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I’ve been getting up at around 5 a.m. on almost every weekday for a few months now. Whenever my friends hear about this, they are almost always astonished about my persistence and curious about how I manage to stick to the habit. So I thought I would share my secrets with them and whoever is also considering to be an early bird.

1. Choose your triggers.
Waking up early during the summer was much easier because it’s warm and bright when you need to get out of the bed. It becomes much more difficult as we enter the winter when the sun doesn’t start to rise until 8 a.m. here in London where I live. Even if I was able to push myself out of the bed in the dark, I often felt exhausted and unmotivated to do anything productive.

After doing a lot of research, I decided to invest in a smart lighting system that we then program to mimic the sunrise. The light itself isn’t really enough to wake me up though, so I paired it with the Gentle Alarm mobile app to play music that gradually increases in volume. This made a big difference for me. Instead of waking up abruptly and feeling exhausted, I now feel fully awake by the time I open my eyes.

2. Create your routine.
The first things I do right after I get up is to drink a glass of water while making coffee. Instead of a coffee machine, I buy roasted coffee beans directly from a local roaster Coffee Plant.

Every morning I would grind the beans, pack them up in my espresso coffee maker, and then let the coffee brew to fill the room with its aroma. This routine marks the beginning of the day in my brain before I settle down to start working with a delicious cup of coffee.

3. Claim your rewards.
After working for couple hours, I always have a healthy breakfast packed with protein before I leave home for office. This also gives us a chance to relax and share what we’ve each accomplished in the morning.

As I use the morning to work on my own side projects, to keep in touch with family and friends, to connect with new people on Twitter and to learn new skills, the progress and connection I make are also extremely rewarding over time.

And a few more tips that work for me…
Cycling into work every day is still one of my favorite things to do. I try to push myself quite hard physically while cycling, which really helps me refocus my mind before starting to work in the office again.

I do yoga in the evening after cycling home rather than in the morning to give myself more time in the morning to work on my personal projects.

Weekends are crucial. I don’t usually wake up at 5 a.m. on weekends, but I never wake up later than 7 a.m. or sleep more than 8 hours. Because if you have drastically different schedule on the weekends, this makes getting back into your healthy habits much more difficult. What helps me to keep this up is my 8 a.m. swimming routine on Saturdays (having one of the best swimming pools in the world nearby also helps!).

The other thing I would absolutely recommend is to tell all your friends as soon as you decide to create a habit. It often makes me feel quite proud whenever I tell someone I get up at 5 a.m.; therefore, I feel even more committed to stick to it (even more so now I’ve shared it with you here now!).

This article originally appeared on Medium.

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