This year, forget losing weight or drinking veggie smoothies. Become an early bird!
Or rather, start your days off earlier, if you’ve never been a morning person. Don’t just get up ten minutes earlier so you have some extra time to get ready. In her ebook What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast, Laura Vanderkam lays out the reasons why many exceptional individuals get up very early. I picked my favorites; maybe they’ll convince you to give early mornings a shot:
- Internally motivated activities. Most of the day is made up of externally-motivated activities–things that you do because the world requires you to, things that need to happen. Work, meetings, childcare, and chores are all externally-motivated. But in the early morning, you are beholden only to yourself and can do internally-motivated activities like exercise, prayer, meditation, creative hobbies, and leisurely thinking about the future with a big cup of coffee.
- Non-urgent activities only. It’s no coincidence that the internally-motivated activities I just mentioned are important but not urgent. Early morning is a great time to do things that are very important but seem to get deferred in the daily rush. When I read about the idea of conquering the tyranny of the urgent in the early morning, I immediately had ideas for me: working on a cross stitch pattern I’ve been meaning to finish, reorganizing my drawers, and journaling.
- No logistical gymnastics. If you’re awake well before the day starts, your schedule is clear. There are no meetings, no kids to pick up from school, no one else to manage your time around. Because (hopefully) you are commitment-free prior to 5:30 AM, you can focus entirely on your chosen task. If you pencil in time after lunch to, say, exercise or work on your book, there are all kinds of interruptions, deadlines, urgent communications, worries, etc that threaten to jump in and take over your sacred time. But schedule time before the sun comes up and you are mostly free of people and events to work around.
Laura Vanderkam’s book has a lot more ideas, explanations, and examples of exceptional people who start the day early. Give it a read (or a listen) and maybe you’ll be inspired to try early-birding with me!