Dear 4am Carson, what the hell are you doing? Sincerely, 4pm Carson
These days my life is a confusing mixture of perfectly predictable and absolutely insane. We’ll leave the insane part for a different day’s discussion. On any given work day, here’s the breakdown.
4am – Wakeup
4:15am – Leave the house
4:30am – Arrive at the gym, start workout
6:00am – Finish workout and get ready for work
6:20am – Leave the gym
6:35am – Arrive at work, prep for the day
6:55am – Clock in and start the day
12:00pm – Lunch
1:00pm – get back to work
4:00pm – clock out and head back to the gym
4:30pm – arrive at the gym for some cardio
5:30pm – finish cardio and head home
6:30pm – dinner
8:30pm – get in bed
That’s a pretty standard day. It includes a lot of work, a lot of working out, and a pretty constant pace. 4am Carson is sleepy but gets things going on a strong note. 4pm Carson is already pretty exhausted and ready for the day to be over. So why do I do this to myself? Why do I go all day long? It’s all about routine. I know myself well enough to know that I’m a creature of habitat. Routine and regularity is an important part of being able to get things done for me. Starting strong on Monday with this routine insures that I’ll follow it through for the rest of the week. It helps keep my mind clear and focused even when the days are the long and the rest is short. Small interruptions in this routine, throw me off sometimes in a big way. Therefore, I’ve learned that dedication to this routine is the most important thing I can do to be productive at work and to get the results in the gym I’m looking for. This mental clarity is the most important thing I can bring to my job which is physically and mentally exhausting. Zookeepers often suffer from a variety of back injuries as well as compassion fatigue. It’s a job that definitely takes its toll on your body and mind. My routine is my bible. It’s my path forward when things are hard, or things aren’t going my way.
I’m not advocating that every single person should be in the gym by 4:30am every morning. But I am advocating that finding your routine and finding your rhythm is important. Complacency with that rhythm is different though. Your routine should push you just slightly out of your comfort zone. It should make the goal just slightly out of reach, so you have the motivation to push yourself further to achieve the goal. Write your routine down. Calendar that shit if you need to. Hold yourself accountable to it or find someone who can. A regular routine that starts the day out right can be all the difference in the world. But also build in days where the routine goes out of the window. Just like you need a cheat meal in your diet to be successful long term, you need a cheat day in your routine as well. Let Sunday morning be the day you sleep in. Or Friday night be the night you stay up late. Don’t sacrifice time with the people around you for your routine. But find ways to incorporate those friends, family, and social outings into a successful routine. A successful routine isn’t about going it alone, sometimes it takes a village.