“Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy wealthy and wise.”
– Benjamin Franklin
* Ring! * ah, !@$&%*(!!!!
I’ve always been terrible at waking up early. As soon as the alarm went off, I would hit the snooze button faster than I could think about hitting the snooze button. I hated waking up early, I felt too tired, too groggy. I had tried many times to become an early riser, only to fail every single time. As I mentioned in my previous posts, because I was a night owl, I always felt best after the sun went down. Being a night owl may not have been such a problem if my work schedule fit my natural sleep patterns, but I was expected to be in the office at 8am which made for an entertaining morning sprint out the door every single day!
Fortunately, I was able to overcome the night owl chronotype by studying and experimenting with various theories and creating an effective method of early rising. After many attempts and many failures, I was able to re-create myself as an early bird. I currently wake up at 5:00 am and since creating the habit, I have personally seen a marked decrease in procrastination and solid improvement in my punctuality. If that’s not enough to convince you to wake up, here are a few more gifts waking up early will award you with.
1. Enjoy the quiet morning serenity
I used to enjoy the quiet times late at night, but I feel that the quiet of the early morning also has much to offer. Absorb the serenity of the morning with its cool fresh air while most are still fast asleep. This is a great time to plan your day and set your goals. I set aside a corner of my bedroom where I have a small table and chair where I sit and write down my goals for the day. On days I’m feeling especially attentive, I will close my eyes and visualize how I will complete my goals. I haven’t built up much endurance with visualization, so I’m practicing it as much as I can.
2. A personal ‘Good Morning!’ from the sun
The beauty of nature is something to awe, and with each sunrise, we are greeted with a bright ‘good morning.’ Sunsets are equally beautiful, signifying the end of the day, a ‘good bye for now.’ While most of us are able to enjoy the sunset, far less people are able to take in the simple beauty of the sunrise. Wake up early and watch the sunrise, and claim it as your own! You can check the sunrise and sunset times of your local at the U.S. Navy Observatory website.
My exercise routine used to start around 11:00pm, comeback around 12:00am and then shower and ready for bed. Obviously not great scheduling for a person who had to be at work at 8:00am. Since waking up early gives me time to exercise in the morning and gets my blood flowing, I start the day feeling good. I have also noticed that exercising in the morning will give you great energy throughout the day, and will help you sleep earlier and have better sleep quality. I currently alternate my exercise routine between cardiovascular training and weight training.
Side note: One thing that I have noticed is that if I start my run early (5:30-6:30am) the air is cool and crisp, but if I start my run after 6:30am, the air quality quickly diminishes as cars start to appear on the roads. This is because I run in a residential neighborhood and a LOT of exhaust is produced by cars not having reached their operating temperature. Since the car has just been started, the catalytic converter is not yet doing its job. I usually avoid running if it is after 6:30am.
4. Increased productivity
I have noticed a correlation between waking up early and increased productivity. Waking up early gives me time to set goals for the day before exercising and breakfast. After exercising and breakfast, I will usually use the time before work to read the news, write articles and tie up other loose ends. Because it is quiet in the morning, distractions are kept to a minimum and I am able to complete tasks much quicker than any other time of the day.
5. Starting the day with a good wholesome breakfast
Waking up late, I never had time to eat breakfast. Always rushing out the door, I was lucky enough to have a glass of water and possibly an unhealthy snack. When you’re pressed for time, I noticed that I usually ended up eating a lot unhealthier, making me sluggish till lunch time. But by waking up earlier, I now have ample time after exercise to make myself a wholesome breakfast. It is well documented that eating breakfast has many benefits and will help kick start your metabolism. Other benefits are increased concentration and strength. Check out the full benefits of breakfast. Just eating breakfast alone is a great reason to start your day early!
6. Shorter commute times
For people who have to commute in traffic, this should be THE reason to wake up early and head to work. Traffic has a funny way of working, and just 10 minutes earlier can make commute times much shorter. (YMMV) Save yourself the stress of commuting in traffic, and having to rush to work. You’ll feel much better and ready to start your work day.
7. Other areas start to improve
As I mentioned earlier, waking up early has contributed to many benefits including better punctuality and a big decrease in procrastination. I attribute these effects to the fact that I was able to improve my self discipline resulting in better self control and focus. These changes will make a big difference in helping you achieve your goals in life, all the while having more time for family, friends and hobbies.
Start taking small steps toward big change, subscribe now!
photo by tormods