Waking up early sucks. Here’s why to do it.

Waking up early sucks. Here’s why to do it.

Once again I’m writing a blog post late at night with the looming Beeminder deadline hanging over me. I also have to wake up in 5 hours to keep with my goal of waking up early. And, well, as the title says: waking up early sucks. The alternative, however, is much worse. I slept in today and struggled to be productive and really get anything done. So despite it sucking, I do it anyway.

I know there exists a breed of people who just pop up and can get it done. Those people suck, too. I’m not one of those people. I wake up and have to spend 15-25 minutes just waking up. Over the years I’ve had to devise a system of alarms and more recently some punishments for not waking up early.

I have to use an app where you can program a sequence of alarms, of which you can require you to scan a bar-code to dismiss the alarm(s). For instance mine will go off playing my motivational playlist, then 5 minutes later it will go off again requiring me to scan a bar-code in the guest bathroom where I then splash my face and put in my contacts. 5 minutes later I then need to scan a bar-code in the living room where I’ve laid out my exercise clothes. 5 minutes later I need to scan a bar-code in the kitchen where I take my pre-workout. After that it will go off giving me twenty minutes to walk my dog.

I think you get the picture.

Sometimes this isn’t enough so I’ve setup a Beeminder goal for waking up early, too. In addition to that I followed the advise of a site (collegeinfogeek.com) I’m frequenting lately to make myself accountable to my friends and family. I use a site that schedules posts for tweets and facebook posts to have a looming post with the following:

bit of a sting if I wake up late

“Its 3:30AM and I’m not up! Reply for $5 via paypal (limit 5) – assuming my alarm didn’t malfunction… #sleepingin”

Before this generation of my wake up system I had 3 alarms spaced out 10 minutes apart that would require me to answer 4 math questions each. This worked for a while until my math skills got better, then I had to kick it up a notch.

The reason I go to this extreme and the thing that I struggled with for a long time was “WHY?” Why wake up early? Why exercise and do spiritual and other important stuff first? I was struggling to work with just the “HOW?” and the “WHAT?” knowing that it was important but not really knowing why it was important for me. So, naturally working this way waking up early continued to suck and I eventually would stop doing it. Oh, I’d start again and again and again but always eventually burn out and stop for a bit. I was reliving the same experience over and over.

Above I mentioned a little bit of HOW I do it and everyone knows a really good list of  WHAT you get from waking up early. There are hundreds of blogs and articles talking about how to do it and the health benefits so I’m not going to focus too much on that. I might make a blog post later on those but for now I’m just going to focus on the WHY. The why will be different for everybody so I’m just going to try and share mine and hopefully it’ll help you then I’ll talk a little bit about my how and what.

WAKING UP EARLY – WHY?

So I turned 30 last year and that honestly is not a really big deal to me. I’m not going to have an early mid-life crisis or get depressed my twenties and the parties are over. I was never really much for the partying scene anyway. The big deal, however, was that I have three kids and I decided I want more of myself for them.

Overweight, overtired, and focusing on all the wrong things. In a dead end job and failing to get anywhere with my schooling and to the career and business opportunities that I really wanted to pursue. Unable to give my family the kind of life I want and I only dreamed of as a kid. Wanting to be more than just the fat lazy guy always either laying on the couch or yelling at the kids. I saw more in myself and knew that I could do it if I just pushed myself. But I couldn’t get the momentum going. I couldn’t make it work. So I searched for how to change and ended up watching  a really cool video by Simon Sinek at a TED talk and changed the way I think.

THE SHIFT

The focus shifted away from a WHAT perspective of “I’ll have a better day”, “I’ll feel healthier”, “I’ll lose a few pounds”, “I’ll get more done in my day”, and so on.  I became a simple “I’ll be the kind of man I’ve always wanted to be, always dreamed to be.” I started imagining what that could mean for me and all the details associated. I’d vividly imagine living that life. After doing that waking up early still sucked and continues to suck but it’s much more trivial. It changed from “Why wake up early?” to “Why wouldn’t I wake up early?!? All I have to do is wake up early and I’ll eventually make it to that kind of life?”

My WHY is going to be different than yours but they all kind of tie into the same core of being better, doing better, and living better. You have to find that thing that really hits you emotionally. Some phrases from the speakers on my playlist (http://x.co/playlist) have really struck me emotionally. It also might be worth checking out my previous post Get up and don’t ever give up to look for some inspiration.

WAKING UP EARLY – HOW?

Like I mentioned earlier my HOW at the present moment is using the app for android called Morning Routine and trying to be as rigorous as I can to stay on pace with that. I will eventually post about my morning routine but if you want to know more about how I use it or want suggestions just ask in the comments below.

WAKING UP EARLY – WHAT?

Again, there are countless blogs and articles on what the benefits are of waking up early. There are literally tons so I’ll just name a few that I’ve experienced.

  • Exercise has been helping me lose weight, feel better about myself, have more energy to spend time with my kids, etc.
  • Reading spiritual things and doing meditation have been able to relieve a lot of stress. I’m also able to go throughout my day with a much clearer mind.
  • Planning my day first thing has led to me being able to get a lot more done with a clear focus on what’s important.
  • As a result of all of this my priority has become being proactive instead of reactive.

Again, if you have questions or comments please add them below.

WAKING UP EARLY – WHERE DO I START?

No system is perfect. No plan is fail proof. Just start where you are. Find a good WHY and go from there. If you have a solid WHY, the HOW and WHAT will figure themselves out. You won’t be perfect at it but as the quote says

‘Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.’
Samuel Beckett

Just keep trying. Keep doing it. Find your WHY.

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