Reverbing in July: New Habits

This month’s latest Reverb prompt is resonating with me.

July prompt- What new thing will you try this month?

(This would have made a great lesson for my Avoid a Cruel Summer eCourse. Damn.)


In the big picture, there is a chance (emphasis on chance) that the next three months may be the last three months that I spend in New York for a while, if not permanently. I’ve been in NYC for 15 years but the list of things I’ve never done is a mile long. What should I be doing that’s new?

But these days I’m concerned with small details and when I read this prompt two weeks ago, I decided the new thing I would commit to is waking up AND getting out of bed at 6 AM every day in July and not getting on a phone or computer until 7AM. I can go for a walk, meditate, clean, read a book (out of bed)… whatever. It just can’t involve the web or email.

It’s hard to deny that the irregularity in my schedule is taking its toll on my body. For those of you who have corporate jobs or kids, this may seem crazy that I don’t have a good schedule. But some of my greatest strengths have always been my agility, stamina, and the flexibility to adjust my schedule to whatever is required. That usually means working very hard one day to finish a project and recovering the next day. The flip side of shining like that is burnout (paraphrased from Danielle LaPorte) and I am feeling the burnout, people!  I’ve lived some version of this for the last four years and like most people, I do my best work in the mornings. I truly believe a schedule change will make all the world of difference in my quality of life so I decided to go for it.

But it’s Day 19… and I’ve failed every day at this. I’ve set the alarm, but I can’t get out of bed right away, and the days that I do, it’s because of the draw of something waiting on the computer. What is the secret sauce for early rising? Anyone?

What new routine could you try that might make a big difference?

Posted via email from The Opportunities Project Blog

3 Responses to “Reverbing in July: New Habits”

  1. musicd0rk July 20, 2011 at 2:24 am #

    1.) What is it you’re most productive at in the morning? If it’s web or email-related stuff, why not just go right into that? It sounds like you’re forcing yourself to get up early, and then forcing yourself to spend that hour exerting willpower. I would say, first establish the 6am habit, THEN  tackle how you want to spend the hour.

    2.) Don’t be too hard on yourself after the death of a pet (or, for anyone, any family member). It’s totally normal and human to have some pity parties, and to give in to some fatigue….and if you delay grief it generally comes back later to bite you in the butt later. I didn’t get to grieve my mother’s death at the appropriate time, and I ended up having PTSD symptoms a few years later, where I woke up not understanding where I was, and where even though I knew better, I still thought it looked like everyone on the sidewalks was holding a gun and looking at me like they wanted to shoot me. So, I wouldn’t do to much staying strong at the moment if I were you.

    3.) I haven’t made it a goal to get up early in a long time, but when I was in high school, I got up at 4:30 am every day so I could practice the piano for two hours before I went to school. I think part of it was that I knew in order to reach my goals I had to get in 4 hours a day, my mom wanted to watch TV after 6 pm, and I couldn’t practice 4 hours straight. So, I had a compelling reason to practice early. I think part of it is knowing exactly why you need to get up early, and what it is that you are going to accomplish as a result of that, that you really could or would not do if you got up later. In the performing arts, I have learned that pretty much everything lives and dies on the specificity of the intention, and i think it’s true in all aspects of life at all. Like I asked one of my students who dutifully practiced every day, “What were you trying to accomplish in your practicing?” and he said, “Nothing in particular.” and I said, “Well, I guess you were successful, because that’s what got better: Nothing in particular.” 

  2. Julie Jordan Scott July 31, 2011 at 11:29 pm #

    Wow. What would make you excited to get up earlier, I wonder? It obviously isn’t this… congrats on that discovery, eh?

    Great question for me to ask myself… and to set aside a particular time for no interruption via email, twitter, etc… since it comes to my phone now, too, it is even more difficult to avoid.

  3. Tracy Brisson August 18, 2011 at 7:37 pm #

    Thanks so much for your comments and sorry for my belated response!

     – I have been working with a big client this summer that requires me to travel, live out of my bag (laptop, phone, etc.) and answer emails at odd times of day and it has left me feeling craving more structure. I thought the morning routine would solve that problem. But I have been taking better care the last 10 days of what I eat and that has actually helped a lot. I feel less haggard. I was probably actually craving more self-care then structure to deal with the chaos.

    – I think you were right on target. What I needed was self-care and now that I’ve been able to bring it in through food and exercise, I don’t feel as obligated to create this wake up habit as rigid as I first proposed. That was my purpose, my why. The sleep is now starting to fall in line and I’m about to get ready for a nice 5PM walk on the Brooklyn waterfront!