Waking up early has been one of the most life-changing practices I’ve ever taken up. I used to be such a night owl, staying up until one or two o’clock in the morning, soaking up the quiet. It’s so simple, but just like letting go of my clutter, changing my habits and rising early reshaped my entire life.
Knowing that I’ve knocked out the most important tasks on my list for the day, gotten my body moving, and had a cup of coffee in peace before the sun even wakes up gives me such a fantastic start to my day! When I’m not worrying about when I can fit in a trip to the gym or how I’m going to write that blog post all day, I’m able to relax and really be present for my family. When life happens and one of the kids gets sick, or someone needs me, I can be there and not be shuffling things around on my to do list in a panic because the biggest tasks are already done.
Waking early takes some serious discipline, but once I stuck it out for a few weeks it became something I don’t like not doing. When I sleep until my kids get me up, I start the day off with loud noises, tiny hands pulling on me, and demands for breakfast. I’m irritated, groggy, and usually pretty pissed off and the day just started. I know that if I push through the initial sleepiness and just wake up early, I can start the day in the peace and quiet of a house that’s still asleep and start my day with intent.
What kind of woman do you want to be? The kind who sets an example for her kids, wakes up for her family and starts the day well? Or the kind who lets the day happen to her and just rolls with it until she’s had her third cup of coffee?
If you’ve been complaining about how you “never have time” to workout, or be alone, or read, or pray, ask yourself what time you wake up. More often than not, the solution lies in the last hours you spend asleep.
If you want help with the actualities of learning to wake up early and how I made the change, read this and this. Oh, and this.
Today I want to talk to you about how you can set yourself up for a successful morning. Because getting out of bed is one thing, but taking action and being productive is a whole other thing. It’s easy to wake up, climb out of bed and then just sit on the couch with our coffee and our Bible halfway stuck in whatever dream we were having thirty minutes ago. But that’s not worth waking up for, so we want to actually do what we got out of bed to do.
For me, it’s all about the night before.
If I go to bed one night, exhausted from the day, and I don’t prepare for the next morning, I always regret it. Sometimes I spend so much time trying to find my favorite workout pants that I end up wasting an hour and not getting my workout in.
When I find everything and prepare for my productive morning the night before, I eliminate my excuses and set myself up for success. It is so much easier to climb out of bed grab the pile of gym clothes on the dresser and head to the bathroom to change than it is to fumble around in the closet.
Before you can prepare the night before, you have to know what you’re going to be doing in the morning. This also really helps you have the drive you need to get up when the alarm goes off. What is it that you need to get done in peace, without kids interrupting you? Why are you going to wake up early? Are you going to blog? Get a workout in? Take a walk while you listen to a podcast? Meal prep? Don’t just answer with a task list. Look at the effects of having those tasks done will have on your life. How will it feel to know your meals are prepped and cooking for the week on Monday morning? How will you feel knowing you got a killer workout in and had coffee and Bible time before serving the kids breakfast? Focus on the impact, not the tasks.
5 Ways to Set Yourself Up For A Successful Morning the Night Before
1) Know your schedule.
Don’t just assume you’d never be physically able to wake up before 6:00. Plan it out, look ahead and know for sure you’re giving yourself enough time to get your stuff done. Say you have to be with your kids starting your family routine at 7:00 and you want to hit the gym and check your email beforehand. You’d need to wake up by 5:00 and be working out by 5:30 in order to have the time you need to finish your workout and check your email. Now you have your wake up time.
2) Lay out your stuff.
Let’s say you want to use your early morning time to work out and read for twenty minutes over a cup of coffee. Pick out your workout clothes and shoes, lay them out where you can easily grab them in your sleepy 5AM haze, and put your book or Bible or whatever you’ll be reading next to them. One other thing you’ll want to do is preset the coffee maker (with a timer if your machine has one). See how much easier you just made your morning? Now all you have to do is get out of bed and grab your stuff and head to the bathroom to change.
3) Prevent your biggest excuses.
I hear all kinds of reasons women have for not rising early, yet they want the perks so badly. Get over it! Push through, find a way! If you find yourself hitting the snooze button because you’re freezing and getting out of the covers is just too difficult, first reconsider your use of the word difficult, then do something about it. Have a thick wooly pair of socks ready to throw on, change the thermostat settings in your house, have a robe ready for you. If you find that you never hear your alarms, change them! Make them louder, put them closer to your face, set more of them, annoy yourself so badly that you absolutely have to wake up. Don’t let excuses keep you from doing great things and being a woman of intent and purpose. You’re better than that!
4) Tell your family.
You need support and respect. Talk to your kids about what you’re doing and why it’s important. Set strict rules and boundaries to make it happen. Follow through on them. If you’re married, talk to your husband about why you want to do this and how he can help. It’s not like you’re wanting to head out for a mani/pedi and catch a movie, you’re doing this so you can be a better mom. It matters.
5) Get your mind right.
So much of any habit change is mental. Don’t think of this as something that you’re “trying” to do or are “working towards”, think of it as something you ARE doing right now. If subconsciously you’re not really sure you’ll end up waking up and kicking ass tomorrow morning, you probably won’t. Another trick is to think about what will happen if you don’t wake up early. Look at how many crappy days you’ve had, look at how things are going for you right now. Do you really want it to stay that way? Go to bed at night imagining how you will feel if you woke up and got those pressing tasks crossed off your to do list before your kids come out for breakfast. Decide that you are going to do this and you will. Leave it up to chance or see if what I’m telling you will actually work and it won’t. Nothing will work unless you do.