Morning Routine – 01 Wake Early

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image c/o chuen seng teoh

“Your will doesn’t break — it never shows up in the first place.”
– Jocko Willink

Following my previous post on my morning routine, I will now dive into each of the items, what it means to me and how it has impact my life. First on the list and topic for today is – waking up early. For all of you night owls and shift workers out there, bear with me and I promise I’ll come back to you later on this post.

I have recently started waking up at 05:00 A.M. Prior to starting this habit, I have always wanted to wake early but nine out of ten times would cave in and end up snoozing for an hour or more. The warmth under the covers on a cold morning was just so hard to resist.

I tried to find some motivation and eventually read these wise words from the great philosopher king Marcus Aurelius, found in his collection of philosophical writings, Meditations.

“At dawn, when you have trouble getting out of bed, tell yourself: ‘I have to go to work — as a human being. What do I have to complain of, if I’m going to do what I was born for — the things I was brought into the world to do? Or is this what I was created for? To huddle under the blankets and stay warm?”

– Marcus Aurelius’ (translated by Gregory Hays)

I was pumped after reading these words. I wanted to be a human being and do what I was born for instead of huddling under blankets and stay warm! This was it!

It didn’t work and the struggle continues.

Eventually, the struggle had to end and I credit it all to Jocko Willink, a former United States Navy SEAL commander and his no nonsense approach to waking up. There’s no ten steps life hack method to waking up early. You just do it.

Be disciplined. Do. It.

Every morning, waking up presents itself as the first battle you face of the day. Do you get up when the alarm goes and get your first win? Or you hit the snooze button and go back to sleep? This framing is a game changer for me. To strive towards getting this first psychological win every morning because when I get this win, I know I’m already ahead of the game. I now have a purpose.

I have noticed that by waking up early each day, it keeps me disciplined for the rest of the day to achieve what I’ve set out to do. I feel more focused at work, I get the workout in no matter how tired I feel, I resist the cookies! I feel great.

Waking up early means having to sleep earlier as well. However, you can’t go to bed early if you didn’t wake up early. You’ve got to start with waking up early so that after a full day, you’re tired and ready for bed.

As promised earlier, for all my family and friends who are night owls or who work shifts, this is easily translatable. Waking early would mean not hitting the snooze button when your alarm goes. Whether that’s 12:00 P.M. or 16:00 P.M. In the end, all that matters is that discipline to get that first win to start your day. I promise it’s the lead domino for all good things to come.

As a parting gift today, I present Jocko’s monologue on waking up. It’s exactly two minutes and thirteen seconds long. Skip at your own lost.

See you tomorrow at 05:00 A.M.

#the100dayproject 005/100

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