By: Zenia Lei Cruz

Most of us have been good pals with the snooze button, myself included. I have been a night owl for as long as I can remember, and waking up early has always felt like a chore for me. 

I schedule most of my work at night because it’s when I feel most productive. But I spend most of the night finishing my tasks, I end up waking up late.

When this becomes your routine, you feel a certain panic the moment you wake up. You start to get anxious because you know your responsibilities start piling up. You have to hit the ground running after brushing your teeth, sometimes, barely leaving time for you to drink your coffee in peace.

I’ve been having stress for breakfast, every day – and mind you, stress has a lot of calories!

Because of all the stress, I start my day with, my plate quickly gets overloaded with work. Then I end up not having enough time to do them so I’m forced to pull an (another) all-nighter. And when you’re on this endless cycle, you soon realize that the trade-off for ticking off your checklist is your well-being.

It had to stop. I realized that this routine wasn’t working for me. Not only was it a sure way to burn out, but it also hindered me from living and enjoying my life. My physical and mental health have had enough. So, I finally decided to hit the reset button. I needed to find a solution.

“An addiction to distraction is the end of your creative production. Empire makers and history creators take one hour for themselves before dawn, in the serenity that lies beyond the clutches of complexity, to prepare themselves for a world-class day.” – Robin Sharma

A Change in Perspective

I discovered this book “The 5 AM Club,” by Robin Sharma. He talks about how waking up early changes your life for the better. Not only does it increase productivity but it also helps increase your success and happiness! 

When you wake up earlier, you carve off time for yourself. And starting your day with some well-deserved self-care is a pivotal part of a healthy daily routine. 

He said, “Take excellent care of the front end of your day, and the rest of your day will pretty much take care of itself. Own your morning. Elevate your life.”

It felt like a breakthrough for me so I started to do some research. I followed his advice, experimented, stumbled on some errors, until I (finally!) developed a personal morning routine. 

My first week was really painful. The first day my alarm went off at 5 am, I could barely get myself to get up. It felt like I was being raised from the dead. But as the days went by, it became easier for the zombie in me to seize the day. Once the habit started kicking in, I told myself I am never going back to staying up all night. Yes, because I wanted to be productive, but also because I didn’t want to feel like a zombie again!

I’d be lying if I told you I wake up at 5 am every single day – I don’t. But, thanks to the 5 am habit I wake up way earlier than I used to – even when I’m “sleeping in.” I found a love for waking up with the sun. I love waking up energized! It feels like magic; it’s as if I can conjure up the spell to wake up early with ease. 

“The early bird gets the worm,” finally made sense to me!

Waking up early gives me the luxury of watching the sun slowly rise, while I appreciate the smell of morning air that gently mixes with the aroma of my coffee. I finally have the time to meditate and sit down with and empty my mind. My new routine made the rest of the day feel like a breeze, too. I felt more intentional. I made decisions based on clarity rather than panic. The anxious thoughts constantly buzzing around my head had finally fallen into their slumber. 

Getting it all together 

Waking up early has changed my life tremendously and has jump-started a change in how I saw life. Take what you need and allow yourself the freedom to let new habits grow into you. Soon enough you’ll find a routine that works for you.

Ready to give yourself a fresh new start? Then let’s get to it!

Be Proactive Not Reactive

Constantly rushing in the morning is exhausting! Waking up early lets you prioritize your tasks and helps you complete them most logically. Plan out your day of going through it dazed. When you’re proactive, you make your decisions regardless of circumstance. When you’re reactive, your life, day, and decisions depend on factors you have no control over, leaving you tired and frustrated.

Did you know that the human brain can work at its maximum potential when it doesn’t have to multi-task? You don’t want half-baked results. Better to have one fully-cooked pie than a hundred half-baked croissants. 

Take action and commit

Excuses won’t make you successful. Just because you haven’t installed the early-rising habit before doesn’t mean you can’t do it now. Let go of your excuses and your “I can’t do it,” mentality. You don’t have to get it perfectly the first (10) times. When I started, I woke up at 5:45 am. But hey, better than 11:00 am, right??

Just start and remember those small daily improvements, when done consistently over time, lead to stunning results.

Set yourself up for success

Most successful people share the 5 am habit. Most millionaires wake up between 5 am and 8 am. It’s the most valuable time of their day as it has the least interruptions. That’s where they do their planning, their goal-setting, and reflection on their business’ success! That could be you, too!

Be in control

When you wake up early your subconscious mind is in its most impressionable state. It soaks up information like a sponge – whatever you hear, see, or are exposed to in the first 20 minutes will affect you for the rest of the day. This is why it is important to meditate, listen to affirmations, and not check on social media (or your work mail!!) first thing in the morning! Set a calm and productive tone to your day by carving out time for yourself and making sure you’re not distracted.

Increase your happiness

Cultivating a habit of waking up early gives you the power of a fresh start. You’re in control of your day, more productive, and are generally happier! Embrace the joy waking up early comes with. And when in doubt, remember that you deserve to make time for yourself. You deserve to have a happy and purposeful life.

Change is always hard at first, messy in the middle, and beautiful at the end. Don’t let the challenge discourage you. Start small and let yourself grow over time. And as you build the habit of waking up a few minutes earlier than you did yesterday, you’ll find it becomes easier until it turns into your #NewNormal.

“Step-by-step game. Small, daily, seemingly insignificant improvements, when done consistently over time, do yield staggering results. Daily micro-wins and infinitesimal optimizations are the surest way to a life that you’ll be ever so proud of at the end.”

Ultimately, it’s so much more than just waking up early. It’s learning to take action towards your goals and learning to commit to them. Winning the fight against the mind in the morning is a blueprint discipline that is applicable in other areas of our lives. Know where your life’s clutter is, whether it’s physical, digital, mental, or even emotional. Knowing where to start is always the most challenging, read The Hard Truth About Clutter, and be on your way to a clearer and clutter-free life!

Zenia Lei Cruz
Zenia Lei Cruz
Zenia is a multipotentialite – a certified bookkeeper
and registered cost accountant by profession and a
creative and growth mindset purveyor by passion.
She is independently insightful and creatively sensual.

Her feminine side is her strength, a combination of
delicate intellect and high class intuitiveness.
Her toughness is neither loud nor provoking.
She embodies sweet confidence –– truly charismatic
with an aura that resonates quality and serenity.