The Early Bird Challenge is over! A month of waking early to test if I could change from a night owl to an early bird. And I did it! I expected it to be one of the hardest and biggest habit changes I was undertaking so far, but it turned out to be very easy. And I also figured out why.
Sunset versus sunrise
Rising early does more to me than I anticipated. I love the sunrise. It’s so much better than sunset…for everyday life. Don’t get me wrong, I love the sunset as well. Sunset is beautiful and it can be a special moment where the day ends and all goes to rest and many parties begin. Sunset on the beach…anytime!
Sunrise gives me so much energy. I wake up when the earth is still sleeping and while I’m awake, but still waking up, energy starts to flow around me as the world is waking up. Animals start to move, birds start singing, light floods the world and the air is fresh and pure. I love it. Just to experience all the energy flowing, gives me so much energy of my own.
Experienced benefits of rising early
Like I said I have a lot more energy as compared to staying up late. This energy makes me more productive on several accounts. I have written more on this blog than before. I did more work in and around the house in this month than the three months before combined. I have been more active with my personal development and with getting things straight in my mind (have some issues to solve with work).
I also get more and better quality sleep, but I think that has more to do with strict discipline with sleep than with waking up time. Somehow the thought of getting out of bed at 5:00 makes me want to be in bed no later than 23:00, which gives me 6 hours of sleep every night! My previous rhythm gave me 6 hours on average, with quite some variance.
And best of all, I did not decide this change for any of the above reasons. They are the side benefits! Can you imagine?
Why the change was so easy
I decided upon this change, because my sleeping rhythm was out of sync with my family. I wanted to spend more quality time with both my wife and my son. The evenings and going to bed early was quality time with my wife (on many different levels) and the mornings with my son. Instead of being comateus and grumpy in the mornings, I’m wide awake and generally cheerful when my son wakes up. Mornings with him are a bliss (unless he decides to wake up before 6:00).
The change was easy because it was 100% in line with one of my five core values: Love. It is the love for my wife and the love for my son that made me want to change. I decided upon it myself and it was in line with my core values, that’s the best foundation for a habit change in my opinion.
And as a bonus side benefit, my wife sleeps better as well. She still goes to bed at the same time (which is now the same time as I hit the sack), but she isn’t woken by our son anymore. I take care of him in the mornings, and she gets quality sleep. Which effectively shortened her nights by an hour as well. She doesn’t miss the time with our son in the morning, because she spends time with him during the day on most days.
This is a total win-win-win solution, and congruent with my values. How great is that! I’m ready for the next challenge
Looking back on the last five days
For those curious to know how the last five days went, here they are:
Monday August 27
Up at 5:00 as planned. Nothing more to say.
Tuesday August 28
I missed the alarm today! That sucked, but I woke up at 5:45 anyway. 45 minutes late and still all the time in the world, that’s quite the difference. No rush to get dressed and get to work, but still smooth sailing to daylight.
Wednesday August 29
Woke up at 5:00 sharp. I shouldn’t drink coffee in the evenings anymore, it makes the night start restless, my mind keeps racing although I was tired enough to sleep. Had a good night sleep nevertheless, once my mind calmed down and let me catch sleep.
Thursday August 30
Woke up on time. Our son started to cry at 5:10 and wouldn’t stop until he had something to eat. I don’t like it when I don’t get my private hours…
Friday August 31
5:00 out of bed again. This was the last day of the challenge, but it doesn’t feel as a challenge anymore. This new rhythm comes very natural now. I suddenly realize that I stopped drinking coffee in the morning since a couple of days now. Not by choice, but unintentionally…hmm.