We just entered July which means we enter the second half of 2019. The past weekend I have been reflecting on my first half of 2019. This was a really intense but insightful process. In this blog post I will share three things which really stood out for me and which I want to change. There will also be a part 2 which will cover three other things which I am proud of and want to keep doing.
Waking Up At 4:30 AM
Let’s start off with the one where I spent most of my time reflecting on and even more time on when it comes to changing it from now on: waking up at 4:30 AM.
Becoming an early riser
Around the age of 21 I decided to test myself: I wanted to find out what workload I could handle. One of the aspects that changed in my life was my alarm. I always used to be a morning-person. But still, I never set my alarm before 6 AM. That changed.
I am 24 right now and for the past three years my alarm went off at 6 AM or earlier. I started off with 6 AM. Did that for about a year. Then, I switched to 5 AM for almost two years. For the past five months, my alarm went off at 4:30 AM consistently. Seven days a week. Reflecting on that gave me great satisfaction. It was a big win for me, because it proofed I reached another level of self-discipline when it comes to waking up early and consistently.
The changes involved around the 4:30 AM alarm
Waking up at 4:30 AM. What differences are there compared to the 5 AM and 6 AM alarm? Well, quite a few. And some are way more impactful than expected.
The first thing that comes to mind is not a big surprise: waking up at 4:30 AM gives me even more time in the morning. The extra 30 minutes, compared to waking up at 5 AM, actually make a big difference. It gives a huge chunk of extra time to utilize before the people around me start their day. For me, 30 minutes of focused work in the early morning can be as effective and efficient as 2 hours in the afternoon. So, those extra 30 minutes are a really big win for me.
Waking up at 4:30 AM also challenged my self-discipline a lot more than waking up at 5 AM, even though it is only a difference of 30 minutes. Not because of the waking up part, but because of the other part, the part of going to bed even earlier. When I woke up at 5 AM I usually went to bed around 9:30/10 PM. That gave me a solid 7 hours of sleep. Now that I wake up at 4:30 AM, I still go to bed around the same time, because it is quite hard to go to bed earlier due to social events. Having 30 minutes of sleep less on a night where you are already home later than you should be, can be quite hurtful the next day. Do that a few days in a row, and it can mess with you.
Over the past five months I have experienced that both my body and mind recharge less when I take it easy for a weekend. Besides that, if I take it easy for a weekend it is usually by cutting down on social events which also hurts me in a different way in the long-term. This is something where I thought about a lot this past weekend.
Changing my routine
I started reflecting even more and asked myself questions, like:
-Should I change my alarm back to 5 AM or later?
-Should I attend less social events?
-Am I thinking about the long-term effects in a proper way?
-Am I justifying becoming less disciplined around waking up?
-Should I take a day off?
I answered all those questions in different ways and my mind wandered a lot even after answering them. I eventually came up with the next idea: I am either going to maintain my current routine or I am going to wake up at 4:30 AM for six days a week and take one day off on weekends.
Now, this was a hard decision to make. Real hard. On one hand I believe in building and maintaining momentum and having the discipline to keep hammering no matter what. On the other hand, I believe that I am running a marathon, not a sprint. My health and social life are crucial components of this marathon.
If I have to be honest with you, I feel really weird about the decision I made as I am writing this blog post. I have decided that, from now on, I will wake up at 4:30 AM six days a week and take one day off on weekends. On this off day I will still go through all my routines, as early in the day as possible, but just not at 4:30 AM.
My hope, and goal, is that by doing this I can recharge fully when it comes to my body and mind. Besides that, I hope this will also have a positive effect on my social life. My plan is to try this new routine out for the months July and August and then reflect on it.
Becoming Comfortable Being Uncomfortable
The last book I read in December of 2018 was ‘Can’t Hurt Me’, by David Goggins. His story inspired me to emphasize more on becoming comfortable being uncomfortable. Or as he likes to call it: A Calloused Mind.
I started off 2019 great with applying this. I did things like taking a cold shower every morning, doing more cardio (which I despise), trying out martial arts, etc. However, reflecting on it now made me aware that the intensity disappeared over the months. Now that I am in June, I am mostly running on auto-pilot and there are not a whole lot of uncomfortable things in my routine anymore.
My goal is implement doing something uncomfortable every day into my habit tracker and journaling system again. I am starting off by taking a cold shower every day in the month July. In August, I will pick a martial art and stick with it.
Community: depth versus width
If there is one thing I am bad at, it is marketing and branding. So, I picked up a book that a lot of people recommended me to read. Purple Cow, by Seth Godin. Boy, he opened my eyes.
Reading his book made me think a lot about my blog, Instagram and the community around it. And I got to be honest, reflecting and thinking about it for just a weekend was not sufficient enough. So, I will put more time into it.
I can share a few things already which I thought through. I mostly focused on questions like:
-What content does match the best with the desires of the community?
-How can I encourage more communication between the community?
-Where do I want my blog to go? Should this stay a blog? Or should I make it into a forum or platform that allows people to share their process and support others?
-How do I want to (re)brand ‘What Discipline Means’?
-How do I increase overall engagement?
The one thing that really stood out for me this weekend was the next phrase: dept versus width. What do I want? Do I want to reach more people, or do I want to engage in more intense way with the people who are already engaged? I decided that from now on, I will emphasize on going deeper. Which means getting to know every follower better, DM’ing more and providing more value to the individual. More on this later.
Besides that, it will also be a goal to launch a forum or platform that gets everyone engaged with each other. I hope that will work out even better than the hashtag system does now.
Going Into The Second Half Of 2019
There will be another blog post which covers the second part of the reflecting. In that blog post I will share three things which I am most proud of and which I want to continue doing. I will also share an overview of where I will be focusing on in the second half of 2019. In the blog post you just read are already a few points.
For now, keep hammering and have a productive week!