My life as a late riser
In the past, I was consistently a late riser. In 17 Tips to Be On Time, I mentioned one of the reasons that led me to be late last time was oversleeping. The only times I ever woke up early were when I absolutely have to: for school, appointments, work. Even then, I’d wake at the very last minute, scamper around the whole house to get ready, rush out in disarray, have to resort to taking a cab to cut down commuting time and barely make it in time. Mostly I would be 5~10 minutes late, to over 30 minutes or even an hour. On a work day, my sleeping hours would be about 2~9am (my previous workplace had flexible working hours). During the weekend, the waking hours would hover between 12pm to 2pm.
I never once thought of cultivating waking up early as a habit. Why should I wake up early for? I never understood why people would even want to do that. If there was anyone who voluntarily woke up early, I would look at them with a look of bewilderment. I saw waking up early as some act of deprivation. If we could sleep in late, shouldn’t we just let our body rest rather than obligate ourselves to wake up at a certain fixed timing? At worst, it seemed like a borderline masochistic act.
How I got interested in waking up early
Until I started coming across testimonials in favor of waking up early. Overwhelming testimonials, in fact, from all different places. I read self-help sites purporting the habit of waking up early. Then there were self-help books where the authors would proclaim waking up early is the best habit one can ever develop (alongside with meditation). Then I came cross interviews with very successful people who would mention they wake up early (5am types) and how it helped them become a lot more effective.
The first time I read that, I thought it was just specific to the person. The second time, it got my curiosity up, but I ignored it anyway. Third, forth, fifth, sixth time…….. It was
clear there was a trend. There was some connection between waking up early and one’s own success. Personally, I’m passionate about achieving excellence in my life. If this was something that would enable me in my journey of betterment/improvement, I had to absolutely try it out.
I could have just brushed it off and say “Nah, waking up early doesn’t work for me. I’m not a morning type of person – I work better at night.” Or I could have said “It’s just all in the mind”. But until I really test this out for an extended period (e. g., on a 21-day trial) and give this its best shot, I couldn’t conclude anything for sure. I had to try it to know. Just because I hadn’t been able to voluntarily wake up early in the past or just because my previous attempts to wake up early failed miserably didn’t mean anything. Those attempts were always either non-voluntary in nature or done without a serious intent anyway, which largely explained their failure.
Trial to wake up early
So earlier in 2009, I did a trial to wake up early at 5am (Read 21 Day Trial Program on how to cultivate life transforming habits in 21 days). I figured if it worked, I’d have cultivated an incredible habit which would aid me tremendously. If it didn’t, I could just easily discard it and revert to waking late.
The trial wasn’t easy. I realized waking up early is so difficult for many because it’s a holistic lifestyle change, beyond just changing your waking time.