Success habits: the 3:30AM challenge

At the start of March I set off to complete four daily success habits within the month, for at least 20 days. Here is a list of the four habits:

  1. Wake up at 3:30am
  2. Meditate for 15 minutes
  3. Exercise for 30 minutes
  4. Read for 30 minutes

Here are the results (If I marked ‘Yes’, the habit was completed for that day):

March Habit Grid

Waking up at 3:30am might sound insane to some, and to others, it’s their routine. What I’m trying to accomplish is success modelling – ingraining the habits that ultra-successful people abide by daily.

The average successful person is an early-bird – they start their day while everyone else is sleeping. I didn’t just want to wake up earlier. I wanted to get to bed early – 9:30pm at the latest.

I found that my schedule was fairly consistent at the start of the habit formations. Then I had some days of inconsistency, boredom, and lack of motivation, where I did not complete the habit. Luckily at the end, I pushed through to accomplish my main goal of waking up at 3:30am (no napping) at least 20 times in the month.

Outcomes

When waking up at 3:30am, I was initially tired later in the day. Once the schedule of waking up early settled in, I had no instances of yawning. Energy levels were consistent throughout the day, attributable to the fact that I would sleep 6 hours every day, at the same time, training my body to adjust and stay adjusted to the sleep cycle.

My meditation efforts were perhaps the greatest finding in terms of my well-being. Having never meditated before, this was completely new to me. As I started, I found drastic improvements to my emotional control (calmness in all situations) and focus (tasks approached with determination).

Exercising is the obvious habit in this list in terms of its benefits. I lost some of my unhealthy weight from the consistent fitness routine of pushups, plank, dips, shrugs, curls, bench press, squats, running and elliptical. I would alternate between days of strength and cardio training. 30 minutes is really all you need, as long as your intensity level is there for the entire session. Avoiding long breaks helped me to complete 3 sets of each strength exercise.

By reading for 30 minutes, I managed to complete two books from cover to cover. Successful people should be reading at least 24 books a year to continue their learning and personal growth. This is a great start for me.

One of the best things we can do is start building positive habits, in chunks. Maybe you have a fitness goal in mind, but you’re inconsistent. Break it down to a 30-day chunk and focus your attention on completing it successfully. My chart above is reviewed every day. When I see red squares, I get angry with myself and push to get yellow the next day (it’s a psychological, powerful visual). March was my first kick at the can, and I’m excited to push harder for April.

What positive habits are you forming? How are you staying consistent?

2 Replies to “Success habits: the 3:30AM challenge”

  1. Wow, Trev, you’re rocking it!

    Have you found that your body is content with six hours of sleep? I’ve found that seven is my sweet spot. Six makes me feel worn out, and I’m more likely to do something to try to compensate (nap, go to bed earlier the next night).

    Now that you’ve done it for a month, are you planning on sustaining this habit in the near future?

    1. Hey Dan, it’s a definite challenge to stay consistent with 3:30 am. I found myself going to bed earlier in order to remain well-rested. I found that my energy levels would be fine throughout the day if I stick to the schedule. In future, I would definitely like to continue with the habit and include more morning rituals like running and writing.

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