6 Minute Read
For the past few years, I've been a pretty early bird. I wake up at 5:30 AM Monday through Friday! You read that right - 5:30 AM!
Why you may ask? It's because by waking up before everyone else, I can make the most of each day. Between sports practices and homework, my evenings would not leave time for these things. Additionally, doing these things that I am about to share with you in the morning ensures that I start my day off on the right foot.
My first class of the school day starts at 8:20, unless I have a free period first, then my first class would start at 9:15. If I didn't wake up at 5:30, I would wake up at 7:00, enabling me just enough time to shower, brush my teeth, get dressed and eat breakfast. That's all.
By waking up at 5:30, I have an extra hour and a half each day to do many different things, such as getting in an extra workout or working on this business of mine. That's an extra hour and a half that I get 5 days a week! That's 7.5 hours of extra time each week (not even counting time spent on weekends) that I spend developing myself and my skills, and passions. On a yearly rate, that equates to 390 hours a year working on myself, from the school week alone! On weekends the time I spend on these things varies so who knows how much extra time I get on weekends. Regardless, it's a lot of time!
I’ve never been one to sleep in. While most high school students long for an extra hour or two of sleep on the weekend, I have places to go, people to see, too much energy and too many passions to stay in bed. Saturdays are for music lessons, schoolwork, and hair appointments, among other things. Sunday is the Lord’s day. Wasting time in bed is not on my agenda, although when I was younger, I would not have chosen to wake up with the sunrise.
The first of my two alarms ring at 5:30 AM; they are a minute apart to ensure I don’t doze off again before I leave the bed. Living at a boarding school and spending part of my summers away at various camps, I almost always have a roommate sleeping within earshot of my alarms. Not wanting to awaken a cranky roommate, I essentially leap out of bed to silence my alarms so as not to disturb their precious moments of sleep.
Now I’m up, and it’s early. The world is still sleeping, just how I like it to be. I gather my notebooks and writing utensils to do my morning routine, in no particular order. Sometimes I’m pumped. Other times it feels like a chore, but consistency is key. 'Did you pray? Did you say your affirmations? Did you write your affirmations? Did you say your goals? Did you write your goals? You must do both.’ How do I feel? Of course, I feel silly talking to myself, but it’s the kind of silly that I am used to by now. ‘Did you do a freestyle rap for 5 minutes? Who cares if it's any good! Did you read for 20 minutes? Did you listen to a sermon or a motivational message while you brushed your teeth? While you were in the shower?’
Now that the routine is complete, I have just enough time to catch up on homework, work on my businesses, or get an extra workout in. These habits are partially due to the influence of my dad. He never told me to rise with the sun—he showed me, always rising earlier than necessary to chase his goals. His goals were all that mattered, and he did whatever it took to accomplish them.
It took me a while to follow suit, though. I only realized the power of rising early for myself when I fell behind on a major research paper in 9th grade, and time was not on my side. My afternoons were for sports, which I love more than papers, of course. As my former tutor liked to say, “Life is about choices.” Evenings were for the rest of my homework, and I concluded that rising much earlier every day was my only hope of merely completing the paper on time.
It was tough at first, but soon after my body adjusted, and I realized how much more I could accomplish by continuing to wake up at 5:30 AM. This got me excited! And now, I better understand what works for me. People say I’m crazy for choosing this. Maybe, but all I know is that the hard work has paid off and will continue to. Several of the richest folks on earth, like Ariana Huffington and Tim Cook, wake up at 5 AM, even 3:45 AM, respectively, and look where this got them! Success leaves clues.
We all have 24 hours in a day and how we use them determines our outcomes in life. One of my favorite motivational speakers, Eric Thomas, often says, “Don’t rest when you’re tired. Rest when you’re done!” From this, I created my own motto, “If you don’t have time for something, wake up earlier; it shows how much you really want to do it.” Plus, the sunrise is pretty spectacular!
I am not saying that you have to wake up super early to be successful. Waking up early has worked well for me, but I do realize that we are all different, and it may not work for you. I would absolutely encourage you to wake up early, as I think it would benefit you in other ways, but I also want to advocate that you do whatever works best for you! If doing things like this to consistently develop yourself would work better for you midday or at night, then, by all means, do them then!
We often claim that we don't have time for certain things that are important, but is this really true? Mentally answer the following questions to see where your time might be getting away from you:
How often do you spend scrolling through Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, etc.?
How many hours do you sleep on weekends or on your days off? For instance, are you sleeping 12 hours a night when you could be sleeping 8 or 9, and use the remaining hours doing something productive?
How often do you binge-watch programs or shows on Netflix, Hulu, On Demand, etc.?
How often do you watch TV? heard that the average person watches about 6 hours of TV a day! If this is you, I suggest changing this habit and regularly using at least 2 of these hours to do something that will help you on your journey to success.
We all have 24 hours each day and how we spend it is up to us. We can either waste each day or use our time wisely to develop ourselves. Success takes some kind of sacrifice. We can't say that we want to be successful and continue wasting hours and hours every day. Everything ought to be done or experienced in moderation. And remember, these hours all add up! If you changed just one of your habits and started doing something 2 hours a day to develop yourself, that comes out to 730 hours a year if you did this every single day. Really think about that!
These small changes may not seem like they do much on the surface, but they do make a big difference in the end!
Don't let 2020 be a repeat of 2019, and don't let this decade be a repeat of the last one!
Remember, you can sign up for a free Bible study with me by click on my calendly link on the front page!