My three-year old is totally into “Arthur” books- you know, the weird little hedgehog-porcupine-mole guy with the glasses. Her favorite book is “Try It, You’ll Like It” where Arthur’s sister D.W. refuses to try a bundle of new things, only to find out later that she did, in fact, really like them once she tried them. I love kids stories with morals.
I started a boot camp three weeks ago that requires me to wake up at an ungodly hour. When I first read the introdutory email, I almost quit before I started. Boot camp starts at 5:30am twice a week, and 5 am twice a week. 5 AM. Meaning I have to BE THERE AT 5 AM. Out of bed, teeth brushed (most of the time), dressed and prepared for physical pain at 5am.
I’m sure for some people, 5am is a very normal time to be awake. Exercising, even. But I’m a die-hard night owl who could witness nightly Cinderella’s stagecoach turning back into a pumpkin, and then stay up for a few more hours.
The first week was terrible. 10pm would roll around and I KNEW that I should be in bed. I’d mentally countdown, telling myself, ‘If you go to bed now, you’ll get 7 hours of sleep.’ But laundry and blogging and Angry Birds would coax me from my sheets, and I’d end up going to bed entirely too late, waking up miserable and groggy, slogging through the workout and then coming home ready for a 6am nap.
Week 2 was better. I was actually tired at night, which made my brain go to sleep around the same time as my body. Another great week 2 revelation: as the new routine became more routine, I noticed that I didn’t have to reset my power button at 3pm, which I would normally do with sugar-ladden coffee or some form of easily grabbable sweet. Not only was my body getting into rhythm, I could feel myself getting stronger. Physical strength begot mental strength, and both the workouts and diet became easier.
Week 3 rocked. I think I actually told someone outloud, “I like getting up early!” And I hate to admit it, but it’s true. Here’s what’s helped me:
-Laying out my workout clothes the night before. Saves time and ensures that I don’t walk out the door at 5am without pants.
-Setting a bedtime alarm. I need one to help me wake up, so I’m using one to help me go to bed. While I don’t run to bed the minute it rings, it gently reminds me to wrap up what I’m doing, and I don’t have that ,”How is it midnight already?” moment.
-Giving myself enough time in the morning. The first two weeks, I would squeeze every single moment of sleep in, and only give myself like 5 minutes to dress, brush teeth, get water and be out the door. Unrealistic, and it drove me crazy to be rushing at 4:55am. Now I give myself 15 minutes. I’m not rushed, and I don’t miss the extra ten minutes of sleep.
This new normal is settling in beautifully, and I can see a lifetime of becoming an early riser. What I love most is working out super hard, coming home and being ready for work before my kids are even awake. When I was trying to exercise at night after work more often than not I’d get home late, something would come up, or the guilt of leaving the kids again would override my desire. Now I have no excuses. No one needs me at 5am.
5am may not be the thing for everyone. Four weeks ago, I would have never believed how much I appreciate it. Maybe for you its a new class at the gym, or a vegetable you know is good for you that you just haven’t tried. Borrowing a quote from D.W., “Try it! You’ll like it!” How many times do we tell our kids, “How do you know you don’t like that? You haven’t even tried it!” Give yourself that nudge, and get outside your comfort zone. Even the healthiest and fittest among us have something you can try to step up your game.
I challenge you this week to try something that you haven’t before. Do it for a week, and see how you feel at the end. And if at the end of a week, you still don’t like it, now you can at least say, “Oh, Zumba? I tried that for a week. I felt like a spastic Dancing With the Stars contestant and I don’t like it.”
Tell me below what you’re going to try- maybe your challenge will inspire someone else!
FYI, Arthur is an aardvark. In fact, he’s the “world’s most famous aardvark.” Not much competition there, Arthur, but good job. Message still remains” Try It, You’ll Like It!”