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A Simple New Year’s Resolution: Wake Up!

Joe Heitzeberg
December 31, 2010

A Simple New Year’s Resolution: Wake Up!

Perhaps my New Year’s Resolution should be to blog more since I haven’t posted here since July! This post diverges from the regular tech and startup material (for more of that, see my recent guest post on the 500Startups blog, “The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Conflicting Advice“)

And so 2010 comes to a close. Another year has passed meaning it’s once again that time when we start listing down goals for the next year. Resolutions can range from reasonable to downright optimistic, and are usually rather long lists…but for 2011 I have a single, elegant New Year’s resolution: to wake up every morning no later than 7am or at the sunrise, whichever is earlier. And I plan to strictly follow this each and every day for the entire year.

Why? It’s elegant: just one simple goal. And yet I believe waking up early will carry many benefits. The brain is most receptive to new ideas in the early morning. There are significant health benefits to waking up early. I’ll get more time to spend with my family without sacrificing work hours. And I’ll be able to enjoy the simple pleasure of seeing the friggin’ sunrise.

Rising early in the morning is not a new concept. Rather, it is one of the best characteristics which our earlier generations had. Thomas Jefferson was a famous advocate of waking up early in the morning and once said that the sun had never caught him in bed for over fifty years. A notable English theologian and economist of the 19th century, Richard Whately, was also quoted as saying, “Lose an hour in the morning, and you will be all day hunting for it.” The American journalist George Horace Lorimer, who worked during the 20th century, proves my earlier point that more productive work is done in the day if one wakes up early in the morning. He said, “You’ve got to get up early every morning with determination if you’re going to go to bed with satisfaction.” One of the most prominent cliches of all time reads “Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise” (Benjamin Franklin)

I can’t even count how many times I’ve hit the snooze button in search of a few extra minutes of sleep pleasure only to find myself rushing to my first appointment having skipped breakfast. Waking up early will ensure that I always have proper and nutritional breakfast. This is a very important benefit as the breakfast is known as the most important meal of the entire day. It sates our hunger for a long time and thus effectively compels us to have a light and healthy lunch. A full breakfast also revitalizes our body in the morning. Besides being very beneficient for health, waking up earlier also allows us to have a regular schedule for the whole day. By fixing a time to get up, I would have an opportunity to set a schedule for the week and be assured that I can follow it since my wake-up time will be constant. This will easily result in much more flexibility in carrying out the day’s work.

I’m no longer going to miss one of the wondrous features of nature – sunrise. Pausing in silence to observe the first rays peek out over the horizon need not be limited to those times you’ve scale the summits of Rainier, Mt. Fuji or scrambled up some sand dune in Morocco…I’ll be taking a moment every day in 2011 (admittedly, this part isn’t very realistic since I’m in Seattle). I’m not a particularly spiritual person, but a few extra moments to contemplate the natural beauty of the sun can’t do any harm.

However beneficient the advantages of waking up in the morning are, everyone is bound to have their own resolutions for the New Year and I really want to hear yours. Whatever they are, however, I wish you a very happy and productive New Year and sincerely hope that you are able to follow your resolutions.

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