The First Battle of the Day
So you went to bed late and the alarm goes off, jarring you awake and you could have sworn that you just nestled into your cozy bed and fell off to dreamland and now you are facing chaos in your face of the glaring alarm clock startling you awake. Welcome to the first battle of the day! First thing in the morning and we are faced with our first battle! We have a choice! Either hit the snooze button or jump out of bed…or there could be another option, roll out of bed and hit your knees in prayer (this is my option most of the time) thanking God for allowing me the breath, health, knowledge and truth to serve him on this newly minted day fresh from God’s infinite mind. Now, please know that most of my life, I hit the snooze button and dozed off again and again and again!
When, I have hit the snooze button, the crazy part is, I’m more sluggish, my head is cloudy, my mind is foggy and my body and legs feel like I have crushed a “Murph” workout or double P90X workout from the day before.
In the end, losing the first battle stinks and sets the day up with the first choice and it was negative. So lets change that!
This month’s Warrior spiritual training tactic is the Heroic Minute! Let me explain, In the book, The Way, St. Josemaria Escriva spoke about this exact item and describing how to overcome this bad habit.
“The heroic minute. It is the time fixed for getting up. Without hesitation: a supernatural reflection and … up! The heroic minute: here you have a mortification that strengthens your will and does no harm to your body. If, with God’s help, you conquer yourself, you will be well ahead for the rest of the day. It’s so discouraging to find oneself beaten at the first skirmish.”
In the past year, I have been getting better and better at this tactic and breaking the habit of hitting the snooze button. Now, let me assure you I’m not 100% and I’m still failing at this but I’m far better than I was and am seeing the benefits of rising early and on time!
Here are some practical tips I have picked up in the last year to help you overcome the laziness of hitting the snooze button:
1. Rise or roll out of bed immediately – This sounds overreactive or intense but for me if I lay and rationalize about the day or even worse look at my phone alarm again (which happens to display the outside temperature and in the last two weeks that temperature has been in negative numbers) that negative insurgency of thoughts starts to fill my mind and I begin to waiver!
NO delay! No thinking about it! Alarm goes off! Up and out and roll out of bed to your knees!
2. Prayer – A good family friend who is a priest use to tell me and my brother all the time, “The mind is weak but the body is strong” Upon hitting my knees, I thank God im still alive and invoke my guardian angel right after that. I say a simple morning offering prayer asking for his grace this day! If you have hard time, like I did in the beginning with this practice, my prayer was “Lord, help me with getting up on time to serve you better” Sometimes, I still need to say that prayer when my will is weak.
3. Change your alarm sound or move your alarm clock – This subtle change of sounds from the refreshing waves of the ocean to the hard core thump of a rock band could be all the difference or you can be creative and wake up to bugle call or the “Rise and Shine video” above.
Also, if the alarm clock or phone is on the other side of the room or in the bathroom, you will have to get up to turn it off. This is a sure fire way to get you moving when you have to get up and go across the room or perhaps to another room to turn off the alarm!
You ask how does this apply to fitness? Well the connection of the body and the mind are intrinsically linked and from the Greek Spartans to the Modern Day Armed Forces, all warriors understood that the discipling of your mind and body and waking up on time took and developed internal fortitude. And that is what we are seeking, internal fortitude, day by day, the discipline to win that first skirmish and thus be on the road to win the battle of the day.
Maybe you have more discipline then me and you can wake up on time every time without hesitation. If so, good on you! If not, and you are hitting the snooze button too often, try the practical advice above and Im sure you will see huge improvements in your waking up on time and winning the first skirmish of the day!
And, here is the one-two punch practice to kick butt everyday!
Step 1 is to Use the Heroic Minute!
Step 2 is to Make your Bed!
Upon waking, using the heroic minute tactics above after praying or thanking the universe or whatever you want to do! Simply, rise and make your bed! It take 3 minutes max. While making the bed, you can pray! Another great 3 minutes used and you are off to a super start. Or you can think about how great it will feel to get back into the made bed at the end of the day after you accomplished all your goals because you conquered your first two battles of the day!