I don't have curtains in my room so most days I wake up when the first light enters, accompanied by the morning chorus of birds. It's a beautiful way to wake up, even when it means being up at 4AM in summer.
Now, in the heart of winter, the first light is much later in the morning. It's cozy under the duvet, and even the birds don't seem too eager to start their day early. So, I've returned to using an alarm clock, but merely as a last resort.
I don't set it for my ideal wake-up time, but for the latest possible time I can rise. This subtle mental shift, which I realized just this morning, has greatly improved my process of getting out of bed and tackling the day.
If I wake up naturally and stay conscious long enough to form an intelligent thought (about the moment, the day, the fact that I am awake and conscious), I congratulate myself: I am ahead of the game. I've earned bonus time in my day to do whatever I want. Meditate, train a little extra, stretch, read a book, inhale the aroma of coffee beans... I can do almost anything, as long as I'm quiet and don't wake up the rest of the family. Unfortunately, switching on the coffee machine falls into the 'too noisy' category.
However, if I'm awoken by the alarm clock, the scenario changes entirely. There is no extra time. It's simply go time. There is no room for snoozing or taking a time-out. There is no decision to be made. If I snooze, I lose the game.