Up And At It!
It is difficult to read any personal development book or article today without reading about the importance of starting your day early. How early you may ask. Well let's just say most recommendations direct us near the 5:00 a.m. mark. That suggested time is likely based on the fact that the average person starts their day closer to 6:30 a.m. Thus giving the early riser an hour and half head start on the rest of our snoozing population. This in itself is obviously a huge advantage.
But the truth of it is there is a lot more to it than just getting the jump start on others. For one, getting up early allows for us to truly set in motion the things we need to do during the day without interruption. Adding a routine of physical activity, mental training, spiritual connection can all be incredibly beneficial. However, the biggest advantage that I have noticed over months of getting things started early is that it serves as a huge stress relief. Much of this can probably be contributed to the fact that confidence is increased knowing that your day has been thought out and planned for. And, yes we are all well aware of all the negative side effects of stress on our physical and mental well being.
Recently, I have added in a daily routine of meditation early in the morning. Yes, I did say meditation. Years ago the idea of meditation would have conjured up thoughts of voodoo and UFO's. However, I have had a complete paradigm shift. Without a doubt I feel much more relaxed and energized starting my day. I was recently sharing this routine with a friend of mine who immediately reminded me that this was all fine and good for me but he simply didn't have time get up early, let alone a ritual of meditation. What quickly came to my mind was one of my favorite sayings "If you have 7 hours to cut down a tree, spend the first 6 sharpening the saw." I see meditation as a big part of sharpening your saw.
I also believe that meditation is just one of many investments that we can all make in our personal development. Getting ourselves into the routine of getting out of bed an hour or two earlier may be a challenge at first. We may need to really focus on the other end of our day and preparing ourselves for bed a couple hours earlier. The excuse that I am just not tired at 9:00 p.m. is really just a matter of working both ends of the equation. Creating both morning and evening rituals are really key in kick starting the process and helping to guarantee success.
And speaking of success. Studies on people who are considered "high achievers" have a few things in common. One of those commonalities is that the vast majority of successful people are early risers. One book that I would highly recommend is the Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod. It is a great short read that creates a strong case for making the morning the most productive part of your day!