Angela’s Morning Story: The 3 Keys That Got Her Started

IMG_6368

A quick note: My kids’ FAVORITE storybook Bible (The Jesus Storybook Bible) is on sale right now for Kindle for $1.99! I just bought our copy yesterday and saw that it’s still on sale today, so I wanted to make sure and let you all know. Click here to get it on Amazon.

Are you trying to figure out a solid routine for your mornings? Do you want to “maximize your mornings” but it’s just a whole lot harder than you’d thought it would be?

Sometimes it’s helpful to hear stories from other people in the midst of the journey. Angela emailed me recently with the things that have worked for her and there are 3 things I want you to notice in her story that I hope will help you too:

1. She kept tweaking – she had actually been trying to find a morning routine for a couple of years, but just hadn’t figured out something that worked for her. I think the key to her eventual success was that she just kept tweaking. She kept trying things until she found something that worked for her.

2. She found her jumpstart – It’s so helpful to have a “jumpstart” – that treat to look forward to when the alarm goes off. For me, it’s my cozy chair. For Angela, it was listening to worship music. For you, it might be a nice cup of coffee.

3. She looked for a solution, not a formula – I love that Angela knew that planning wasn’t something she needed to do in the mornings. It works for her to do that at night. She didn’t try to change what works just to fit into the routine I outline in the book. She wanted a solid morning routine and she pulled from my ideas and created her own solution that fits her life perfectly.

IMG_6812

Angela’s Story

I found your ‘Maximize your Mornings’ book at that point and it has literally changed my life.

The night I read your book I decided to give it a shot. And, finally, something clicked! I think one thing that did was to listen to music to start. I am a huge music lover (and thanks for introducing me to Brooke Fraser!) and I love starting my mornings with praise music.

Anyway, here’s part of a blog post I wrote a couple of weeks later:

As I mentioned before, I made my way to this blog for a meal planning boot camp last week. While on her site, I saw that she had free downloadable ebooks. One is called ‘Maximize your Mornings.’ While I’ve bemoaned early rising in the past , it’s still something I have in my heart that I want to do. So I chose it as my first project for the year … and failed miserably. I tried to just set my alarm 5 minutes earlier each day. I see two problems with that:

1) When I get up 5 minutes earlier, so do my kids.
2) Getting up 5 minutes earlier doesn’t allow me to see any benefit from the earlier rising, since I only get an extra 5 minutes.

Now, I am an introvert by nature and I’ve always said I’m not a morning person. I think one of the reasons I don’t like mornings is I don’t like interacting with other people – especially demanding little people who all want something from me at the same time – first thing in the morning.

A day or so after I read the ‘Maximize your Mornings’ ebook, I decided to give it a shot. But, this time, I skipped the small changes bit. I set my alarm for 5:30, a good 2 hours earlier than I usually get up. Of course, I had to adjust my bedtime accordingly, so I set out what I would need for the next day and headed to bed by 10:30. I am fairly confident I need around 7 hours of sleep (that’s what I was getting before – I just went to bed after midnight).

Based on the book, with a few modifications, here is what I aim to do each morning before the kids get up around 7:30:

– breakfast
– time with God
– exercise
– shower / dressed

The book also suggests planning your day, but I do that before I go to bed the night before. That first morning I got out of bed without too much difficulty and went through my routine. And … I loved it!! It took a few days for my body to get used to the different schedule, but the rewards far outweigh any drawbacks I’ve found so far. It takes care of the two problems I mentioned above with the incremental changes (I have enough time to accomplish major parts of my day, and the kids are still fast asleep when I get up and seem to sleep through my morning times).

I can’t overstate what a difference this has made to the way I greet my children when they get up, which sets the tone for the day. I love getting up early (even this hardcore night owl!) and think it’s one of those ‘big’ changes that’s going to stick.

It’s now been almost 6 weeks since I started rising early, and those last two sentences still describe what a difference it’s made in my life.

I just love that! I hope Angela’s story inspires you as you journey towards a great morning routine. Remember: Keep tweaking, find your jumpstart, and focus on a solution instead of a formula.

What are your mornings like right now? Are they a struggle? If so, what is your biggest challenge? A success? If so, what keys have helped you? Click here to join the discussion!

Leave a Comment

Comments

17 Comments

  • Avatar Cristy says:

    I started “maximizing my mornings” about a month ago and have also tweaked the routine a little bit, but it has really made such a difference in my life! I don’t do the exercising bit because my kids are SUPER EARLY risers and there simply wasn’t a way to get up any earlier to fit all of it in! I get up at 5 am and, coffee in hand, start with prayer, the assigned scripture reading from my church for the day, and a chapter in my bible study. I then plan my day. Usually at this time, my kids are up and ready for the day. But this has made such a difference in how I greet my children and husband in the morning – as a full time working mother, I feel like I really need to maximize every minute of my day and it is so hard to prioritize. This is a wonderful way to put God and family first, before the day gets hectic!

    • Avatar Kat Lee says:

      Cristy,
      Sounds like you’ve got a wonderful routine going! Isn’t it amazing what just those few early minutes can do for the whole entire day?

  • I’ve always been a “morning person,” but lately I’ve been tired and struggling a bit to get going in the morning. What has helped me in this season is reading my Bible while riding an exercise bike. My husband and I got the bike in January as part of a health benefit his employer offers. I decided one day to try to read while riding it and it worked well (I know some people get headaches or feel nauseous if they try to read while riding or walking). Since then, I’ve read my Bible each day while riding.
    This has helped immensely, as I was struggling with dozing off while reading and praying in the morning. It’s such a simple thing, but it has helped me get in an effective quiet time and get some additional exercise!

  • Avatar Amanda R. says:

    I’m really struggling with the logistics of getting up before my 14 month old son. In order to get to the kitchen and living room, I have to walk by his room. He wakes up every single time I walk by his room past 5:30 in the morning. My husband works second shift, so staying in our room with a light on is not an option. Neither is putting a fan or noisemaker in the nursery. I struggle with even wanting to *try*, because as much as I dislike mornings at 7 when my son wakes up and I greet him sleepy, I’d really grow to despise it if I got up at 6 or earlier and he woke up with me. Maybe I’m just not at the right season in my life, but I’m feeling discouraged. Thanks for listening.

    • Avatar Kat Lee says:

      Amanda,
      Do you have a smart phone? On my iPhone I have the YouVersion Bible app and it has the audio Bible on it. Many times when my kids have crawled into bed with me and I can’t get up for fear of waking them, I’ll just lay in bed and listen to the Bible on headphones.

      Or maybe if there is a closet in your bedroom you could put a little beanbag on the floor and a stick on light and read in there?

      There might be a solution out there for you, but you’re also right that it might be a season. Before you know it, he’ll be sleeping later or old enough to wait to get up in the morning.

      Be encouraged, your morning routine will come soon enough.

  • My early rising baby boy trained me to love mornings! Even now that he is waking up (a bit) later, I still enjoy getting up before the sun to spend time with the Lord, have a cup of coffee, and write for a bit. If I get up early enough, I can also have some laundry, food prep, and other small chores done before the kids wake. Having this quiet time and routine in place has done wonders for setting the tone of the day. And, I find that my time with the babies is more intentional and less full of me scrambling to get tasks done.
    These outcomes and the joy I find in seeing the sun rise are what’s kept me motivated to rise early! My biggest struggle remains going to bed early enough to not be exhausted the next day.
    And, the fact that my iphone alarm has two buttons: “snooze” and “ok”. Upon waking, I always seem to forget that “ok” means I’m turning the alarm off and not agreement that “ok, I’m going to get up now!” Hence, some over-sleeping. I may need a new alarm situation. 🙂

    • Avatar Kat Lee says:

      Jenn,
      Going to bed is the hardest part for me too! Lately, I’ve started taking my evening shower right after I put the kids to bed. That’s helped me have one less excuse for staying up later. 🙂

      You know, I have a friend who set one alarm by her bed and then another alarm by her kids bedroom door for 5 minutes later. Guaranteed way to get up on time. I, however, have never been brave enough to try it. 🙂

  • Avatar Amy says:

    I would have to say that getting up early isn’t the hardest part for me, I mean, its not my favorite, but I can do it. It’s that my daughter is up within 15 min of me rising generally, so the mindset that goes with that is usually, “what diff does it make to get up early?”. I too am an introvert with an extroverts lifestyle. When she’s up, she needssss things, things that interrupt any flow I may already have going in a quiet moment. She can’t help it, its just her tendency is to be an early riser. 7:30 would be a DREAM. I’m talking 5:45, 6:00 EARLY RISER. Which means I would have to wake at 4 ain’t no way thirty. Sigh…I am still tweaking. I will continue to tweak b/c I really love mornings alone with Jesus. I have been planning the night before, sometimes i forego the tea b/c the noise in the kitchen wakes her. Sometimes I just get up and get dressed and do my quiet time while she’s in her speech therapy in the mornings. And yes, Jesus meets me right there in the school lobby while I wait. Or I do my quiet moment while she naps in the afternoon. Either way, I’m not letting go of making this work. Thanks for the post. I like the freedom to improvise.

    • Avatar Kat Lee says:

      Amy,
      I love your attitude! There will always be seasons that throw us off or make it hard to have that early morning time. You have the ideal perspective – it’s all about improvising and not letting go of making it work.

  • Avatar June says:

    Right now, my biggest challenge is floating through pregnancy, nursing, little baby phase of life. By the fall, I’ll have 3 kids under 4 years old and I haven’t figured out how to ride out the exhaustion phases while keeping early morning routines in tact. It’s difficult to get on a routine when your kids starts sleeping better (around 7 or 8 months for me) and then get pregnant again, only to go through fatigue and break up the morning routine again. I know I need it, but how do I do it?? I’m a bear when I’m exhausted, but I also really need time with Jesus. Suggestions?

    • Avatar Aimee says:

      I am where you are at with exhaustion and needing my time with Jesus. Everytime I set my alarm for an hour before my my children need to be up to get ready for school Im shutting it off because I have been up 4-5 times through the night with my five month old. Sigh, I need a routine in the morning because once the day is in full swing Im crawling into bed exhausted and mind numb about to do it all over again. I need suggestions from some mommas who have been there!

      • Avatar Jen in Oz says:

        May I suggest to those mums with lots of young children that you change your mindset of when to get a little reflection time for yourself? I too have dragged from one pregnancy through toddler to pregnancy again 4 times over. Mornings were awful with mummy brain.

        I am hoping you are able to go to the toilet on your own. Not always easy, but I hope you can. Put your bible in the toilet room. A minute or two more in that little room of privacy may be just enough for a quick prayer or a quick read to then ponder over while you manage the next hour or two of busyness. If you are drinking enough water you will have several opportunities during the day for prayer and bible study.

        Best wishes
        Jen in Oz

      • Avatar Kat Lee says:

        Aimee and June,
        I love Jen’s idea – take any moments you can get and make the most of it. I think in this season of life, routine is hard to come by, so it’s about being flexible and improvising.

        When my kids were babies, my husband and I took turns with them first thing in the morning so that we could each have our quiet time. He knew I was much nicer when I’d had that time and he was happy to help make sure I got it.

        There have also been many mornings when my kids just joined me. I’d read the Bible aloud to them or do my studying from a picture Bible…whatever it takes. 🙂

        Just this morning I actually slept in late because my son was up a lot last night with allergies. So this morning, I laid in bed and listened to my audio Bible on my phone as I dozed. When I was awake I just laid there and prayed. Simple, but sweet.

        I hope some of those ideas spark something that might help you!

  • Avatar Raven says:

    When I was younger I used to get up everyday at 6am, even when I didn’t have to. I loved morning. I love the feeling I get when I beat the sun and get to watch it rise. It makes me feel like a kid sneaking around in a very private time of the day. Now I have three kids. A 5 year old, 20 month old & a 10 month old. I can barely pull myself up at 5 am when my youngest starts mum mum ing in his crib. My 5 year old is in bed every night with out fail by 7:30pm (any later she gets over tired and tends to get moody) my 20 month old get tired at 6 pm but holds out till 6:40 pm, sometimes 7. My son, the youngest goes to bed anywhere from 6pm to 8 pm. He has yet to sleep through an entire night. He gets up at 11, 12 or 1, then he gets up at 3 then he stays up at five. I know my kids are getting the correct amount of hours of sleep, and I know soon enough my son will start sleeping through the night. (he did the once two nights ago) I go to bed anywhere from 8-10 and only get up when my son does, then when I get up with my son the other two will sleep till six. Then the rest of the day gets going and I find my self too tired to go to bed at my normal time(10) and crawl into bed. Im too tired for time for myself too tired for Jesus too tired to not be grumpy to my kids in the mornings when they get up before I can wake up. I would really like to get my mornings back, exercise which helps makes me feel alive and awake in the morning, reading my bible but most importantly time to shower so I can do more then just throw my hair in a bun to hide my wicked tired mum bed head. I don’t know if keeping my oldest kids up so they sleep in would do the trick or just make them cranky the next day. Sometimes my 5year old could sleep through a tornado other times she wakes to the sound of me opening my bedroom door, then refuses to wait even five minutes (me to brush my teeth or finish peeing) before she wants me down the stairs with her. Any suggestions?

  • Avatar Tara says:

    I cant thank you enough for your blog and for sharing your life and your experiences so honestly. It is your honesty that touches me the most. I sometimes spend hours trolling through blogs and the internet at large looking for inspiration for parenting, loving, crafting, exercising (the list is never ending) only to find myself discouraged, lost, and ultimately uninspired. It feels like stolen time in the wee hours of the night and it yields so little. Waking up early is a work in progress for me , and after today’s post I am even more committed. For me it will have to be 530 because my kids are uber early risers. It will give me the alone time I crave for making all of my lists, gathering my thoughts, maybe even exercising and definitely greeting my babies (6 and 3) with love and breakfast rather than threats and pleading for 10 min more sleep. They deserve it and so do I. My jump start will be my first 3 sips of hot coffee. I almost cant wait til 530 am!

    • Avatar Chaya says:

      I have 5 kids ages 6 and under (my youngest just turned 1) and I am not naturally a morning person. But since reading Maximize Your Mornings in Dec., I have been faithfully getting up at 5:30. I have an accountability partner who texts me every morning and that is a huge help. Although my baby is sleeping through the night now, I totally understand the exhaustion and struggle to have quiet time and to get a routine when life is always changing (nursing, pregnant, getting up for sick kids, do it over again…). I don’t know how I’ll do with this new routine if I have another baby, but I am committed to it as a lifestyle pattern because it has helped me so much! One of the greatest helps with kid/morning management has been teaching my children from little on that mommy is the one who decides when they get up. (This works because I have worked hard to train them in this and I have four children in one room!) If they wake up, they can get up to use the bathroom, but then they know to go back to their beds and read quietly until I come get them. I have them stay in their beds because if I say stay in your room, that’s too much freedom 🙂 I admit that when I had two year old twins who were potty training, I still had to go to them as soon as they woke up to monitor potty time, but then it was back to bed with books until I came to get them up. As they get older and learn to read, it gets easier…it’s a training process. But starting them out with this pattern has given me so much morning freedom! I know this is not for every mama (we all have our own style), but it has really helped me!