When I sleep, I’m what you call a “burrower.” I climb into bed and bury myself beneath a load of sheets, blankets and a heavy quilt, and once I am comfortable, I get into maximum sleep mode by turning on my side and burrowing further under about five soft down pillows.
I love a great night’s sleep. And there’s nothing worse than the moment the alarm goes off at 5:30 a.m. It’s a shrieking, nasty, shrill alarm. It could wake the dead. That’s why I bought it. You see, I used to hate to get out of bed. Particularly in the winter. The bed is so toasty, and our 200-year-old farmhouse is freezing. But I do it anyway because I know how much it impacts my entire day when I get up early. I throw off those covers, put my feet on the floor and race across the room to turn off the screeching alarm.
There is a huge amount of power to starting your day with this philosophy: the second your feet hit the floor, your day starts. But I wasn’t always like this. I used to be like you. The time to start my day was “in a couple more minutes.” I loved sleep more than starting my day. That’s why the alarm was right next to the bed. When it went off, I could reach out from underneath the covers and hit it. Snooze. Ah. Another 15 minutes to avoid starting my day. I’d repeat this ritual another three or four times. By the time I finally shook off the covers, I had started my day already playing catch-up.
I spent my first 75 minutes blowing off my commitment to be up early. If I had gotten up at 5:30 a.m., I would have been up before everyone else. I could have exercised, written, gotten breakfast ready. I could have been in control of my day before chaos hit. But day after day, I sold myself on more time in bed, and by doing that, I bought into a lie. However you wake up is the tone you set for the rest of your day.
Try this: Set your alarm for 5:30 a.m. tomorrow. And when it goes off, put your feet on the floor and stand up and get out of bed. No delay. No hesitation. Stand up and start your day. It is harder than you think. Your body will be screaming at you to get back in bed, to buy more time. But don’t buy your excuses. Get up instead.
What I have learned from this simple philosophy is this: When it comes to being master of your life, you are never going to feel like doing what you need to do. It will feel wrong to ask for help. It will make you afraid to present your business plan. You won’t want to run when it’s raining outside. Getting out of bed can feel downright radical simply because you don’t want to. But you have to. Do it, even though it feels radical in the moment. That’s the skill you need to master: taking radical action. Life is the same as lying in bed; it’s easier to hit snooze and put things off. Whenever I get that hit-the-snooze feeling, I do the opposite. I push through the excuses and put my feet on the floor.