I hate waking up early.
There, I said it.
But there is something about waking up early for my job that gives me the kick in the pants that nothing else will. Not school. Not an appointment. Not meeting a friend or trainer at the gym.
So when my job completely switched me from mostly nights to almost exlusively early morning shifts, my first reaction was: oh shit.
How am I supposed to wake up at 5 AM, a time that I usually see from spending too much time mucking around on the internet (and too much caffeine)?
But it was surprisingly easy to switch. Why? Well, because they’re paying me. They allow me to pay rent, buy food, waste money on eBooks and other stuff.
Not only that, but the punishment of not going to work was clear: verbal warnings, written warnings, getting fired. Who wants this on their record: Can’t wake up early for a job.
So I found it odd that after a few weeks of this new schedule, I began waking up early even on days that I didn’t have to be at work. Days that I used to easily sleep in until the late hours of the afternoon. Now waking up at 8-9 AM, like normal people do.
Moral of the story?
- Habits are hard to change, except with a huge reward (money) or strict punishment (getting fired).
The next time you are trying to accomplish a goal or acquire a new habit, up the ante a bit. Establish a very clear reward and punishment system for your actions or non-actions, and tell all your friends or everyone in your social networks. Follow through on the rewards and the punishments.
There are some websites that help you do this by providing serious accountability, a fun-factor (apps and game-like quality), social support and pressure, and even some $ on the line: Rootein, Stickk, 21habit, beeminder. Most of these sites also have phone apps you can download for more convenience.
What habit are you going to start, either by yourself or with the help of a website or app?
My personal habits I’m working on for the month of March (and beyond):
- exercise 4-5 times per week for one hour
- eat less than 1500 calories per day and log calories in MyFitnessPal daily
- wake up no later than 9 am on non-working days and be productive during that time (ie: go to the gym)