If you’re in my day-to-day life or follow my Insta-stories then you know I spent my weekdays in January getting up at 4:30 a.m. The main question I’ve fielded was why? Why am I getting up so early? The easy answer is because it’s a challenge: 21 damn early days. And we all know how much I love a good challenge.
But of course it’s deeper than that. I’m looking for a kick-start. A re-boot. A re-energy for going after the things I want in life. For the past however long I’ve struggled to hold on and I started losing focus.
Here’s how my days were going.
- Roll out of bed
- Make coffee
- Get ready for work
- Go to work
- Go home or to the gym
- Eat something
- Watch TV or do freelance work
- Go to sleep
Do this long enough and you become pretty jaded. My routine was crap, I tried to jam all the important things into the evening, after a full day of work. And I’m the kind of person who pours herself into her work so after 8.5 (usually 9) hours of putting all of me into my day job I was losing steam for anything extra. I wasn’t putting my best work into my best work, you know?
And then I felt bad about it. And I felt bad about myself. And I felt bad in general.
So, why did I sign up for 21 damn early days?
The challenge popped into my Facebook feed on December evening at a time when I was desperate for a change. A friend had suggested meeting for 6 a.m. gym sessions in the new year but I couldn’t imagine it (she told me later I looked like a deer in headlights when she suggested it). I struggled getting going in time for work, how could I do anything more? But as I read about the challenge I realized this might be the reset I was so desperate for.
Here’s the blurb from the 21 Damn Early Days website.
21 Damn Early Days helps you create the time to focus on what matters in your life. Monday to Friday, for 21 days, you (along with 100s of others) get up at 4:30AM and get after the things you want. We’ll help you create a system that gets you up, keeps you focused and motivated, and gives you the space and tools to understand and focus on what you want to do with your time. Finally, we’ll help you stay accountable, day after day, to the commitments you make for the program. The program runs Monday to Friday from January 3rd to 31st, 2017. Life is too short not to spend time focused on the things you care about. But in a world that’s getting busier and busier, finding that time seems to be like an impossible task. 21 Damn Early Days is designed to break you out of that rut and give you time, every single day, to focus on what matters to you.
The part where I was in: 21 Damn Early Days is designed to break you out of that rut and give you time, every single day, to focus on what matters to you.
I thought, if I can’t do this…then do I want the things I think I want?
It was a hard truth, but I was ready to find out if I was legit.
So now we’re at the end of the 21 days. And I did it. I got up at 4:30 a.m. for 21 weekdays. I got up, I went after what I wanted, and I’m here to tell you, it was 100 per cent worth it.
What did I sacrifice? I thought I would sacrifice sleep. I thought I would sacrifice social time. I thought I would sacrifice relaxing. Truth? I got more sleep than I have had in months (I have a sleep tracker so I know this for a fact, much to my surprise), I’ve seen more of my friends than I have in months (getting together for gym-time three times a week is the most regular friend-time I’ve had in ages), and although my routine/lifestyle adjusted I didn’t lose out on relaxing. In fact, it is now guilt-free because I accomplished the things I wanted to FIRST THING IN THE MORNING.
Giving myself two extra hours in the morning has changed everything. It was staring me in the face, so obvious, but I wouldn’t see it because the adjustment was going to be uncomfortable. Or because I didn’t think I could do it. Or because I was afraid maybe I didn’t want the things I thought I wanted.
So here are a few things I’m taking away from the challenge.
- I can get up at 4:30 a.m.
- I can get up at 4:30 a.m. for 21 days
- I can get after my dreams
- My dreams are still my dreams and I’m even more clear on them
- I can confront my fears and move past them
- I am willing to do the work to make what matters to me happen
- I am brave
I have a lot more thoughts about it but the truth is, it’s so early right now and I haven’t processed them yet. Because 4:30 is EARLY. So, so early.
And now the challenge is ended and I’m wondering, what will I do next? Go back to normal? Fall back into my “comfortable” rut? I can’t bear the thought. Now that I know I can do this, I must. Because what’s the point of all this if I’m not making the most of my days?