Personal Development

How To Wake Up Early And Crush Life

By July 14, 2018No Comments
how to wake up early

Have you ever wondered how to wake up early? For the longest time I did, until I figured out a simple life hack that allowed me to wake up earlier. This is how and why I wake up at 5:22 am.

I am someone who is a dreamer and doer who wants to achieve greatness. I’m always trying to make today better than yesterday. To explain my process of how I wake up early I’ll start with the why.

I get up at specifically 5:22 am for a few reasons:

  1. I don’t like waking up on 0’s or 5’s. I feel like it gives me a different rhythm than everyone else. Yes I realize this is weird but whatever. I find that marching to the beat of a different drummer is more fun and helps me not be average.
  2. Waking up at 5:22 am is waking up in the 5’s. Waking up in the 5’s is freaking early and that gives me confidence. Sure it’s only 9 minutes before waking up in the 6’s but it’s a mental thing. It gives me an edge knowing that I’m up when my competition is probably asleep. Plus, it’s a way of proving to myself that I am doing everything in my power to make my dreams happen. Even if revenue isn’t coming in as quickly as I’d like I know that I’m putting in the effort and that starts from the second I get up. This helps me continue to push forward.
  3. So that I can get more done. This is a spider web of the second part of #2, but I need to be able to produce more and this doesn’t apply to only “work stuff.” I see this entrepreneurial journey that I’m on as a life journey. My goal is to live a fun and happy life doing what I love. To live a fun and happy life I need to make sure that I’m feeding the right parts of me. This includes learning, fitness, relationships, family, mindfulness, creativity, as well as work stuff. Getting up earlier allows me to allocate the proper time for personal development so that I can grow in each of these areas.

I’ve not always been a morning person. I still am not. So how does one go from waking up at normal time, like in the 7’s, to waking up in the 5’s?

Note: I’ve worked from home since I was 26 (I’m 38 now) so I’ve never had a time that I actually had to get up. This has all been because of my own personal development.

One of the benefits of not waking up on 0’s and 5’s is that you can wake up in an earlier number easier. For example, when I was in my mid to late 20’s I used to wake up at 7:29 am. To make waking up at an earlier time more manageable I decided to wake up just 15 minutes earlier. 15 minutes isn’t going to drastically change the amount of sleep that I get and it’s not such an abrupt change, like going from 7:29 am to 5:29 am (Which I tried for one week a while ago when I wanted to go to the gym first thing in the morning. It didn’t last, as I couldn’t mentally break away from the two hours of sleep that I wasn’t getting to go lift heavy shit.)

After successfully waking up at 7:14 am for a month and finding out that I didn’t turn into a zombie I decided to do it again. I’d do something that no 20-something has ever willingly done before, wake up in the 6’s. Luckily for me waking up at 6:59 am was as easy as chopping off another 15 minutes, which I’d already proven that I was capable of doing. That one-minute difference between 7:00 and 6:59 made all the difference mentally as I was now running with a different crowd: the 6’s.

When I didn’t melt when 6:59 am hit I found that I was proud that I got up in the 6’s on my own, just like a big boy. Now I had another 30 minutes to do whatever I wanted with (compared to when I got up at 7:29), which then turned into “starting my day by reading for 30 minutes.”

As my confidence and output continued to build from waking up earlier in the morning I continued to push myself to see how early I could wake up. By no means did this happen over night. This is over the course of 12 years, slowly but surely, 15 minutes at a time (or in some cases 7 minutes or 3 minutes, for when I just wanted a little increase.)

As I continued to grow as a person and entrepreneur I became more driven and hungry to be better in all facets of life. I read enough articles about the morning routines of the most successful CEO’s that I could no longer overlook the fact that the majority of them got up in the 5’s. You can only read something so many times before it sinks in and you say, “Maybe this is something I should do myself. It seems to have worked for many of the people I aspire to be like.” (Note: This just happened to me again less than a month ago with adding meditation to my routine.)

Anyone who has ever stared at the clock longing for ten more minutes of sleep knows how hard it can be to get out of a comfy and warm bed when you don’t want to. I’m always playing games to challenge and better myself. There are two things that I do on a daily basis to help with this.

The first is that immediately upon waking up I think to myself, “Today is gonna be a great day.” This gets the positive vibes flowing right away.

The second thing I do is a quote that I learned from Jocko Willink. I say to myself, “Discipline equals freedom.” If you haven’t checked out any of Jocko’s books or podcasts before then I highly recommend it. He was the most badass Navy Seal ever and he is the epitome of discipline. The basis of the quote is the more discipline you have in your life the more freedom you will have.

Even though I’ve gotten up early hundreds of times it is still a struggle every single day. To help get my mind right and make sure that I don’t go back to bed I’ll say “Discipline equals freedom” numerous times. That is usually enough motivation to get my out of my bedroom and into the kitchen where I can make a cup of coffee.

The fact that I’m able to get up early gives me the confidence to overcome other tough obstacles that are in my way. As of right now I have no plans of waking up in the 4’s, that’s a different level of crazy that I’ve not yet reached. I am, however, happy with where I am at and the positive benefits that have come from waking up earlier.


I want you to try and wake up 15 minutes earlier than you do now. If you can’t do 15 minutes then do 7. Just do something. Do this for a week and then tell me how it goes. What did you do with your extra 7 or 15 minutes? Did you feel more confident? Hit me up on Twitter @RobCressy and let me know how it goes.

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Rob Cressy

Rob Cressy

Sports loving free throw specialist and yinzer living in Chicago who is awesome most of the time, has run with the bulls in Spain, and is a graduate of Second City's Improv program.