Get up every morning at 6:00 am.
Getting up late -- or at least at the last possible minute -- has been a bad habit of mine since as long as I can remember. There was a brief time in university -- most of a semester, I think -- when I was getting up early for a history class. By the time I got to class at 9am, I had showered, had a bagel at Einstein's, and finished any work that I hadn't finished the night before. It was fantastic. Too bad it didn't last.
Since then, I've tended to get up a couple of minutes before I need to be out the door, throw on some clothes, splash some water on my face and take off. Recently, I've been working from home, and it's gotten worse: I only have to walk down the hallway, turn on the laptop and I'm at work.
Getting up at six would mean that I can get up, have breakfast and check my personal email and various social networking sites before I get started. It should also give me some extra time for regular exercise. It also means that I won't start the day already stressed out about being late. In addition, I start a permanent job in a week, and I really need to get out of the habit of getting up sometime after nine.
Given the fact that getting up late seems to be encoded in my genes, this is going to be particularly difficult, but this is how I'll do it:
Get to bed at a reasonable hour -- sometime between 10 and 11
Stop reading when I realise that I'm tired
Set an alarm for 5:55 each morning
Don't turn off the alarm until I'm out from under the covers with my feet firmly planted on the floor
Once up, make coffee and breakfast immediately
Turn on the laptop and start listening to podcasts to provide myself with some stimulation
Allow myself to sleep in a bit on the weekends, but get up before 8:00
I'm hoping that these steps alone will help me achieve my goal. If not, this might require some tweaking.
And there you have it. The first week in my 6 + 4 plan. It all kicks off tomorrow, so that Joe's Goals widget that you can see in the sidebar should start reporting on my progress.
Note: Thanks to Matthew Stibbe and Steve Pavlina, who have both blogged about how they improved their sleeping habits. Their advice is very much appreciated. I've already started practicing getting up when my alarm goes off.