The Training Ground


The Training Ground

Training Exercise 1: Fight the Snooze

Many of you may have heard of the "Heroic Minute" from St. Josemaria Escriva. If you haven't here it is:

"The heroic minute. It is the time fixed for getting up. Without hesitation: a supernatural reflection and… up! The heroic minute: here you have a mortification that strengthens your will and does no harm to your body. It's so discouraging to find oneself beaten at the first skirmish" -Josemaria Escriva, The Way

This is personally one of the most difficult battles I face everyday. Every night I imagine waking up the next morning, hopping out of bed, making a nice cup of coffee, frying some eggs and enjoying breakfast. After breakfast I may even get some work done on personal projects, read the paper, or maybe simply just sit listening to some of my favorite music while taking in the brisk morning air. Oh how glorious of a morning would that be. So I set my alarm according to my planned morning and go to sleep.

But what happens?

My alarm rings, I roll over, and slap the snooze button like I'm hi-fiving a friend.  The snooze button is however definitely NOT my friend. 10 minutes later the alarm goes off and I snooze again. Another 10, another snooze. Finally I just turn it off and I eventually wake up to my "back-up" alarm set for 7:20 - the exact time I need to wake up and still be out the door and off to work in time. What was going to be a glorious morning has turned into a rushed start with a haphazard breakfast as I rush out the door without a lunch. That time snoozing not only robbed me from the morning I desired to enjoy, but it also left me without time for a substantial breakfast and since I didn't have time to prep a lunch that snooze also cost me an average of $6 that I will end up spending on lunch.

So lets make this a training exercise.

My first mistake was setting a back up alarm. Even though I had planned for a nice morning, I already set myself up for failure by having a back up alarm. Step one of the training exercise, if you have a back up alarm, get rid of it.

My second mistake was the first snooze. Our first action as directed by St. Josemaria should be to have our feet hit the floor. The simple act of standing up initially before even addressing your alarm will help abundantly. If you need help with this consider placing your alarm across the room, this way you'll have to put your feet on the ground before you address the alarm.

My third mistake was trying to do it by my own will power. I am terrible at waking up, but once I'm out of bed I am fine. I will sometimes schedule a phone call in the morning with an old friend from out of town, and we'll catch up over coffee. When I have these calls scheduled I have no problem getting out of bed. Perhaps ask a friend to be a wake up accountability partner. First thing after getting out of bed and saying a quick prayer, drop a quick call or text to your friend to make sure they are out of bed too. We can help each other foster good habits.

This is a very simple practice and we can all begin to train ourselves to not snooze. Many of you may have already heard of the benefits of not snoozing. The benefits for your own gain are enough to start this training, but here's where I get really excited, this training of yourself every morning will help you be better not just today, but down the road.

When you become a father, when your child wakes up in the middle of the night crying, you will be able to get up, put your feet on the ground and tell your wife to stay sleeping. This is a simple heroic act that I think we can all agree we would like to perform for our wives one day, but if I'm not training myself for that now, I will most likely hear my child crying, roll over and tell my wife, "I got her last time, its your turn." I do not want to be that guy. I want to be the man that wakes up and cares for my child allowing my wife to rest.

Or if you become a priest, training yourself to rise and get out of bed and make your first prayer will prepare you to rise every morning to pray morning prayer. You will have trained yourself so when you receive a call at 4:00 a.m. you will be able to rise quickly and hurry over to the hospital to give someone Last Rights.

This small training exercise will strengthen you now, and for the future. So men, join me. start this week. Say good bye to the snooze button. Lets train to be men!

Comment bellow to share other ways you think this training exercise will prepare you for your future.