by Joan Ko
Getting up early is definitely one of the routines successful people have in common. I, being a night owl, have only heard about it from friends who strongly stand for its benefits and advantages in their line of work. These friends are all achievers even back when we were in college, so I guess part of why they were very successful can be because of their determination to wake up early to conquer the day ahead.
When I started my resolution for this year, I readily prepped myself for the struggle and the failure. Between my Netflix subscription and newly installed fiber optic at home, I knew binge-watching beyond midnight will be hard to control. But I was determined not to let the sun catch me in bed. In my line of work, I rarely need to get up at such an inconceivable time that simply enjoying breakfast at 7 a.m. is completely unheard of. But since I have sworn to have a healthier lifestyle, I finally got myself to ditch the late nights and become a morning person, and I'm hoping these reasons get to convince you to try out waking up earlier too.
1. Having more exercise time
I got to easily squeeze in more time to sweat out first thing in the morning! There's no excuse left for me to skip even a 30-minute workout daily and doing this alone amps up my energy right away! Contrary to others' beliefs that working out will leave you exhausted, I feel even more motivated to do all my projects for the day. If you follow health and fitness inspos like the siblings Erwan and Solenn Heussaff on Instagram, one thing you'll notice is how much they like to start their day with an early workout. And we can definitely see the results, right? Who would've thought the being a morning person can be an effective weight loss tool, too!
2. Sticking to mindful eating
Since I wake up earlier, I get extra time to do house chores that I normally forget. One of these chores is meal preparation since it becomes easier to just opt for take-out when I'm at work anyway. But because I get to wake up early in the morning, not only do I get to eat my breakfast, but I also have more time preparing what I'll be bringing to work for my lunch and snacks. At times I get to incorporate my workout with shopping for food, a light jog or brisk walking sends me to the nearby supermarket and tiangge where they sell fresh produce. So really, it's like hitting two birds with a single stone!
3. Getting more work done
I stopped procrastinating since I have more focus to do my tasks and stay productive throughout the day. I realized now that my being unproductive could be because of other stressors like annoying work or school mates, extra pressure to finish deadlines, last-minute revisions, etc. So when I started being in the office by 9am, I got to start my work day ahead of the others and what I was dreading about at first (being one of the first people to be in the office) didn't even bother me when I was already on my third streak. In fact, I was able to do more work when there are less people and less distraction around me.
4. Being homebound earlier
Of course I'm not saying there were no days when I didn't feel like snoozing off and taking a nap midday, but waking up earlier than usual also made it easier for me to go home a little earlier than most, too. Since I have finished most of my work earlier, I can go home when the clock hits 5. I'm already booking a ride home by this time, as long as there are no more work for me to do that is.
5. Developing self-discipline
Getting into the routine of waking up a few minutes to an hour or so earlier than the usual time can also set you on the right track and let me tell you, these rituals have helped me stay focused and disciplined even when I'm working on other things. Over time, these small ritual changes made focusing on other things more bearable, too. I became less frantic about work, more forgiving when traffic gets chaotic, and less moody when my boyfriend says or does something that used to get under my skin. There's been a balance between my yin and yang so to speak. It wasn't easy, and it didn't come all too drastically–but it was noticeable after a few days.
6. Becoming more reliable
Whether it's at work, in school, within personal relationships or at home, I have become more alert and feeling more accomplished than when I was juggling a million things at once. Doing a lot doesn't always make you a superwoman–the quality of work still needs to be up to the standard you have set for yourself. Being a morning person made me re-evaluate my daily tasks and my personal affairs because of the extra time that I have in my hands. I got to map out the things that will make me have a better disposition on a daily basis, and it has constantly made me feel like I've done "more" in essence. I learned to slow down when I have to and say "no" when I absolutely must and this got me into a better, more positive mood in general. I feel healthier and happier too since I know I came up with a good output with minimum stress.
Doing all this stuff won't be a walk in the park because you will have to progress gradually. Nothing great ever happens overnight after all! So be patient and try to start with the basics like committing to sleeping 15 to 20 minutes earlier at night and waking up 15 to 20 minutes earlier than usual without hitting the snooze button! Every day you can add 15 minutes more until you get used to hitting the sack and waking up an hour or two earlier than you do now.
If you're ready to bid your night owl lifestyle goodbye, you can also enjoy all these benefits and maybe add a few more! No to zero motivation as long as you take it a step at a time!
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