66 Days to Becoming a Morning Person

Some people are, some people aren’t and I am, decidedly not. Despite my two years of “early bird” science classes in high school and a summer full of consistent, early morning camp road runs, I have never been able to call myself a morning person. Most days, I work at a desk located about ten steps from my bed, so I can easily set the alarm for 8:30, hit the snooze a couple of times and still make it to the office by 9am.

My average bed time is 1am, a habit for which I blame my mother.  I know, it’s easy to blame our mothers for everything, but this one is legit. My mom is a serious night owl, a habit she, understandably, adopted after having five children and finding herself in need of some deserved “me time.” I remember waking up around midnight when I was a kid and finding my mother wrapping gifts, cleaning the kitchen, writing letters or preparing for the next day. It seemed like a logical time to get things done and on many nights in high school I could be found typing papers or studying into the wee hours of the morning as my mom graciously shared her valued “me time.” This is my mom, she’s pretty adorable.

But this challenge I’m presenting to myself isn’t about becoming a night owl – I’ve pretty much got that one down. No, it’s about becoming a morning person. On the handful of mornings that I’ve been up early enough to experience what morning people must experience on a daily basis I’ve been full of energy and productivity. And there’s something peaceful about living in a city with millions of people and watching it all wake up.  And sunrises. I have a thing for sunrises, even though I really only see a handful each year. On days that I see the sun rise, I am happier. In short, once I’m awake and alert, I like the early mornings. For me, the challenge will be in actually getting out of bed early enough to take advantage of those quiet, peaceful hours.

I did a little research, and it turns out it takes an average of 66 days to form a new habit. This varies, of course, with the habit and the individual, but 66 days is the average. My 30th birthday weekend also happens to be about 66 days away (I didn’t realize that until I just counted the days out on my calendar – yikes!) so I think that this is appropriate.  Below are the rules I’ve created for this little challenge:

  1. 6 out of 7 days, I challenge myself to be out of bed before 6:15am. I understand that 6:15am is sleeping in for some of you super crazy morning people, but I’m used to getting up about 2 hours later than that, so that’s plenty early for me thankyouverymuch.
  2. I can sleep in one day a week. The article linked above says that one day off will not break a habit and since it’s not unheard of for me to work late at an event or for a deadline then I am going to take advantage of this rule. Plus, a girl has to cut lose once in while and ’tis the season for holiday parties.
  3. Thursday mornings I need to be up extra early because I challenge myself to attend the 6am Pilates class at my gym. I love Pilates but haven’t gone in forever because the only class they have is at this ungodly hour.
  4. No snooze buttons allowed! That little button has ruined too many early morning ambitions for me, and I won’t give it the chance to do the same to this challenge.
  5. In order for this to work, I need to move up my bedtime. Lights out by 11pm. This part may actually prove more of a challenge than getting up early.

I would like to give credit where credit is due. This whole “strive to be a morning person” wasn’t my idea. It belongs to my good friend, Kelli, who mentioned it as a challenge that she wanted to take on a few months ago. I’m flat out stealing it. I just emailed her to let her know. But Kelli is really nice and a very supportive friend, I’m sure she won’t mind. This is a picture of Kelli and me at Halloween last year and another one of us at the top of Waynapicchu in Peru. What can a say, we are hardcore girls who know how to have fun.

I haven’t broken the news to Essie yet and part of me is kind of afraid that this little experiment is going to ruin my dog. I’ve been so lucky to have a dog who likes to sleep in. Seriously sleep in. Sometimes she’ll still be in bed at noon and I have to remind her that she is not a teenage boy and needs to get up and face the day. Essie is a total enabler, too. When she hears my alarm go off, she yawns and scoots closer to me and makes me want to cuddle with her for the length of the snooze button (9 minutes, I think.) But, seriously, look at this face. Can you blame me?

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