I work full-time.
I leave my apartment at 7:40 AM in the morning and I get home at 6:00 PM (after the gym).
When I get home, all I want to do is plop down in bed because I’m so exhausted that I don’t have the capacity to do anything demanding.
I dream of:
Having time freedom
Leaving my workplace
Making money writing online
Making enough money to take care of my family
But if I don’t carve out time to work on them, how will I ever achieve these goals?
This is why I’ve been waking up early in the morning to work on the tasks that’ll bring me closer to my goals before I have to work. Before I have to tend to my daily responsibilities.
But let’s be honest.
Waking up early (like at 4 or 5 AM) is not fun if you love your sleep like me, lol.
So, here’s how I’ve been motivating myself to get up early to work on my dreams.
1 - Think About Toni Morrison.
“Wake up. Show up. Be present. Give it everything you've got.” - From Discipline Is Destiny by Ryan Holiday
Toni Morrison was an American novelist, essayist, editor for Random House, and professor. She’s one of the most influential and accomplished writers of the 20th century. And she was a single mother with two sons.
Despite her demands of parenting alone and working as an editor, she still (somehow) managed to write a total of 11 novels, 2 short fictions, 3 plays, 13 non-fictions, and 1 article.
Toni Morrison had a strict writing routine. She would wake up early in the morning, around 5 AM and begin writing before the demands of her day took hold.
Now, whenever I struggle to get up in the morning, I think of Toni Morrison. If she has the self-discipline to wake up despite the tiredness, then, what excuse do I have?
After that quick little pep talk, that’s when I silence the b*tch voice (as Andy Frisella would say)... and wake up.
2 - Understand this.
Most days when I try to write after work…
Sure, it might be because my energy and willpower are weaker in the evening and (maybe) I don’t want these goals as bad as I say I do because I’m giving into my excuses.
But perhaps, I’ve (finally) failed enough times to realize that something needs to change.
As Albert Einstein was attributed to saying, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.”
Clearly, writing in the evening wasn’t working for me. So, what does work (and did work) in the past?
Writing in the early mornings.
Now, whenever I struggle to get up in the morning, I think about how when I get home from work, I’ll - most likely - slack off and then, feel ashamed and guilty afterwards.
That motivates me to wake up and get up because I’ve had enough of feeling terrible about myself.
3 - Imagine this.
You’ll be stuck in your job until you retire, if, you retire.
You’ll go to work 5 days a week, only for 2 days of play and rest.
You’ll (maybe) travel once or twice a year if your savings can afford it.
You’ll be stressed about money, taking years to pay off your student debt and mortgage.
You look at your supervisors and see how unhappy they are with their lives… and you think to yourself, that’s how you’ll end up 10 years from now if you keep walking the same path.
When I think about these things, it propels me to get the heck out of bed and work on my goals.
4 - Now, imagine the reverse.
You get to wake up when the sun rises to drink water and coffee, journal, read, and go on a walk before sitting down to write about topics you love that provide value to others.
You write and work on your business for 2-4 hours a day.
Then, you get to spend the rest of the day with your partner, parents, siblings, and friends exploring and enjoying the beauty of the world.
I know if I want to make this a reality, then I must take steps towards it every day, starting today by getting up early and doing the work. That motivates me to get out of bed.
5 - Use the 5-second rule.
“The 5 Second Rule is simple. If you have an instinct to act on a goal, you must physically move within five seconds or your brain will kill it. The moment you feel an instinct of a desire to act on a goal or a commitment, use the Rule.” - Mel Robbins
The 5-second rule is a simple technique that helps you overcome hesitation and take action.
Here’s how it works.
If you want to do something but you’re hesitating, count down from 5-1, and then do it immediately.
The idea is that when you’re counting down, you’re creating a sense of urgency that pushes you to act before your doubts or excuses kick in.
When I use the 5-second rule, I propel out of bed when I get to 1.
Wrapping Things Up
Here’s how I’ve been motivating myself to get up early to work on my dreams of writing full-time:
Think of people who inspire you like Toni Morrison.
Do something different because “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.”
Think of the life you’ll have if you don’t get up and do the work.
Think of the life you could have had if you did the work.
Use the 5-second rule.
(Note: I’m not saying you need to wake up early to be successful. Waking up earlier to get stuff done works best for me based on my schedule and preferences.
You might be more creative at night. Great. Do your goal-building tasks then.
Ultimately, figure out when you work best, and then capitalize on that time.)