Success in writing or anything else has as much to do with habit and practice than talent: Early Morning

EXCUSES. In the same category as BLAME, they can at times be real, at times really have impacted results. BUT. Life alert: no one friggin cares. But if the Olympics hasn’t inspired you to be more like:

–instead of your true pre-coffee self:

Mornings, I hate you so hard

–then read on for tips on how to be an early riser.  Now why should you be? Isn’t that the reason you became an entrepreneur, a writer, a whatever-that-gives-you-freedom-instead-of-a-401k dammit? Well, if you want to be successful, there are oodles of studies showing why indeed the Early Bird Gets the Worm and much more (longer lives, healthier bodies, more income).

I love mornings but parents of kids younger than 4 (parents of infants just need to call it a day and wait a few months before attempting life again), have different challenges — for a different post.

Continuing our Habits for Success week — read here for why I think habits are the cornerstone to change and success — here are techniques for making even a stubborn owl into a lark. Remember: habit loops cannot be destroyed. Only the routine can change. You will hit the same cues but change the routine — and find community to help you start and/or maintain that change — and still reward yourself (and not with donuts!)

EXCERPTS REPOSTED FROM INC.COM:

What successful people do in the morning

By Jessica Stillman | Inc – Thu, Jun 14, 2012 9:24 AM EDT

The day may have 24 hours of equivalent length but author Laura Vanderkam says not every hour is created equal. Drawing on her own research, surveys of executives, and the latest science on willpower for her forthcoming ebook What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast, Vanderkam argues that making smart use of the early morning is a practice most highly successful people share.

From former Pepsi CEO Steve Reinemund’s 5 a.m. treadmill sessions, to author Gretchen Rubin’s 6 a.m. writing hour, examples of highly accomplished folks who wring the most from their pre-breakfast hours abound in the book. What do they know that the average entrepreneur might not have realized yet?

…And luckily, you don’t have to rely on sheer force of will to make the switch to earlier mornings (though some of that is, no doubt, required). In the book, Vanderkam lays out a five-step process to help you make the change with the minimum of pain:

Track your time: “Part of spending your time better is knowing exactly how you’re spending it now,” writes Vanderkam, who recommends you, “write down what you’re doing as often as you can and in as much detail as you think will be helpful,” offering a downloadable spreadsheet to help.

Picture the perfect morning: “Ask yourself what a great morning would look like for you,” suggests Vanderkam, who offers plenty of inspiration. Shawn Achor uses the early hours to write a note of appreciation. Manisha Thakor, a personal finance guru, goes in for transcendental meditation. Randeep Rekhi, who is employed full time at a financial services firm, manages his side business, an online wine store, before heading off to work.

Think through the logistics: “Map out a morning schedule. What would have to happen to make this schedule work? What time would you have to get up and (most important) what time do you need to go to bed in order to get enough sleep?”

Build the habit: “This is the most important step,” writes Vanderkam before explaining how to gradually shift your schedule, noting and rewarding small wins along the way.

Tune up as necessary: “Life changes. Rituals can change, too.”

Check out the short-but-useful ebook to learn more details on becoming more of a morning person, as well as additional ideas on how to put those reclaimed hours to use.

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