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Early to Rise Challenge: Change Your Life By Taking One Small Step at a Time

Welcome to the Early to Rise Challenge! Throughout the month of March, I’m challenging myself and my readers to make the most of their mornings. So every week day morning at 9 a.m. EST, I’m posting a short Early to Rise post. I’ll share a few of my thoughts on the day’s passage from Early to Rise, tell you what time I got up that morning, and encourage you to leave a comment to tell us what time you got up and how you’re doing on the challenge.

Change Your Life By Taking One Small Step at a Time

Day 7 in the Early to Rise book encourages us to focus on the little wins that add up to big change over time.

It’s so easy to want to overhaul our lives overnight. But you know what usually happens when we try that? We crash and burn within a few days.

Slow and easy. Step by step. Little by little. That’s what usually ends up making the biggest difference.

It’s those seemingly little, daily decisions that add up to a life changed. It might not seem like much, but those choices you make to exercise (or not), to eat healthfully (or not), to invest a little every day in that relationship (or not), to work for 15 minutes every day on that project (or not)… all of these little things add up.

To win in life you need to make winning choices on a daily basis. Don’t discount the “small things”. They truly do matter.

Tip: Andy recommends the Lift app to set goals or pick habits and then track your progress. Have any of you used it?

What about you? What small choice are you going to make today that is going to make a little impact in your life for the future?

What Time Did You Get Up This Morning?

Me? I got up at 5:31 a.m. And no I don’t sleep in the kitchen — it’s just the first place I go after waking up. It’s where I read my Bible, pray, and drink my morning coffee! 🙂

What time did you get up? Leave a comment and let us know!

Join in the Chatter!

Want to blog about this challenge? If you’re blogging through this challenge with me, be sure to leave your link to your direct post for today below. Plus, if you’d like to post your daily posts to the Early to Rise Group Board on my Pinterest page, just shoot me an email (moneysavingmom @ gmail dot com) and I’ll invite you.

Want to follow along on Twitter or Instagram? Each week day morning on my Facebook Page, my Twitter account, and my Instagram account, I’ll be posting a picture of my alarm clock as public accountability. I’d love to have you do the same or join in the discussion on Twitter and Instagram. Just follow hashtag #EarlytoRise to see what others are tweeting and Instagramming about this challenge!

Other posts in the Early to Rise Challenge series

  1. The 30-Day Early to Rise Challenge Begins on Friday (grab your ebook for just $4.99!)
  2. Early to Rise Challenge: Day 1 (Your Mindset Matters)
  3. Early to Rise Challenge: Wake Up With a Plan for Your Day
  4. Early to Rise Challenge: It's Not Always Easy (and am I the only one who thinks drinking coffee black is crazy??)
  5. 15 Things You Can Do Each Morning to Make Your Day More Successful
  6. Early to Rise Challenge: Adjust Your Attitude
  7. 11 Things to Do Tonight to Set You Up for Success Tomorrow
  8. Early to Rise Challenge: Change Your Life By Taking One Small Step at a Time
  9. Early to Rise Challenge: Find the Artist in You
  10. Early to Rise Challenge: "It's Your World, So Change It"
  11. Early to Rise Challenge: Swim Upstream
  12. Early to Rise Challenge: Focus on Other People
  13. 5 Steps to Start Your Day With a Better Attitude
  14. Early to Rise Challenge: Find What Motivates You
  15. Early to Rise Challenge: The Halfway Mark!
  16. Early to Rise Challenge: Choose Who You Will Be Today
  17. Free printable: 17 Ways to Set Your Morning Up for Success
  18. Early to Rise Challenge: Don't Live Today on Accident
  19. Early to Rise Challenge: Be Quiet
  20. Early to Rise Challenge: Face Your Day With a Smile
  21. Early to Rise Challenge: Find an Accountability Partner
  22. Early to Rise: Share Your Success (and why I have a new crazy-early wake-up time!)
  23. 11 Things You Can Do Tonight to Set You Up for Success Tomorrow (free printable)
  24. Early to Rise Challenge: You're Not Alone
  25. 5 Ways to Keep Your Sanity with a Newborn
  26. Early to Rise Challenge: Begin Your Day With Prayer
  27. Early to Rise Challenge: Don't Settle for Average!

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57 Comments

  • Sandra says:

    Slept in til 0651. Had a fabulous nights’s sleep so my morning was as productive as ever.

  • My Sleep Cycle alarm went off at 4:10 this morning. Apparently it thought I was rested! I think small changes make a difference over time… Many of us (myself included) try to make too many BIG changes all at once. I’ve finally realized (most of the time, anyway) that I can only effectively change one thing at a time….

  • I am using my “early to rise” time to read my Bible. This is an area in my life I haven’t always made time for when I knew I should.
    I got up today at 6:30 with no alarm clock.

  • Hilary says:

    Well, I have to start by saying that my hubby and I usually stay up too late just to have time together. Last night we went to bed at 9 pm! When his alarm went off at 5 am I actually felt rested. I was able spend some time in prayer before getting up at my scheduled time at 6 am. 🙂 I’m gonna have to try this “going to bed at a decent time” thing more often.

  • Sarah says:

    Alarm went off at 6:30am, was up at 6:58am. Still needs work, but regardless my mornings have been so much more relaxed and productive, which is the ultimate goal!

    I am so, so guilty of being overwhelmed by the “big picture” and forgetting that those small steps and decisions do add up. Today I will choose to eat well, clean up some more clutter in the house and spend one hour freezing cooking. Three little things that will make a big impact in the long run!

  • Betsy says:

    Hit snooze a few times today. Out of bed at 6:10am. My littlest came into my room at 6:14am. Oh well. 🙂

  • Brooke says:

    Ugh – I getting farther away from my 4am goal instead of closer – today was 4:24. BUT I definitely did not go to bed as early as I should… gotta get better at that. My win is making the decision to get up instead of waiting until the last possible minute, and that keeps me encouraged! 🙂

  • Maria says:

    Alarm went off at 6:15, I was up at 6:23. Had to turn on the TV to see what we would be expecting weather-wise! I wasn’t too productive this morning, but it’s okay! I am still pretty happy with this challenge!!

  • Mrs. 1500 says:

    I woke up late this morning, 6:45. I just found this blog, and I love the idea of being encouraged to get up early and get things done. With a 6-year-old and a 3-year-old, neither of whom are good sleepers, it will be tough, but I aim for 6:00 tomorrow.

    I can just imagine having a hot breakfast ready for the little girls when they wake up, instead of rushing around trying to get ready and feeding them cold cereal. I think I will start with French Toast tomorrow! Maybe even have the paper read before they get out of bed?

  • Mel says:

    7:15! I slept fitfully and woke up before the alarm went off, but decided to stay in bed until then because I’m coming down with a cold and felt like the extra rest would be a good idea. Took a bunch of vitamin C and had some hot tea with honey, but have a feeling I’ll be taking a nap this afternoon. 🙁

    My “small choice” today was to come to the university library and use their high speed wi-fi since my Internet at home has been down for 2 days. Kind of a pain to get everything packed up, find quarters for the meter, find a parking space, and hike to the library, but it’s worth it not to get too far behind my online tasks.

  • Andie says:

    my allergist changed my meds and added an extra benadryl at night so ‘challenge’ in the early to rise challenge has been sticking out to me these past couple days. I got up at 6:28 today and about the same yesterday.

  • Kelsey says:

    Today was my first day of the challenge. And was up at 650. Not early by any means, but earlier than usual! I have already unloaded the dishwasher, and finished.putting away the clean pots and pans from last nights dinner. Now im enjoying my coffee in a tidy kitchen 🙂

  • Shannon says:

    I was up through the night with a sick toddler and not waking up at my new set 5am time is something I found out this morning that I miss. I never thought I would say that! I will catch up with everything today and then pick myself back up and start over again tomorrow. The little choice I will make today to change is start dinner earlier so we can be finished eating at 6p.m. instead of 7p.m. which will give me more wind down time in the evening.

  • Melissa says:

    I got up at 5:15am. One of my large goals is to completely pay off my rather substantial student loans. It’s a big goal that will take more than two years to do. Today is pay day for me, so the small step is to make one more early payment on that loan. Those small over payments do add up over time and save us interest too.

  • Jessica McIntosh says:

    I slept in a bit today. I was just feeling like I needed to. However, I don’t have to work today until 230, so I have still gotten a ton of stuff done. I have so loved doing this challenge. I am pretty competitive so the fact that it is called a “challenge” has really motivated me!

  • joanna says:

    5:53 AM- one thing that i’ve been focusing on along w/ this challenge is getting exercise every morn. during the wk. i haven’t set a certain amt. of time, because i think that’s one of the downfalls i had in the past. if i need to be somewhere by 8 AM (like this morn.), i don’t have time to do an hr. long exercise routine or even 1/2 an hr. so this morn., i climbed our stairs 10 times consecutively; rather short, but it still got my blood pumping, & i felt good about my day right away! =) thanks so much for your encouragement to be disciplined; i can grow so much in this area, but along w/ that, i need to remember to extend grace to myself as well.

  • Heather says:

    Had a tough night with my 18 month old but still got up after only hit the alarm clock once. I had the best and most productive morning EVER! Almost 2 hours before anyone woke up. It was AWESOME!

  • Connie C. says:

    5:41 am. Goal was 5:30. I’ll take it!

  • Elizabeth Kane says:

    Woke up at 7am this morning with no alarm, ready to tackle the day! Got some reading done and stared making my to-do list. One of my New Year’s resolutions was to get good, restful sleep and wake up at a time that was consistent. This series couldn’t come at a more perfect moment in my journey. 🙂

    You’re so right about making the little daily decisions. Good habits – that stick for the long-term! – don’t immediately happen just because we wish them into existence. We have to start where we are now and make a decision to go one step further, even it’s a small one. And it’s nice to know they’re other people doing the same here too. Thanks for writing this series, Crystal.

  • Lana says:

    5:30 🙂

  • Genevieve says:

    With a snow day from school yesterday, I let myself sleep in a little. Instead of getting up at 6:30 I slept in until 7:00. It felt nice and I still had a nice morning routine. This moring it was back to the 6:30 wake up time. I was proud of myself when I got out of bed two minutes early! Happy Day! I am working on th winning chioces idea. I think it is so powerful to think of how our small chioces play out into major life courses changes!

  • You’re a great encouragement Crystal! I want to start the challenge (even if it’s a little late) next week!

  • Slept in a bit today, since I will not have a chance to do so at all this weekend. Woke up at 6:50 and still had time for Bible study and a nice walk before work. 🙂

  • kristi says:

    Another night of frequent wake ups. Every two hours from 12:30 on getting out of bed for one of my children; intermittent rousing in between from snoring husband and being kicked by one of the children who came into our bed. Up at 6:05, in shower at 6:15. Goal time is supposed to be up at 5:30, in shower at 6. I think it might be best to aim for 6am, then gradually aim for 5:50, 5:40, 5:30 over the next three weeks. And I probalby should combine that with earlier and earlier bed times! On the plus side, I was out the door on time and would have made it to work early, if not for the huge accident that had traffic backed up several miles.

  • Shelly says:

    I used my time this morning to get my exercising out of the way for the day. I was up at 6:22 this morning. I have to say I am really loving my own quiet time in the morning and I find my morning goes so much better too.

  • Jillian Kay says:

    5:15 again today. I paid bills and ironed a bunch of clothes — not sure how much that will impact my future, but it will free me up for eating pizza and watching cartoons with the kids tonight!

  • I loved this challenge today. I love the fact that I need to celebrate each habit change…. big and small. They all matter and I am the only one that can do it for me. Plus this also brought home the message to me that I can’t change habits of others…. for example, my husband. My early to rise challenge might not be his early to rise challenge.
    🙂

  • Dionne says:

    I woke up at 5:20, but stayed in bed where it was warm a few minutes longer talking with my husband. He also woke up early. My alarm, Wilma, is set for 5:45. His alarm, Fred, is set for 5:46. So the goal for us both is to wake up with my nice gentle alarm and get up before his loud alarm goes off. I go make the coffee and tea (and today mix up some quick muffins and put them in the oven) while he gets dressed. Then I go back to the bedroom and we make the bed. I read the Early to Rise passage to him while he finishes up in the bedroom. Then he goes to the living room to drink his coffee and have his quiet time while I stay in the bedroom and have my tea and quiet time. It’s working well for us both.

  • Shu says:

    6:45 am. Feels like we’re getting some traction this week! It might not seem very early, but we woke up this morning without feeling miserable today! Yay!

  • Woke up at 6:30 but snuggled under the covers until almost 7. I just couldn’t get myself out of bed right away. :/ Oh, why is it so hard to get out from those warm covers?!

    In spite of that, I did get quite a bit of work done this morning, so I will try not to complain too much. 🙂

  • deidre says:

    I woke up at 5:06am, right on time! My goal is for the weekends and to wake up at 7:00am each morning.

  • Susan says:

    Had phone alarm set for 6:30 AM, my goal time. Went to bed at a reasonable hour last night again — which is a real change for me, attributable to this Early to Rise program. Actually awoke and arose at 6:00 AM. As a semi-related aside, I think that if I got more daily exercise, that it would benefit falling-asleep and actual sleep.

  • Marie says:

    woke at 6:01 today! I knew today was going to be rough with cramps but I knew it’d be better to get my devotional time in. I’m allowing grace today and forgetting the to do list! I was talking to my husband the other night, feeling like I didn’t get much done, and as I was sharing that I made pancakes for the kids and put the extra’s in the freezer, unloaded the dishwasher twice, finished laundry, make an extra batch of corn muffins, played with my daughter, wrote some note cards and picked up, I realized I DID do a lot. They weren’t necessarily the items that made it on the list so I was feeling like I hadn’t done much. The post yesterday about expectations and interuptions really has given me a better perspective for the stage of life I’m in right now with my little ones.
    Thanks so much for all the encouragement Crystal!

  • K Quinn says:

    I woke up later than I wanted to but I needed it. Had a very long hard day yesterday and I’m fearing I will get sick if I don’t get some rest. I’m definitely taking it one day at a time so I’m not worried at all about meeting my goal. The daily checkin and such helps so much with this. Thanks Crystal!

  • Robin says:

    A more useful answer would be to add in what time you went to sleep! Asleep 1:30am, awake 7:30am.

  • Claire says:

    I just wanted to say that its been super encouraging to see you get up at 5:30 every morning! It shows it actually CAN be done! Thanks for the motivation:)

  • Lucy says:

    I woke up at 6:30 this morning instead of 5. I think I will change my commitment time to 6 instead of 5. I think I set up my commitment too early in my lifestyle, I used to wake up around 8. The reason why I set up 5 is I wake up at 5 once in a week for my work.

    I usually work out about 30 min. and walk with my dogs for 30 min, and then eat breakfast and shower was my routine in my days, and now I added to read one verse of Bible and read good books. What a different makes to read bible and books! I used to say to my husband, I like to read books, but I don’t have time. Now i know I have time. I love this challenge and I will make this work for my entire life, not only 30 days. I feel much more productive thorough out day and feel awesome!

  • Amy says:

    I am so inspired by all of you early risers! My husband is out of town this week, so I have found myself staying up late each night “getting things done”. Thus, I have been getting up around 7am even though my alarm goes off at 5:45am! I will go to bed at my normal 9pm tonight and actually get up and at ’em tomorrow morning! It’ll be nice to not have to rush around in the am getting the kids ready!

  • Jen says:

    Got up at 5:30 again (have all week!). And you know what? I have felt more rested and have gotten better sleep since I started waking up earlier (started working towards this a couple weeks ago….good timing with the challenge!). Anyway, my theory? When I got married, I was a night owl, my husband got up by choice at 4:30 every day. So, I usually went to be around the same time as him, at least an hour earlier than previously. This got worse when I got pregnant, and wanted to go to bed even earlier! So anyway, I’m exhausted and sleepy by 9pm usually, but never did get around to becoming a morning person! It was SO hard to drag myself out of bed, even when I was going to bed so early! So I think I was actually getting too much sleep, and tossing and turning as a result. But now, sleeping 8 hours instead of 9-10, I have been sleeping like a rock! It is amazing! I am actually a little embarrassed about it! :/

  • Melissa says:

    I just saw that you were doing this (I was on vacation last week) but I am so excited that you are!! I’m gonna jump in now… I am so excited to start off with very productive and motivating mornings. 🙂

  • Katie says:

    6:10! Making progress with baby steps!

  • I got up at 6:30am as planned. I am LOVING this challenge! I’m going to bed earlier, getting more time in with my hubby, and I even got to do pilates this morning AND make pancakes for the kids. Soooo much easier to face my day when I have some quiet time to start the day!

  • Melodie says:

    6:15 this morning :-b…fighting off a sinus infection, so I went to bed early and got up late. Thankfully, I still had plenty of time to get ready since I used to get up at 7 which only gave me 15 min to get out the door!!!

  • Stacy says:

    I oke up at 6:09 am so I am back in business after the snow day. I don’t use that goal setting site but I recently started using lifetick.com. So far I a still setting it up but I have my main goals posted – to tithe every paycheck, and to read a minimum of 12 books this year.

  • Brittany says:

    It was about 0800 today…not bad for a relaxing morning. I have taken this week and the next couple off. I’m in between jobs, really. Last day for the old one was Feb 28, starting the new one March 25. I know it’s a crazy-long break, but I’m getting married this Saturday and moving to a new town, and settling into a brand new house that we’re (almost done!) building.

    I worked nights 11p to 7a and could never get in a good routine. The new job will be 7 p to 7a, three days a week. (I’m an RN at a hospital.) I am very curious how to get a disciplined schedule while working nights. The past 8 months on my 11 to 7 job I would get home around 8, fall asleep 9-10, then wake up at 2 or so. I rarely slept a straight 8 hours through like I can at night. So then I’d take for a nap from 6 to 9 at night before going in to work.

    Any tips for night shifters? Or for using my next few weeks off wisely? Or for my new marriage? Or for settling into a new house? (We don’t have floors in yet—or really any furniture. The almost-hubs just got a toilet in today, the hot water isn’t hooked up quite yet-should be by move in/wedding day on Saturday!…so it’ll be bare bones living for a little while!)

  • Dallas says:

    You’ve inspired me so much, Crystal! I am trying to really make mornings matter. This morning, I exercised and stretched first thing and felt so much better the whole day! http://daybydaymasterpiece.com/2013/03/07/make-mornings-matter-in-march/

  • Amber says:

    Was up at 5:00 am and was happy with the results of not feeling rushed about.

    I’ve just gotten settled in from work (meaning.. I just got home at 9:00 pm, have just finished dinner) and now I’m going to lay down. I’ll blog about day 7 tomorrow. I have it written down on paper just gotta type it up.

  • Shelley says:

    So far I have made my goal of 4:30.
    Today was more of a struggle but I got those feet on the ground.

  • Michelle says:

    I always get up at 5am! It’s the best! I’m a morning person. I’m at the peak in the mornings. I go to bed at 9pm – which most people are not willing to do (or think they can’t do).

    YEA to early mornings!!!!

  • Damaris says:

    Good morning! My hubby leaves a little before 5 at which time I actually stood up to read and pray and went back to sleep! I was up at 6:45 my goal is 6 but a morning routine is more important right now.

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