I walked away with quite a few valuable takeaways just by waking up early
Waking up at 4am is a real challenge. There is a reason why very few people do it. Most will tell you it sucks, it’s difficult, uncomfortable and unnecessary. I don’t talk about it much because every time that I have, most people just think I am crazy. It’s not much of a conversation when the moment you share this part of your routine, people immediately tell you that is ridiculous and they would never do that. So I keep it to myself.
I have learned some things by implementing this habit and I thought it would be good to share my experience.
What Led Me to 4am Wake Up
I worked for a job that required me to be on the clock at 5am. It was far, and an early morning drive. The only way I would be able to make it to work on time (early) was to get up at 3:30am. It was literally the only option if I wanted to keep that job. So, for 6 months I was waking up at 3:30 am.
I later quit that job for a different job opportunity. The new job didn’t require me to wake up at this time anymore. Like anyone in their right mind would, I went back to a more human waking hour —12pm (just kidding). 😂 I now would wake up at 6 am.
After a few days of going back to my normal sleep schedule, I was a bit disappointed because I didn’t want to lose all of the force that it took to wake up at 3:30 am. I had gotten my body into a rhythm. To get back into that again is going to be hard. So I quickly, took it back to early morning wake up. I tweaked it a little to add in an extra hour of sleep. I began waking up at 4:30 am.
Since I was going back to waking up this early, I immediately know I needed to fill that time with something. I decided to throw in my exercise session. Progression is the name of the game for me. Using my time wisely is an important value of mine.
Over time I found my sweet spot at 4am. For some reason, waking up at 4:30am was causing me to wake up groggy. When I dialed it back a half hour earlier I felt better. Strange, but true.
Here is what I learned waking up at 4 am
Builds Self-Discipline & Resiliency
There is a clear reason why very few people wake up at 4am — it’s hard AF! At least for me it was something very difficult, and still is. However, on the flip side, it builds character. If you are someone who struggles with self-discipline and wants a challenge to really work on it then this is a great way to see what you are made of.
This is my perspective on it, clearly. But, I would say 9/10 times when the alarm went off to wake up at 4 am my mind would immediately come up with an excuse as to why I shouldn’t do it. I would think to myself things like — “this isn’t necessary.” Or “just stay in bed, not today.” There was quite a few more but you get the point.
It’s not an easy ride. But, that is usually how it goes. The hard things in life are the ones that are worth chasing. If you want to test yourself and are looking for a challenge, set your alarm for 4 am. Do it for 7 days and see what you learn about yourself.
This is an obvious one. You set the alarm earlier you are going going to have some extra time on your hands. There is great power and value in this one. With more time, you can accomplish something. What that something is, really depends on you and your trajectory. I found that with the extra time, I could do something that I knew should be getting done daily, but I would sometimes put it off for a lack of energy or time. We often say, “We don’t have time” for a lot of things that we know we should make time for. Everyone would like some more time, create it.
Time For Yourself
Waking up at this hour can really help you with that much needed time for yourself. In my home we are a family of 5. My kids are up at the crack of dawn and they are ready. When I say ready, they are fully energized and they are ready to chat, joke, laugh. No grogginess for them. For me it takes one hour for my brain to wake up from the moment I get out of bed. Don’t talk to me. I just need coffee 😂 By waking up at 4am I can have that time where I can move at my speed and best of all — no noise!
This is one of the perks of waking up at this un Godly hour. Because nobody else really dares to do it, you are one of the few awake. It’s peaceful and just quiet. There is so much going on our day to day that you really have no perspective on until you give yourself some real quiet time. I’m not talking about going into a room by yourself or being alone. I am talking about a moment of stillness where the world is sleeping and you are awake. Keep your cellphone and devices away and you create the ultimate moment of tranquility.
Because you are doing something that is difficult so early in your day. The moment you open your eyes really, it becomes a nice accomplishment for your to carry throughout your day. As your day progresses and you are dealing with other human life forms you can look back and just feel the accomplishment. There are some habits that I have implemented for myself and although I execute on them, they don’t really feel like much. Waking up at 4 am on the other hand is felt. It can makes you feel proud.
Dramatic Difference in Performance
If you have made it this far, and you want a golden nugget, it’s this right here. In my opinion if you are going to wake up at this time, do something productive with it. As I mentioned earlier, I chose to journal and exercise during this pocket of time. By the time I drove to the office and started work, my brain was running at a different level. So much, that on any day that I didn’t hit this morning routine, I immediately knew it. At work is where I ran into mostly everyone who would show up to work in the morning like hell on wheels. They were either up till some ridiculous time, or had just rolled out of bed right before they got in their car to get to work. I had already gone through that stage of grogginess well before anyone was awake. By the time, I got to work I was already dialed in.
Boost in Confidence
Waking up early just gave me a boost in confidence. It doesn’t matter what time of the day it is, I can just look back and think about my morning. My morning is designed to be my most difficult self inflicted part of my day. I do this purposely. So, when life starts to throw its bull 💩 at me, I am more calm and much more resilient. The self-discipline piece is key for me, knowing that I was able to implement this and carry it out was meaningful and beneficial.
I don’t wake up at 4 am anymore. I can’t say truthfully that I have been for a few months now. However, I still have that fire within me. It was the experience itself that created a different perspective for me. By doing it for so long, it became a part of me. I can go back to that whenever I need it. And I do. It is one of the many tools in my tool shed. Whenever I need to sharpen my mind and my self-discipline, this is one of the ways I do it.
You don’t need to wake up at 4am and stay with it for ever. If that works for you, then keep it going. I had moments where I had to do it for work, where I wanted to do it for myself, and moments where I just throw it in to challenge myself. All of the above scenarios gave me the same key take aways that I have dropped here.