Had one hell of an ah-ha moment yesterday morning. The best part of waking up is clarity in your mind.

What I am doing is not working.

Not the happiest ah-ha moment, but an important one none the less. If what I am doing isn’t working than I can choose to do something else that does work.

Good or bad, we are the result of what we consistently do.

Every morning I relentlessly try to stick to a morning routine that hasn’t happened in months and this is inevitably followed by feeling like a total failure before 9 am. This has become a negative cycle, a habit of setting myself up for self-defined failure.

That is the opposite of what I want. Which leads to one of my favorite self-growth questions, “what can I do differently?”

I have this wonderful app called HabitBull. I started using December 23rd, 2016 and have had the same 5 habits to check off every day since then. It is a great tool to measure the intangible or hard to measure goals that we set for ourselves. The 5 habits I chose are follow through, reading, writing, yoga and meditation. All 5 things are core activities that I want to make healthy habits.

According to the app I follow through 94.8% of the time (nice!), I read 87.9% of all days, I write 84.4% of all days, I practice yoga 75.1% of the time and I meditate 66.1% of the time. The intention of these goals was to create healthy habits that lead to success as I envision it for myself. After 6 months, I can see I’m not where I wanted to be at this juncture physically, mentally or financially. I have quantitative data that what I’m doing isn’t working.

Yoga and meditation, as reflected in the numbers have been the hardest for me to stick to. For me it works best to do the hardest thing or the thing it’s the hardest to get me to do first thing in the day. My mind is also most active during the morning. Significantly. I actually struggle with having way too many thoughts happening too fast when I first wake up and this goes well into the next 4 hours. To me it seems to make sense to quiet my mind with yoga and meditation to give ease and flow to my thoughts. Yet this is not what it happening.

So I opted out for the morning and the world kept turning.

I used that time to write instead and I quite liked it. I reminded myself that there is no reason for to conquer the world before 9am and that the entire point of getting up early has been and continues to be to get my time before the rest of the world gets ahold of me.

I legit love 5 am. Never thought I would be that person. But I am. I like the quiet. I like feeling as though I’m getting the luxury of hours others don’t. I love it. Why take something I value and love and turn it into a chore?

Because I have a habit of doing that. Because somewhere along the way I became convinced that I couldn’t have the simple, happy life I want more than anything.

That thought process is a habit.

Habits can be broken. Any habit.

As life would have it, there was a change in schedule and this morning I started my day with a little extra sleep, time with someone I value and really great conversation over coffee. My brain didn’t go into overdrive, but rather started focusing on what mattered to me and reverse engineering my success. I had a highly productive day I can look back on and be proud of. I’d like to make a habit of that.

I’m choosing for the next step in my path of success to focus on what I truly want and reverse engineer what it takes to get there. Choose 5 things to do daily that get me there. Make a habit of working for myself instead of against myself.

Originally published at medium.com