On Waking Up Early

I’ve recently changed up my morning routine which used to include setting my alarm for 0515 and then hitting snooze for at least an hour. This was much improved over my previous routine which was waking up at the very last minute and then rushing to get the dog walked, exercise done, showered, breakfast all before sitting down at my desk to start work. I felt rushed because I was rushed. Waking up early is such an amazing gift to give yourself. It requires conscious effort, discipline, and planning. My day starts when my alarm goes off, still at 0515 but now when it goes off my feet hit the floor. I use the “5 Second Rule” by Mel Robbins. I count down aloud from 5 and when I get to zero I have my feet on the floor. Usually just the act of talking out loud that early start shifting my brain into drive, so to speak. I will take the dog out first thing, come back in and get him fed and do some reading. One of the Daily Stoic New Year, New You challenges was to read philosophy first thing. I started with Senaca’s Letters which are letters he wrote to his friend. They cover a wide variety of topics and are short enough that I can read and think about 1-3 each morning. I will highlight any useful or impactful passages and transfer them over to a notecard. Just adding this exercise to my existing morning routine has made a big difference in how I feel throughout the day. To me, there’s something very comforting about the struggles Seneca wrote about almost 2000 years ago being some of the same thoughts and struggles I have.

Marcus Aurelius who never wanted to be Emporer of Rome said this about getting up early.

At dawn, when you have trouble getting out of bed, tell yourself: “I have to go to work — as a human being. What do I have to complain of, if I’m going to do what I was born for — the things I was brought into the world to do? Or is this what I was created for? To huddle under the blankets and stay warm?

– Meditations 5.1

I would love to stay under the covers all day but having done that during particularly bad bouts of depression it’s no fun at all. The thing with getting up early, or really with any routine you’re trying to build (or break) is consistency. I wake up at the same time every day. It was difficult at first and I spent several months snoozing an hour past my alarm but once I committed to getting up on time every day it’s been easier. I put my phone on the other side of the room but it can still be a bit tricky since I have an Apple Watch which also wakes me up and has a way more convenient snooze button. At some point, I just have to be disciplined about getting up and taking responsibility for it. The watch is a much nicer way to wake up as there’s no blaring alarm, it just buzzes and vibrates on my wrist. That does make it a bit easier and less stressful to wake up.

Being a morning person is not a natural thing for most (majority?) of people. Just like everything it takes training and consistency to make it a habit. I, for one, think it’s a wonderful habit to develop. The world is dark and quiet when I first go outside. Winter is my favorite time of the year and adding the coldness makes it even more special, IMHO. I do struggle some days on leaving those warm blankets but I’ve seen firsthand how beneficial this habit has been for me and I strongly urge you, dear reader, to give it a solid try. According to the book “Mini Habits: Smaller Habits, Bigger Results” by Stephen Guise

The average time for a behavior to become a habit was 66 days. But the range was wild, from 18 to 254 days, showing that there is a huge variation in people’s time to reach habit automaticity and that it can end up taking a very long time in some cases. ((Mini Habits: Smaller Habits, Bigger Results pg 24 in Kindle edition))

So it may not feel natural to you if you set it as a 30 day challenge. Give it time and really keep pushing. I think you’ll find that it’s worth it, I certainly do.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Proudly powered by WordPress | Theme: Code Blog by Crimson Themes.
WordPress Appliance - Powered by TurnKey Linux