“My voice You shall hear in the morning, O Lord; in the morning I will direct it to You, and I will look up.” – Psalm 5:3
My dad and grandfathers have probably gotten up before the sunrise since they were in high school. Because of that, I’ve always just associated getting up early with being a man. When I went to college, it became a habit to get up early for exercise. The pool was right across the street from my dorm and made for a great warm workout during those freezing winter months. It wasn’t until I got out of school that it really started becoming a habit simply because I enjoyed it. The exercise aspect was convenient because it saved me time later in the day. It also kept me to a pretty consistent 10:30PM bedtime throughout my college career.
Since starting a new job this past November, my hours were set for the first 2 months to begin at 7AM every day. For the month of December, due to production demands, we were scheduled to start at 6AM for 6 days a week. Factor in my commute and my alarm is suddenly set to 4:30AM on a regular basis.
It became easier to just keep it that way on Sunday too because I would otherwise wake up Monday feeling terrible if my body had slept much past 4:30AM on Sunday. In January, the hours went back to 7AM or 8AM to start work but, at that point, I was already in the habit and decided to keep going. I had been going to the gym in the evenings but realized that it was much less crowded at 5AM than any other time. It’s also much easier to have the workout out of the way and not have to fit it in later when I want to be spending time helping around the house with the kids and whatever else we have going on in the evenings. I shower there after a good workout and am in the office just before 7AM every day (I pack my breakfast along with my lunch). My wife thinks I’m absolutely crazy but I’ve found what works for me.
I don’t know that there’s any reason to beat a dead horse and list all of the same reasons why getting up early is a good idea. This article does a pretty fantastic job of explaining it. That being said, these are just my personal preferences and why they work for me. Forget why you should – it takes way more work to stick to something just because you should. Figure out why you want to and that will motivate you to keep it up. Here’s why I like the early morning:
The early morning sky is one of my favorite creations on the planet. The coolness, the moon and stars, and the dim glow of the approaching dawn all combine for a glorious experience. I’ve always enjoyed sunrise more than sunset because just about everyone sees the sun setting in the evenings. That’s a great time as well to spend outside visiting with your spouse, reading a good book, or going for a run. But the sunrise involves coffee (which I firmly believe God created simply to enhance the experience), solitude, and greeting the day. You just can’t beat that, if you ask me.
There is a stillness and quiet that comes early in the morning that we don’t see at any other time of day. Taking full advantage of that serenity is wonderful to me. It’s much easier to just think and relax. In fact, if the TV is ever turned on early in our house, it seems far louder and more invasive than usual. The morning offers a unique time where there are no interruptions.
3. Meditations and Reflections
In Psalm 5:1, David asks God to “consider my meditations” which will come early in the morning. For someone as busy as King David, I’m sure that the mornings were the best time to talk with God. Think about it. David came from a shepherd’s background where he had all the time and solitude he could have ever asked for. As a king, most of that was probably gone. The only time left with a little peace and quiet would have been in the mornings.
All the energy of the day starts when you wake up. In fact, you’re at your peak of creative energy a couple of hours after you first wake up. By 8AM when many of my coworkers are just getting to work, I’ve been there for an hour already and have been up for over 3 hours – dialed in and ready to go. It sounds weird, I know. But the earlier you get up, the more energy you’ll have for your morning. Maybe it’ll even convince you to go to bed earlier too!
What I’ve found is that, with any routine, it’s important that it can be done in multiple places. My current morning is such that, no matter where I’m staying (hotel, guest in someone else’s home, with family, etc.), it can be done anywhere. I enjoy the consistency of my morning – it keeps me from wasting brain space on what I’m going to do when I first wake up and leaves room for adding value for customers. My willpower to make healthy choices depletes throughout the day. It’s great for me to get a jumpstart on that in the morning. At the end of the day, at least I’ve had a couple of healthy meals and gotten in a good workout.
Today, 4:30AM is my favorite time of day. It’s also a day off from the gym and the clock is about to hit 5:30AM as I type this. It’s time to go get to it. If you’re still having trouble being convinced or still think I’m nuts, that’s fine. But here’s a cool video about it, anyway: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OjqYut-pyDU
Welcome to the grind.