What I’ve Learned From Waking Up Before Dawn

I’ve been awake for a little over two hours, and it’s not yet 6:00 am.

I’ve always been a morning person. As a kid growing up, I was the first one awake in my house. I’m not sure why, but my parents strongly encouraged me — at a very early age — to get a morning paper route.

As I write this now, I’ve been awake for a little over two hours, and it’s not yet 6:00 am. I’ve already lifted weights at the gym and am writing this from my treadmill desk. After maintaining this routine for a year, I happened upon one very surprising realization that I know will benefit you.

Before I started waking up before sunrise every day, I’d still get up early, but dawn would be breaking. What’s the first thing I would do before going to the gym to work out? Look out the window. Some of the things that would cross my mind would include –

  • “Wow, I hope it’s not as cold as it looks!”
  • “It’s raining cats & dogs. I’ll get really wet.”
  • “Looks like the road will be really slippery from the snow. Better safe than sorry.”

I would look outside and sometimes make a poor decision, based on an environment over which I had no control whatsoever. I would skip the workout and rationalize it to myself by saying something like, “I’ll be sure to work out twice as hard tomorrow.”

I told myself that Future Me would undoubtedly be a better & more disciplined version of Present Me.

Guess what happened, though? That kind of behavior repeated itself. Environmental factors kept popping up, and I’d convince myself that tomorrow would be different. I needed a change, so I conducted this dramatic waking-before-the-sun experiment instead.

What’s happened since I’ve started waking up before sunrise? I’m oblivious to anything in the outside environment because it’s too dark to see. It wasn’t until leaving the house this morning that I discovered sheets of rain pouring down. By then, though, it was too late to stop my workout routine. I had done everything necessary to prepare, and simply continued the habit.

Are you talking yourself out of something you know will be really good for you, despite having done all the necessary preparations?

  • Maybe you think, “I won’t make these extra calls or send these extra emails today before I leave the office. I’ll get to it later this week instead.”
  • Maybe you have a weight loss goal and you say to yourself, “I’ll start eating healthy tomorrow, so I’ll skip the salad and have a burger today instead.”
  • Maybe it’s, “I’ll skip prepping for this important meeting tonight and make up for it in the morning.”

Regardless of the situation, you were projecting a vision of the future that was incongruent with the present. Future You is undoubtedly a better & more disciplined version of Present You.

Right? I trust you. Just to be sure, though, let’s give Present You a little help.

To help motivate Present You, consider this fantastic quote from H. Jackson Brown Jr. — “Never resist a TEMPORARY inconvenience if it results in a PERMANENT improvement.”

Do you need to wake up before dawn to realize the benefits of this experiment? Please don’t. That’s really early, especially during the summer! When it comes to decision-making time, though, consider asking yourself –

  • “Am I looking out the window and allowing the environment to determine my future actions?”
  • “Am I allowing factors outside of my control to dictate my behavior?”
  • “Is Future Me suffering because of the decisions Present Me is making right now?”

Can you see yourself posing these questions before determining your actions?

Know someone who needs to hear this message? Please share it with him or her.

Spencer X. Smith helps teach social media strategy in plain English. When he’s not writing for Thrive Global, he shares how-to articles and videos on his website at spencerXsmith.com as well in both his column #SocialBiz from In Business Magazine and The Huffington Post.


Originally published at medium.com

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