21 Early Days: Getting After It

A week ago I decided to start a new challenge- to wake up every morning at 4:30 AM for 21 days. 

I suppose I should start out by crediting the source, because although I would love to be able to tell you that this wonderful life hack was handed down to me by way of a mystical higher power, while invoking the muse through deep meditation, sadly that’s not the case.

I regularly watch TED talks- not as often as I’d like I may add- but I felt inspired after watching a talk given by Felipe Castro Matos entitled, How waking up every day at 4.30 AM can change your life’. The title alone, coupled with his roll-off-the-tongue name worthy of a matador, was enough to convince me, but I tuned in regardless. That very night I set my alarm, with all the hesitation and uncertainty of a naive field mouse, eye-f*cking a spring-loaded piece of cheese.

Mmmmm, cheese.

Apologies, keto on the brain. I digress.

First, a bit about my own sleeping habits and preferences. I’m not sure if I am a morning person or a night person; I could never really answer that question when it was put to me. I guess I’m good with either. I mean, I can be equally as productive at night or in the morning, depending on when I get my coffee, of course.

I have always been a huge fan of sleeping. I really enjoy relaxing and chilling in the evenings, and I would be partial to the odd nap or two, if the situation presented itself. I guess you could say that I am very grandad-like in some of the things I take comfort in and enjoy. I would say cat-like, but I hate cats.

I wasn’t exactly under the impression that this was going to be a straightforward transition, but it has been surprisingly smooth. 

Keeping the alarm out of arms reach- meaning I have to actually move my whole body to turn it off, has definitely helped. And without a doubt the most important factor from the beginning- has been resisting the temptation to press the snooze button.

I absolutely love when people reach out, be it through e-mail, text, or even a comment under a photo, and I got asked a lot of questions after the first day or so. I figured that today I’d address the 3 questions that cropped up the most.

Why are you doing it?

In short, why the f*ck not?

I am always seeking out ways in which to improve and develop. If I can try and incorporate something- anything- into my lifestyle which I feel may contribute in a positive way, I will seriously consider it.

What are the benefits?

I can’t be sure if there are any actual health benefits, but doesn’t it make sense to assume that one of the benefits of waking up early is having more time in the morning to prepare for the day ahead? 

I really love the process of rising with the sun, while allowing myself to immerse myself fully in the act of preparing a delicious breakfast, brewing a fresh bulletproof coffee, and taking my sweet time in the process!

Those who know me know I don’t like to rush, and I can be annoyingly laid-back at times, so in that way I suppose it suits my personality. 

Another added benefit is getting my workout in early, and having the gym pretty much all to myself while I do so. Hard enough as it is some days to muster up the motivation to hit the gym after a tough work day, but there is nothing worse than getting to the gym at peak time, waiting for a bench to free up.

When do you go to sleep?

People figure that because I am now waking up at an ungodly hour, that I am sleeping less. This is not the case. It took me a day or two to adjust, but I feel as though it’s all flowing along nicely now. 

I find myself winding down by about 9 PM. I read a chapter of a book and meditate for 10 minutes, and am out like a light by 9:30 or 10. 

Not only do I get enough sleep, but I feel as though the quality of sleep is much better. I sleep right through the night, uninterrupted, and in a continuous, deep dream state.

It has been an interesting first week for sure. I have thoroughly enjoyed the process of waking up that bit earlier, moseying into my groove, and setting the tone for a dominant day. I understand it’s not for everyone, and that some of us are more productive later in the evening. There is no one correct formula, and as with a lot of things in life, I think it’s about finding what works best for you.

I’m excited to see what the next week brings, and if this habit does indeed stick after 21 days.

I better kick off the slippers, and turn in. Tomorrow is there for the taking.