If you were born before 1990 you are probably very familiar with the “blue pill and red pill” analogy used in the title of this post. This analogy was made famous in the film The Matrix.
Over the past few weeks I’ve been dealing with a choice similar to this analogy in my quest to break free from sleeping late to becoming an early riser. I realized I have to commit to one, late evenings (blue pill) or early mornings (red pill). I can’t have both.
What is the blue pill and the red pill?
The blue pill and the red pill are completely opposite. The main character in The Matrix, Neo, has to make a choice. He cannot have both, and he cannot reverse his decision once made.
The blue pill will allow him to continue the life he has been living, a life a little safer, but less fulfilling. The red pill will lead to a new life, a life which challenges him and open the doors to great things he has never experienced.
The blue pill equals easy, common, run of the mill. The red pill equals hard, uncommon, and extraordinary.
Commit to evenings or mornings
At the beginning of this month, I decided to take the 30-day Early to Rise Challenge. The challenge was created by Andy Traub in his book, Early to Rise: Learn to Rise Early in 30 Days. I started off strong. I chose a time, and woke up several days in a row at that particular time. I was more productive, more energetic, and more optimistic about each day.
Then I hit a wall. It felt the same as before the challenge. In the book, Andy talks of the importance of going to bed early to help you wake up early. Stating you cannot stay up all night and expect your body to consistently rise early.
I noticed my challenges with waking up early were consistent with whether I went to bed early or late. I had to commit to one. I had to commit to evenings or mornings.
My goal and my commitment
My goal is to be up and out of my bed by 5am every day, 7-days per week. Just like any goal you have to commit, you have to give up something. Staying up late trying to get some extra work done, to watch the game, or to just lay around was not helping.
I now know, if I committed to my evenings for any reason, I was choosing not to commit to my mornings. I was choosing not to reach my goal.
I want uncommon and extraordinary
I don’t want the same run of the mill life. I want to do everything I was called to do. I want to start my day before everyone else does. I want to be awake, fresh, energetic, and to greet my wife and kids like that when they wake up. I want to end my days knowing I got every ounce out of myself as possible. Only a commitment to mornings will help me do that.
What will you choose?
You may be in a similar place I was when I began the challenge. You may realize you can change your life by committing to waking up early, and being different than the norm. You may realize you have been lazy, and it is getting you nowhere you want to be.
You have the same choice I have. It is time to make your choice. Will you commit to evenings? Or will you commit to mornings?
Question: Prior to reading this post, what have you committed to? What will you commit to now? Please share in the comment section below.
photo credit: photographer padawan *(xava du) via photopin cc
Totally honored that you bought my book and so proud that you took on the challenge. Thanks for the mention and congrats on your recent announcement of your writing relationship with Disney. Keep up the great work.
My pleasure Andy! I think it (Early to Rise) is one of those life changing books.
Thanks (about Disney)! I’m excited, and I know staying with the early riser lifestyle will help me and my family do some pretty cool stuff.
I am learning a lot from you, I’m finishing up a book idea, and beginning another. Your self-publishing series is helpful!
Between December and last month, I had been doing great at getting up at 5 am. Then, summer camp started…and as a summer camp director, my routine has been totally blasted. I have a goal, to get back into my preferred routine next week. I’ve been deeply missing reading post, commenting on other’s blogs, writing content and interacting with people on my blog and more. Don’t get me wrong, I’m loving camp and the impact we are having in the lives of our campers is huge. But we are to the point in the summer my team is trained and working extremely efficiently. I need to do a better job at looking ahead and planning adjustments to my routine as the seasons of life change.
I am with you there! Committing to early mornings will allow me to get ahead of things so I can better handle different seasons and schedules.
I agree I don’t like when I miss out on reading, and commenting on various blogs and status updates.
Glad you were able to stop by today!
I would say I’m more committed to evenings. I’m more of a night owl, but I also don’t wake up that late. I go to bed at about 11:30 and wake up between 6 and 6:30. I have a few hours in the evening to work, and spend time with my husband, but I still wake up early enough to get a quick work out in before the kids get up. I am curious about the book though.
Aja, thanks for stopping by! 🙂
The book is great, and it is much deeper than just waking up early. He breaks down how becoming an early riser will change your life and the life of your family. I believe it as I used to be an early riser and it had the most impact on my life and my family’s life than any other time period. Now I’m working to get back to it.
This was a tough read for me…not because of your writing style or anything like that, but because it forced me to realize that I have to choose. I can’t stay up late and get up early and be effective.
I know that I am naturally a morning person, so getting up at 5 or 5:30 comes easily (even when I stay up late), but I am not very productive and I end up being really sluggish by afternoon and early evening.
I have committed to exercising and writing in the mornings, so I know that getting enough sleep is part of the equation. Unlike Kevin, my wife IS a night owl, so I have to work some of that out.
Yes, getting adequate sleep is crucial! Maybe you can get your wife to take the 30-day Early to Rise challenge with you?
Interestingly enough, I was up late last night and my wife fell asleep pretty early. The issue with us doing the challenge is she can get the most rest by staying asleep longer in the morning when the kids are still asleep.
Sometimes we both wake up with the 9 mth old and she usually goes back to sleep for a while longer while I get up (since it’s usually around 5), so that would hinder us doing the Early to Rise challenge.
You have some unique challenges. Andy discusses some of those challenges in the book…basically saying you have to find what will work for your household during those seasons. It sounds like you all may be figuring it out now. Hopefully you can find a good balance.
I’ve taken both pills in the past. But I’ve come to realize that I enjoy being a red pill guy more. I feel more energetic & optimistic when I wake up early (usually 4 or 5). It feels awesome to accomplish something before others are awake. Another great reason to wake early is that when I go to sleep early, I don’t take time away from my wife. She’s not a night owl, so when I go to sleep early, We go to sleep together. When I wake up early, everyone else is still asleep, so I’m not taking time away from anyone.
I agree, that is a huge benefit. For a stretch we were doing the same thing…going to bed at different times, so I was stealing time from her by taking the blue pill. Red pill > blue pill all day long!