Last week I was working on my mornings. If I could just get up 15 or 20 minutes earlier, I reasoned, the day would start so much better. Perhaps I’d even attain that magical state we call “being present.” (Maybe, maybe not.)
So I tried it. And the thing is, I can get up 15 or 20 minutes earlier. It’s actually not that hard to do. I may grumble out of bed with sleep in my eyes and a bad, bad feeling about winter, but I can get it done.
So it didn’t take too long to figure out the real issue. It wasn’t the wake time, it was the wake quality. Sleep too much or too little (especially too little) and I’d be pretty useless for the first half-hour I was awake. Get it just right, go to bed about 8 hours before I wanted to get up, and I’d be just fine.
What began as a question about wake time ended up shining a light onto the night before. To do better in one spot, I had to take a step back and fix something else.
This is how it works sometimes. We want to make simple, direct changes, but the truest path may begin at a different starting point. Getting stronger may mean eating better before worrying about lifting more; getting faster may mean buying better shoes before adding extra 400s to our training week.
Like they say, one step back, two steps forward. Do they say that? They should.