How to Become An Early Riser In 5 Days (and other worthless blog posts)

Ed. Note – This post is written directly to me.  For every finger pointing at you, the reader, there are three pointed back at what has two thumbs and makes the same mistakes (“this guy!”).  Don’t get your feelings hurt ’cause I called you a doofus later on in the post.  I’m really calling myself that.  Okay?  Okay.  On with the rant…

I see junk like this post title all over the place on the “self-help”, “productivity”, “Zen-whatever” blogs that I’m (unfortunately) lumped in with as a personal development blogger.  Look, if you want to become an early riser, why do you need 5 days to do it?  Just set your alarm earlier the next day, and get up when it goes off.  IT’S NOT ROCKET SCIENCE, PEOPLE.

The problem is two-fold, as I see it.

First, people are weak.  We need to ssssssslllllllooooooowwwwwwlllllllyyyyy ease into a new frame of mind.  Why?  Just because bad habits supposedly take a long time to break?  They sure don’t take a long time to create.  You just make bad decision after bad decision until you’re to the point where you have no control over your actions.  “I’m a slave to my habits!” you say, then you throw up your hands and give up.

That’s crap.

Look:  everything you do, whether habitual or not, is a result of a choice that you’ve made, consistently and over time.  If you continue to make the same bad decision, it becomes easier to do.

You know how to stop?  Quit making that decision, moron!

Before it becomes a habit, you have to make a decision to do it EVERY SINGLE TIME.  Now, maybe the number of times to create a black tar heroin habit is less than picking your nose and wiping it on the bottom of a chair (you know you’ve done it), but you still made a choice at least once in every instance.

So own that sucker.  BE INTENTIONAL!  You made the mess by making choices; you can turn it around just as fast by making better choices.  You don’t need five days, or five years, or whatever.  Start doing it differently RIGHT NOW.

Of course, the resultant circumstances of your bad habits may not go away immediately.  If you’ve got a habit of sleeping till noon, you’re gonna feel tired when you set the clock for seven and get out of bed.  That’s life.  Don’t worry, it gets easier.  Just start doing it.

The second problem with these lame articles is “personal development” for its own sake.  Why is it assumed that “being an early riser” has intrinsically more reward for a person than does sleeping late?  Just because that’s the mold we’re supposed to fit in?  Because you might miss work or something?

If you’re doing something not to better yourself, but simply for the purpose of conforming (or “this is what Lifehackamabob.com [note:  not a real site… I don’t think] said I needed to do”), then it’s not personal development.  It’s masochism.  You need to stop doing it, because the rewards don’t add up.

Consider the choices you’ve made and the habits you’ve developed.  What’s the TCO (Total Cost of Ownership)?  What do you get out of these habits, and what would you otherwise have if you didn’t have the habits?  If the cost isn’t that big of a deal (so you don’t get to see the sunrise… so what?), then don’t worry about it.  You’ve probably got enough habits that, if changed, would represent a gain in your life.

Don’t sweat the stuff that other people try to push on you as “lifehacks”, be they GTD, waking up early, polyphasic sleep, raw-food veganism or polyamory (all things I’ve seen recommended on “self-help” sites at one time or another).  Fix what needs to be fixed according to YOUR assessment of your life.

Whew… I feel better.

Photo “sleepy stash” courtesy: corrieb

5 thoughts on “How to Become An Early Riser In 5 Days (and other worthless blog posts)”

  1. The best I have I heard recently is somebody saying that it was easy to let go of fear. Uh-huh, so it's easy to drop something that is hard-wired in is it?

    1. I'm curious, Tim… Since you (more than likely) run into a lot of issues like this in your coaching practice, how do you view this? As I'm contending here, a person should be able to make decisions consciously to break habits. It may not be easy, but it's fully within someone's control. Do you find that to be true, or do you have cases where "the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak"?

  2. Haha. I just found the post in question, and was equally unimpressed. I like the point you make about whether it's intrinsically desirable to get up early or not.

    After experimenting over the past few months, I've decided that YES – it is (more energy, more productive)

    But… it ain't easy to do. I've stopped beating myself up about it. It is as it is.

    The original article was hippy crap though ! Funny stuff.

    (Although I think you're a bit harsh on how easy it is to adopt a new behaviour – otherwise perhaps you'd be running the world and stealing all the best women by now???) Hehe. Maybe you are.

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