My alarm went off at 5am this morning. That is a first for me. I mean, I’ve gotten up before 5am before, but never on purpose and without a good reason (like catching a flight or whatever.) Today was different though. I intentionally set my alarm to wake me before the sun made its way to the top of the horizon.
I am not a morning person. At least, that’s what I would tell myself. In fact, it has become part of my identity.
But, over the last several months, I have begun waking at 6am. I have a whole routine that I go through each morning…
6am - Wake and express gratitude
6:15am - stretch
6:30am - read, coffee, journal
7:30am - walk
8:30am - gym
9am - get ready for the day and start work
This routine has become a habit for me and I enjoy my mornings immensely. The quiet solitude while everyone else is sleeping, the hot cup of coffee (Laughing Man is the brand I prefer), reading, journaling, the physical exercise…it all lights me up and sets the tone for the day.
Yesterday it dawned on me that maybe I should start adding an hour to this morning ritual so I could do some other things that seem to allude me during my busy days, like writing in this blog, learning something new, or whatever it is that interests me in the moment. After all, these mornings are for me and me alone. I can do whatever I want during this time, so why not make it something that I actually want to do?
So, here I am, 6:17am, pecking away on this laptop, doing something (blogging) that I have wanted to do for a long while and never had the freedom to do.
Here’s the kicker: my lack of discipline in carving out time for this activity limited my freedom to pursue it.
A while back, while watching a video interview of Dr. Jordan B. Peterson, he said something that has made a profound impact on my life. He said, “Freedom is purchased at the price of discipline.”
From that moment I began to create these little routines that would forge discipline in my life. If there is one thing I know about myself it’s that - if left to my own devices - my life can go sideways in a hurry.
Implementing structure in my life allows me the freedom to pursue activities, hobbies, work, and relationships that I enjoy and that bring me joy. It is counterintuitive at first blush, that implementing a disciplined structure in your life will actually breed more freedom in your daily pursuits, but it is true.
It allows you to shape your identity, become who you set out to become back when you would dream of such things, and be the person you are capable of becoming. Implementing a structure in your life, creating a mundane routine, is the key to effecting change in your life.
It is the key that unlocks the door to freedom.