One of my favorite episodes of the TV show Seinfeld is the one where, after a terrible run of bad luck, George Costanza decides that he will begin doing the exact opposite of what he would normally do. Things move swimmingly for George Costanza at first, but as any fan of the TV show Seinfeld knows, all that glitters for George soon loses its shine.
As I prepared to watch this episode again, I thought about a quote most commonly attributed to Albert Einstein regarding insanity, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” By doing everything in the exact opposite way he’d normally do, George Costanza carved out a unique way to buck his insane patterns of behavior that were continuously leading him to fail and get into all sorts of trouble. I, like George Costanza, have repeated insane patterns of behaviors that have limited my productivity and caused me all sorts of headaches. My behavioral pattern du jour features me repeatedly slamming the snooze button on my alarm clock, eventually stumbling out of bed like a zombie.
Back when I was free to sleep my mornings away, I’d stay up all night reading, writing, cleaning, and yes sometimes, partying. According to my grandmother and aunt, as a little girl, I’d stay up late talking to a cadre of imaginary friends and I’d act out sketches I created earlier in the evening. Although I have long since bid adieu to my imaginary friends and late night sketch reenactments, my nocturnal spirit remains. Consequently, my weekday mornings are a groggy whirlwind of coffee, snippets of the Today show, and an eventual Usain Bolt- like sprint to the train station. This daily weekday morning shtick has sabotaged me in more ways than I’d care to recount, which is why I’ve decided to start doing the opposite.
21 days is widely regarded as the amount of time it takes to form a habit. It’s within this 21 day time frame that I will begin waking up by at least 6 am every weekday morning. I will not lie, I am not looking forward to this challenge. But like George Costanza (hopefully sans the inevitable negative, albeit, hilarious turn of events), it’s time for me to break out of this self-sabotaging pattern of behavior and move towards a more productive, and saner, use of my time in the morning. Instead of waking up in a semi-conscious, angst-ridden stupor, I hope to wake up in the opposite way, alert and ready to take on the day. Waking earlier than usual is a prominent trait among highly successful and productive individuals who use this time to read, write, strategize, stretch, etc. Besides getting a jump-start on their day, early risers typically aren’t riddled with the consequences that come from incessantly hitting the snooze button.
Being perpetually late for life is no longer an option for me. It’s time for me to gain control of this time of the day and begin my day with activities that will move me closer to where I want to be personally and professionally… Okay, here we go, gulp!
Do you struggle with waking up early?