Struggling But Making Progress
I’m now three days into my new morning routine challenge (day 3 of 30), and I’m not making much progress.
On Day 1, I got up at 4:00 AM. But I had a hard time tiptoeing around the house, trying to do something productive without being noisy and waking everyone up. I also weenied out on the gym, which is what I should have done straight away. And then I went back to sleep.
In the end, I only managed to accomplish 5 out of 20 tasks on my morning routine to-do list. That’s pretty bad. (I was so stressed out and tired that morning that I even forgot to brush my teeth.)
Then on Day 2, I altered the routine so that the first two hours are comprised of quiet activities. I managed 6 out of 20 tasks – just barely better than Day 1. But I didn’t wake up at 4 AM. Instead I slept in until like 4:30, did a few things and then went back to bed again. I was re-evaluating whether I was going about this all wrong and was considering scrapping the whole idea.
Now it’s Day 3, and I managed to do 7 out of 20 tasks. So technically I’m improving, but not by much. Oh, I also slept in again today. I woke up at 5:00 AM. But on the bright side, I didn’t go back to sleep. I stayed up. And then later on in the day I ended up doing a few more of the tasks, even though it was way past my 4-8 AM time slot.
I’m Going to Stick With Plan A
One thing that kept going through my mind these last couple of days is that maybe I should just admit that I bit off more than I could chew and scale this thing way down. Because let’s face it – I’m not just trying to add one new daily habit over the next 30 days – it’s more like 20.
A morning routine isn’t a single habit.
It’s a whole chain of habits.
And in this case, it’s like 20 different things strung together.
Now sure, I’m already doing a few of those things every day anyway:
- Going to the bathroom
- Brushing my teeth
- Stepping on the scale
- Drinking water
- Eating breakfast
- Dumping the trash
And there are also some things that I don’t do everyday, but I’m already doing them a few times per week:
- Reading a book
- Washing dishes
- Cleaning out the cat’s litterbox
- Making a pot of rice
- Going for a walk
But still, waking up three hours earlier than normal and trying to tackle all of these things is way more than I can realistically do, right? Sure, some guys have the self-discipline to do it, but not me. I mean, I’ve tried a lot over the years, and I’ve never managed to lock in very many of these habits.
So from a purely practical standpoint, no. This is too much for me. I admit it. I bit off more than I could chew. It makes no sense. It’s dumb. I’m just setting myself up for failure and the emotional downward spiral that usually follows another failure in my life – like I always do.
So I should just drop the complicated routine, set my alarm to go off 30 minutes earlier than normal (7:00 AM), and focus on adding one new habit at a time.
But that’s not what I’m going to do.
Remember a few blog posts back, when I talked about Napoleon Hill’s 7th Step to Riches in his book Think and Grow Rich?
[Successful people] have the habit of reaching decisions promptly, and of changing these decisions slowly, if and when they [are] changed. – Napoleon Hill, Think and Grow Rich
Well, it might not sound smart or practical or realistic, but I’m going to stick with my original plan until the 30 days are up. I’m going to keep trying to wake up at 4:00 AM, and I’m going to keep trying to squeeze in my entire routine.
So tomorrow, whatever time I wake up, I’ll go straight into my routine, starting with the very first task. And then I’m just going to keep plowing through it, one item after another, until I finish or hit 8:00 AM.
No, wait. Actually, my wife doesn’t have work tomorrow, so I don’t have to cut off my routine at 8:00 to take her to work. So I’ll just keep going through until I’m finished.
And then the next day, I’ll do it again (do as much as possible before we head out to go work).
That is called being decisive.
I made the decision that I would follow this plan for 30 days, and that’s what I’m going to do. If I fail every single day, then so be it. I’ll just dust off and try again the next day.
And at the end of the 30 days, we’ll see where I’m at.
If I fail and sleep in every single day, then we can scientifically conclude that making small, progressive steps is definitely a more effective way to start an ambitious morning routine than making a huge jump from waking up around 7:00 AM to waking up at 4:00 AM sharp.
But even if I only manage to lock in half of the entire routine, or even if I fail miserably and just embarrass myself, at least I’ll be able to say that I didn’t give up and quit.
It’s been a long time since I was able to say that…about anything.
New to this blog series? Start Here: Starting a New Daily Routine