I read a lot of articles under the umbrella of self improvement; “10 Habits of the World’s Most Successful People,” “Action Steps to Get You to the Next Level,”…you know the kind.
Here’s the thing, reading an article with great ideas is quite different than honestly analyzing whether those ideas actually resonate with your real life and where you are right now. THAT is a completely different ball game.
A personal goal I’ve set is to wake up earlier. I work from home and create my own schedule, and sleeping in has become one of my vices; I sure do love to sleep. The magic hour I’m shooting for is 7 a.m., no later. I realize even earlier would probably be better, but I read another article about setting baby steps to achieve goals, so for now 7 will be my dawn.
Countless articles and interviews with the world’s most successful leaders and entrepreneurs will tell you; one thing they all tend to have common is waking up early in the morning. It makes sense, really. If you’re up earlier you can accomplish more, get focused for the day before daily chaos and distractions take over. Many studies have shown health benefits too, such as boosted metabolism. All good stuff.
Whenever I do wake up early, I always feel good about it. I will often literally say to myself aloud, “It feels so good to be up and awake and have the day started, you should do this more often.”
You’d think these monumental reasons to wake up early would be pretty solid motivation, right? Wrong. In theory, somewhere out there in the idyllic sphere of life, they are highly motivational ideas. But in terms of motivation for me to take real action every morning, they just don’t cut it.
I’m still addicted to the snooze button and without an alarm set, forget about it, it might be 10 a.m. before you see me.
I do manage to get out of bed pretty early quite often these days; feeling chipper and ready to seize the day. The other day, I woke up around 6. I made my morning coffee and took my dog for a long walk on the beach before starting my day, which was a jam packed one.
What was the motivational factor? When my husband and I announced we would be moving to Costa Rica a little over a year ago, and living just a five minute walk to the beach, a good friend of mine exclaimed “Oh my gosh, you’ll be able to wake up and have your morning coffee on the beach, that’s amazing!”
That conversation replays in my head to this day, and while I don’t get up and drink coffee on the beach everyday, her excitement for me and the sense of peace and grounding I feel when I do start the day that way is unparalleled. Her voice in my head got me up that day. Not the idea that Tim Cook wakes up early in the morning, too.
Waking up at 6 a.m. is a breeze when I have plans to meet a friend of mine to go running and grab coffee afterwards. There isn’t a second thought about getting up and getting going when the alarm goes off on those days. Am I thinking about how good I felt the last time I woke up early on those mornings? No. I’m thinking about meeting with her, doing a little better on our route than we did the last time and really looking forward to quality coffee talk.
When you’ve set a goal and you’re ready to shoot for the stars, take a step back and think about the steps necessary to get there. What is it that will truly motivate you to take those steps? Remember, it’s not the grandiose ideas that inspired you to set the goal in the first place, but rather the little things you know will keep you going in the process of getting there.
Furthermore don’t feel embarrassed by what motivates you, or feel like it’s not a “good enough” reason. Something a little different works for everyone, and if it works, it’s all that really matters.
As for me, tomorrow will be a busy day. I better see if my friend wants to go for a run; or if my dog would like to go for a coffee walk.