morning routine 4.30am challenge

Morning routine: What I learned waking up at 4.30am everyday

Morning Routines

A good morning routine will enable you to take charge of your day and achieve results.

My usual morning routine involves getting up between 5.30-6am. I try to get the most important things related to my personal goals completed before my husband and children wake. First up, I write a few pages in my journal followed by a blog post. I then spend time on learning since I always have an online course on the go.  Alternatively, I head out for some exercise. You can download my FREE daily planner template here. It’s the exact one I use to get the most out of every day.

My keen appreciation for self-development recently led me to Jocko Willink, an ex-Navy SEAL who has a matter of fact no-nonsense way of promoting self-discipline.  I was so inspired by his commitment to a 4.30am rise that I thought I’d give it a go too.

After a week of getting up at 4.30am here’s what I learned…

Getting up at 4.30am

It’s really dark at 4.30am in the morning!  As such it requires great discipline to get moving.  I used the Mel Robbins 5-4-3-2-1-GO method to stop myself from rolling over and sleeping in.  I made a point of planning my to-do list the night before so that once I was up, I could move straight into action rather than debating whether I should go back to bed.

Coping with Tiredness

Some days I found that by lunchtime I would be exhausted and dying for sleep.  Jocko Willinnk recommends a sleep technique, popular with yogis and soldiers. It involves lying down with your legs against the wall, setting your alarm for 8 minutes and having a short power nap. It seems so bizarre and my kids got a good laugh out of it, but having done this a few times, I found it really works.  It gives you an extra boost for around 3 hours before you need to to do it again. It certainly helped me through the first few days.

More Time 

Getting up at 4.30am meant I had a lot of extra time (1 extra hour every day x 7 ) and I felt more efficient.  Starting the day hours before most people get up, means you get a head start on the day and an opportunity to make consistent progress on your goals.



After completing a week of getting up at 4.30am I felt that I’d got a lot done, but I was really really tired.

If you are considering incorporating the early morning rise into your routine I suggest starting slow. If your usual wake time is 6 am then try waking at 5.30am or, if you wake at 8am usually then start at 7.30am. It takes time to create a new habit. I also suggest you have a clear plan of how you’ll use the extra time.

To successfully commit to getting up early, you must go to bed early and at the same time every night. The routine should ideally apply to the weekend as well so that you don’t struggle to get back into the routine on Monday. On nights where there is nothing on, that’s easy. But, I found that when you have a late night, especially if alcohol is involved, getting up at 4.30am can be torture. When those events occur as they inevitably will, I suggest still getting up at your set time and having a long nap in the day when you get tired. That way you will still be in the routine of waking up early.

My morning routine moving forward

After this challenge, I decided to move my morning routine start time to 5am which is more manageable for me.  I still get many of the benefits of having more time and I have incorporated those 8 minutes of power naps for extra energy.  Who knows, maybe soon I’ll be ready to move to a 4.30am rise permanently. I’ll keep you posted. Don’t forget that you can download my FREE daily planner template here. It’s the exact one I use every morning.

Do you have a morning routine? What time do you start? Answer in the comments section below

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Sarah x

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