I am not a morning person. Never was, never will be. That’s not to say that I haven’t tried. For years, I stumbled out of bed before the sun woke up — to get into the bathroom first; to swim (I was a competitive swimmer in my youth); to take the early classes; to get into work before the traffic got heavy. I went to bed at a ‘reasonable’ hour to get at least eight hours of shut-eye. I did all those things to mesh with the rest of the world.
The thing is, that no matter what schedule I followed, as far as the clock on the wall was concerned, I was a zombie until early afternoon. I functioned on a physical level. I could go through the motions of whatever was demanded at the time, but my brain’s higher functions were AWOL. My clients knew and joked about the fact that they could ask me anything in the afternoon and get an immediate and useful response. Ask me in the morning…not so much.
Over the years, I’ve played around with my sleep/wake schedules. I start working later and end later to give my clients more of my peak hours. I get out of bed later…and later…and…
The truth is, that I don’t ever want to get out of bed, and it has little to do with when I went to bed the night before. Many morning people, it seems (my husband is one) are motivated by their stomach. The get up, they eat, they begin their day. My stomach, it seems, prefers to lie dormant until my brain wakes it up…sometime around mid-afternoon. Even though I spend my morning in the swimming pool, I don’t feel awake or hungry for food until much later.
So my stomach can’t motivate me to get out of bed in the morning.
But I still believe that hunger, not habit, is a powerful motivator for getting one’s ass out of bed in the morning. Just not always hunger for food.
I have explored more than a few self-help/discovery methods over the years, and probably follow too many thinkers along those lines on Medium. For a long time, made training my psyche into an abundance mindset a priority: I did affirmations; I carefully retrained speech patterns from ‘I want…’ to ‘I have…’; I wrote about it; hell, I even invented a set of abundance cards play and meditate upon. Living the life of abundance — and we are surrounded by abundance — didn’t get me out of bed in the morning.
Sitting in a workshop with Jill Butler, I made a comment about reframing a statement about ‘wanting’ into one about ‘having.’ Both Jill and I have a passion about words: what you say and the words you choose to express it can have a profound impact on the outcome of your statement, i.e., whether or not you will actually follow through with your intention. For example, in Jill’s parlance, when I use the word ‘try’ in a statement, I automatically give myself permission to fail:
“I’ll try to review your draft and send my comments tomorrow,” means that I might or might not do this tomorrow (or ever).
“I’ll review your draft and send my comments tomorrow,” means that I will do this, and you’ll see the results tomorrow.
So, when I made a statement about ‘want’ vs. ‘have’, Jill jumped.
“No,” she said, “wanting is important to achieving. If you don’t first want something, then you will never have it.”
So, for me, ‘want’ and ‘hunger’ are intricately related. Because I want to be stronger, healthier, and lose weight, the hunger for those things gets me, zombie-like, out of bed in the morning and into my bathing suit.