First, a quick overview of the state of affairs around here. If you only care about why I’m waking up at 5 a.m., skip this paragraph. Anyway, it’s now Monday. Last Friday, I posted the last of my thirty posts in thirty days. Now that that’s over, I intend to post Sunday through Wednesday each week. Along with that, I’ll be around on Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and LinkedIn (@lifebygrit everywhere) pretty much all the time, aside from #SocialMediaFreeSaturdays. Now that that’s out of the way, without further ado;
Why I’ll Be Waking Up At 5 a.m. Every Day For 30 Days
Aka the #5amwakeupchallenge
Yes, you heard me right. I’m challenging myself to wake up at 5 a.m. every morning for the month of April, including weekends. Let’s go over the rules, and then I’ll get into my Why.
My alarm has to go off at or before 5 a.m. every day for the month of April.
I have to have my feet on the floor no later than 5:02 a.m. No aimless scrolling in bed for hours.
Currently, I do not plan to make any exceptions. If I get sick and need more sleep, or something important comes up that keeps me awake past 10 p.m., I can sleep in later than 5 in order to get enough sleep. Getting enough sleep is more important than waking up at 5, but the aim is to go to bed early, rather than wake up later. I don’t anticipate this happening often, if at all.
Occasional naps are allowed after 2 p.m., but if they become habitual, I’ll ban naps.
There are no requirements about what I have to do once I get out of bed. I can do anything I want once I’m up, I just have to be awake, and I can’t be in bed.
As we know, it’s important to have a strong Why when you set out with a new goal or habit. Without a strong sense of why you’re doing something, sticking with a challenging goal can be difficult or impossible. I’m challenging myself to wake up every day at 5 a.m. and actually get out of bed right away for quite a few reasons.
1. I want to find out what the fuss is all about. For the last three years, I’ve been voluntarily getting up early most days, usually between 5:30 and 7:30 (7:30 is early for a college kid, especially on a Saturday). I like getting up early, though I haven’t always been a morning person. I used to like to sleep in until at least noon, but I’ve found I thrive when I’m getting up early.
Though I’ve been getting up early for several years now, I’ve never quite gotten onto that 5 a.m. wake up train. Sometimes, I’ll wake up at 5:15, but 5 has always seemed just a bit too early to me. I want to push myself to see if I can get to 5.
If you scroll around YouTube for a bit, you’ll find hordes of videos where people explain how or why they get up at 5 a.m. It seems to be the magic number. Why are all these people getting up at 5? Is it really that great? Am I missing out by not waking up until 5:30 or 6? I want to take away the mystery of 5 a.m. By waking up at 5 a.m. every day for a month, I can determine for myself if this is something I need to continue, or if 5:30 or 6 really is better for me.
2. I like mornings, I like the sunrise, I like the quiet. Mornings really are my favorite time of day. It took me quite a while to figure that out about myself, but I love mornings. Mornings are so calm and full of potential. Enjoying the absolute silence of the world before most people are awake and greeting the birds and the sun when they arise bring me deep joy. It just feels right. I feel my absolute best in the early morning. If I could make my favorite time of day last just a bit longer, why wouldn’t I?
3. I want to break my habit of scrolling on my phone in the morning. If you read my post about tracking what I did for 24 hours, you’ll know that I spent way more time than I would have liked to scrolling on my phone in bed in the morning. I just finished tracking everything I did for an entire week, and I haven’t crunched the numbers yet, but I think I’m going to find the same thing is true.
Even though I typically wake up pretty early, I still tend to spend between twenty and sixty minutes just scrolling on my phone in bed. That’s such a waste of time. I don’t want to be on my phone that much, so why am I starting my day off by spending that much time on my phone?
In my mind, I want to wake up slowly. I don’t want to immediately spring out of bed and start getting work done. My mind wants me to hit snooze once, and then look at cat pictures for a few minutes before getting up. The issue arises in the fact that I can’t hit snooze just once, and I can’t look at cat pictures for just a few minutes. I end up hitting snooze two or three times, and looking at cats for forty-five minutes. I’m the queen of “five more minutes”. Since I know I can’t do just one snooze and just five minutes of cats, I’m cutting it out altogether.
By forcing myself to actually get out of bed right when I wake up, I can break this bad habit. I can still wake up slowly, even if I am physically getting out of bed at 5. I never said that I have to get up and be at the gym by 5:30. I can get out of bed and head to the couch with a cup of tea and a book. I can get out of bed and go meditate. Waking up slowly is still totally possible without snoozing and scrolling.
Getting out of bed immediately keeps me from snoozing and breaks the scroll habit all in one go. I can absolutely still have a slow morning, but by putting my feet on the floor the second my alarm goes off, I change my habit loop. Rather than my alarm being the trigger for either snoozing or scrolling, my alarm becomes the trigger for a new, better habit, and I can break the old habit.
4. I want more me-time. I’ve found it way too easy recently to end up having a conversation with someone and getting pulled away from my work for an hour or more. It’s been difficult to really focus on what I want to do and actually get things done because it’s so easy to send a quick “hey” and start a conversation that lasts for hours.
The only person I know who is awake at 5 a.m. is my dad, and he doesn’t check his phone in the morning, so if I’m up at 5, I have several hours of me-time. Not only will no one else bother me at that time, but because no one is awake, I can’t distract myself by starting a conversation with other people. That time cannot be used by or for other people, and so I’ve built a couple more hours of me-time into my day.
5. I just love a good challenge. I’m always challenging myself to do one thing or another. Last year at this time, I was wrapping up my personal challenge of making 1000 pots as well as my longer term goal of graduating summa cum laude. Shortly after that, I started going to the gym regularly, which was a challenge for a while. My New Year’s Resolution for 2019 was to start meditating daily, and I’m doing well with that. I recently finished posting thirty blog posts in thirty days. It’s time for a new challenge.
Personal challenges force me to grow and learn new things about myself. Longer term sustainable habits are great, but sometimes a not-so-gentle shove into something difficult is the best way to learn something new and push yourself to grow. I enjoy taking on things that seem a little daunting. I learn the most and feel the best when I’m pushing myself to go after something that I want, and a challenge is a great way to do that.
6. I want to have more time for my morning routine. We all know how much I love a good morning routine. Having a morning routine can play a huge role in getting things done and out of the way early in the day and setting you up for a smooth, enjoyable, and productive rest of the day. I enjoy my routine now, but I’d like to have a bit more time in the morning to get a few more things done.
My fiance recently started a new job, which has impacted his daily schedule, in turn impacting my daily schedule. As someone who is a meticulous planner, I’ve discovered while adjusting to our new routine that my day would flow more smoothly if I got up earlier so I could finish the majority of my work before Bennett wakes up. Right now, I just don’t quite have enough time to get things done.
7. I’m probably going to love it. I know, you can’t believe I just said that. I can’t believe I just said that. Waking up every day at 5 a.m. does not sound fun. It sounds daunting. It sounds exhausting. What kind of lunatic loves waking up at 5 a.m.? The answer to that is me.
Even though the challenge doesn’t sound easy, hence “challenge”, I know myself. I know that this is one of those things that I’ll probably end up liking, and probably continue doing after the end of April. I also know it’s going to take a pretty big push to get me started and get me to jump in to something like this, so we’re starting off with a challenge.
I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t just a bit intimidated by this. I know it won’t be easy, and I know there will be plenty of days where I really don’t want to get up at 5 a.m. I know it’s going to be difficult at first to get out of bed immediately instead of hanging out on my phone, because I’ve never been one to get out of bed the second I wake up.
Knowing that this won’t be easy is exactly why I set out this list of Whys. On the days where I don’t want to get up, or I don’t want to go to bed early, keeping the reasons why I’m doing this in mind will make it much easier to go through with what I set out to do. I wrote this list as much for myself as I did for you.
One week from today will be my first day waking up at 5. I’m sure I’ll post about it periodically on the blog, and there will of course be a “What I Learned From Waking Up At 5 a.m.” post at the end of it all. But since this is a daily challenge, and it’s not exciting enough to write about daily, the best places to follow me through this challenge will be on Instagram and Twitter, @lifebygrit and with the hashtag #5amwakeupchallenge. I’m excited to start this challenge, and I can’t wait to see what I learn from it. Maybe if you’re feeling ambitious, you could set a wake up challenge of your own, and if you need a little advice on waking up earlier, I can totally help you with that.