Starting the day well
If we are facebook friends or if you have talked with me recently, you already know that I am trying to develop the habit of getting up earlier (before my kids, at the very least) each day. I’ve had some people ask me why I am trying to implement the new habit, so I thought I’d blog about it, both to explain the decision as well as to remind myself of why I am doing it.
Oh, and I’m also doing it because getting it out there to the blog world brings a certain kind of accountability. I mean, who wants to blog about a new habit only to, 3 days later, have to publicly admit that they were incredibly undisciplined and had given up already? (gulp) Not me.
I have heard countless women, many whom I highly respect, talk about how much they love getting up before their families each day. I liked their reasons for doing it, I really did. But, as I’m coming to find out, I’m very undisciplined (read – lazy) in many areas. As a result, I was apparently never convinced enough to follow through with such a feat more than one or two days, max, in a row. Until recently. As you may have read in this post, I have realized that in many ways, I have not been approaching motherhood as a ‘regular’ job and because of it (among other factors), I have been stressed, discouraged, and have lacked joy in the everyday life of being a mom and home-manager.
Well, I was recently part of a discussion where an older, wiser, woman was talking about habits that would help mothers be better moms. This woman talked about getting up early and then said to the group, “I know that most of you have small children, but …” I felt that she may have also wanted to say, “but, do it anyway!” although she did not. (Note: she did acknowledge that there are specific seasons in a mom’s life where getting up earlier than the family would not be as feasible.) She, in a sense, was ‘getting in my face’ about it, although this was unbeknownst to her. This was so good for me – I needed someone to challenge me; telling me that I needed to do it anyway, even though I did not want to, because it would be worth it.
In addition, in this post from Joshua Becker at Becoming Minimalist , he briefly discusses getting up early as one of the “10 simple steps to make the most of every day.” He links to a particular article called, How to Become an Early Riser; one that has been more helpful than anything any other article I have read on the topic. I highly recommend reading it, along with reading Part 2 of the article and a related article, How to Get Up Right Away when Your Alarm Goes Off. It approaches the topic from a different angle than most discussions I’ve read before.
Ok, ok, I thought. I probably should try this. So, last week, I started – I did it 3 out of the 5 days from Monday to Friday, and each day I did it (including the weekends), I wished I had done it those days as well. Seriously – the days I had gotten up earlier were so much better for various reasons. The following are some of them:
- I am able to be proactive rather than reactive to my day from the beginning. This is one of the hugest benefits that I am seeing to this habit. I am up and have had some quiet time to think/pray/read my Bible/schedule my day/or just be before my kids are up and needed things from me.
- I am not stressed or irritated when my kids wake up because I am already up and basically ready for the day. (Hey, we all know that days don’t begin well when you view your kids as an imposition the moment they wake up. Am I right or am I right?)
- I am able to love and respond to my kids and husband better throughout the day due to not feeling like such a harried mom/wife who is always 2 steps behind (this also had to do with some additional structure that I am implementing to our days, but I’ll discuss that in a later post).
- I have time to ask God to give me the right perspective of my day, of my kids, etc. before any of it is immediately in my face – that is invaluable.
- I can submit my day to God – even though I have a rough plan of what the day will entail, I ask Him if there are different things I need to be doing.
- I am able to run that random (or not so random) errand that needs to be done during the time when everyone else is still sleeping. This morning, I was at the grocery store by 6:30 am and back by 7:15 – as a result, I did not have to take the kids to the grocery store with me and we had decent food to eat for breakfast, and those are good things.
And those are just a few of the benefits I have seen so far as a result of this new habit I am trying to develop – it is totally worth it when I do it. And as I said before, I now totally regret it when I don’t get up early.
However, don’t get me wrong. It is a battle – every … single … morning. It’s not fun, nor is it automatic for me, although I hope one day it will be. I sometimes hit a wall by 4 pm, which is never a good time, although, I’m hoping this too will pass as I do it longer. But, I know it will be so worth it to continue – plus, it’s a good opportunity to become more disciplined in a specific area of my life.
And so tomorrow, when that alarm goes off and I desperately want to stay in my warm bed, I won’t. And, because of it, I will be one step closer to what I believe will be a life-changing habit for me.
What about you – do you practice this habit? If so, what are some of the factors that helped you succeed in it becoming part of your daily routine? I would love to hear them!