When people ask how I manage to get up by 5:30 a.m. each day, I have to laugh. What would they say if they knew I was writing this blog at 4 a.m.? I’ve always tended to be an early riser, but since becoming a self-proclaimed fitness nut, it’s become an even more important aspect of life. I'm always quoting Benjamin Franklin as he famously said, “Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.”
In years past, I’d also been a night owl. I’ve worked jobs that required me staying up until 4 a.m. and have had plenty of late nights busting out a Masters degree in 1 year flat. I’ve lived both lifestyles, and I understand if you can’t help being up due to work, etc. If you’re a night owl and it’s working for you, I don’t suggest you change it.
On the other hand, if you’re finding that there aren’t enough hours in the day on a consistent basis, then consider taking a good long look at your time management. I hear too many people whining about how they don’t have time…
“I don’t have time to cook healthy meals.”
“I don’t have time to exercise a whole 20 minutes today.”
“I don’t have time to go to the doctor.”
“I don’t have time to go grocery shopping.”
The list goes on. Only later in the conversation do I dig deep enough to discover they’re watching TV or using facebook until midnight for no reason whatsoever. To which I ask them in my best Dr. Phil voice, “How’s that working for you?” Not so good eh?
THERE ARE SO MANY WONDERFUL BENEFITS TO SWITCH TO AN EARLY TO BED/EARLY TO RISE LIFESTYLE. HERE ARE THE REASONS I'M COMPLETELY ADDICTED TO IT AND WHY I THINK EVERYONE SHOULD TRY IT:
- SUNRISE & SOLITUDE - No honking horns, no kids tugging at your arm, and no telemarketers calling. Yes, I know it’s quiet at midnight, but not like it is at 6 a.m. It’s just different! There’s nothing like watching the sun rise and catching glimpses of wildlife poking their heads from a slumber. You can literally hear a few tiny chirps morph into a vibrant sea of life outside your window if you stop and listen. If you live in NYC, well that sea of life may be more like the hustle and bustle of street vendors and early coffee drinkers, but it’s still addicting. It’s spectacular!
- SET THE TONE - Watching crime dramas until the wee hours each night will do you no favors. Pressing the snooze button multiple times and cursing the tiny cracks of light that poke through your blinds is a sure fire way to spend the rest of your day dragging around with a de-motivated attitude. Instead, turn the TV off, get in a full 8 hours of sleep (minus dreams of chasing criminals), and wake up with a refreshed attitude ready to the conquer the day. Every morning when your feet hit the floor practice saying, “I am thankful for ‘xyz’.” I don’t care how tough your life is. Someone else has it worse, so find 3 things each morning to stop and be grateful for. Take time for gratitude every single morning before you do anything else, and IT WILL change your life!
- NO MISSED WORKOUTS - Even most people who consider themselves to be “afternoon workout people” will admit that many times life just gets in the way of their plan to hit the gym. Undoubtedly, a kid will get sick at school or the boss will throw a last minute assignment in your lap just as you’re clocking out. It comes down to statistics here. Getting your workout in first thing every single morning will decrease your likelihood of missed workouts and INCREASE YOUR CHANCES OF SUCCESS IN ANY FITNESS PROGRAM. Vigorous exercise first thing will automatically boost your metabolism, give you more energy, and put you in a healthy mindset to stay on track with healthy eating all day long. Who wants to eat fast food after they’ve just put in blood, sweat, and tears at the gym anyways?
- GET MORE DONE - Ultimately, the things mentioned above will allow you to get more done. Getting enough quality sleep and daily exercise can be the biggest keys to productivity and success in other areas of life. If you can do those 2 things, you will feel more grounded and won't be living in a constant state of disorganized confusion. No more rushing out the door, forgetting your lunch, and being behind all day. That’s no way to live if you want to accomplish all of your goals and dreams! Taking it a step further to practice gratitude and have some extra quiet time for yourself will take that productivity to a whole new level and reduce the amount of anxiety and chaos in your life tremendously.
As someone who’s lived as a night owl and also an early riser, I can safely say the grass is much much greener over here. Even if you’ve lived the past 40 years pressing the snooze button, if it’s not helping you to live up to your full potential, why not try something new? Start by going to bed 15 minutes earlier/waking up 15 minutes earlier. Do that again every 3-4 days until you’ve trained your body to go to bed and wake up a full 1-2 hours earlier. Then, practice the earlier schedule for a full 30 days. It’s not going to kill you, and I’m willing to bet you may well discover a whole new appreciation for Benjamin Franklin in more ways than one. Let’s just say it’s no coincidence he’s also on the $100 bill. ☺