Up until fairly recently (and most of my life post-high school), I was a crazy night owl. I would work after my kids went to bed and work well into the early morning hours… usually until 2am at the minimum. I justified this behaviour as I felt more productive at night, I wanted to be around my kids during the day, and just never considered myself a morning person.
So many people I admire have early morning routines that they swear by, and I just always assumed I could never be like them. I had every excuse under the sun as to why waking up early would never work for me.
So I am here today to confess, as a former night owl, that I have changed. I have joined the early risers and WOW has it impacted my life in a positive way. I am more productive, happier, and while I don't have any specific stats to share yet as I am still fairly new at rising early, I am going to measure how much more I get done in a day and share those stats with you. A recent podcast by Pat Flynn (also a former night owl) also sealed the deal for me on the whole notion of getting up early and inspired me to write this post. So from a former night owl, here are my top reasons you too, should try waking up early.
1. SILENCE IS GOLDEN
Fellow mamas take note- we need silence! We spend so much of our day patiently (or not so patiently) listening, responding, reacting, resolving, and if you have multiple kids like me, it can get pretty darn noisy. Regardless if you have children or not, the world of notifications, dings, bings, and demands on our time can make for an irritating cacophony. I wake up at 5:30am and my house, thanks be to God, is so still. From 5:30-6am I sit in total silence. During this time I pray using an app that I talked about in this post that is helping me read the Bible in a year. Whether you spend it meditating using a tool like the Muse headband, you pray, or you honestly just sit- silence is so absent in our world today and I think we need more of it. Try it- I think you'll like it.
2. START THE DAY WITH EXERCISE
So truth be told in my very pregnant state I have been making excuses on this one- but as Hal Elrod shares in his book The Miracle Morning, fitting exercise into your morning routine has huge positive implications for the rest of your day. Your metabolism is jump started and remains elevated, you start the day with more energy and you are invigorated, awake and alert. I think it's also a great strategy because it gets this important health benefit "out of the way" so to speak- you're not worried about fitting it in later or feeling guilty because you didn't. I'm going to start tomorrow with a gentle prenatal workout- and make it easier for myself to not cop out by laying out a work out outfit at the foot of my bed.
3. INVESTING IN YOURSELF WILL PAY OFF BIG TIME
In another awesome Pat Flynn podcast, Pat interviews Elrod and Hal quotes Jim Rohn: "Your level of success will seldom exceed your level of personal development".
This is so cool, and so true. We have to invest in ourselves if we expect to see change in any area of our lives. The morning is a beautiful time to delve into motivational reading, listen to a self-help podcast or work on a goal setting exercise for an on-line course. You can do this over coffee and eggs post work out. Even if it's only 15 minutes a day- that's 15 minutes closer towards a goal, 15 minutes richer in strategies or knowledge that you didn't have before. I used to just try and fit kind of exercise in while driving, or in line for groceries or what not- but the consistency I think is what is beneficial, and again starting the day with this kind of mindset will have implications on other decisions made later on.
4. IT IS BETTER FOR YOUR FAMILY
I used to wake up with the kids as my alarm clock. And I would basically wake up in a state of anxiety- the thoughts of here we go again, I am so tired, please just stay in your crib for 15 more minutes, get your own breakfast, etc. etc. etc. would overtake my mind in a state of hazy, caffeine less confusion. I love my children- I hope that is apparent from my blog- but with 4 small people with really loud demands it would feel like an onslaught.
Now- I am up for a full hour and 45 minutes before they are, and it is amazing. I am usually dressed for the day, have had a cup of coffee, am smiling and in a positive mood, and honestly feel ready to meet any unforeseen child related challenges that happen first thing. Sometimes I even have their breakfast laid out before the little pitter patter of their feet come greet me in the kitchen.
Total transparency- the pitter patter of kids' feet used to sound like wild elephants racing down my hallway- now it's a sound I know will only be a pitter patter for a finite amount of time. I mean it, for me this is the best part of getting up early and probably why I have stuck with it- it has had a really positive impact on my mood and my family and contributed to the success of our morning routine in general.
I am also less grumpy, and again let's keep it real: my husband LOVES this.
5. BECAUSE EVERY MORNING SHOULD FEEL LIKE CHRISTMAS
Again to quote Elrod from Flynn's podcast, shouldn't every morning feel like Christmas? As Hal puts it, Christmas is a day people are typically so excited about, that they can't wait to get out of bed. No snooze alarm, they are up and at 'em ready to go.
He argues: shouldn't every day be like this? Shouldn't every day begin with looking forward to what is ahead instead of hitting snooze reluctant to start?
The transition for me going from waking up whenever the kids woke me, to an alarm at 5:30am was fairly rocky. I really did not like it at first. It felt so foreign to my body and just plain gross. But after a few days of doing it and starting to see the positive impact it has become muscle memory quite literally- my body is way more used to the routine and I believe my sleep cycle is better because I wake up less groggy. I am no expert in sleep or health strategies to be totally honest- but I do know when things are working- and waking up early totally is.
One last note- you might be thinking there is no way I could do this ever in a million years. You might be thinking- I wake up with a nursing baby in the night, I am so sleep deprived already, Lisa you are crazy. I hear you- and said the exact same things. But I can say from personal experience I am converted. It does mean I have to get to bed earlier which means we are diligent about bedtime routines for our kids and cleaning the house after dinner as close to bedtime as possible and I don't watch nearly as much TV as I used to- but the sacrifices have been worth it based on how good I feel in my new routine.
If you'd like to try a new routine I'm excited to read through The Miracle Morning and implement some of the strategies Hal recommends that I am not currently doing like journaling.
What is your morning routine like? Love to know in the comment below.