4:15 am comes early sometimes.
In January 2020, I was nearly 30 pounds heavier that I am now. The stress of five years of unexpected emergency surgeries had compounded, taking a toll on my well-being. While I had myself convinced I was managing, the reality was quite the opposite. It was spinning out of control.
So before it went any further, I made a decision, to change things.
My wife and I had agreed to join a local fitness challenge together. Classes ran all day, but because of our busy schedules, we made a commitment to go to the first class each day. It started 5:25 am, seven days a week. This was to start three weeks after January 1, so we were past the "New Year's Resolution" phase. This commitment would be different.
I hadn't realized it at the time, but this decision would be the first of a series of good things to come. I was rediscovering what’s important, discovering continuous improvement.
My value of fitness, hydration, eating a balanced diet, getting proper sleep was returning.
For nearly three months, I was "on a roll". My weight was down, my spirit was up, and my energy was high. I was beginning to feel the effects of casting votes, of taking daily action towards the type of person I was setting out to become - a healthy and fit husband, dad, friend, and professional.
That is, until March 13. The switch was abruptly switched off because of a global pandemic.
Surrounded by swirling uncertainty, I'd wondered:
Would my momentum be tested? Would I be back where I started?
With an open schedule that included round-the-clock work or thinking about work (among other things), I'd decided to mix in bike rides to my list of daily priorities. It was about mental fitness. This decision seemed to fortify my commitments to my lifestyle change.
My habits were built, and they weren’t going away easy, without a fight, or any time soon.
Managing my life through deliberate fitness was the cue for all other habits I was strengthening. Power 90, Power 90X, and bike riding kept my balance and managed my stress. Weight training, core work, cardiovascular, and abdominal workouts kept my energy levels high and my spirits, strong. Proper hydration and sleep fit well with my priorities.
Mapping out how I use my 168 hours each week, I thought, if I could devote x hours to work and x hours to sleep, I could certainly commit x hours towards fitness. After all, I'd gained 10 hours weekly to reinvest in fitness, that'd have otherwise been spent on a daily commute.
My habits were firing, and the compounding was taking effect.
This was the point I'd discovered that pursuing my personal best, for myself, and for others are not mutually exclusive. They are equally part of my daily flow, my personal flywheel.
We seem to be living in more typical conditions nowadays than we did in March 2020.
And while 4:15 does seem to come early sometimes, approaching each day focused on small daily improvements makes all the difference.