Ever since I can remember, my Mother has always been an early riser. She has always been a strong advocate for the benefits that rising early makes to our health and well being.
Rising early is one of the easiest and healthiest ways to getting a “little more” out of our day.
I know that there are many among us, who staunchly promote the wisdom in burning the midnight flame productively for educational and professional progress. Once upon a time, I too believed that I get the most of my day by working late into the night.
When my children were in their infancy and childhood years, this was practical for me.
But years later when I could afford to change the habit, unfortunately, working late into the night, had become so deep rooted that this unhealthy practice continued.
I continued with this habit until I realized that the continuous lack of sleep was making me eternally groggy and tired, despite my work completion. Reluctantly, my thoughts went to analyzing the benefits I stand to gain by waking early and sleeping early.
That was when I came across expert coach, motivational speaker and trainer, Dan Luca’s book, “The 5 A.M Revolution”. Simple and lucid, Luca’s book finally convinced me that the virtues of rising early far exceeds sleeping late.
So how does getting up early help us?
The quietness of the dawn and the freshness that we experience during the early time of the day is beneficial in more ways than one.
We get better sleep, we get the healthy opportunity to kick start a promising day. Best of all, rising early enables us to begin each day with tranquility (because we are not rushed) and anticipation.
Meditation, yoga, a daily exercise schedule, followed by a refreshing shower and a healthy breakfast, are also some of the other great reasons why starting early is the ideal way to get the best out of each day.
Rising early regularly indeed also takes us one step closer to making more positive changes in our life. With the extra number of hours we get in the morning, we have more unhurried time to contemplate our course of action regarding our various professional and personal aspirations and existing commitments.
Another way to help us get “a little more” in our day is to set realistic goals for our day.
A few years ago, I used to dread writing out my goals for each day. The reason was, I would notice at the end of the day that I have yet to complete half of the goals that I had written down.
This would demotivate me and make me believe that writing down my goals was a waste of time. It was then that I realized how important it is to be realistic when we prepare the list of goals for each day.
Over a period of time, I became careful and critical regarding the nature of the goals I need to achieve at the end of each day.
What I realized was –
1) Keep them challenging yet achievable.
2) Prioritise them based on the value their achievenent has for you.
3) Mention the top crucial goals to be achieved in a day as the top three.
4) If it is a long term goal, for eg: to be achieved in 6 months, schedule it and ensure that the tasks for each of the marked dates are completed on time.
5) Allow yourself to quietly enjoy the sense of achievement after milestone goals are completed. It could even be taking a day off to pursue an activity (such as a trip to your favourite book store or to see a movie) that relaxes you and recharges you.
Enjoying a sense of accomplishment is important. You are merely conveying to yourself that you appreciate your progress just as you appreciate the accomplishments of others.
We have often heard of “doing what you love & loving what you do”.
My understanding of this profound statement is simply make the best of what is on your platter. Ensure that there is something we enjoy doing everyday. This will also enable us to get the maximum out of our day or “get a little more” out of the 24 hours we have in our day.
Years ago, as a doting Mother who chose not to lead a professional life, I focused on the enjoyment of bringing up my small children. What would also add to the joy of my day was my studies. I use to immerse myself in studying (which had become a hobby by then), after my children retired for the night.
So, every day, after spending hours of my day in the stimulating companionship of my children and other activities, I used to then patiently wait for the hours to begin my learning. My studies would keep me late, close to two or three in the morning, but my early start to the next day would always be one of expectation and enthusiasm to face another wonderful day.
To add “a little more” to our day also means taking care of ourselves.
Being kind and considerate to our needs and happiness is crucial in focusing on making the best of each day. Taking care of our well being, being kind and respectful to ourselves all helps us focus better on how to make the best of each day.
Imagine how challenging it would be, if we just rush to get through the day and take care of others but have no time to care of ourselves?
Take up activities that can help us create smiles and cheer around. Focus on generous thinking and less on what others can do for us.
Even bringing a smile to one person’s face is a fantastic effort to adding our bit to make each day “a little more” from a mere ordinary one. When my friend , Shehnaz sent a surprise cake to the friendly shop assistant she knew, the joy she saw on the lady’s face had made Shehnaz’s day an unforgettable one.
Generosity is not limited to merely giving gifts in kind or money. It could be as simple a beautiful gesture as giving our time and interest to what makes others happy.
Last but not least, adding “a little more” to our day enables us to grow, develop and become resilient. This resilience is the power that helps us bring out the best in others, just as it brings out the best in us.