Getting Up On Time

As most people I know are aware, I have major issues getting up in the morning. In general, I set my alarm for anywhere between 8am and 8:45am (depending on when I go to bed), but I rarely ever get up when the alarm goes off (there are exceptions, but I’m talking about the general case here). On a normal workday, I’ll usually actually get out of bed anywhere between 9:30am and 10:30am. Now, this is mostly OK in the sense that I usually don’t need to be in the office that early, and I usually stay later than most people. However, it’s just a shitty habit, and I hate doing it. I’d set my alarm for 9:30am or 10am, but I’m afraid I’d end up snoozing and getting up 1-1.5 hours later.

So I think I’m going to try this exercise to help me get up immediately after my alarm goes off.

The idea is pretty simple: when you go to bed, you decide that you want to get up at a certain time. Presumably, before you go to bed, your conscious mind is pretty rational and coherent. However, when your alarm goes off, you’re still pretty foggy: your conscious mind is not capable of recognising that, were you in your right mind, you’d make yourself get up. So you make excuses, and carry on an internal semi-conscious dialogue which eventually convinces you “a few more minutes” won’t hurt.

So the solution is to take it out of the hands of your temporarily-impaired conscious. Condition yourself to get out of bed immediately when the alarm goes off. Make it a subconscious action. Actually teach yourself to get up when the alarm goes off, when you’re fully awake. Pick an afternoon, get in your pajamas, make the bedroom dark, as much as early-morning-ish as possible. Set the alarm clock for a few minutes in the future, and lie down, curled up in a sleeping position. When the alarm goes off, don’t think: take a deep breath, stretch your arms and legs, and get up. Then start to do whatever you’d usually do right after you get up. Then repeat this for a few hours. The idea is that, if you think at all when the alarm goes off, you’re not there yet. It needs to be an automatic, subconscious, conditioned response.

It seems a bit wacky, but I have very little to lose, and if it does work, quite a bit to gain. The one hurdle I see is that I need to make myself go to bed earlier at night. 2-3am just isn’t going to cut it. But that’s something I can handle with conscious discipline. We’ll see how it goes.

Update: There’s also this article, which I’ll need to follow in parallel, about becoming an early riser.