This article is short but powerful. The secret to waking up earlier is simple and obvious. Once you learn it, you’ll wonder why you hadn’t figured it out earlier. Or maybe you knew it all along but feigned ignorance as for a convenient excuse to hit the snooze button. 

It doesn’t matter why you want to wake up earlier. All that matters is that you have a strong reason. If your why is strong enough, you’ll endure any how. There is no great magic to becoming an early riser. There is just great willpower. The secret to waking up earlier is willpower.

This is what’s hard for people who want to wake up earlier. They think the secret is going to bed earlier so they feel less tired at 5 a.m. That’s not going to make a difference when you live in a cold climate, it’s the middle of January and your bed feels warm and cozy. You’ll want to stay in it until the last possible minute.

When your alarm strikes, you must exercise will power. Without that, any tactic or list of tips for waking up early is worthless. Don’t feel ashamed for needing an alarm clock to wake up earlier. Don’t worry if you’re still groggy when you climb out of bed. No one ever said that it was easy to wake up early or that your body wouldn’t hate you for it. The only guarantee is that it’s simple IF you are the master of your own body and mind.

To become the master of your body and mind so that you wake up earlier, you need to become aware of your body and mind. After all, you can’t exert your will power over something that you aren’t cognizant of. When you wake up early and it’s cold outside, every fiber of your being will want you to go back to bed. You’ll feel like a zombie that’s barely operating on the brink of consciousness. That’s alright because the solution to that brings me to the second and final step of waking up early.

You have to immediately get in motion. The second step of waking up early is to start moving immediately and to not stop for at least 15 minutes. One of the great tricks for waking up early is to place your alarm across the room. This forces you to get completely out of bed and start the day in motion.

I like to wake up and immediately start working out, cleaning up my kitchen or writing. While it might seem like writing is a sedentary activity, producing creative work is highly engaging and is better than a cup of coffee. The trick is to avoid anything that doesn’t engage you. Engagement is the new caffeine. 

There is a debate about coffee and whether or not it should be used as a crutch for waking up early. I’m not a doctor and I’m not the right kind scientist to answer this question with professional authority, so what I’m about to tell you is my opinion. Since it’s my opinion, that means that many people—possibly even you—will disagree. I don’t think it matters if you start your morning with a cup of coffee.

Coffee tastes delicious. Especially if you use a stainless steel french press. If you’ve got even half of my tolerance to caffeine, it won’t even make a difference. You’re going to feel tired until you get your mind engaged and ready to kick the day’s ass. The secret to waking up early is that simple. Force yourself to get in motion.