A couple months ago I decided I wanted to become a morning person.
After years of battling my alarm clock and dragging myself out of bed I finally had enough. Weary from the prolonged war I proposed a truce.
But I didn't want to be grumpy about losing the battle. Instead I wanted to wake up each morning and leap out of bed like it was the thing I wanted to do most.
Honestly, I'm not sure if it's possible. I've tried everything I can think of: going to bed earlier, waking up to music instead of an alarm, exercising more, even putting my coffee maker on auto so the aroma of fresh-brewed coffee would start my day off right. While I'm getting up on time I'm still not happy about it.
When I began this challenge I was enthusiastic and motivated. But after weeks of struggle and little improvement I'm feeling discouraged and thinking about giving up.
The more I think about quitting the more Paul's words to the Corinthians come to my mind: “Now you should finish what you started. Let the eagerness you showed in the beginning be matched by your giving. Give in proportion to what you have,” (2 Corinthians 8:11). Now, this advice isn't about getting up early and being happy about it—in fact it's about money—but I'm starting to recognize a parallel in my situation.
First: I'm making decisions based on my feelings.
My initial idea to become a morning person was not based on emotions—I thought it would make my life better. But as I become more frustrated my enthusiasm is fading and I'm forgetting my original goal.
By making excuses for why I can't become a morning person I'm not being honest with myself. I'm in effect letting myself off the hook because it got hard—I'm revelling in being a victim and feeling sorry for myself instead of pressing on. Paul's words encourage me to finish what I've committed to.
Second: There is a cost.
Sure getting up on the right side of the bed doesn't cost me money but it does cost something. Once I really started giving cost some thought I made a quick list:
What it will cost me to quit:
- I will miss sunrises, quiet reflection, and time to organize my thoughts for the day
- It will be easy to become lazy
- Instead of embracing the day I will resent it and be a pain to be around
What I could gain by continuing:
- My days tend to go better when I get a good start
- When my attitude is positive I am more productive
- My energy level is higher when I'm not getting out of bed at the last minute
When I think about why I wanted to become a morning person I realize it's because I know my days go better when I have a good start, and when my days go better I get more done. And I'm nicer. So to quit just because it's a lot of work isn't a good enough reason for me. Counting the cost is helping me refocus and recommit to my original goal.
Starting is always easier than finishing, which is why follow through is a reflection of character. Besides, God doesn't quit on us, so why should we give up when the going gets tough?
And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns. (Philippians 1:6)
I'm learning if I tell myself the truth about why I started a task and count the cost of not finishing versus what I'll gain from following through it will make me that much stronger to resist the temptation to give up.