Willpower and waking up early

Why do people find it hard to wake early ?

I been able to observe a number of people participate in the 5.00 AM club. A large proportion of participants only maintain the 5AM wakeup for 1-2 weeks after this period they find it hard to keep going..

So why does it happen? Its there a connection between waking up early and willpower? and how do you build and maintain willpower?

After watching the presentation by Kelly McGonigal, I got to understand the science of willpower and how it is related to waking up. After this blog post please checkout Kelly’s presentation – The willpower instinct


Willpower-Battery-vertical2Willpower Facts

  • Willpower is a limited resource – it is like a battery
  • Willpower is at its strongest in the morning
  • Each activity that takes effort will draw on  “willpower charge” which gets smaller as the day drags on
  • Some tasks will require more willpower than others. For example making a cup of tea in the morning which requires little willpower compared to waking up early
  • Willpower capacity varies from person to person
  • Sleep is the major method for  replenishing willpower
  • A string of bad sleeps will decrease the capacity of the  “willpower battery”




The Physiology of Willpower

There are 4 major physiology activities that can contribute to willpower. There are also a number of mindset and habitual “hacks” that can also be used to develop or maximize willpower.


1. Sleep

2. Meditation
3. Physical Exercise
4. Low-Glycemic Plant based diet.


A Typical 5AM Clubbers Scenario

So theses are some of the scenarios that I have observed with many participants

Week 1

– Start of the week and the willpower and interest is at its highest

– As the week draws on it is harder to maintain discipline such as sleep at 10.00PM or exercising daily

– Sleep management becomes a bit of an issue and the rest of the week catchup


Week 2-3

– Sleep management becomes an issue

– The participants do not fully practice other activities such as exercise, meditation and following a good diet

– The “willpower battery”  has a sub-optimal charge and activities that require more willpower like exercise, waking up early becomes more difficult and are often missed

– The supplemental activities to sleep are missed and sleep quality suffers as a consequence.

sub-optimal Battery




Optimization and Correction Tips

Here are my top tips on how to manage your willpower and in turn manage your sleep and waking up at 5AM

1. Practice good sleep management – I find this the hardest since I am a reformed Night Owl.

  •     Set an alarm at 9.00PM to tell you to slowdown for bedtime
  •     If you find you have too much energy maybe a swim or a run in the afternoon – Robin Sharma makes this suggestion in one of his videos
  •     Practice a night time Yoga Routine
  •     No Screens before bed (Computer/Tablet/Phone/TV)


2. Practice Exercise, Meditation and eat a Low-Glycemic Plant based diet.

  •     This will not only help with sleep but contribute to charging your Willpower battery


3. Remember your objectives

  •    The 5AM Club is to create a magical time and to be productive
  •    Don’t skimp on sleep, don’t skimp on sleep did I forget to tell you “don’t skimp on sleep”
  •    Follow a healthy lifestyle – drink plenty of water, follow a healthy diet
  •    Focus and don’t get distracted with things such as social media, TV News
  •    Keep a positive mindset


4. Come with the expectation that it might take a few months to make the 5AM club a regular habit. An example might be

  •     Month 1 – 50% success rate
  •     Month 2 – 65%
  •     Month 3 – 80%
  •     Month 4 – 90%


How To Wake Up Early
Monthly Report - December 2014

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