How To Wake Up For Fajr Habit: Days 1-5

If you want to wake up for Fajr every day of the week, you need to know 2 things. First, how to install a new habit. Second, how to train your mind and body to react when you first wake up, so you don’t stay in bed or fall back to sleep. Both of these will be covered in other posts. This one jumps ahead a little and give you an insight into how I’m installing the Fajr habit personally.

You see, about a week ago, I decided that 2011 would be the year I consciously decide to improve my personal self-discipline, using 30-day new habit trials.  I’ll explain how you can install any habit in 30 days in a future post. This post is going to explore the first 5 days of the first 30-day habit trial I do this year – waking up and staying up from Fajr.

This is something I’ve done consistently in the past, but in all honesty it’s been a bit rocky since summer 2010. When you work from home and only have deadlines you set yourself, there’s no real reason to wake up early. Well, except for all the baraqa, blessings, and productivity 🙂

Anyway, since I’m re-installing it, I thought it would be beneficial to share the experience with you, so when you do it yourself, you know what to expect.

Defining the Habit

In order for this new habit to work, I decided not to put any ‘rules’ on what I have to do when I wake up. Some people advise having a morning ritual, which is a good idea usually. However, the morning routine I want to ultimately put in place is quite gruelling, involving dhikr, exercise, Quran and other stuff, and it will instantly collapse if I don’t wake up early. So, my only goal for the next 25 days is to wake up every day at 7am and stay up.

By the way, if that seems ridiculously easy to you, bear a couple of things in mind: first, I work from home with a completely flexible schedule, so no-one’s going to tell me off, or fire me if I don’t get up; second, I selected 7am because that’s the ‘sweet spot’ – the time when I can pray Fajr every day for 3/4 of the year, without missing it. In the UK the ‘sweet spot’ is probably 6am, depending on where you are (I live in Spain).You can check prayer times to find out what the ‘sweet spot’ is where you live. Finally, we’re talking about doing this every single day, including weekends. Waking up for Fajr is a life-style change, not a habit done in a zombie-like state.

Also, training myself to wake up at 7am is the same difficulty as waking up at 5am, from where I am right now. But that would just create 2 extra hours in the morning that I’m awake and my wife is asleep, and 2 extra hours at night when the opposite is true. That seems pointless to me right now, but I might try it in the future – some people I know swear by it.

Days 1 – 5

Because there are no ‘rules’ about what I have to do when I wake up, I’ve basically done whatever I wanted over the last 4 days. Day 1 was difficult waking up but by the time I had prayed Fajr, I was wide awake. Although I probably still would have gone back to sleep if I hadn’t made a really strong commitment to do this 30 day habit thing. I really took the biscuit on Day 2, when I woke up and just played Mario on the Wii for about an hour, in order to stop myself from falling asleep.

I’m on Day 5 today, and I woke up with no problems and no hesitation. I also had no thoughts of going back to sleep in contrast to the previous 4 days. It appears my nafs is getting used to the idea that when I wake up, there is no going back, so its learning to just deal with it. This is a stark contrast to days 1 & 2 when all I thought about was going back to bed!

Alhamdulillah, I think I’ve passed the first threshold now though – most of the mornings have unintentionally been quite productive. I’ve spent them: cleaning up; doing admin work; today I re-invented this blog; catching up on email (although that was a bad idea first thing in the morning, as it put me in ‘reactive’ mode all day); and creating content for upcoming Quran Coaching programs.

The biggest motivating ‘boost’ is seeing the blue A4 sheet on the pin board to the left of my desk with the month to view, and 5 days in a row crossed off. Because I’m taking this year slow, and tackling one habit at a time, it’s doing wonders for my self-esteem. That’s because I know I’m doing my best, and if I keep going, I’ll be a much better version of me by this time next year, insha’Allah 🙂

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  • ANMB  On January 23, 2011 at 10:03 pm

    as salaam ‘alaikum . . .many people over look nutrition which plays a large part in how quickly one awakens in the morning – and role of eicosanoids, which are superhormones, and there are good ones and bad ones, that are partially responsible for one waking alert or groggy:

    Eicosanoid Status Report

    also, drinking 8 oz water per hour, and 16 oz before bedtime, will force one to wake as well, and be sure to drink another 8 oz after going to the loo, and you will wake for fajr, insha’Allah.

    . . and going to bed early and waking early is just forming a new habit . . .


  • Nasreen  On April 27, 2011 at 4:54 am

    Jazak Allah khaire,

    I get up at 4 am every day and dont miss my Fajar namaz.

    Thanks to my late father who put us in this habit.

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