When you are digging out of a motivational slump, the first task you often have to tackle is how to get out of bed when you don’t really want to. If you are feeling all down and depressed, it’s pretty common to use sleep to avoid life in general. I know this is a habit of mine. When I lack motivation and I’m trying to figure out how to get motivated, I tend to become a sleep-aholic. I tend to stay up way to late and then don’t want to get out of bed at a decent time because of it. Once that happens, and it becomes a habit, it’s a tough one to break. Next thing you know, I’m taking naps during the day to catch up and I’m like a cat laying around the house all day taking naps where ever I can.
Getting into a habit like this is very unproductive. It’s very tough to master your life when you don’t start living it until the afternoon. And, while I don’t have any stats to back it up, my guess is that it’s very unhealthy for the body.
So let’s talk about how to get out of bed and eliminate this bad habit and condition a better one which is to get out of bed because you actually WANT to not because you HAVE to.
STEP #1: Create the day you think you would want to wake up to
The first step is learn how to visualize the perfect day. You can see the visualization of my perfect day here in My Black Belt Project Checklist. Now depending on when you read this, my checklist is going to be dynamic. It's going to change as I work with it. As I write this, it is far from complete.
But the idea is that you need to know exactly what it is you are going to do when you get out of bed. What you don't want to have happen is that you get up and think, well where do I start. You want to KNOW what the first thing is, the second and so on.
You can see here, I've pre-thought out what I am going to do so there's no thinking in the moment about what it is that I want to do when I wake up - I already know.
STEP #2: Use music that pumps you up as your alarm instead of the default alarm tone
I use my iPhone 5 as my alarm. One of the options is that I can use music instead of some sort of tone to wake me up. What I have done is select a song that makes me feel like I can be successful.
Now, there are a LOT of options here. But the song I use is a song called Gonna Fly Now (Theme from Rocky). I've used this song forever to pump me up. I guess it works for me because it gives me a sense that I can accomplish whatever I set out to do.
Certainly, there's a song that works for you. Whatever that song is, load it up and use it to wake you up.
STEP #3: Put your alarm away from the bed so that in order to turn it off, you have to get up to do it
The next thing I do is put my phone out of reach from the bed. Usually I am charging the phone overnight, so I typically have it plugged it on the floor next to the bed. I have to get up to turn it off. The physical act of getting out of bed is the hardest part. Getting the body moving is half the battle.
If you can't just hammer the snooze button easily, then you stand a better chance of maintaining momentum if you are already out of bed.
STEP #4: Have your checklist next to your alarm and do the items on your checklist to at least the point where you have put your mental strength bar
If you look at the checklist above, you'll see there's what I call a mental strength bar. It looks like this.
---- MENTAL STRENGTH BAR ----
I place this bar at the point of how many tasks I can do easily in a day. You can see in the image above, that right now, it's at the end of my waking up routine. What that bar represents is just how mentally strong I am at the moment. When I wrote this, I have committed and can do at least those tasks without any problem on a daily basis. Beyond that, while I could do additional tasks if I wanted, I didn't have to or maybe I couldn't find the mental strength to do them. When I wrote this, I was mentally strong enough just to do that part of my checklist.
Because I am strong enough to do all of the tasks above my mental strength bar, I've also made a deal with myself that no matter what happens during the rest of the day, I can consider the day a success if I at least do those things. If I do, I pat myself on the back for a job well done. If I do more that day, great, if I don't I don't worry about it.
I do this because I know that later I will be moving the bar using a concept of progressive resistance or making my day just a little bit harder (similar to adding weights to a workout bar).
STEP #5: Once you complete the tasks to your mental strength bar, play the same music that you used to wake up to condition yourself that when you hear the music, you feel you can complete things
Once I get up and do the tasks that lead up to my current mental strength, I play the same music that I used to wake up to - in my case, the Rocky Theme.
I do this to condition myself that when I hear the music that wakes me up that it matches up to the feeling I get when I reach my current mental strength.
STEP #6: Give yourself permission to go back to bed once you do all of the items up to your mental strength bar if you want
Once you do all of the tasks to your current mental strength, that day is a success and you can feel free to go back to bed if you want. Eventually, you'll get to the point you will just stay up and work on other stuff because you will be mentally strong enough to do it.
So that's the strategy I use to get out of bed. Start using it and condition yourself to match the feeling of waking up to the feeling of completing things in your day.