Why I failed to wake up at 5 am for 21 days

DSCN1059Good morning Flighters.

I failed. Oupsie.

Although, I think I learned way more than expected, so I wouldn’t really qualify it as a failure. For those of you who didn’t know, I did a 21 days challenge, in which I was supposed to wake up at 5 am and follow my 10 steps guide to waking up early.

In fact, I woke up at 5 am only once or twice. What?

Why did I failed?

Well, I would love to say that it is because I am an artist and it got too complicated with my schedule. Although, it is only partly true.

  1. I am an artist and my schedule is a bit mixed up:

I live in Berlin and I am at the moment trying to become a full-time artist and not just an artist at heart. I am lucky to have a very flexible schedule that I can basically organize as I wish. Although, some things can only take place in the evening. Whether it is to sing in a bar or meet some musicians to work on some projects, like recording my first single, many of my evenings ended at 11h30. With my time in the train, I was arriving home at 1 am. That would leave me with a night shorter than 4 hours if I were to wake up at 5 am. Same when I was travelling, or taking night transport, as it would automatically break the cycle. Not ideal.

  1. I don’t really want to fully ruin any possible occasions for social life: 

I am fully committed to my projects. Last year, as an Erasmus in Psychology in Mannheim, I was sometimes out until 5 am and mostly hanging out and drinking coffee with friend, or travelling for days, or drinking wine, much wine. This year, I became more adult. I try to limit my social activities to the minimum to be sure I am really invested in making my projects happen and to go to bed early-ish. And even if I live in Berlin, the party place by excellence, I only went out once or twice. But waking up at 5 am, means that you realistically have to be in your bed by 10 pm. So you have to be home at 9 pm  to get ready. That means that If I were to go grab dinner or even go to the movies, I would ruin my cycle and cut on my sleep to respect my goal. Or I would have to refuse to go to birthday parties, dinner, special events… The truth is, you can’t really hang out with people at 5 am, and people are usually busy until 7 pm. That leaves you with a decision that is easy to make. Yes, you will still see your friends and no you won’t be awake at 5 am. I think the ultimate goal is balance and balance includes a healthy social life.

3. It’s dark in the morning 

Gosh, this was the worse in my process. Waking up at 5 am in February or March is a dark dark time. You will in fact wake up and have a slow morning routine in the dark. It is very confusing and it doesn’t bring so much joy in your heart. Yes, it is quiet and peaceful, but it is not that fun to do yoga or eat breakfast in the dark with lights on.  Bleh! I had one joyful morning where I followed my routine and started drawing, and did yoga from 5 am. But my body wasn’t so happy about it, so I was doing everything quite slowly and ended up dressing up and getting ready at 9 h 30 am. I wouldn’t call it a success! It made me realize that a huge part of my love for morning starts with my love of the light. There is something magical at sunrise and I like to be part of by waking up early, but I guess 7 am will do.

So what do I think about this whole early morning ideal?

In fact, While I was trying to convince myself that waking up at 5 am was my key to freedom, waking up later than planned and not actually doing a good routine because I had failed anyway, I realized I wasn’t focusing on the good reasons. My boyfriend did something different that actually put things in perspective for me. He chose a morning routine for himself, wrote it down, and decided that as long as he was doing it during the day he would succeed.

How awesome! It is so clever, thinking that brunch is marvelous at any time of the day, a morning routine should be awesome at any time too!

So there I was on a certain lazy Sunday, not getting out of the bed before 11 am. My boyfriend and I both woke up and did our own tasks slowly, writing and creating side by side. We then started his morning routine and we were done at 4 pm! It was so fun and felt so good. The whole idea is that, before trying to implement a morning routine early, you should start to implement a morning routine you love and that makes you feel great. It doesn’t matter when you do it at the beginning. As long as you do it every day. When it is mastered, you can than try to do it as soon as you wake up.

This whole experience made me realize that  rigidity was never the key to discipline. Having a healthy and balanced lifestyle starts by the choices we make everyday. What we eat, what we do, what we say, what we think. But it is not bounded with time and space.

What I understood from it: 

  • It doesn’t matter when you wake up, as long as you have time to create space for yourself in the morning and make sure you hydrate, eat and exercise or stretch before getting started with your day.
  • It is important to regulate the number of hours you sleep and make it constant, but you shouldn’t cut on your sleep for the sake of waking up  at a rigid determined time. Since I usually need 6 hours to feel good, I put an alarm when needed, but I will naturally wake up before the alarm most of the time.
  • I love my morning routine. It does really help me to start my day on the good feet. But it is important to work on each aspect of your morning routine one element at the time and try to stick with it. You can’t implement a perfect routine in one go. In fact,  I am still struggling with not looking at my phone as I wake up, but I am working on it.
  • Make sure you do it for the good reasons. The whole idea is to find a balance that makes sense for your own need and lifestyle. I usually get really creative in the evening, and it  is when most of my music projects are happening. So it would make no sense to be unbalanced and tired because I think waking up at 5 am is the ultimate goal for success.
  • There can be 100 perfect morning routine, but it is all about finding something that suits you personally. That makes you vibrate and help you live a happier life. Find your own perfect morning routine & time.

I am now team 7 am!

7 am is early enough to catch the first rays of the sun. You still have plenty of time to create a routine before you start working. And you can go to bed around midnight which leaves you plenty of time to enjoy your evening. I learned a lot this month, but I am getting closer to my ideal routine. Are you?

About the author: Marjolaine is the owner of the blog, a young graduate in Psychology and a Yoga teacher. She lives in Berlin and is aiming toward her goal of having a career as an artist while being her own boss. While slowly making her way into the music scene and the yoga community, she secretly dreams of having enough money to do a tour of the 50 best restaurants in the world.

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