My alarm buzzed this morning at 5:52 am.
I hit the snooze button knowing the back-up on my phone was set for seven minutes later.
I drifted back to that light NREM sleep that doesn’t really have any positive benefit for the body. It kind of just makes you more tired.
You know the saying “you snooze, you lose.”
You also know it’s true. Hitting the snooze button is a losing action. Done enough times it becomes a loser’s habit. Each time you hit snooze you are literally losing seven to nine minutes of your day.
That’s seven to nine minutes less of productivity, education, fitness, or connection you trade for that false pretense of rest. Even knowing this, this morning I hit the snooze button anyway.
My back-up alarm went off at 5:59. I almost, almost hit that dastardly snooze button again. However, even half asleep, I knew what was on my to-do list for the day. The very first item I put on the top of my daily schedule is to wake up before 6 am, every day.
Here I was at a minute to six sleepily deciding whether to take control of my day or to begin my day by failing an important task I had set for myself. This decision would set the tone of my day.
You may be saying, “What’s the big deal about waking up before six?”
It’s not the number or the time specifically as much as it is about the act of getting up earlier than I have to. It’s about following through on a commitment I made to myself.
For me, getting up before six is about choosing productive time over wasted time. That’s definitely urgent in my life these days.
Quite possibly the most important aspect of what getting up before six means to me is what the actual habit does for my life. It sets in motion courses of action that are of the utmost importance to achieving my goals, health, and happiness.
It is a habit I use to stack other habits on top of. The habit of getting up early becomes a building block in many other positive habits in my life.
Getting up early, regardless of what time that is for you, sets the tone for your entire day.
How does rushing through your morning routine to “get ready” for work or your other commitments get your day started?
Let’s say you hit snooze twice or you set your alarm to only give you the bare minimum amount of time to get to your job when you are supposed to. You brush your teeth and get dressed. You rush through your packaged food or, worse yet, your drive-up fast food and coffee. Then you arrive at work and it’s time to hit the ground running. It’s time to put in a solid eight to ten hours.
How do you think your tone is going to be with coworkers or clients? How do you think your productivity will be? Will your energy be sustained until your lunch break, assuming you get one?
How does this common morning routine compare to the one you will have if you choose to give yourself an extra hour or more before you are expected to clock in?
First and foremost, giving yourself the extra time will allow you to remember and keep in mind what is truly important in your life. Your job and commitments don’t define you as a person, nor should they be the only metric of your happiness.
The extra morning time allows you to enjoy the flavor of a hearty, healthy breakfast. It leaves time for meditation or to read the newspaper, a book, your most recent Moving On Upwards article, or an article from another of your favorite websites.
Taking control of your own morning process allows you to start your day with control over your energy, emotions, and motivation. In turn, it allows you control over your entire day.
Having a work day morning that feels no different than that of a day off sounds so much better than hitting snooze and sleeping in. The latter will have you skipping breakfast and speeding into work.
There’s immense positivity and energy in following through on your commitments to yourself.
Telling yourself that you will get up an hour before you need to, through your daily planner or just saying it to yourself before you retire to bed in the evening, then doing it, tells yourself definitively that you make good on your promises throughout your day.
This is not just relative to the commitments you make to yourself, but also to others as well. Doing what you say you will do is part of what defines a good person and an upstanding member of the human community.
On the smallest scale, you get that dopamine hit from crossing items off your daily schedule as you complete each task. On the larger scale, consistently reminding yourself “I have to do this because I committed to it” lets others know they can count on you.
That, in turn, makes it significantly more likely that you will be able to count on others when you need or have to.
The choice of how to spend your waking hours is crucial to accomplishing your goals.
It guides your internal compass of purpose. When you choose “Netflix and chill”, or video games, or sleeping, you inevitably find yourself moving easily into states of depression and melancholy. It’s much more difficult to be productive, inspired, and creative when you are down as such.
When you choose to go to sleep earlier, or when you choose to get to work instead of playing, your pride in your productivity becomes contagious. It can obviously be seen your next and future actions.
I am not advocating working all the time, or even getting up early every day, or excessively early. There are times when rest, relaxation, and guilty pleasures allow you a chance to reset yourself and come back to your productive routines stronger and fresher.
The rest and goofing off just cannot become a habit.
Finally you have the habit itself and what it means.
Habits are created through repetition. Sometimes it’s deliberate. Sometimes it’s mindful. Sometimes it’s not. Do you think smokers or gamblers or heroin addicts started out expecting to create such negative and detrimental habits? It’s unlikely.
Repetition takes about twenty-one days, or three weeks, to forge a habit. When you become successful at creating a positive habit it usually negates a negative habit. This has a truly wonderful impact on your life.
The value is tangible. It almost has mass. Creating the habit of resisting sugary drinks or sweets also creates the habit of eating healthier and becoming cognizant of what you put into your body.
Similarly the habit of getting up early also creates the complimentary habit of resisting wasted time in the evening. It also breaks the poor habit of staying up too late. Staying up late leaves you with little to no energy in the morning, when you need it the most.
The early bird gets the worm, but also nothing good ever happens after 1 am.
The complimentary habits are not the only ones that are stacked.
Healthier nutrition habits also lead to cutting toxic GMO’s, unnecessary and unhealthy carbs, as well as foods with excessive fat and salt from your diet. It leads to reading labels and becoming educated as to what you put into your body.
It also discourages you from eating out. You cannot possibly know about the ingredients or cooking methods restaurants use. You will spend less money eating out less. This leaves you more money to save, invest, or donate.
Do you see how this works? Can you imagine the compounded effect of all these positive changes? It’s exciting when you think about it.
When you choose to rise, rather than snoozing, you will eat healthier breakfasts. This will result in sustained energy and metabolism for the day. You will be more likely to exercise. You will have more energy to exercise for longer periods and at increased intensity resulting in consistent gains or losses, whichever is your goal.
When you rise early you will have more time to complete your daily tasks and chores. You will find more time to engage and make connections with your family and close friends.
With the extra time you will have more time for your creative endeavors and to explore your passions and hobbies. You will find more time to learn new skills and find insights. There’s more time to read and actively listen and to intently watch.
You can expand on each of these habits to create and encourage additional habits. The results are exponential.
I hope you think about this the next time you reach over from your cozy, dream killing bed to hit that snooze button. I hope you consider this article the next time you go to set your daily alarm clock before bed.
Simple adjustments to your daily routine can cause a ripple effect that will become catalysts for achieving true success in your life. Big things happen after a lot of small actions. It only takes one action to get you headed in the right direction.
If you are reading this and it reminds you of a similar adjustment you have made in your own life that has had potent effect like getting up before 6 am has in mine, I’d love to hear about it.
Please comment below with your stories or life hacks. Sharing with the community here may result in enormous positive change. It may impact the lives of others. You never know. Sharing your best practices may just help someone else who needs the inspiration and encouragement to get themselves moving on upwards.