This is the second of a three-part series, New Year’s Resolutions for 2009.
It might go down as the most unique New Year’s resolution I’ve come up with to date. You are probably asking yourself why getting up at 4:30am is important enough to be declared an official “resolution.” Well, for a number of reasons, I would like to start my day earlier because it has big payoffs in terms of productivity, fitness and personal well-being. Allow me to explain myself.
There isn’t anything magical about a 4:30am wake up time, but nearly every success story I’ve ever read cited someone who started their day at 4:30am. Think about it; biographies on successful executives, politicians and other leaders often refer to how early they start the day. It is as if they are up getting things done long before the rest of us are chugging down coffee in an effort to wake up. As they say, if you want to be successful then you need to emulate the habits of other successful people. Staying up late watching Seinfeld reruns and sleeping in doesn’t fit that pattern, so it is something I need to stop.
I tried this schedule off and on throughout 2008 with some success. In fact, it was instrumental in me cranking out 400 articles for Frugal Dad in my first year. Often times I was up before the rest of the house banging away on the keyboard (actually, I was lightly tapping a quiet keyboard because the wife doesn’t share my joy of early morning work!).
For the first time in several years I am not listing a “fitness” resolution such as losing fifty pounds, working out three times a week, etc. In my case, setting those kinds of goals just hasn’t worked. Instead, my 4:30am wake up time should help me indirectly improve fitness in a number of ways. First, by getting up earlier I will have time to sneak in a workout and stay caught up on my work here at Frugal Dad. Once I get into a routine it will force me to fall asleep earlier, thereby cutting out opportunities to eat junk late in the evenings.
I won’t get any additional sleep time by making this move, but I have found that I feel more rested when I sleep earlier in the evening, and get up earlier in the morning. Ever noticed when you go to bed at 2:00am on Friday night and sleep until 9:00am you feel sluggish all day? The same seven hours of sleep from 9:30pm to 4:30 leave me feeling much more rested. I have more mental clarity, more physical energy, and I am generally in a better mood if I hit the ground running early. The early morning hours are quiet, and I love being awake when the sun comes up.
Growing up my family tried to take an annual trip to the beach–even if for only a long weekend. As I got older I enjoyed sneaking out before everyone was a awake and going down to the beach before sunrise. There is a stillness about the early morning that seems to have a calming effect on me, and I’d like to experience more of those moments in the coming year.