For the last few years, I have enjoyed the habit of getting up at 4:30am. Yes, it was painful at first, especially because most of my younger life was spent as a night owl. I was a nightclub bartender until the age of 35, and that profession does not lend itself to waking up early. Quite the contrary, most nights you would clock out somewhere between 3 and 4AM, and without getting into much detail, that is when the fun would start!
As most of us do, I tend to look at things through a different lens now that I’m older. Some things have to go full circle, and now as crazy as it sounds I look forward to my early morning alarm clock. It was not always an easy transition though, and some habits require consistent effort to cement them into place…(more on that later).
Here are a few of the reasons you might consider greeting the day a little earlier:
I get some time to myself. We all need a little alone time, whether we read, pray, meditate, write in a journal, or other such important activities. Trouble is, if you get up and have to start your day immediately, those things pretty much get pushed to the bottom of the priority list. If your alarm clock goes off, you jump in the shower, grab coffee, and you’re out the door, you are probably not functioning at your peak. By rising early, you take control of your day, rather than your day taking control of you. Read a few pages of an inspirational book. Listen to some favorite tunes. DON’T WATCH THE NEWS!
I rarely miss workouts. Back in the nightclub days, I would train in the afternoon, as my bar shift did not begin until 8 or 9pm. This worked fine until I started working normal business hours. I attempted to work out after my work day was over, however I found the gym was very busy at that hour, or I would simply be too tired to go. Much easier to go home and say “tomorrow”. The problem is, you rack up too many tomorrows and years go by without progress. Now, I’m at the gym within a couple hours of waking up. My energy level is higher, the facility is less busy, and I can get a better flow going.
I have a much healthier diet. Admit it. If you’re not an early riser, how many times do you start your day without a healthy breakfast? Research shows about 18 percent of Americans older than age 2 regularly skip breakfast. Aside from the obvious health issues, that sets up a pattern of bad habits for the rest of the day. Running through Starbucks and grabbing a “Grande Caramel Frappuccino” and a muffin is most definitely NOT proper fuel for your body. Wonder why you feel up, then crash? It’s not rocket science, here. Your body needs proper nutrition to function at its best. By rising early, you give yourself time to eat a proper first meal of the day, and you can also prep some food for lunch and a snack. This can save you money, time, and save you a few extra pounds.
I get more done throughout the day. Personally, before I started waking up early I had countless days where “the day used to run me”, rather than the other way around. I felt like I was always responding, rather than directing the workday. I would look up, it would be 5:30, and I would wonder where the heck the day went! It was gone. I was “busy”, but nothing of real importance got accomplished. Now, one of my first activities is to print my schedule. I get a mental image of how my day will flow, what tasks need to be completed, and more often than not my image matches my outcome. Is it 100%? Of course not, but life is about ratios, not perfection.
You get the idea. There are numerous other benefits, and if you decide to get up early you will undoubtedly discover others for yourself.
In the next post, we’ll go over some of the challenges with implementing this habit, and I’ll show you ways to overcome them!