How early birds actually catch the worm
A counterstatement to “the early bird gets the worm” could be “the early worm gets eaten”, but that stance derives from someone who’s unaware of how actually to be a morning bird. There are many benefits to waking up early, mostly oriented around having more time in one’s day, and more importantly, having more time to be mindful of oneself. Being a morning bird is something to aspire to if coming from a night-owl lifestyle, it doesn’t happen overnight or in just one week. It’s similar to “going on a diet”, if you want it to be sustainable, you’d have to make incremental lifestyle changes so you make the diet (or sleep schedule) actually work for you and be attainable. Once one’s circadian rhythm (sleep cycle) is in line with the morning bird lifestyle, studies show that leads to improved moods and happiness, energy levels, and exercise habits.
At the core of a successful morning bird lifestyle are the daily structure and intentions planted the night before, starting with enough sleep. The scientific community stands by the fact that humans generally need 7-9 hours of sleep per night to best operate each day, without this bottom line, being a morning bird will not be sustainable long-term. Everyone has the same 24 hours in a day, it’s all just about how you use those 24 hours. After a good sleep schedule is attained, the question then becomes, “how do I catch the worm?” i.e., “how do I be successful with my mornings?” The answer? Healthy habits!
There’s no one-size fits all answer to the question of catching the worm, it all depends on one’s personal goals and the other healthy habits already in place later in the day or week. That being said, trying out a new routine should be fun and at the end of the day, just like how each tree bears a unique fruit, each person functions differently and will see different challenges and rewards. Take a minute to self-reflect and think about how you could be your best self this week, ignore the thought of being tired, and think about what activities would actually excite you if you had a little extra time to do them. Now, imagine yourself with just an extra hour in the morning (which can fluctuate to two hours or more, depending on your schedule) and think about which activities below you could practically implement into your morning routine before starting work, school, errands, etc:
- Drinking water
- Going for a walk or run
- Making breakfast or intentionally fasting
- Plan an agenda for the day
- Morning showers
- Revisit old hobbies or skills you’ve been missing
You could pick any activity and commit to it for 1, 5, 15, or even 30 minutes and see how naturally it might stick with you. The benefits of starting your mornings with simple activities (adding one at a time) can lead to increased focus throughout the day, boosting your mood and productivity, flexibility and strength, and so many more, just by setting the alarm back. It’s essential to keep in mind though, that new habits require baby steps. Some habits can take weeks to cement, so don’t be afraid to take one step forward and two steps back at times. Make sure to be forgiving and kind to yourself, and be mindful of what your body might need on a given day, but still challenge yourself by going a little outside of your comfort zone.
As for myself, Ryan, I entirely identify as a night owl, but aspire to one day transform into being a morning bird because of its many benefits, plus I love the idea of rising with the sun in the mornings. I definitely take this as a challenge, since I don’t know how long it’d take to finally become a bird that catches the worm, but an actionable step I will take this week is setting my clock back an hour earlier— I see that as an attainable goal that isn’t too big of a sacrifice. With my new morning time, I plan to commit at least 20 minutes to any form of exercise, whether it’s as simple as a morning walk for fresh air & sunlight, or sit-ups & push-ups next to my bed. I believe the blood flow will help me wake up in the morning and stay on top of my fitness journey!