By Daniel Compas
For the past six months I have consistently told myself that I am going to get up early so I have more time and intention built into my day.
Despite my sincere desire, I have only succeeded in hitting the snooze button. Needless to say, I was failing miserably to achieve my goal. This meant that most of these days I struggled to return to a centered, conscious place. Thus, I spent the day rushing around, stressed, anxious, and ultimately unhappy. This is not my preferred manner of living.
I had to come up with a plan.
I am a “note” person (I pretty much use them for everything). I figured that if I put a few notes near my bed and my phone (which acts as my alarm clock), I would stand a chance of not rushing back under the covers after my alarm went off. I wrote things like, “Get up and move” and “The day is beautiful, embrace it.”
I also decided I was going to put my phone in a place that required me to actually get out of bed and not just roll over. If I had to get up, maybe I’d stay up. Thankfully, my plan worked and the following morning I embraced the alarm clock, got out of bed to turn it off, and took my note seriously—I got up and moved.
After succeeding more than I was failing (mind you, I still fail a lot), I realized that my days were more relaxed, I felt more centered, and I felt more open to life’s unexpected turns.
Beyond the deeper reasons and benefits for waking up early, I realized that were also some really practical implications as well:
Adding more time to the day.
Getting up just one hour earlier than I was used to meant seven extra hours per week (or 2,555 per year) when I could do whatever I wanted! Think of the possibilities! I could start a new hobby. I could play with my dog more. I could actually have time for breakfast. I could spend more time with my wife. I could work out. I could meditate. I could read. Truly it’s endless.
When I get up later than I’d like to, everything I do becomes rushed. When I rush, I cannot stay present. My shower is boring, my breakfast is bland, my walk is quickened, my goodbye to my wife is insincere. Some really unexciting stuff. When I give myself plenty of time, I can enjoy every task I attempt. This is the beginning of a day I am blessed to be given and what a pleasure it is to start it peacefully and positively.
Starting my day knowing I have more than enough time to do what I want before heading to work makes work and everything else that happens in the day that much more pleasant and far easier to deal with.
Making time for myself.
The most common excuse I make for why I can’t do something is because I don’t have the time. The fundamental problem is that I feel like I don’t have enough time because in reality I do. It’s just that I don’t prioritize myself and my personal time, which makes me feel overwhelmed. The morning is a perfect time for me to just be alone and take care of myself–do some yoga, drink some tea, shower and enjoy the silence. When I make time for myself, I am more open to giving my time to others.
Being more productive.
The other excuse I give frequently is that I don’t have the money for something. If I added seven extra hours to my week each week, that’s almost an entire typical work day where I can be productive. I am not yet self-employed but I’d like to be so, by giving myself an extra hour of work I can get caught up on tasks I was hoping to do—respond to emails, make a to-do list, or set personal goals for myself. I’ve made sure to at least take some time to wake up and relax before sitting in front of a computer or getting down to business. Relaxing first allows me to approach my work with clarity and insight.
Having more sex.
So we all like having sex and with the overwhelming amount of obligations we attend to each day, sex seems to find itself waiting for an opening in the schedule. Life for most of us is busy and yet we are all humans and we all want to connect. The problem is that one of the deepest forms of connection with those we care about is sex and we often forget to have it. An hour in the morning gives most of us more than enough time to enjoy each other!
There are plenty of other reasons to get up early. Find your own and make it happen. Getting up early starts the night before.
Turn all your screens off before bed—try to give yourself an hour of unplugged peace.
Do something soothing or relaxing soon before sleep—drink some herbal tea, meditate, shower.
Go to bed early enough to get adequate sleep (8 hours is perfect). It’s really hard getting up early if you haven’t slept enough.
Lastly, have a plan for the morning. Without knowing your goals, there isn’t much of a reason to get up.
Put the alarm clock (which for most of us is our phone) across the room so it forces you out of bed. Stretch when you turn your alarm off and start your routine! Be gentle with yourself. If you don’t succeed for the first few mornings or you miss a day here or there, accept it. Then get back on track tomorrow.
Add more hours to your life. You’ll enjoy it.
Daniel Compas is just a human being attempting to create the beautiful life that each of us deserve. He is imperfect, passionate, and sensitive. He loves Nature, books, gardening and yoga. He is in the early stages of creating a coaching business centered around mindfulness to help teach people how to have more authentic, vulnerable, expressive lives. In the meantime, don’t be a stranger. Please connect with him on Facebook or via email. He currently lives outside of Philadelphia with his wife, Noelle and their awesome dog and cat.
Editor: Dana Gornall