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How Changing My Morning Changed My Whole Day

Testimony from Jessica of The Abundant Wife

A few months ago, Crystal did a series of posts on how getting up early could give you more time in your day. I took those posts to heart, and decided to give it a try.

On June 15, I wrote down six goals that I hoped to accomplish in the next month:

  1. Go to bed every night by 10 p.m.
  2. Get up every morning at 7 a.m.
  3. Read a chapter from my Bible every day.
  4. Write a page in my journal every day.
  5. Read from a book every day.
  6. Go for a walk every day.

Next I posted my list on the bulletin board over my computer so that I would see it every day. After a few days, I decided that I needed some sort of reward system. Amy Lynn Andrews had recently posted a “productivity secret” from Jerry Seinfeld, so I decided to use his system. I gave myself a star for every day when I accomplished items #2-#5.

I decided to give myself Sundays off, which worked well for me. Later, I also added Crystal’s technique of keeping track of the books I read on Pinterest, which has been another great motivator.

As with most goals, I have had some set-backs.

First, my kids started getting up when I did which was really frustrating! However, with time, they have adapted to my new routine. Now my 3-year-old daughter often wanders out and sits by me while I’m reading and writing. I usually have to finish my new routine by getting my 1-year-old son out of bed and changing his diaper.

I have also really struggled with goals #1 and #6. I think I will have to focus more on them in future months, but I am still happy to be accomplishing four out of my six goals.

In spite of those few struggles, I am very pleased with the positive results of my 6 goals over the last 2 months:

  • I have been reading my Bible and writing in my journal daily for the first time since my daughter was born three years ago.
  • I have finished 12 books in 2012 — 9 of those books were finished in the last two months!
  • I have been able to write more regularly on my blog.
  • I have needed fewer naps since I have been trying to get to bed earlier. I am also tired when it is time to go to bed.
  • By moving up my schedule, our entire day begins and ends earlier. All of our meal times are now happening earlier.
  • I have accomplished more of my other goals for the year, including outings with the kids and home improvements I had planned.

When I first began getting up before my kids, I dreaded the thought of getting any less sleep or adding more tasks to my day. Now, I find myself looking forward to “my time” in the mornings as a breath of fresh air.

Getting up earlier than my kids jump-starts my whole day and gives me structure. Doing something I love first thing keeps me motivated to continue my new routine!

Have you accepted Crystal’s challenge to make the most of your mornings? What has or has not worked for you?

Jessica is the child of a loving God, the wife of a wonderful man, and the mother of two energetic toddlers (with a third on the way!) She is a lifelong learner who loves reading, writing, bargain-hunting, creating art, and laughing until her face hurts. Jessica writes about living abundantly on one income at The Abundant Wife

photo source

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  • Tabitha says:

    I definitely have been encouraged by Crystal’s posts on making the most of mornings. I think the very basics of planning ahead the night before, getting a good nights rest and getting up early before the kids is the one of the best things a mom can do.
    I know personally I’ve done this faithfully for over a year now and I can say I have quality time with my son during the day and more energy when my husband gets home from work because I’ve tried these small basics. 🙂

  • megscole64 says:

    I love the *idea* of getting up earlier but more often than not it’s a losing game for me. When I have gotten up earlier I always enjoy it but gosh darn it it is HARD to actually stick to it!

  • This is great! I love it. I so wish that I felt like I could put these in play. My husband and I, who work together for a film production company, work many hours and usually have to be at work by 7am!!! This means that I usually try to get every last second of sleep that I can. Sigh.

  • Shelly says:

    Since starting the Make the Most of your Mornings Challenge I have been doing so much better at managing my time in the morning. I am still getting up at the same time but I am getting more done and have committed to exercising each day.
    I have also noticed that when I forget to do my 5 tasks the night before it seems like I am running to catch up the next day.

    • That’s great that you’re committed to exercising each day! I was only successful in exercising less than 50% of the time, because I had to do it another time of the day. Before I knew it, the day I was over and I still hadn’t exercised. I’ve got to figure out a different strategy for that goal. 🙂

  • Shirley says:

    These are great goals. I always love when I manage to get up early enough to spend some extra time with my little one before heading in to work, but I am so bad at getting to bed at a decent hour. With my commute, I don’t get home until maybe 7pm sometimes, which leaves me about 1.5-2 hours with my daughter, and after that I just need my veg time. Sometimes that’s running, sometimes reading, sometimes cleaning, but I just can’t ever seem to get to bed before 11pm no matter how hard I try.

    • I always seem to be trying to squeeze in one more thing before bed each night. It’s also the time that I get to spend with my husband without our toddlers around. I’ve got to be more disciplined at quitting at the same time each night, no matter what I’m in the middle of doing. 🙂

  • Elizabeth says:

    That sounds like a day off I’m not even sure how to work things out. My schedule has been the same for years but never enough time.
    6am up & wake up kids
    6-7:30 is getting kids ready and out the door
    7 wake up the husband
    7:45 put husband out the door for work & take a break to check email and social media
    8 start getting ready for work & make my lunch
    8:30 head to work to work from 9-2
    2:30 home to clean house
    4 start dinner and help kids with homework
    5-6 dinner then more home work til 7 generally then at that point put kids through showers & lay out clothes for the next day 8 kids go to bed
    8-11 laundry & spend time with hubby 11-12 dishes, clean kitchen & bed – Repeat LOL I know there are breaks in there but 15 min breaks never seem to give me enough time to do anything now if I could find a way to stick all those breaks together now THAT would be awesome. 🙂
    More than once I’ve thought of quitting my job so I can have a moment to myself then I realize oh yeah I’d spend all my time worried about how to make bills LOL
    I’m trying hard to get to bed by 11 these days but every time I lay down I’m like… did I feed the pets? are the lights off? are back packs ready for tomorrow… so I’ve yet to accomplish that goal. Been better though before the dishwasher I was in bed by 1am and then back up at 6am M-F you’d be amazed on the difference on being able to function between 5 and 6 hrs of sleep 😉

  • Mackenzie says:

    The “getting to bed on time” thing is the hardest for me. The five tasks before bedtime is no problem, but the actual getting to bed at a decent hour thing, is not going well at all. 🙁

  • Florence says:

    I’ve always prepared everything for the morning the evening before so that wasn’t new to me. But what did occur to me was that I simply needed more sleep time. So by settings fixed bedtime and a fixed wake up, get out of bed time at 7 am, I am getting enough sleep and it is easier (not easy, but easier) to get up and get going in the mornings.

  • Amanda says:

    Since I started your morning challenge our marriage has improved! It might sound silly but it’s true. My husband works long, long hours and we don’t have much time together at night and then I work on the weekends…I made it a priority to go to bed early with him and wake up at 5:30 with him…we spend most of the mornings together, just the two of us. It has become something we both love and look forward to!

    • That’s great! I thought at first my husband would begrudge me going to bed earlier since our evening time (after the kids are in bed) is “our time.” But he has actually started to like it. He works from home, and he likes going to bed earlier and getting up earlier with me. And since I’m not napping as much in the afternoons, we have that time together too when the kids are napping. 🙂

  • Kelly Welch says:

    Ahhh…….geez……..I don’t think I CAN get up any earlier! I get up with my beloved at 3:30 am to pack him a lunch and cook him a nice hot breakfast before he commutes 60 minutes to the construction site to start work at 6. Then I have some Jesus-and-me time, but if I’m not careful, I’ll fall back asleep! I should get to bed earlier, tho. It’s just not fair that I’m the grown up, and my teens get to stay up cuz its summer vacation, but I have to be in bed by 9:30!

  • kathy says:

    The problem I have with morning is all but one of my kids are early birds which I am not. My kids usually get up at 6 so getting up early then them is not possible and I swear they have radar if I get up earlier they all wake up earlier. But I will still try to find what works best for us and makes the best of our morning.

  • Angela says:

    I started waking up 30 minutes before my kids, at 5am, then the oldest started to wake up too! This is a good thing mind you! His room is clean and his bed is made before school. No down time for this mom in the morning, so I went back to staying up late with my husband. Alls well that ends well.

  • Carrie says:

    7:00 would be sleeping in for me! I wish I didn’t have to get up until 7 or later . It’s 6:15-6:30five days a week. Wake up kids at 6:40 to get ready for school , everyone out the door by 7:15, I work from home 2 days a week 7:30-4:30, and have a 3 year old home. I am not a morning person at all!! Can’t make myself be one , I’ve tried . Once all my kids are in school full time , I plan to go back to bed the first week or two that they all leave for school😂 I’ve been up with babies, toddlers, and now school age kids for 11 years and I’m tired (literally) from years and years of different sleep schedules !

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