Understanding the process of change, can motivate you to make positive choices
What is it about a long drive that brings about clear thought? It's as if the car instantly becomes a confessional, and or a therapist's couch.
Usually, during the first 10 minutes of my morning commute, I don't turn on the radio. Just me and the empty silent car on the freeway. As the drive progressed this particular morning my resident copilot-car-counselor appeared exclaiming, "you know that your irritation this morning is your fault. All you had to do was get your butt out of the bed at 5 am this morning!"
Sometimes, it's like an invisible genie, who loves to lecture me, appears in the front seat shaking its head in that colloquial attitudinal way. "Yep, it's your fault. You made a plan to get up early so that you can accomplish a few things. Instead you got up at 8 am....".
If you are reading this blog it may be because you are like me, and are feeling that you are not growing, or accomplishing all that you set out to accomplish during the day. Looking for some motivation, and trying to understand what needs to be done to move forward and have a productive day.
Life’s full of distractions.
Let's face it if you are living on terra firma (earth) your time is not your own, there are so many competing demands made on the hours that you are awake. For me, I have a full-time job, a young family, and people get sick, need medical appointments to be scheduled, laundry, and household chores to complete, just to name a few.
Just to make it real; One of my daughters returned home with her family while they wait for their new home to be completed. There are 4 of them. Then my 5-year-old grandson fractured his femur and is at home, being homeschooled for about 6 weeks.
Talk about distractions and not being able to find anything with everyone running around.
Then I have the audacity to have my own thing going on! A garden to manage, artwork to complete, and a blog. How dear I? !!!
As I'm writing this article. I'm sitting on my front porch, grandkids are on the lawn playing their music (blasting), and I'm trying to string thoughts together. I've had to stop at least a dozen times.
How far have I gotten in the hour? One paragraph. Don't get me wrong I enjoy spending time with them outside especially this time of year. Autumn is my favorite time with all these beautiful fiery colors and the cool weather. Oh and the bugs are minimal.
As a creative being, it is so exasperating when I am in that zone of creative flow, with ideas bouncing, my thoughts clear and then I get interrupted. Sometimes it is as if a large eraser cleared the chalkboard. All the thoughts, ideas, and inspirations have gone. That flow stopped dead. Worse part is when I can't recreate the lost moment.
It is akin to when you're about to tell someone something and the cell phone rings, or a colleague asks you an unrelated question. You take care of that then return to your work and you sit there thinking, "what was I going to write, who was I going to call?" You can't remember. It's gone out of the short-term memory bank. As a creator of a blog with deadlines, that is frustrating, to have lost inspiration. Sometimes if you do remember it may be days later.
Our time is too short and precious to have these lost moments!
Making a decision to do it differently, to change
Why is it so hard to change a habit?
Change can take many forms. Sometimes we choose it, and sometimes it just happens., wrote Jeremy Sutton in his article The 6 Stages of Change: Worksheets For Helping Your Clients (positivepsychology.com)
We have all made a decision to do something different in order to achieve a goal. In this instant, I decided that waking up early in the morning would be a positive action that would help me feel accomplished, and start my day relaxed.
If you have ever studied the theory of change, (there are a few) you would realize it is a process. Adopting a new healthy behavior is easy to say and plan, but can be difficult, even challenging to execute.
How do I create a new habit of waking up early and getting out of bed?
In case you are wondering, there are different stages of commitment to the change process we go through when we are planning to do something we have not done before. We first realize that something has to give (so to speak), or we will be stuck where we are, frustrated. We then move to making plans, researching other ways to achieve our goals, make some actionable steps. In other words like me set the alarm to wake up. No surprise here, this may be short-lived. Especially if we look at our first attempt as a "you see I can't" moment. I can't wake up and get out the bed, I can't stick to the plan, I messed up on the first day".
Here is where the rubber meets the road and you may give up.
What is your reason for the change? What is the benefit to waking up early in the morning? Is it a better quality of life? Do you need to get 30 minutes of yoga exercises in so that you are better able to move physically during the day? By getting up early is the goal to have a sacred moment in prayer to enhance your spiritual well-being? Is this time needed to ground you for the day, a slow-paced start with coffee, a walk, time to write in your journal, or read a chapter in your favorite book?
How important are your positive results to you? The feeling of calm, of organization, the feeling of being in control and not scattered?
So your desire to change must be stronger than your desire to leave the situation as it is. Of course, the first time you hear that alarm clock go off, you will be tempted to stuff it under the bed. But you will dislike the results more and finally begin to acclimate to your new habit. Looking forward to getting up as you reap the benefits. (I see you wrinkling your nose!)
How motivated are you to make the change?
As part of my "get organized, intentional living" plan ...I realized that it is very hard to get everything done during the regular day hours. Without feeling like the hamster on the wheel expending energy and going nowhere. My car genie reminded me that I had no excuses whatsoever, for not honoring my plan. Most importantly, by not following through, I felt scattered, and a bit disappointed, and the project that I wanted to review was still in need of attention.
What are my benefits?
Dedicated time to become more organized. Plan my day in a quiet uninterrupted setting.
Increased productivity. You may not consider 5 am great but most successful people attribute waking up early to their successfully completed tasks.
Slow start to the day. Having a focused part of the day to concentrate on what matters to me.
Did I say quiet time? No distractions or interruptions. No TV playing or neighbor lawn mower roaring in the background.
Feeling a sense of positive well-being. Not having to hear my genie car therapist tell me what I could have completed if I was an early riser.
You have to list your reason and benefits for adding these early morning hours to your day, and why you are sacrificing sleep.
Honestly, there is no way in h*** we can get it all done, fulfilled, and sane in the hours we are running around.
Let's do it.. set the alarm!
Not so fast,
How can you be productive when you wake up
Like everything we do there are steps to success :)
Why are you getting up at 5 am?
You must have a clear idea as to why and what you hope to accomplish.
Use the night before to plan for the morning.
Put all that you would need in one dedicated place, for example dining room table. Like journal, bible, project notes, laptop, workout clothes, meal plan, etc.
Set the alarm... You may have to move the alarm across the room far from your snooze fingers. I do not like jarring alarms it makes my stomach nauseous jumping up as if the house is on fire. Try an upbeat song, something you like, to pump you up!
Get out of bed when the alarm rings. Don't overthink it.
Your first early morning rise may be a bit slow to start, or you may not have your rhythm yet but WOW!!!!! You got up and did something.
Celebrate your accomplishment!!!!
Need some more convincing
The Bible writes " Jesus went to a solitary place at daybreak" Luke 4:42, "Abraham rose early in the morning" he and God had their planning time when the dew was still on the ground. Buddhist monks wake up at 4 am to meditate, to increase concentration and focus. Examples of Successful people who get up early are Bob Iger CEO of Disney Channel, Winston Churchill, and Barack Obama. Oprah Winfrey and some of your favorite celebrities such as Gwyneth Paltrow.
There is a bit of magic in the early morning hours where answers can be formulated and new ideas form, the day seems longer and we feel more in control of that flying time. Or just quiet, as you breathe in the silence.
So Deb, how did you do getting up early? I failed the first time as you read. But my why I needed to work these early hours into my day keep haunting me. I need those hours to think in silence, to crystalize my objectives uninterrupted.
I tried again, and this time I got up. I analyzed my movement, how long did I take to settle down, get coffee, and start to organize what I planned. I realized I needed to be very intentional. How did I feel during the day? A bit tired, I went to bed at around 11 PM. That has to change in order for this early rise to be successful.
Bonus, I felt empowered. I had time to pray for a few moments. I was able to sort through some papers and had a cup of coffee all in the quiet. I got out of the house on time. My car genie was quiet with nothing to say.
How you like those apples? LOL
Try it and Tell me What Happened!
Wake up earlier, Set that alarm, make a plan, and don't hit the snooze button instead begin your day with purpose. See the positive results and a more productive day!
What are your strategies for starting your day? How do you manage and stay focused on your early morning goals? I would love to hear from you tell me about the challenges and your successes.
If you enjoyed this blog, don't forget to like, comment, and share this with your friends!