You’ve heard it said: the early bird catches the worm — in the opinion of many highly successful people, the phrase is much more than a cliche.
The benefits of an extremely early morning routine have been touted by so many self-made celebrities that the “4 AM Club” has become a part of the public vernacular. It’s the magic hour for many world changers like Oprah, Michelle Obama, and Tim Cook, and experience has taught me why. In my world, it’s a time of quiet, focus, determination, and accomplishment.
As an entrepreneur and a mother, high-paced days at my desk and endless days on the road are only outpaced by high-energy evenings and weekends with my family of five. By waking up at 4 AM, I’m able to routinely devote time to my own self-development and care, a necessary practice for success in all areas of my life.
If this is something you’ve wanted to try but haven’t yet managed to find success in, here are a few keys I’ve found to making this routine not only possible, but extremely enjoyable as well:
Check your DNA
Our tendency to be productive at certain times of the day is often hard-wired in us, an internal clock that’s determined by our DNA. This genetic predisposition is called our chronotype. If you identify as a “night owl”, then you can stop reading now. This method is not for you. In fact, research shows a correlation to weight gain, diabetes, and heart disease if you try to force an extra early wake-time when your DNA is telling you otherwise. But if you feel like you do your best work in the morning, or maybe you’re not sure, than the 4 AM club could be for you.
Check your Watch
The key to sustaining this routine has everything to do with a consistent sleep schedule. Knowing the exact number of sleep hours that support your peak performance is requisite to success. Not getting enough sleep effectively compromises all the systems that work together for success in day-to-day life. Without enough sleep, the motivation to exercise is zapped, food choices start moving in a downward spiral, and productivity at work takes a nosedive.
Check your Excuses
An early morning routine is a no-excuses kind of practice. Follow the 21/90 rule — on average, it takes 21 days to form a habit. If the system seems to be working for you, another 90 days is recommended to turn it into a permanent lifestyle change. That said, the first few days will inevitably be brutal. Resist the temptation to hit snooze on that alarm by using the Rule of 5. When the alarm goes off, count to five, pop up, and start moving out of bed, no matter how you feel about it in that moment.
Above all, know that every person is wired in their own way, and successful habits look different for everyone. Do not try to define yourself by what works for others — instead, let them inspire you to find your own routines that drive you toward your goals.
Judith Nowlin, Chief Growth Officer with Babyscripts. Judith created iBirth™, a mobile care companion for pregnancy, birth and postpartum, to help healthcare practitioners deliver better health outcomes for women and children in the United States and beyond. The original idea for the app was born out of her prior decade of service in maternity care. The technology platform she and her team built has since impacted nearly 1 million families on their journey toward optimal health and wellness during one of life’s most precious times. iBirth was acquired in June 2018 by Babyscripts, Inc., the leading virtual care platform for obstetrics. You can find her here: https://www.linkedin.com/in/judith-nowlin-3a9b82b/
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