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Make the Most of Your Mornings: Stop Saying “I’m Not a Morning Person!” (Day 9)

Sorry that I’m getting this up so late (and past my bedtime!). I had it ready earlier but then had computer issues. Hopefully, tomorrow’s post will be up much earlier again. Thanks for your patience as I adjusted to our new homeschooling schedule this week and tried to figure out where blogging was going to fit in! I’m hoping I’ve got it figured out now after four days into our new schedule… we’ll see! 🙂

Okay, I’m probably going to step on some toes here, but I want to stick my neck out anyway and say this: As long as you continue to say “I’m not a morning person” you never will be one.

We’re all wired differently. Some of us are better at getting up in the morning. For others, it’s a big struggle. But when you convince yourself that you’re just not a morning person, you’re basically committing yourself to failure before you even try.

Don’t be a defeatist!

You might not be able to get up really early. You might not jump out of bed ready to hit the ground running. You might require more hours of sleep than other people. But don’t let those things keep you from trying or seeking to improve.

If I were to declare “I’m not good with money,” that might be true. But that doesn’t mean the fact that I’ve handled money unwisely in the past needs to define me or be used as an excuse for blowing money on things I don’t need or racking up credit card debt.

Having low expectations of ourselves is one sure way to never rise above the status quo. It’s also sure way to live a mediocre, boring life.

So, no matter what you’ve done or been in the past, don’t let that define you. Instead, start taking steps toward where you hope to be. And keep at it, even when the going is rough.

I loved this comment from Kelli@Taste&See:

I didn’t consider myself a morning person for year and years. I’m still a bit of a morning person-in-training.

However, I just wanted to chime in and say that I didn’t know I had potential to be a morning person until I committed to trying it for three weeks. I hated it – truly hated it – for the first week.

By the 2nd week, I didn’t mind getting up quite so much. By the 3rd week, I found that I really looked forward to my quiet time to myself!

Now I’d like to try adding exercise to my morning routine. I expect to hate that for the first week, too. 🙂 -Kelli

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that if you start getting up early every morning you’re going to magically turn into someone who loves getting up at the crack of dawn. Nor am I saying that everyone should get up really early.

What I am asking is that you stop and consider whether your preconceived notions about being a certain kind of person are holding you back from success.

My Day 8 Project Update

Bedtime: Um, so much for getting to bed by 9:30 p.m. But hey, after my shopping fiasco, I did at least make it to bed by 10:30.

My Top 5 Evening Must Do’s: Done!

Wake Up Time: 6:30 a.m.: It felt so late, after four much earlier mornings. And I felt behind all day. At least I know that the early morning wake up times are making a big difference. Now if I can just stick with them…!

Day 9 Project

1. Did you determine your bedtime and 5 Evening Must-Do’s? If so, leave a comment telling us how you did on them last night.

2. Did you determine what time you’re going to commit to waking up every morning for the next three weeks? If so, leave a comment telling us how you did this morning!

3. Did you get in some exercise yesterday and eat a nutritious breakfast? If not, make a commitment today to a specific way you’re going to incorporate exercise and a nutritious breakfast into your day.

4. Consider whether you have preconceived notions about yourself that might be holding you back from success.

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  • I’ve been waiting all day for what the challenge was going to be! Yay, it’s here!! And it’s something that I TOTALLY need to do. Bed time and must do’s are good to go, now, I got those in the bag.

    Waking up an hour and a half past my scheduled wake up time has been quite disheartening and I admittedly have taken on a “I’m not a morning person” type of attitude. Maybe I’ll need to put up some positive and motivational notes around to remind myself to be more uplifting. I used that trick from The Secret when I lived in Cali and it worked pretty well.

    At the very least, I ate breakfast. My son has been quite difficult lately and I’ve been kind of forgetting to make myself food, but not since you challenged us to eat breakfast! And we ran around the house (does that count as a work out?) to get our blood pumping. Well, he ran, I chased. Same thing, right?

  • I was always a morning person, but ended up pushing myself on too little sleep after I had kids to get up too early as it was a struggle to stay asleep at night.
    I compromise, not because I am lazy, but because of my health. I still wakeup fairly early compared to other people, but sometimes it is better to sleep, than push yourself too hard. It is being a wise steward of your health as well! Just a thought as you figure out what works for you!

    • Jen says:

      I totally agree with you… I have 4 kids under 6 and they are often up in the night for whatever reason and I then I am on the go all day long… I have found I’m a MUCH better mommy when I get enough rest. I do go to bed early (for sure by 10) and I get up early to read my Bible and things and that works well but when I tried to get up really early and work out/run in the mornings but it just did not work for our family. For one, I didn’t have enough energy to put into my workouts so I felt frustrated and then I was also tired and grumpy all day. I have some health issues as well and have found my body really needs a lot of sleep and so it’s definitely been a wiser choice for this season of life for me to get that extra hour or two of sleep at night. I’ve appreciated this series and it’s helped me plan things out even more than I already do so we can have smooth mornings.

  • Rachel H says:

    Just wanted to thank you for the inspiration! I’ll never forget learning that it takes 14 days to break {or make} a habit. We’ve mastered our nights and will be moving onto the mornings next week. Somehow knowing that someone else is getting up before the break of dawn makes it a tiny bit easier. LOL.

    I know it sounds strange for me to admit mastering just that, but my son is one that NEVER slept. From day one, he’s only slept 2-3 hours. {I never realized just how debilitating sleep deprivation could be.} Now he’s a year old and will give us two 4-6 hr stretches at night. Seriously its like everyone has said, he turned 1, and *poof* suddenly he’s improving. What I was amazed at was how wretched our habits had turned into having to deal with it. My body didn’t know what to do w/the extra sleep. I’d wake up brain fogged and sore from not moving for so long.

    So long story short…we’ve moved at a steady pace and I just wanted to say thanks for the extra focus on simply how to get organized to start improving our bedtimes & risings. 😀

  • Jennifer says:

    I haven’t been doing the greatest with my Top 5 Evening must-do’s, but I think tonight I’ll make it! My hardest one, the dishes, are done already! I’m still getting adjusted to being a mommy-my baby is 2 months-old. I’m trying to get up at least half an hour before she wakes up to have some quiet time and hopefully get a healthy breakfast in too. I might start making museli again. Its so easy to put together at night, and there is nothing to prep in the morning or heat up.

    As far as exercise, we did take a short walk today. For my bedtime, I’m trying for no later than 11:30. Wake-up-I’m trying for 6 or 6:30. She generally wakes up to eat around 7am, then we go back to sleep for an hour or two.

    Thanks for doing this Crystal! It has been a big help so far in getting me back on track after having my baby, and setting goals again. 🙂

  • Chelsea says:

    I’ve been doing really good at getting my 5 to-do’s done at night, and I’ve done decent at getting up when I’m supposed to. But not this morning! For whatever reason, I didn’t even set my alarm, so I slept until the rest of my family was starting to get up. Because I slept late, I skipped out on exercise and breakfast which made me realize how important these things really are. I’m going to try again tomorrow!

  • Shelly says:

    I am happy to say I am a morning person. That doesn’t mean I get a lot done in the morning without a plan but I do find it is easy to get up in the morning instead of staying up late.

    I was able to get to bed on time actually a few minutes early with all five of my before bed items done.
    I was up last night twice, once for my son and once for the dog. But I still was able to get out of bed on time. Although I could have slept another hour but I didn’t.

    I got quite a bit of exercise done if you count 4 hours scrubbing our front deck to clean it before I re-seal it tomorrow. I also had toast with peanut butter for breakfast.
    I do find I have preconceived notions about certain things in my life but I am working on my attitude about exercise. I need to change the way I think about myself and exercise. I have made progress this week and have gotten quite a bit of physical activity in.

  • Michelle says:

    I woke up today before my alarm clock! That’s HUGE!! I went to bed a lot earlier last night and felt so great this morning 🙂 I really have enjoyed the mornings of quiet time before the kids are allowed up. It makes my day seem so much more productive. Thanks for the encouragement and challenge!

  • Meredith says:

    I was always a morning person until I had my daughter 5 years ago. Now, I just want to sleep. Aside from missing one of my 5 must do’s last night, I’ve hit everything spot on execpt the snooze button. It’s on my husbands side of the bed so I am starting to think I need my own alarm clock!

    Thanks for the inspiration!!!!!

    • Crystal says:

      Haha! Maybe get one of those alarm clocks that moves around the room and you have to get up and chase it around to turn it off?? 😉

      • Meredith says:

        Not a bad idea! You know what, maybe I just need to put the alarm clock on the other side of the room. My husband won’t get out of bed until I lug him out anyway so maybe it would actually get me up!

  • I always considered myself a morning person, but this summer for some reason, there have been so many days where getting up early was so difficult. I’m glad that we have been doing this challenge because it has been a good reminder of how much more peaceful and organized I am when I get up early!

  • Tabitha says:

    Thank you so much for these posts Crystal, I have just started to adjust to a new morning routine because my little girl just got into k5 and these posts have really helped me. This site is so awesome, I look up to you for inspiration. Thank you for doing what you do I really enjoy that someone likes to help others 🙂

  • Nurya Love Parish says:

    Thank you for this challenge, I love it! I also am glad to hear about the ways it isn’t working. My yesterday included a meeting that ended right at my bedtime, half an hour away from my bed. I did not get to bed on time! But thanks to you I had an evening routine in place and was able to complete most of it before I left, leading to a much better today. I am definitely a morning person. I became one after I had kids and realized that getting up before them was the key to my peace of mind. But I’ve never been great at getting to sleep on time so I have been robbing my body of rest for years.

    I plan to be in bed at 9:30 tonight, with my whole evening routine complete. I’ll keep checking, I love the accountability.

    • Susan in St. Louis says:

      I love the accountability too…and am wondering what’s going to become of my evenings/mornings after the three weeks is up! 😉

  • Donna says:

    Just a note of encouragement. I think “night people” are a by product of electricity. When you have electricity to see and work by after dark, you start to do that,or grew up in homes where that was the norm. But before electricity, making candles, getting lamp oil, and chopping wood to make light after dark were hard work, so you didn’t waste alot of energy making light, you went to bed and used God’s light bulb during the day. With practice, anyone can switch, which is what we do when world traveling or those who work swing shifts do.

    I love to make use of natural sun to work by as a money saving method. And if we ever have a natural disaster that knocks out our power grid, we will be ready to make use of the light we have!

  • Kim says:

    I needed to hear this!! I’m working on it. “You will also declare a thing And it will be established for you;” Job 22:28 NKJV So I declare that I AM a morning person!!

    I reorganized my daily declarations & put them under each of my goals yesterday. I read them every day & am starting to see some of my declarations just happen!! I’ve been getting my 5 done, but the phone rang 15 minutes before bedtime last night, so I ended up 30 minutes late to bed & 30 minutes late waking up. I usually eat Ezekiel Bread for breakfast (quick & healthy). I’m off to exercise!!

  • Susan in St. Louis says:

    I agree that it gets easier as it becomes a habit to wake up early. And, like Kelli, I’m finding myself looking forward to my quiet time.

    My question is – what to do on the weekends? Keep getting up early and do my little routine, or sleep a bit later, or just sleep as late as I can? Does anyone have any advice? 🙂

    • I’ve always read that you should keep the same routine or pretty close everyday.

    • Susan says:

      Susan, I’ve been an early riser for years. Most weekend days I wake up at the same as I do during the week. I echo Mona’s comment that it’s easiest to maintain the same schedule every day so your body doesn’t need to shift back to an earlier wake-up time come Monday.

      I don’t use an alarm clock ever. I jjust wake up naturally. Every now and then I’ll unintentially sleep in an hour or so later on Saturday or Sunday. I chalk that up to the fact that my body just needed the extra sleep.

      • Crystal says:

        I’ve found that when I consistently get up near the same time every day, I also need an alarm clock less. Kudos to you for going alarm-clock-free totally!

        I’m still working on waking up early on the weekends — that’s more of a challenge for me, especially since we always stay up later on Friday and Saturday nights! Thanks for the inspiration!

    • I still get up early on the weekends. NEVER thought I’d be doing that! 🙂 Sometimes later by about half an hour or so, but I really do like the quiet still, even on the weekends. As a mom of two energetic boys, the house isn’t ever quiet unless people are asleep, and I function better when I give myself time to breathe in the morning. 🙂

  • Amy moore says:

    Only a morning person would say that not being a morning person is about attitude!

    • Susan says:

      I respectfully disagree. For 20 years of my life, starting in my early teens, I would have argued that I was not a “morning person” and getting up early was just impossible for me. A few semesters in college I had early classes, and it just about killed me to get up early.

      Then I became a mother rather late in life (late thirties). This new season of life forced me to redevelop a number of aspects of my life, including my sleep schedule. Transitioning to an early wakeup time was not an overnight process or an easy one, but once my mindset changed and realized that it would work better for both my daughter and myself if I shifted my sleep schedule to go to bed when my baby did and get up earlier, it got a lot easier. And it did not take very long for it to become habit.

      Which is not to say that everyone needs to wake up early in order to be most productive. Everyone should figure out what works best for them, their families, and their individual circumstances. But attitude counts for a lot when it comes to carrying out our goals, whether it’s adjusting one’s sleep schedule or anything else.

      • Amy moore says:

        I get up at 6:30 so I can shower before my kids get up, but if I did not have kids my sleep schedule would not be 10:30 to 6:30 and I am cranky when I wake up. I am not a morning person. When I was in my 20’s I slept until 10 all the time.

    • Heather says:

      Ha ha. Agree!

    • august says:

      I agree with you. I’ve never been a morning person. My husband always makes jokes that I don’t “turn on” until after the sun goes down -and he’s right, 9:00 p.m. hits and I’m in full on clean/lets get stuff done mode. It’s been like that since I was a kid.

      I can wake up at 5:30 and be happy, I just don’t want to nearly as much as I do at night time. For me, attitude doesn’t have anything to do with it, I literally don’t function as well.

  • Some encouragement for those of you who are night owls.

    My husband is a night owl. He is definitely more focused, attentive, and energetic later in the day. It is very hard for his body to wind down for sleep before 11pm – even without electronics and bright lights. He goes to bed at 11pm every day.

    Guess what time he gets up? 545am.

    Yes, You did read that right. He’s also fortunate enough to be one of those people who functions very well on 6 hours of sleep, so he is ready to go when he gets up. He needs to leave for work by 610am at the latest so 545am allows him time to take a quick shower, dress and get out the door. He eats breakfast while waiting for the computerized QC to complete itself (usualy yogurt and fruit) at work. Has worked for him for the last 12 years. If he does have a rare day where he can “sleep in”, he usually wakes up before 8am just because he’s so used to it!

    Hope that encourages someone out there! I’m fortunate enough to have always been a morning person, but that’s the nutshell of his journey!

    • august says:

      I understand that completely. I don’t go to bed until 3:30 am and have to be in class by 7:45 most days. I’m totally content with so little sleep, actually, I won’t go back to bed again until 3:30 am the next day. I’m sure it will catch up with me, but I can’t force myself to go to sleep, so I take advantage of it.

      While you can get a lot of things done during the day -running errands -you can also get a lot done at night -school work, work, cleaning, freezer cooking, reading etc . . . I prefer night time because that’s MY time and there are no interruptions. Not to mention, I feel like I can get more done during the night than I can during the day since my 3 year old is so interested in making messes and being a kid.

  • Marie Lamb says:

    I have been doing great with getting to bed by 10pm and most nights it’s been even earlier. But this week we also had an overnight at a waterpark hotel and my 1 year old decided to not sleep from 10pm-1am!! So that morning I slept until everyone else woke up. I’ve been struggling with the morning wake time of 6am. I started off the challenge doing good and then really struggled. I’m hoping to get back on track especially with school starting in a week. I’ve not done all 5 things every night but am hoping to. One thing I did start was a calander of meal planning and this has made a HUGE difference to my week!! Like yesterday we got back at 3pm and I just looked on the sheet and knew what to make. There was no stress!!!
    All these things for the challenge are all things I’ve been wanting to do so hopefully I can get on board!

  • Crystal,
    You are so right!! If you don’t give it a good try, you’ll never know.
    But if you DO try, and it still doens’t work, it doesn’t make you a bad person. I think that a lot of moms feel like getting up at 4 a.m. is a sign of their salvation or something close.
    (Crystal, you have never been discouraging in this area, but I have read many blogs where they have.)
    After being physically ill every morning for a long time, my husband asked me to stop getting up so early. Now, I sleep a bit later, feel like eating breakfast, and get moving quickly.
    I always hope to try again at getting up earlier, but we’ll see. I am not willing to sacrifce my health for it!
    Just another point of view, Crystal…in now way negating what you have said here!

    • Crystal says:

      I agree — and thanks so much for chiming in with an important word of caution!

      It’s not a contest to see who can get up the earliest, because that’s not what works (or what is best) for many people. And I think it’s so important to listen to our bodies (and people who know us well, like our spouses!). For some people, I’m guessing they are more productive in the mornings if they sleep in a little more!

      I’m so thankful that you figured out that sleeping in improves your health.

      • I should have mentioned that I have always struggled with severe insomnia, even as a child. So I am sometimes getting stuff done when the family is sleeping. LOL!
        And Crystal, you know one reason I keep reading? Because you are so humble. You NEVER come across as if you know the best way to do everything. And honestly, I am 45 years old, with 8 kids still at home, and I have learned a ton from you.
        Your sweet spirit keeps me coming back time and time again. Your mama did a good job!! LOL!!

        • Crystal says:

          You are so sweet and encouraging! Anything good you see in me is evidence of Christ in me. I’m a work in progress and He’s been breaking me a lot in the last few years to remind me just how much I need *Him*.

  • I’ve got my evening routine down and I always have a healthy breakfast. I just started exercising when I get up in the morning. My problem is that my youngest (3 yo) still likes to come in and sleep with dh & I so it’s hard for me to sneak out of bed and I don’t set an alarm because I don’t want it to wake him. I used to be a morning person. Then my kids turned out to be morning people as well and so to get any alone time I had to stay up later. I really prefer getting up early so I’m trying to get back to that!

  • Kathy says:

    Doing great on my 5 things, up on time, eating breakfast and so-so on exercise. Missed 2 days this week so far. Last night was up almost 2 hours past my bedtime but got all 5 things done. Slept in a half-hour and plan to go to bed by 10 tonight (even though later Friday nights are my little “treat” to myself generally).

    Thanks for the all the inspiration. It IS fun to think that I’m working on all these challenges with thousands of other women around the country! 🙂

  • Jimi says:

    I have just fallen off the wagon the last two days. My son has had to be at XC practice at 6am, and I have crawled back in bed after he leaves at 5:45. Ugh. Then I oversleep and am rushed to get ready for work and the morning is not pleasant. I need to not let these last two days completely derail me. One thing I need to figure out is what I can do first thing (at 5:30 when we wake up) to get started on the day, instead of just waiting for him to head out the door. And I’m pretty sure the answer is to put on my running clothes (including shoes). I was going to do that this morning but it had just started raining (hallelujah!). Guess I need a back up plan as well.

    Bottom line – I just need to keep trying, instead of feeling defeated and giving up.

  • Julie Turner says:

    I did get to bed on time Wednesday and took care of my top 5. Thursday morning, I actually woke up before my alarm! My biggest challenge right now is not only waking up but physically getting out of bed immediately rather than waiting another 5-10 minutes.

    I skipped my usual morning workout to let my body recover from an intense day on Wednesday, but still ate a healthy breakfast.

    I guess I never thought about how preconceived notions about “not being a morning person” COULD be holding me back. I’m curious how changing my mindset can help motivate me to BE a morning person. What an inspiration!

  • Sherry Lochner says:

    Funny that you do this one! I am NOT a morning person before coffee. 🙂 I absolutely love my morning time with my coffee, Bible, and prayer. It is one of my most treasured times of day!

    I actually got to bed 15 minutes later than expected, but I decided to help my daughter do the dishes. Wednesdays tend to be later as we have church on Wednesday nights. Thursday and Friday of this week we have revival services, too. I was able to get my list done, too.

    I woke up on time Thursday, and not incredibly early like I had done the past two mornings though. Praise God for sleep! 🙂

    My daughter and I will be working out Friday afternoon hopefully. I’m having a pain flare up with my degenerative disease, but hoping Aleve will alleve my pain.

  • Sarah says:

    I may not *like* it some days, but I tend to wake up early even when I don’t want to. I’ve started really loving that little bit of peace and quiet before the hubby starts getting ready for work. Plus here in Texas, early morning is really the only time to do any sort of outdoor workout so me and the puppy head out for sunrise walks. It’s nice to know that I’ve gotten a little exercise in and I usually plan out what I need to accomplish for the day before most of the neighborhood is up.

  • Ms. Edith says:

    Wednesday night went great! We got to bed on time, done all of our bedtime to-do’s, and even got up on time Thursday morning! It all felt great! But then I ended up going back to be after about an hour and a half. 🙁

    In the past I was not a ‘morning person’, but then I set my mind that I wanted to be and I started getting up around 8am or so. And it worked for me. But then after having my daughter and then her starting school, we had to rearrange our bedtime and wake-up schedule to meet the needs of her going to school and riding the bus. Last year we did great! I think we overslept once that whole year! This year so far hasn’t been to bad, but I think that I’m giving in to easily to the feeling of wanting to go back to bed (the warmth, darkness, etc.). When I first wake up, I’m good to go. It’s just after that 30 minutes or so my energy levels deplete rather quickly. So that is something I need to work on.

  • Ann says:

    Very well said!! Now that I get up early, I love it, but there was a time I would have said,
    “No thanks!” Amen to pre-conceived ideas about ourselves…

  • Cort says:

    I think there is a typo in #3. I think you meant “breakfast” :).

    Love this series!

  • Kerry D. says:

    I definitely get more done when I have a plan.

    I wanted to chime in that no one should feel like a failure if they are not able to be very productive at an early hour. I’ve had early morning jobs, and children (1 in particular) who was a very early riser. But, even with all that for years, I am still a zombie in the early hours and if I started the day early, the fog never really lifts. I find that an early rise makes me less productive on the whole. If I sleep til about 8, I can go-go-go all day long and accomplish a great deal, even when I’ve slept the same number of hours.

  • Sara says:

    It makes me so happy to read others comments. I haven’t been dpoing to well with this challenge, but to read others experiences make me feel better. Hearing their struggles and tips confirms I’m not the only one who is having issues. I keep making excuses about why I can’t get up, and how I’m not a morning person anymore! Do this is a great challenge. I need to stop making the excuses and just do it! Especially since my almost three month old is now sleeping really well at night. I liked the comment someone made about just declaring it! I think I need to do that! 🙂 I used to be a morning person, so I know I can be one again. So thanks for the reminder about needing an I can attitude. This was the perfect challenge to start right before school. My two oldest kids both have to be at school in the am this year so I will have to get up early no matter what so I might as well try to make it a good morning and start it off right!

  • Susan says:

    I think I have another issue entirely. I wake up early when my husband gets my 10yo son off to school. After they have both left the house, I go back to bed until noon! My excuse is that I don’t have anything to do all day. My day still drags on even when I get up so late. I wake up and make myself go back to sleep. I have many things that I want to do in the day but am so unmotivated. Help!

    • I don’t know your particular situation in life, but could you maybe get a part-time job? It wouldn’t have to be anything fancy, just something to go to for a couple hours a day, 3-5 times a week. Then you would HAVE to get up and get yourself ready for the day.

      Lists are simple, but they sometimes help to motivate me. Make a list of all the things you want to do and then start doing some of them. I really like getting to cross things off the list when I’m done! Maybe that’s weird, but it helps me.

      Do you have a friend that could be an accountability partner? Give her your list and ask her to check up on your progress. Maybe she would even be willing to come over and help you get started on some of the more labor-intensive tasks.

      • Susan says:

        Thank you Meredith. Lists are important to me. There are so many things that need to be done here in the house, perhaps I should start small and see where that goes.

    • Gwen says:

      you’re depressed . get to a doctor.

    • Dineen says:

      I’d really like echo Gwen’s recommendation that you see a doctor. If you have many plans, but cannot get motivated and sleep much of the day, you may be dealing with depression. As someone who has struggled with depression for many years, I urge you to get checked out to make sure there is nothing physically wrong, mimicking depressing keeping you in bed all day. If you have nothing joyful to keep you out of bed, then something is wrong. Please seek help.

      • Susan says:

        I have actually been on anti-depressants for awhile and they are my savior. I need to stop making excuses for staying in bed. Everyday I say, tomorrow I will get up and go to the gym. I feel so guilty when I don’t go. I have many friends on my street that are all stay at home moms and they ALL to go to work out somewhere most every morning during the week. I have made my mind up to connect with some of them to get me moving in the morning. I will try this first thing Monday, as I spoke to some of the girls last evening about the issue and they want to help.

        Thank you Dineen for your response.

  • Farmers Wife says:

    I feel I have been doing very well with these challanges but this when really made me think. I have been trying to get on a budget for a while now but I always feel defeated and end up quittting. It is hard because my husband id not fully on the same plan as I am but we really need things to change. So I am really going to try harder not to get defeated in this challange. My one question is it possiable to get grocery and gas for 125.00 a week with 2 adults one teenager and two kids? We live in eastern PA.

    • My husband and I came up with a budget (with help from Money Saving Mom!) when we got married three years ago. We’ve tweaked it and changed things over the years and we generally stick to it. Maybe instead of trying to overhaul your ENTIRE budget all at once, start with one category. Work at staying on budget in just that category until it feels “natural.” We found the most savings at the grocery store, but if you read Crystal’s grocery series, you’ll be overwhelmed if you try to fix everything at once. Start slow, give yourself grace, and don’t give up! We all have weeks where we totally blow the budget, but look at each week/month as a clean slate. Soon, shopping with a budget in mind will be second nature and won’t take as much effort.

      I can’t help much with your proposed $125 grocery/gas budget since I don’t know what things cost in eastern PA! We live in northern VA, which is fairly expensive, and I spend (about) $50 a week in groceries for the two of us. Our gas budget is $200/month. I drive 40+ miles a day for work and my husband does about 140 miles/week.

    • Crystal says:

      Yes, it should be possible — if you’re willing to be creative. When there’s a will, there’s usually a way!

      Have you checked out my 31 Days to a Better Grocery Budget series?

  • Annabell says:

    I got to bed 1/2 hour late, but still got up at the same time. I still felt pretty good. I did my 5 things. I didn’t get in any exercise because of a family emergency. I don’t think I have any preconceived notions about myself that are keeping me from being successful….I am sure I do, I just don’t realize it!

  • Natasha says:

    This week has been very challenging for me, as well as my family. Both my daughter and I started school Monday. I start my mornings at 530 by eating breakfast and reading my emails/FB/news, and then make my lunch. At 6, I wake up my daughter and give her breakfast. She’s 9, so she knows that as soon as she is finished, she is to get dressed, and finish getting ready for school. I kiss my husband goodbye(he leaves while I’m in the shower). I get in the shower and get myself ready and finish by 630-635. By that time,my daughter will be ready and we head out the door about 640. Her bus arrives at 645 and then depending if I have school or clinicals, I am usually on the road by 645/7. On my long days, we aren’t home til 6!!
    I used to be a morning person(waking up at 4am for work and did for 4 years),but with not working all summer, I was able to sleep in! I am slowly getting my body back to a routine although its hard at night going to bed at the same time repeatedly as homework tends to get in the way(I aim for 9 or 930).

    I am also training for a 4k in October so its been challenging to find time to run!

  • Jan says:

    I’m a night owl. That’s how God made me and I’m going with it. I get home from work at 11:3-pm and then I get tons done for about 2 hours before I go to bed around 1:30am. The I’m up at 7:30am that’s way to early for me but I deal with it 🙂

  • Soccer Mom says:

    Your posts and all of the comments are so interesting! I have always tried to figure out how much of the “night owl/early bird” in all of us was habit (or preconceived idea, as you point out) and how much was biology, and after watching my kids’ tendencies as they’ve grown I think there’s more biology to it than I originally thought. Maybe it’s natural differences in serotonin levels, which not only vary from person to person but change throughout our lives and affect how well and when we sleep best. I really am not sure. I just know that each member of my family has tendencies toward one or the other, and since my kids were babies and now into their teens it’s clearly been 2 early risers vs 1 night owl. I’m absolutely loving this series but waiting a little while to implement it since we are one week into the school year with one child at a new school – that has changed up our schedule quite a bit and are we still trying to figure that out. Some of the commenters have asked about keeping a similar waking time each day of the week, and I’m wondering what others think about that for their kids. My son’s schedule varies quite a bit during the week – he has certain days that he has to be at school a lot earlier than others – and, of course, he’d rather not get up at 5:30 a.m. on the weekends. I’d love to hear others’ ideas about that. Keep the info coming – good food for thought!

    • Tonya says:

      I have to agree with you about it being something to do with biology. I’m a night owl (and a forced morning person thanks to bus schedules – I have to admit I would never otherwise be a morning person by choice and I am 100% content with that choice but I digress) and my daughter definitely has my tendencies to sleep late and sleep in (admittedly, sleeping in for me is sleeping until 8:30 or so so it’s still morning, just not early morning). She has had these tendencies from birth. She would naturally conk out around 11 and wake up at 5 for a feeding and fall back to sleep until 8/8:30….as she got older and slept more consecutive hours, she started falling asleep around 9/9:30 and sleeping until 8:30/9. I followed her lead completely as I was a SAHM and I never tried to force her onto any other schedule but her own natural one. So many of my nieces/nephews and friends’ children wake up by 6am no matter what time they go to bed – I am thankful that mine has always had sleep pattern tendencies that were reflective of my own!

      With regards to the subject matter of the blog, I still don’t really do mornings even though I’m forced into it. I wake up with exactly enough time to groggily eat a bowl of cereal and change clothes before I have to get my daughter up and she gets up with exactly enough time to eat a bowl of cereal and get dressed before the bus comes. By the time the bus comes, I’m finally awake enough to function and am able to run my morning 5k and get the house cleaned and then myself showered. While I do love having this all done by 9am, if I were given the choice, I would rather sleep until 9, then bounce out of bed totally energized and ready to take on the world. I don’t equate waking up early with anything having to do with attitude or living a mediocre life. I have a fulfilling life, everything on my to do list gets done and quite honestly, my attitude in general is better when I wake up and the sun is already up. But that’s just me and I am content and happy with that!

  • Kerry says:

    I have to agree with your philosophy! I always hated mornings, had a difficult time getting up and moving no matter what. Last year because I was signed up to be a substitute teacher, I got myself up, showered and dressed before I got my kids up for school. That way, if I was called to sub I would be all set and could just go in. No excuses! Well the first month was hard. After that- it got easier and easier. The best part- I was up and ended up accomplishing so much…not just in the morning but through the entire day. I only ended up subbing a few days total and this year I am not able to at all due to foot issues but I do plan on getting back to getting up earlier.

  • Karen says:

    Let this natural night-owl “seasoned” mom encourage those who have trouble getting up early. I totally understand the wiring that makes a person thrive late at night because I am one of them. I am most creative and energized late at night and have spent many years getting some amazing things done in the hours after everyone has long been asleep. However, a few years ago I decided that I would like to try to get up earlier and “beat the crowd” on our days. As a mom of 8 children, this has been one of the best personal moves I have made. It has been a few years since I began training myself to be a morning person, but it truly CAN BE DONE. I know my body is still wired for late nights, and there are times that I have indulged, but overall I prefer early mornings. One tip that I have learned to do that may be helpful is to wean myself from the alarm clock. I never use one. When I go to bed at night, I decide what time I want to wake up, and then I will nearly always wake up about 10 minutes before that time. Now, if I am exhausted, I may oversleep by 15 minutes or so, but I never oversleep by 1/2 hours. A portion of the success of this method is to get into a regular body rhythm of bedtime/wake time. Crystal is doing a great job of getting us on track to do that. Give it a try on a day that it is not imperative that you be on time – say for church or an appointment. It really is amazing how you can train your mind as well as your body. My clock that sits by my bed is now only useful for telling time if I wake up during the night. No more alarms.

  • Dana says:

    I am not a morning person, but I am also an overcomer by nature, so I decided to overcome my nature and become a morning person. I did this gradually, over say, a year, okay, it was a decision over a weekend. I realized I didn’t feel any better getting up later on the weekends than I did, getting up early on school days, so why waste my time. Besides, I realized I was waking up to make SURE I was sleeping in, and then going back to sleep because it wasn’t “late enough.” Now if that isn’t ridiculous, I don’t know what is.

    So I started getting up an hour later than I would on school days, then a half hour, and finally I just got up at the same time. Surprisingly, I found I felt better, got more done, and even had more time for me. My kids liked having me around, I liked being around, and it gave our house a better vibe for the weekend. It’s nice.

    I don’t like mornings, but I like the results, so I’m sticking with the process. Now, if I start thinking about exercising, look to the sky because Jesus is probably on His way back!

  • Carrie P says:

    I completely agree! I have always been a night owl and most productive at night. You can attempt to change yourself, but your normal is what it is and you are wired that way, even if you successfully force that change into becoming an early morning riser. I always have had better workouts in the afternoon. I never nap, and even as a small child, I’d sneak out of bed when my mom such into bed thinking I was napping! I get enough sleep on my own schedule…now with two boys, 5 and 3 and another n the way next month, I have obviously had to adjust my schedule. Oh but here it is 11:22 and I am still awake and have accomplished a lot in the few hours they have been asleep. I will rise at 6:30-7:30 am depending on when my boys get up( since it will be Saturday). I am a total grumpy morning person right now because in the last month of pregnancy, I get up a lot at night. I get dressed when I have to and I am fine with it. I shower every single day…sometimes a couple times a day if I need a pick me up or working on a project. I am currently a SAHM, but my past is one with many, many early mornings after 9 years in the Air Force, working a job nearly two hours away and getting through grad school often I was up til 2 am, up by 4 to get ready for work. Letting your brain set your clock would be ideal, but we cannot always do that. So, when I get a chance, I sleep until 10am or even noon! I know it has been years since that occurred, but I’d love that to happen again sometime…some day some year:) For now, I always get dressed before heading out with makeup, everything, but it is simple. Nothing fancy. However, people do judge you on how you dress and carry yourself, so I make an effort to wear decent clothes- simple mix and match and colors that demand respect( colors do change how you are perceived!). You never know who you will see. When I am home, I am frumpy for now and try to get dressed before my husband is home. But I still manage to accomplish a lot. Whatever helps us all to be motivated is what counts. So, if getting dressed helps, go for it! I just do not like getting my nice clothes ruined or dirty because I am always cleaning something or painting something, etc. that is just me. I also am in a rural area and do not get visitors often at random if that were the case,I’d definitely have to be getting dressed immediately in the morning regardless. so many perspectives on this subject are very insightful and encouraging! Things can always change- whether it be us or our way of life, a move to a new place, new stage in life. With each change, we need to adapt. In a couple years, we will likely be in a less rural area and me with a job…that will most definitely make me the morning person…even if a but quiet and grumpy for the first hour or so 😉

  • Melissa says:

    This!!! I would love a blog dedicated to night owls and our productivity. Better yet, printable planner forms that don’t stop at 8pm or start at 6am. I’m not a blogger or good with the printables like Crystal, but I bet there’s more of a desire for nighttime oriented productivity items than most people realize. I always appreciate Crystal’s challenges, but not everything applies to my situation, just like with aspects of the current challenge, but I always come away inspired and with tools for improving every day life.

    • Gwen says:

      I agree about the planner. Some of us have demanding jobs. My husband doesn’t get home from school until 8 and has to be work at 6:30, so our coordination is a must.
      I started using opus domini as my planner. It was about $9 from the app store. I just print out my own calendars.

  • Anne says:

    For me it’s biological, not will. I can’t make myself go to sleep for the night earlier than midnight, no matter what I do. If I do go to bed and actually sleep, I wake up at 1AM with my body refusing to sleep any more for several hours. I have followed early morning schedules for years without ever being able to change my sleep hours. I also never lose my dependence on an alarm clock to wake up. Instead I just get more and more sleep deprived until I have a day when I can sleep in. In addition, while I can get up early and do some kinds of things, anything that requires my brain to be fully functioning will have to wait until about 10AM. I can’t make my brain wake up earlier. I’ve been like this my entire life (I can remember having this same sort of late to sleep, late to rise schedule even as early as 3). Following night time and morning routines is fine – that I can do. But I can’t sleep well on an early to sleep, early to rise schedule. My ideal schedule, in which I function the best, is sleeping from midnight-1AM to 8-9AM, eat breakfast about 11AM, lunch about 4PM, dinner about 9PM. This is the only schedule I have ever followed that has not required outside help to maintain. This is not a preconceived notion of myself but my biological reality.

  • Jill says:

    I am a morning person by nature, I’m usually in bed between 9&10 and up at 445-5 everyday including weekends (no alarm needed). Having 3 children 2yo and under who don’t recognize that a weekend is different than a weekday contributes to that. If I want to shower or get anything done in the am I have to do it before the kids get up. The only time I let myself sleep in is if I’m up w a sick kiddo over night-last night for instance, multiple times!

  • beingjennifer says:

    I thought that about myself for a number of years. Then I started looking at the times I got up in the morning with no prompting, just because I wanted to. Usually, it was when I went tent camping with my parents and extended family. I would wake up early and start getting the fire ready. I loved being up by myself and listening to all the early morning woodland sounds. I think the reason I’ve been a “late night person” for so many years is that it’s time for me to be “alone”. My hubby is truly a “morning person” and wakes up earlier than I do without an alarm even if he goes to bed after I do. We do give each other “space” in the morning, I stay in the bedroom and he goes to the living room, but it’s not quite the same. I am loving having the daylight last so much longer when I get up earlier, though. 😉

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