You wake each morning with a finite amount of energy to spend, just like you have limited funds in your checking account. How can you generate the maximum return on your time investment?
Anyone who has read this blog long enough knows I love being healthy and, also, I hate exercising for the sake of exercise. I enjoy being active but I have no patience for standing still and raising something heavy fifty times or running on a glorified hamster wheel for an hour. I just can’t do it.
Nonetheless, I know it is important to develop exercise habits the way I would develop any skill–with practice and repetition. That means I must actually fit it into my day. Where I want it to fit is at the end of my day, around 10pm when my energy is high. Unfortunately, I go to bed around midnight so exercising at 10 ramps me up too much to fall asleep. Plus, I would have to shower again. So I try to force it earlier, around 6pm. The problem there is I am drained from my work day at that time. I have no motivation to do anything around 6pm except wrap up my work day, grab a bite to eat, and look longingly at my bed when I pass by it.
The only place left is first thing in the morning. I already wake up as early as I am willing to wake up, though, and I do not exactly feel like going for a run when I hop out of bed. What to do?
I have learned that the only place it works for me is to put the exercise first thing in the morning. I don’t like it but that is okay. I don’t have to. I realize that almost all the things that are most important to me during the day are best if they are “front-loaded”. Think about it. When you wake up, you have more attention and energy than at any other time during the day. Nothing has piled on your plate yet. You have not yet exhausted your mental capacity or physical energy. You are as good as you are going to get.
Today’s lesson is: if something is really important to you, front-load it into your day. This includes your most important work tasks (observe any workplace and notice how much less energy and enthusiasm goes into tasks around 5pm as opposed to the effort and teamwork around 11am). If you struggle with fitting daily meditation in, put it at the beginning. Anything that is not supremely important can go to the end and if you do not get to it, it is not so big a deal as missing the really important things.
So… looks like morning push-ups for me. At least I can still enjoy being grumpy about doing them, though.