How Breaking This One Habit Changed My Perspective on Life

Giving up this one bad habit will certainly improve the quality of your life and make you happier.

Image courtesy of Gratisography

This article was originally published on Thrive Global. Read the original article.

Yeah, me too, I’m so sick of those articles that snobbishly keep telling us we ought to ‘pull ourselves out of a rut’ as if it could be done overnight. Not only do they make it seem like a piece a’ cake, but they also suggest we’re failures and lazy bums for not wanting to do as they suggest. I personally don’t always enjoy being told what’s right and wrong, so those articles’ tones never appealed to me.

If you were like me, then you do like learning some lessons the hard way, which is cool sometimes. I’ll tell you how getting rid of one bad habit actually transformed my perspective on life and turned me from someone who could no longer see hope, to someone who finds opportunities in the worst situations, so if you’re interested, read on — if not, also read on; I’d like to tell you my story.

For almost a year, I was stuck in a deep rut and changing my job did not help. I must have hit rock bottom, but this is a good thing because, once you hit rock bottom, the only way you can go is up!

Let’s start with a quick prologue

A few of my friends always believed I was supernatural. I thrived during the late night and was my worst in the early morning. I hated sunlight and loved the moon and the stars — I still do actually. I felt tired almost all day long and was pretty vigorous at night.

What’s even worse is that I was so proud of my sleep routine I actually named my blog “The Nocturnal Telegraph”! I thought I was created to thrive at night.

I slept for 5 hours or less every night, and I preferred waking up late in the morning over going to bed early. However, for almost a year, I hadn’t been able to make it to work on time. I would wake up sometime before but I needed to spend a while staring blankly at the wall, my socks, the mirror, the curtains, the phone… you name it, I stared at it. I then went to work and kept saying I was not a morning person when, in fact, I was just sleep-deprived but too exhausted to realize it.

To be honest, I was giving in to depression. Day after day. My nights were no longer filled with poetry, novels and movies, but with negative self-talk, terrifying illusions, nonexistent fears and rumination. I didn’t look forward to the day, didn’t have time for anything and couldn’t see many of the beautiful things and people surrounding me.

This all changed one day.

How?

I quit being a proud night owl and transformed into a gorgeous early bird who actually works out in the early morning!

Easier said than done, but I did it and in record time and I will give you the recipe of the magic potion I used to revert back to human after I’ve been a vampire for a long while. No offense to vampires, but they’re not morning folk.

Why endure the pain?

In season 1 of the UK TV series Being Human, Mitchell befriends a little boy, Bernie, who asks him, “When you were a kid, what did you wanna be when you grow up?” and Mitchell replied, “Just happy.”

Trust me, this change is worthwhile because it’ll give you a positive perspective on life. At the end, we all want to be happy.

Aristotle concluded that the ultimate purpose of human life is “happiness”. He was also convinced that a happy life required fulfilling a broad range of conditions, including physical and mental well-being.

Besides, waking up early will help you achieve more and thus become more successful. A 2010 study by Harvard Biologist Christoph Randler concluded that “people whose performance peaks in the morning are better positioned for career success, because they’re more proactive than people who are at their best in the evening.”

So here is the recipe I used:

1) Know that if you don’t sleep early, the boogeyman will possess you.

I like to call the negative thoughts which haunt me at night “boogeyman”. A Binghamton University study by Jacob A. Nota and Meredith E. Coles concluded that “higher levels of repetitive negative thinking are associated with reduced sleep duration.”

Go to bed early and wake up early. Get your full 7–8 hours of sleep during the night, not the day.

According to the Sleep Health Foundation, “sleeping for less than 5 hours per night for several nights in a row can have a significant effect on our mood. People become sadder, angrier, more stressed and mentally exhausted if their sleep is restricted in this way. When they are then allowed to have a normal amount of sleep, they report dramatic improvements in mood as they recover from sleep loss.”

By going to bed early, negative thoughts will not have power over you and will not take over your mind. I bow before my own experience.

2) Your nasty phone does not belong in bed with you.

Not even on your nightstand… unless you had strong willpower.

I spoke in a previous article about how I gave my phone the cold shoulder for a whole week, which contributed to helping me fall asleep easily and wakeup refreshed in the early morning.

Now if you cannot afford to do so, just leave your phone and laptop at least half an hour before you go to bed.

Break the habit of scrolling through your Facebook or Instagram feed while you’re in bed, and don’t check your email the moment you open your poor ole eyes in the morning.

I know, waiting to fall asleep is boring… sometimes even a burden, but only if you think of it this way. Think of it as an opportunity to read a good book, meditate or daydream. I am personally big on daydreaming before I doze off.

3) Find a good reason to wake up at daybreak.

It should be something you truly need or are passionate about. I cannot think of anything better than working out. You’ll see how it improves your body, your mood, your confidence, your productivity and your energy. Above all, it’ll make you happy and cheerful.

I very recently accepted this job with an 8-hour shift that starts closer to midday. Yes, I’m a pretty active person but haven’t been to the gym for almost a year and I so badly needed to go regularly to the gym — I like to socialize, commit to a fixed workout regimen and learn new ways to staying in shape.

Who in hell said that the first thing we should do in the morning is go to work? We could go to the gym before!

The gym I go to is almost an hour from my house (by bus), so I use this time to either read or listen to good music. I wake up at 6:30 a.m., workout for at least an hour, then head to work.

Nocturnal life is charming and enchanting. I still love the night, but in healthy doses. You can’t spend your entire life sleeping 5 hours a night — if not less — and dragging yourself from bed in the morning and into office, or sleeping through the weekend. Limit sleeping late to 3–4 nights a month maybe, but don’t make it a habit.