I Fell in Love with 5:30 a.m.

I
t happened quite by accident.  While big sister loves her beauty sleep, in his early months, baby brother rose at ungodly hours.  I initially found this torturous, but after a while, I came to enjoy being up before the rest of the world, seeing the sunrise, and having a few quiet moments to myself (after I fed Buckaroo and deposited him back in his crib).

Now he doesn’t rise quite as early.  But at this point I’ve become so fond of the early morning hours that I find myself a bit disappointed if I oversleep, as if I missed opening some lovely present.

And practically speaking, I couldn’t pursue certain personal interests (like writing here), manage a household, care for the babies and Hubs, and take reasonable care of myself without utilizing wee hours of the morning.

Even if you’re not trying to squeeze more time out of the day, consider the benefits to rising early–or at least a bit before the rest of the house.

Why Rise Early?

1.) You have to fill up before you pour out.

For most of the day, there will be demands on your mind, body, and emotions.

Those still, quiet moments before the frenetic rush of the day begins are precious. I’ve come to need them: to fill my soul with time spent in prayer, reading my Bible, and watching the world wake up from my front porch rocker.

The difference between the days I wake up before (or, as Kat says, “for”) my children and the days I wake up to my children are considerable.  And who wants to wake up to a screaming child anyway? While at times unavoidable, I much prefer the sunrise.

Even if “rising early” is just 15 minutes before your next earliest riser, it’s still 15 minutes of precious alone.

2.) These are the hours no one else wants.

So take advantage of them. Besides personal/devotional time, the morning offer endless possibilities: Is there a project you’d like to work on but don’t have time during the day for? A new endeavor that will require more hours of effort than you typically have available? Do you desperately want uninterrupted time to connect with your spouse/get extra housework done/read a book/exercise?

I submit that no one will (typically) be interrupting you at 5am.

How to Rise Early

1.) Decide What’s at Stake

I’m stealing this one from Michael Hyatt.  He’s so right. You have to believe that rising early (or at least earlier) is necessary to what you are trying to accomplish if this new habit is going to stick.

So, what’s your goal–is it a richer prayer life? A healthier body?  A better start to the day?  A new stay-at-home job?

Rising early may not be the panacea for all of life’s ills, but I humbly submit that it’s a habit that will help you in more areas than one.

2.) Go to Bed Early

Fairly intuitive, yet I continually struggle with this. I seem to be an exhausted blend of night owl and early bird.  I can physically do both, but to the detriment of my health.

So, I set an alarm on my phone. It chirps like a cricket and tells me to get my behind to bed at 10pm. I ignore it about half the time, but it at least reminds me to move in that direction…soon.

Decide how much sleep you need. Determine how early you’d like to rise. Then, do the math, set some alarms, and obey them better than me.

3.) Start small.

Try rising 15 minutes earlier than you currently do.  A few days later, try another 15 minutes, and so on until you reach your goal.

Or maybe you’re not the incremental type and you make the jump in one day. Whatever works for you.

4.) Try it for 21 days.

Supposedly that’s the amount of time it takes to build a habit.  I have no idea how long it took me to fall in love with 5:30am.  In a way, it happened in an instant, when I saw this from my front porch rocker:

sunrise1

5.) Be gracious with yourself, especially if you have small children.

I realize that all this talk of the loveliness and productivity of mornings can sound rather idealistic for someone with small children, especially if you’ve been in the company of those children throughout the night. I’ve been there. I am there.

So give yourself a break. Shoot for getting up just a bit before everyone else. And if you’re up all night with the babies, sleep in (at least as much as they’ll let you). Take care of yourself.

Plan to get up early, set yourself up for success by going to bed early, but don’t beat yourself up if you miss some days.

And there you have it: rising early–not always easy, but in my experience, abundantly worth pursuing.

Do you rise early?

This entry was posted in Intentional Living on by .

About Jenn

Jenn is a mommy of three and wife to her best friend. She enjoys good books, having dinner guests, and elevenses. She is not afraid to lead a one woman crusade against the rampant misuse of the apostrophe. She is afraid to adopt kittens before the baby turns three.

  • brenda ven

    For me… it’s @ 5:08a.m. most mornings, the 4-legged guy seems to have an internal clock all his own. Or else, he hears the call of the wild or nature and needs to venture outside and check things out. I then just snuggle back down under the quilt and listen to him bark and then he finally gives his ‘tap’ signal at the door, and then we’re up gettin breakfast and a cup of coffee.
    I am a morning person, and all that the morning has to offer is mine whether anyone else is up or not. I can go out and feed the birds at 2 stations now and then just sit here at the computer and watch them feed. You should see the squirrels run all around the trees as they scamper over to the feeding saucer. I love the outdoors…. u2.

    • You make me want to get some squirrel/bird feeders 🙂

  • I completely agree with you and I want to make the jump. The morning quiet is such a gift. 6:30 seems early to me right now but 5:30 would give me so much more time! =)

  • This past week, 6:30 was about the best I could do. Even a bit earlier than the kids does help, though. 🙂

  • Jenn, So glad I found your space here! This article just jumped out at me. I’ve always struggled with getting up early, but I have finally developed that habit, and I love it! I too feel a bit disappointed if I sleep late. I work full-time outside of the home so to get done what I want to get done in the morning, my alarm goes off at 4:45, with the goal of having my feet on the floor by 5:00! It’s not always easy, but definitely worth it! I too struggle with being a night owl as well and I’m having to work on that. I end up paying for burning the candle at both ends! Anyway, thanks so much for this post! I loved it!

    • Stephani, so glad you dropped by! I’m impressed by your 4:45am wake-up time :).

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