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My Happiness Hack: Wake Up Early (Or Don’t)

Regular readers of this blog will not be surprised to hear me say that I love mornings. I love being up before the birds and the way that, in certain seasons, I can be deep into my day before I see the sun peek into my living room window. I love spending mornings with a book, a journal, or a workout. I love the way my brain feels the most alive in the early hours of the day and, for a long time, I loved reading articles that told me I was a good person because of it.


I’m not sure when it began, exactly, but at some point maybe in high school or college or soon after graduation, I noticed a slew of internet articles proclaiming the art of waking up early and crafting morning routines. I was immediately tickled. I had lovely morning routines! I made games out of how much I could get done before work! I was a morning queen! I was destined for a successful life and career and relationship and…!


Or at least that’s how every “morning person” article is written. If you would just wake up 3 hours earlier, your life wouldn’t be such a mess. If you would just get up at 5:00 AM, all your problems would be solved. If you would just…


Of course younger me felt righteously justified by all that. And the thing is, current me understands how these articles were written. Some well meaning person found a routine that worked well for them and changed their life and they wanted to tell others about it. Trust me, I get that.


But the reality is, mornings don’t work for everyone. Yes, there are lots of studies about the benefits of waking up early. But there are also studies that show that that doesn’t work for everyone. Biologically, people are built differently and what is a brilliant little trick for my own well being might sound impossible, or even detrimental, for someone else. It might work against what their own body is telling them to do.


In a society that relentlessly urges people to wake up early, the alternative can be viewed as laziness. But if the script was flipped and someone told me that waking up early was weird, I would have a real hard time adjusting to staying up past 11:00 PM.


The point is, what works for me may not work for you. And that’s alright. Figuring out a way to do life that feels okay with you is a very personal thing that can’t be boiled down to a simple “life hack” listicle.


So wake up early if it feels good. And if you do your best thinking at night, see how you can make your schedule accommodate that.


You know you best. Write your own routine.



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