Lessons learned from waking up at 5:00 AM every day for the past 30 days

A month ago I set a challenge to myself to wake up every day at 5:00 AM for 30 days. I started on May 1 and the challenge went until May 30.

That was the intention. The result was a little different. So my blog post title was a bit misleading. The goal of the challenge was to get up at 5:00 AM every day but the result wasn’t quite every single day.

DAY BY DAY RESULTS

Things started out pretty good. In the first 9 days, I got up at 5:00 AM 7 times…
Friday, May 1 — Got up at 5:00 AM
Saturday, May 2 — Got up at 5:00 AM
Sunday, May 3 — Got up at 5:00 AM
Monday, May 4 — Got up at 5:00 AM
Tuesday, May 5 — Got up at 5:00 AM
Wednesday, May 6 — Got up at 7:45 AM
Thursday, May 7 — Got up at 5:00 AM
Friday, May 8 — Got up at 5:00 AM
Saturday, May 9 — Got up at 8:30 AM

In the middle of the challenge I went on vacation so I knew (ahead of time) that these 3 days wouldn’t count…
Sunday, May 10 — N/A
Monday, May 11 — N/A
Tuesday, May 12 — N/A

Vacation’s over. Back in the game! It was a bit of a struggle at first…
Wednesday, May 13 — Got up at 5:00 AM
Thursday, May 14 — Got up at 8:00 AM
Friday, May 15 — Got up at 5:00 AM
Saturday, May 16 — Got up at 9:00 AM
Sunday, May 17 — got up at 8:30 AM

… But then I got into a groove for a week and it went pretty well…
Monday, May 18 — Got up at 5:00 AM
Tuesday, May 19 — Got up at 5:00 AM
Wednesday, May 20 — Got up at 5:00 AM
Thursday, May 21 — Got up at 5:00 AM
Friday, May 22 — Got up at 5:00 AM
Saturday, May 23 — Got up at 5:00 AM
Sunday, May 24 — Forgot to post. Woke up around 8:30 AM.
Monday, May 25 — Got up at 5:00 AM

Things started to fall off the rails near the end as I got sick…
Tuesday, May 26 — Got up at 8:30 AM
Wednesday, May 27 — Forgot to post. Didn’t wake up at 5:00 AM
Thursday, May 28 — Got up at 6:00 AM
Friday, May 29 — Got up at 5:00 AM
Saturday, May 30 — Got up at 8:30 AM

My challenge was for 30 days and I got up at 5:00 AM only 17 days in total. That’s not a great number, although there were 3 days in there (during my vacation) when the challenge was placed “on hold” and I knew ahead of time that I wouldn’t even try to get up at that time, so that’s a bit better.

LESSONS LEARNED

I learned a lot during this challenge. Here are some of the lessons:

  • Getting up at 5:00 AM is WAY easier than I used to think it would be. In fact, even though there were circumstances that kept me from getting up every day, I’m really proud of the 17 days I did get up at 5:00 AM!
  • I am SO much more productive between 5:00 AM and 12:00 PM than I am at any other time of the day. When I get up at 5:00 AM, I get all my work done at this time and that gives me the afternoon and evening to do whatever I want (work, play, whatever).
  • This challenge also helped to connect my brain to my body a bit more. By that I mean: I realized that I can have a productive morning if I wake up alert or if I wake up groggy, but if I wake up really sleepy then I’m of no use to anyone and my writing is garbage. Therefore, I have 2 possible “tracks” to take in the morning (alert/groggy, or, sleepy), so now I need to figure out how to increase the likelihood of waking up alert (or, at the very least, groggy) instead of sleepy.
  • Routines help: When I follow a pre-bed routine, I am more likely able to wake up at 5:00 AM than if I skip my routine. Although I don’t have exact numbers on this, it seems like my pre-bed routine has potentially greater impact on my sleep quality (and on how I feel when I wake up) than how much sleep I get.
  • Environment helps: Before this challenge I tried waking up at 5:00 AM and failed miserably (which is what prompted the challenge). What helped was: for this challenge I moved my phone into the dining room so I had to get up and walk through my house to turn my alarm off… and while I passed through the kitchen I turned the kettle on. That environmental shift made it so much easier to get up and stay up.
  • Accountability helps: There were 2 or 3 days during this challenge when I didn’t really want to get up at 5:00 AM but I also didn’t want to admit on my blog that I failed. So I got up and stayed up.
  • Activity helps: I try to do a bit of activity (most squat thrusts and stretching) in the morning to help get the blood pumping. It makes a big difference.

Even though the results weren’t as consistent as I hoped, I really liked this challenge a lot and I can’t express enough how much more productive I am when I wake up at 5:00 AM versus any other time of the day. So going forward I’m going to continue this practice.

Aaron Hoos

Aaron Hoos is a writer, strategist, and investor who builds and optimizes profitable sales funnels. He is the author of The Sales Funnel Bible and he's a real estate investor and a copywriter for real estate investors.