Consistency is surely the most important aspect of any training program. Consistency is that ability to continue your pursuit regardless of the events happening around you. It is the acceptance that every day is different. The feelings that you have will come and go without asking your permission. One day you will be excited, and the next day you will feel defeated. While I firmly believe in the power of repetitive positivity and its ability to improve your overall mental state, and even to create the image of your future in your mind, I also believe that days during which you feel down, or ill can feel like they open the floodgates of failure.
We have to find ways to be consistent even during those difficult times. We have to find a way to produce change in ways that don’t get impeded, even on the hard days.
I’ve found one of the best ways for me to wake up early.
My Goal has been to wake up at 5:45 every morning to complete a workout. I have found that to simply get up and do that is extremely difficult. Saying it out loud 10 times before bed doesn’t work. Writing it on paper, doesn’t work. It especially doesn’t work when you don’t have to be at work at until 9 am.
That pattern has been that one day I feel great and do it with ease, while other days I don’t wake up until 8:15 and barely make it in to work. Now, however, I am succeeding. In the beginning is was extremely hard, but as the weeks pass in 2020 and I have repetitions under my belt it’s becoming progressively easier. Those inconsistencies are slowly fading from this goal for me.
The biggest problem that I have found, is that I was using internal motivation to make these decisions. Internal motivation doesn’t exist in the moments you wake up. That’s a huge problem because while our internal motivations are wonderful to use when we have them, they fluctuate, and don’t break the threshold that gets us to actually DO what we WANT TO DO. Let me tell you how one simple act has changed my morning.
The human circadian rhythm is the beast that keeps us sleeping when we know we want to get up and be successful. So I have harnessed the power of this beast. I have a light alarm that works by shedding light on my closed eyes slowly bringing me up to the surface of wake-fullness. I set that alarm right next to me for 5:45 am. Big Whoop.
What ends up happening is that I turn it off, turn over and go to sleep. This might be enough for you. It is not for me. I NEED MOVEMENT to truly wake up. The secret is that I have my Cell phone alarm set for 5:45 as well, and they are about 30 seconds difference and my cell phone goes off second. My cell phone alarm is loud, obnoxious, and worst of all, it’s in the next room. I have to get up to shut it off or it will annoy the hell out of me.
And it does. Damn it, I really hate my cell phone alarm. I have to get up out of bed, open the door, walk about 10 feet and turn it off. Then go back to bed. (Yes, I still go back to bed sometimes.) In that time however my body is truly exiting sleep. Movement wakes me.
I’ve been doing this for about 6 weeks now. Over those six weeks, it has been easier and easier to get up. Not only that, but my circadian rhythm is waking me up at 5:44 am, and I get up before either alarm goes off.
6 weeks of forcing myself out of sleep with annoyance, has given me a new superpower. I can exercise in the mornings now. I’m getting through a morning stretch or yoga routine several times per week, where I was not before, and to be totally honest, it’s still getting easier all the time. I can see that 3 months from now, it won’t even be a second thought.
All of this comes down to planning that moment at night. Knowing I’ll be pissed off and saying ok, it’s worth it. Because it is!
In the book Atomic Habits, (I LOVE THIS BOOK) by James Clear (I highly recommend picking it up, he referred to repeated action no matter how small as a vote for the you that you’re trying to be. Each night I voted. I voted for my progress. Each Vote, even if I woke up and wanted to throw my vote out the window, helped. My brain was changing. My rhythm was moving to the point where it stopped fighting (most of the time).
I’m not saying it could ever be perfect, but I can tell you it’s working for me.
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