For the first 27 years of my life I was known to sleep-in when I could. I had trouble waking up to school and, later, making it to the office on time. I took pride in enjoying a good morning’s sleep, and more often than not, I would need more than an hour to be fully functional. I loved my sleep.
About a year ago I decided to change all that. Or at least I tried.
I was inspired by a motivational book revealing the magic of rising early and how it had changed the author’s life. I found research that showed how “morning people” tend to be more successful. They get better grades in school, which get them into better colleges, which then lead to better job opportunities. Getting up and exercising before breakfast, is apparently even more beneficial. A number of studies linked this habit to pro-activity, productivity, higher fitness levels, and increased performance in sports and in life in general.
And so I took a decision. From then on, every morning I would get up at 06:00, jog for half an hour, shower, have breakfast, and be at the office before 08:00. More than the research results, it was the inner challenge that drove me to the decision. I soon realized this was going to be one of the most challenging things I have ever attempted. Everyday I struggled with feeble attempts to resist the snooze button, and morning in, morning out, I grew ever more frustrated with my inability to wake up without effort. It felt like a massive boulder I could not lift.
I investigated, and learned that there are different “chronotypes”, commonly labeled as “morning people” and “night owls”. And although many studies have demonstrated “chronotypes” are endogenous or intrinsic, “circadian rhythms” (our biological clocks) can be altered.
Obviously, for born “owls” like me, it is much harder to do.
Psychologists believe it takes 21 consecutive days to change a habit. It took me more than 6 months to finally achieve 21 consecutive days for the first time! A year later, I still have not reached my ultimate desire to make early rising an effortless routine. But the days I do wake up early, my day feels a lot more productive, and a lot more serene. The morning run gives me time to think, and by the time I begin my work, I have already hit my stride. Maybe one day, I will become like Instabeat’s CEO (see her post from last week) and rise every morning at 05:30 for a swim.
It is not a rule that “the early bird gets the worm”, but there sure is something different about the morning exercise in the first hours of light, while everyone still sleeps. It is a special feeling that lasts for the rest of your day.
Knowing how much I loved sleep, I would have never thought I would find refuge in those early morning hours as I do today. So even if you are an “night owl” like me, you can become an “early bird” if you want to!
I will leave you with this video that might encourage you to try:
And this link that tells you how:by