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Waking Up Early: One Year Later

The habit of getting up early has been the most life changing thing I have ever done. A little over a year ago, I wrote this post about how to build a killer morning routine. Today, I’m still getting up several hours before I have to and I want to reveal how I did it and what happened to me.

How to Wake Up Early

All I had to do was build a habit of waking early and then I’d figure out what to do after that. My trick was to watch a new episode of some addictive TV series first thing in the morning while I sipped my coffee. That usually worked to get my ass out of bed!

Once my grogginess wore off and I became more awake, I sprinkled in some positive habits that I found in the book The Miracle Morning. This was Silence (meditation), Affirmations, Visualizations, Exercise, Reading, and Scribing (journaling).

I used Lift app to keep track of my habits and keep me motivated.

A few other habits I experimented with were lucid dreaming practice, pushups, planks, pull-ups, going for a walk, yoga, spending time in nature, breakdance practice, practicing piano, write blog post, drink more water, eat vegetarian, sleep by midnight, make music, log expenses, cold shower, dance, say no to one thing, delegate at least one task, random act of kindness, organize for ten minutes, declutter, get rid of one thing, listen to audiobook, listen to podcast, no caffeine, no sweets, no social media, etc.

The Problems I Faced

Some habits stuck and others I never seemed to do. I noticed I tend to fall much easier into habits of journaling, reading, and meditating every morning because those were pretty easy. I actively enjoy all those.

I sucked at exercise habits. I’d rather go out for a walk than hit the gym. I did do mild yoga and occasionally lift some weights, but that was never a big part of my routine. Denial habits like “no caffeine” were really hard to do as well.

Missteps, Laziness, and Hibernation

There was a period during the winter where I just didn’t want to get out of bed. The house was cold and I started to fall out of the habit. After my first out of body experience, I got really into trying to induce them on purpose. I read trilogy of Robert Monroe books and several on lucid dreaming. I was having success with it and became obsessed! I felt more inclined to try to sleep and dream rather than wake up and be productive.

Eventually my lucid dreaming habit started to wane. I would use the Wake Back to Bed technique and while I still got up at 6 AM, I was back in bed sleeping by 6:30. Many times I would have very vivid dreams, lucids, or out of body experiences. I’d write them down and I would learn from them. But most days I would just find that I would sleep until I had to get up for work.

I started staying up late again which made it even harder to get out of bed. My morning routine was pretty much dead. I stopped caring about it for several weeks. I felt bad kind of. But I knew I’d pick it back up eventually.

I realized my morning routine was getting boring. I didn’t know how to shake it up.

Once the weather got warm and the sun started coming out earlier, I felt the urge to get up early again. I just called this my hibernation phase.

How it Changed My Life

Before I started my morning routine, I was depressed and hurting. I was not a spiritual person at all, but I was interested in meditation to help relieve stress and yoga as exercise. But everyone is into yoga these days. In fact, most spiritual concepts were foreign to me. I associated spirituality with superstition and religion and I believed I wasn’t “one of those people.”

After watching Sean Webb break down how emotions work in his Body, Mind, and Spirit 101 videos, I was blown away. I was very much interested in this idea of a True Self and a False Self. This turned me onto the concept of the Ego and how it’s to blame for all the suffering we experience in the world. This led me to reading my first book from Eckhart Tolle, the Power of Now. What a game changer this was.

I had a new reason to meditate every morning – to get in touch with my True Self and identify my False Self, the ego. This got me into Buddhism and Zen. So refreshing!

But I didn’t stop there.

Curiosity and Non Judgement

In one of Robert Monroe’s books, he talked about how his curiosity led him further down the rabbit hole of out of body experiences. That’s what happened with me. Once I had my first OBE, I started reading everything I could about them.

Lo and behold what people discovered during out of body experiences was the same kind of stuff I was reading in my other spiritual texts. They were talking about the same stuff! All the world’s religions are based on the same kind of spiritual principles, most notably around this idea of God. And through out of body experiences, you can actually experience God for yourself. I still haven’t yet, but maybe one day. Author William Buhlman in his book Secret of the Soul talks all about this.

My mind was being opened up at every corner. I kept journaling, meditating, and reading. I went down the rabbit hole and noticed when I would feel fear or judgment before approaching a topic. For instance when I started realizing the overlap between spiritual concepts and aliens and ETs, my bullshit radar went off. But I realized it was really just stereotyping and judgment of paranormal material being superstitious, fake, or batshit crazy.

But I let my curiosity guide me, why not. I could use my own discernment to judge for myself. A friend lent me Barbara Hand Clow’s Alchemy of Nine Dimensions and holy smokes, she just took everything I knew already and turned it up to 11. Again, stuff I discovered through meditation, yoga, and Buddhist practices were lining up with my discoveries in out of body experiences and lucid dreaming. And here was a book that was putting these concepts in a context of the cosmos and the multi-dimensional nature of reality. And aliens, ETs, angels, demons – it was all part of it.

Mind blown. Opened up once again.

Then that same friend turned me onto George Kavassilas who had a 6 hour YouTube lecture that would blow my mind even more. I started listening to his podcast Super Woo Radio and all of this was so far out yet so interesting to me. I kept my skeptical hat on tight, but loose enough to keep an open mind. I ventured into fringe knowledge and esoteric subject matters and it changed the way I see the world forever.

The rest is much too deep to get into right now. For more, check out my posts on Soul Retrieval, Starseeds, and my Quantum Spehere Healing experience.

Some Life Improvements

  • I see the world through a much broader perspective
  • I have a drastically more open mind and heart toward all beings
  • Meditation is the number one habit of all, it’s the foundation
  • Reading and journaling have been huge for me
  • I’m no longer depressed, in fact I’m more inspired and driven than ever
  • I appreciate a slow walk through nature without rushing
  • I have read a ton of books, podcasts, documentaries, and YouTube videos
  • I feel more inner peace and less anxiety and fear
  • I am thrilled about my upcoming life and getting older
  • I’ve had dozens of lucid dreams and out of body experiences
  • I am learning to follow my joy despite my fears and doubts

My Current Routine

This is a list of the things I do in the morning. I don’t always do ALL of them. I have room for flexibility. Sometimes if a book is really grabbing me or I’m really into writing this new blog post, I’ll keep going. Even if that means not doing something else. Let this list serve as a guide for some stuff you might want to do tomorrow morning.

  • Wake up at 5:20 AM
  • Meditate for 10-20 minutes
  • Read or write affirmations
  • Write for 30 minutes (journal or blog)
  • Walk for 10-20 minutes
  • Yoga or Stretching for 10-20 minutes
  • Light weight lifting or pushups
  • Practice Piano for 10-20 minutes
  • Read / Audiobook / Podcast
  • Watch YouTube videos on subjects that interest me
  • Shower and get ready for work
  • Practice Lucid Dreaming (sometimes)
  • Do nothing for 10 minutes (sit outside)
  • Spend time outside
  • Read an old journal entry

The morning routine in and of itself it doesn’t exactly change a life, but it opens the door to many life-changing habits.

Recommendations for You

If the only thing you did each morning was meditate for 10 minutes and journal for 5 minutes, that alone would make a shift in your life. You would be taking 15 minutes a day to think about your life. And chances are you’ll get inspired to do something – start running, quit that job you hate, go vegetarian, plan for that trip, start that project, finish that other project, etc.

I feel every person should spend at least 15 minutes a day focusing on their own personal development. It’s a no brainer! Why would you ever want to sleepwalk through life and ignore yourself? If we all spent time each day learning and practicing how to become a better, more integrated and whole human being, the world would be a better place.

But that’s thinking too big, just focus on yourself. Give yourself that time in the morning and start living on purpose!

Get the Book

If you’re looking for more in-depth tips and tricks, get my book Wake Up: The Morning Routine That Will Change Your Life.

Jeff Finley
Jeff Finley

Jeff is a graphic artist, designer, musician, writer, and mystic with a passion for truth and personal growth. He's the author of Wake Up, Maker/Mistaker, and Thread's Not Dead, as well as the creator of Starseed Supply Co. Learn more about him here.

Articles: 250


  1. Great update to your original post. I know I’m not able to operate on 6 hours of sleep and so my struggle is getting to bed before 11pm. My 2 hour morning is very tied to being a better human being. As an introvert, I need that time by myself in order to be charged up for my clients/friends/husband. I fell out of routine last week and am excited to get back to it this week!

  2. If you want to experience God, eat 5g of psilocybin mushrooms while laying down in a comfy environment with eye shades on and transcendental music playing. Psychedelics will up your spiritual game ten fold. And it’s safer than drinking coffee!

    • I’ve been drug free my entire life, in fact my young adulthood and teenage years were very anti-substance. However my views have softened and I don’t really judge other people as “bad” for using drugs or substances. I understand now. For me, using a substance like psilocybin or ayahuasca would have to be purely intentional and conscious, not as a way to escape or fuck around.

      • Absolutely. The drugs I primarily consume are caffeine and alcohol, but I am finding cannabis to be much safer and more enjoyable than either. As for psychedelics, I definitely agree that psilocybin or ayahuasca are not for recreation. I have not consumed either in sufficient doses (or quality) to experience what people claim, but I have read numerous accounts of massively spiritual experiences that result from consuming these plants. Reading your post made me even more intrigued of the wonderful experiences that await me. I do meditate and enjoy yoga, but I think psilocybin of ayahuasca, done properly, could catapult me deep down the spiritual rabbit hole. We shall see.

        • I have no doubts that it will! From what I hear, you get to see who you really are, warts and all. You may see things you don’t like about yourself, but it’s that swift punch in the face wake-up-call that is so freeing. It brings forth everything you may have repressed. Obviously I only know from what I’ve read and heard about. Right now those substances aren’t in my journey at this moment, but I can’t rule it out later in my life. Good luck on your journey my friend, keep me posted on your experience.

    • I would hit snooze until the last possible minute and I’d go to work like everyone else. I would put my energy into projects allowed me to express my creativity and authenticity. Life wasn’t terrible, in fact, most of my life I felt like I was on to something big until I started to get depressed and jaded. Actually that “jadedness” or disappointment seems to come regularly every few years and it usually inspires a big change or new venture.

      • Like looking in the mirror. I think I’m on stage “started to get depressed and jaded” . And I have all motivation to start meditate. But I just don do it.
        That is why, I’m planing to go Buddhist temple, for a 2 weeks stead of vacations.

  3. I really enjoyed the read jeff. A little everywhere but i guess that’s what happens when excitement and enthusiasm get thrown in the mix, don’t you agree?

    Anyways, my question is: how do you fight lucid dreaming? Or actually the crave to wanting more?

    I have a congenital disease that makes me dream 3 to 5 times more than regular people, and usually i squeeze the most out of my sleep, making me be late to work on some occassions. This week i’ve woken up very early due to work, and i’ve experienced some of the benefits. For a long time now, I’ve known that the best time to write is early in the morning, the best ideas come at 5am, but i truly have a very heavy sleep, usually integrating my alarm into the chaos that is the dream. I’ve had so much trouble waking up sometimes, that I believe I do, and actually I’m 3 layers into each dream. Meaning I try to wake up 4 times before actually openning my eyes. Obviously by this time…it’s 8:50 and I start work at 9am

    • Sounds to me like you’ve got an incredible gift of dreaming. I would try to harness that ability for your own personal growth rather than fight it. I would embrace it as much as possible. I wouldn’t fight it, I would go with it and see where it takes you.

      How far have you taken lucid dreaming? Have you tried using it to find your higher self, or experience oneness with the universe, or to overcome your fears?

      • Actually i have used it to my advantage. I’ve overcome some fears, but more in a practical sense of a day to day basis of confrontation. Fear itself is something i’ve lost with time. I feel i’m actually at a peek, and that i’m no longer afraid of anything. It’s as if what fear fueled in the past now has become nothing. Now i’m at a state of such well being that nothing gets to me. Still the experience of oneness with the universe and the search for a higher self isn’t really appealing to me. I feel like i’m in a constant state of trance and within a comfort zone that i hold on to with no intention of leaving. I don’t feel i want change because i love how i am in almost everyway (i can’t say everyway, because that would be to egocentric).

        Still, my problem is fighting sleep. I want less sleep, in order to do more in the “real world” but i want more sleep to do more in the “dream world”. It’s as if i didn’t have enough time for either of them.

        • I’m impressed and give you massive props for overcoming your fears. But I have a hard time believing that the fear completely absent forever. I do think our abilities to handle fear become better and we no longer suffer at the hands of it. Maybe at this point your soul just wants to chill and be content for awhile until it gets bored and wants to stretch you.

    • I had a spontaneous out of body experience one morning and I did a lot of research about it. And learned you could induce them at will. And through this I learned about lucid dreaming and read several books about it and watched youtube videos. Then it was just about practicing some of the techniques and seeing what works! It’s important to set intentions before bed and to remember to journal your dreams each morning because otherwise it’s easy to forget.

  4. Very interesting experience Jeff!
    Do you feel your energy level declining throughout the day? When I get up early (I normally get up at 6:30), I notice decreasing concentration in the afternoon and evening, which leads me to being less productive. To back up, I’m a self-employed web designer & business coach, currently engaging in a 90-day fitness challenge.

    I’d love to get up earlier and slow down the day and implement a morning routine, but I’m not sure whether less sleep is healthy. I exercise 5 times a week (Monday – Friday) and work around 9 – 12 hours normally. Sometimes, when several clients announce new urgent requirements, days are kind of messed-up. Implementing the routine of meditating in the morning and maybe throughout the day might be a good way to get more control over my actions, instead of just reacting to influences from other sources.

    Do you think getting up earlier and meditating (journaling never stuck with me) would help me get more efficient and aligned with my goals?

    Best regards,

    • Hi Jan, I do usually notice energy drain toward the end of my work day, but that usually coincides with having work I don’t want to do! I will take a quick nap after dinner most nights and use the evening time to spend with my wife.

      Hal Elrod says you only need as much sleep as you believe you do. If you felt like 5 hours is enough, you’ll tend to wake up refreshed. If you feel like, “oh god I’m only getting 5 hours” then you are already in the mindset of being tired.

      I do drink coffee, so that probably masks the problem. I could seriously be damaging myself by only sleeping 5-6 hours a night. But look at all the parents out there who get so little sleep and have so much more demanding work to do.

      Yes, getting up early and meditating WILL have a positive improvement on your goals. Instead of you getting more aligned with your goals, it might end up doing the opposite – making your goals more aligned with you!

    • About the energy drain toward the end of the day or feeling asleep, there’s 3 ways to avoid that problem which are :
      1. Resist.
      2. Have a nap of 1 – 1.5 Hour, no more because of the third point :
      3. Sleeping before midnight is more deep, you know that one hour before midnight equals 2 hours after, so if you sleep at 11 pm to 12 it’s like you slept at 12 to 2 am. (think about it).
      – Sorry for the bad english :| –

  5. How much time do you make for yourself in the morning? If you wake up at 5:20, when do you usually leave for work?

    • I usually leave for work at 9:40 AM. So that gives me about 3-4 hours of ME time. That’s quite a bit isn’t it? It didn’t start out that way, it was only 30 min at first. But then as I got more confident, I added more time.

      What ends up taking a while is when I am writing or blogging, then I could lose an hour or two! And I do sleep in sometimes when I feel like I need it.

      I guess that’s the important thing, pay attention to your body and listen. Don’t force anything.

  6. I’m making the habit of daily meditation at 6:00 AM :D, and later go to swim and yoga. This makes me happier and thats the main goal of my life

  7. This article I just read just became an inspiration for me to start doing the same!

    I’ve been trying to wake up earlier for some time, but it’s quite hard when you don’t have a routine… and I find yours really interesting, I’m gonna try some things out.

    Thanks for that, and I’ll let you know if it’s working.

    One question, when you just started, at what time were you waking up? 5:20AM?

    • Awesome, I wish you luck! I usually go to bed at midnight. I know, only like 5 hours of sleep. But the positive habits seem to negate the lack of sleep – imagine if I had to rush off to work a job I hated or answer emails that early. No way!

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