Step 2: Incubate yourself--Perform scientific trials
There is something called the zero contingency procedure. This is just a fancy term for “you can only make an association in your mind if trials are consistent”. If you’re trying to associate a certain stimulus with being awake, during the incubation period, only present this stimulus to yourself when you are wide awake. If you present the stimulus at any other time [such as during your usual wake-up time, or right before falling asleep], it will confuse your mind and the association will not be strong, if at all present.
For this reason, you will want to avoid choosing typical morning-actions as your stimulus: such as brushing your teeth, washing your face, having breakfast foods, taking a shower etc. These stimuli typically happen when you are waking up after an extended slumber, and thus run the risk of being associated with grogginess, low energy and reluctance to wake.
Other ways to be mindful of the zero contingency procedure:
Choose a stimulus that you can control, to ensure it does not occur when you are not wide awake. Some uncontrollable stimuli to avoid would be: listening to a popular song that’s often played on the radio, eating a food frequently served at your workplace, etc.
Choose a stimulus easy to remember, so that you can stick to a consistent schedule for trials.
Varying the time of day during which the action stimulus occurs may help. The brain may feel the need to search for some constants in the storm, which in this case would be the association of the stimulus with the act of being conscious, rather than a setting or time of day.
I know your bed is comfy, but we're about to turn it into your lab.