wake early (not as early) on the weekends. It gives the two of us much needed time alone as well. I honestly don’t think we will return to sleeping in anytime soon.
    I’ve enjoyed our early morning connections Jon. Keep it up.

    • http://www.jondale.com/ Jon Dale

      Me too!  Tbanks John.

  • Jayson Tidland

    Just signed up for the book. Thanks for posting today Jon.

    • http://www.jondale.com/ Jon Dale

      Thanks for reading Jayson.  It’s 5:05 am and I just finished day 12 of the challenge   It’s great stuff, you’ll enjoy it.

  • McNair Wilson

    I am a NIGHT GUY – but I like the morning light and the quiet of a new day beginning. So I find time in the middle to slow down, rest, even nap. [IT WOKS FOR ME] In this way I get the best of both worlds: early morning productivity and late night (to at least 2am). This schedule is not for everyone—you don’t need to tell me “naps don’t work.” That’s your life, Sparky. We need to stop making time demands on others that don’t allow them to be at their best. I don’t need an academic or governmental study to tell me WHEN to be most creative and productive.

    • http://www.jondale.com/ Jon Dale

      Naps are great!  One of my mentors Michael Hyatt has written a lot about them here: http://michaelhyatt.com/search-results?cx=015375846187219961960%3Aydxquk5wis8&cof=FORID%3A10%3B+NB%3A1%3B&ie=UTF-8&q=naps&submit.x=0&submit.y=0

      • McNair Wilson

        My good friend, the author SARK, wrote a book many years ago (1999) “Change Your Life Without Getting Out of Bed – The Ultimate Nap Book.” It is small, fun, colorful, insightful, and CONVINCING. MH’s blog on the subject was good too, especially as he reaches an audience that is likely NOT predisposed to the practice of a mid-day recharging for health. WE must rid our “grownup minds” of the cliche that naps are for kids.

  • http://davidchristian.co/ David Christian

    I have been getting up at 5:30 for a couple of years now. I also wrote a post about it earlier this summer (
    http://davidchristian.co/2012/07/11/early-riser/). I used to get up and have coffee, read, and watch the news.

    This time last year, I was offered a new job. Being a morning person, I requested to come into the office at 7:00am so I could leaver earlier and have more of my evening while missing most of the traffic. I love it. I get up, get ready and head to the office. Usually I am there by 6:30 and out by 4:00pm. I have time to run errands and still get home before I used to leave my previous job!

    But I am even up early on the weekends. I am on vacation right now and I woke up at 4:30am yesterday and 6:00am today. I like using the time to read and write while I am fresh and the only sounds are the snoring dogs asleep on my office floor.

    • http://www.jondale.com/ Jon Dale

      David, that’s great…I’m the same way on vacation.

  • Todd Nagel

    Really like the line about not wanting to get up early because of dreading the day. That’s a good question to ponder: “what is it that would make me excited about getting up early?” Perhaps it’s a new career or a new hobby or getting in shape. We all have something deep down that we could get excited about getting up early for. Thanks for posting!

    • http://www.jondale.com/ Jon Dale

      Yeah.  There’s a whole blog post or maybe even a book in that one :) .

    • http://www.andytraub.com/ Andy Traub

      Great point Todd. i was sort of dreading my day today and it didn’t help my wake up time. and i agree with Jon…there’s a book in there somewhere.

  • http://Aaronmchugh.com/ Aaron McHugh

    Glad I get the honorary position of “annoyingly fit” I’ll take it in hopes of us continuing together. Well done my fellow Triathlete.

    • http://www.jondale.com/ Jon Dale

      I’m just jealous.

  • Guest

    Jon, thanks for the post. I’ve been wanting to make the change for awhile but haven’t until now. Your post hit me at the right time I guess because I got Traub’s book and have been waking up at 5am for a couple of weeks now. Brilliant.

    • http://www.andytraub.com/ Andy Traub

      Dang! great to hear. Thanks for the great news and way to make it happen.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Anthony-Ashley/115801181 Anthony Ashley

    That last comment was by me btw. This is Anthony from Tim’s last fly fishing trip.

  • Cathy Pullins

    Oh Yeah! You and I have something in common, Michael Hyatt (although he’s ‘just’ my cyber-friend. Good Stuff. Are you still doing this? We do a lot of night work and I find you can’t burn the candle effectively on BOTH ends but I wish you could. There is a special energy in the morning. :-)

    • http://www.jondale.com/ Jon Dale

      Cathy,

      Yep, I still get up early.

      You’re right, you can’t stay up late every night and get up early.

      I chose to give up my midnights and keep my mornings :-) .

      Jon