Early morning is one of my favorite times of day. There is nothing quite like the early morning sounds of God’s creation (birds singing, cicadas chirping, etc.) and the stillness of a quiet house.
Early morning rising and preparation for the day can make all the difference between a peaceful and productive day or a frazzled and fruitless day.
There is a constant battle between my flesh and my spirit when it comes to early morning rising. As Jesus told Peter when his disciples chose sleep over praying for him in the garden of Gethsemane, “The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak” (Matthew 26:41).
I certainly still struggle with my flesh wanting to stay in the bed rather than getting up early. That is why I tried to create an action plan for my mornings – helpful tips and reminders for why I am getting up early. When I follow these, my mornings are much happier and healthier:
1) Begin Your Day with the Lord
There are numerous Scriptural examples of saints who began their day with the Lord. Here are just a few examples:
- Moses prayed in Psalm 90:14, “Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.”
- In Psalm 5:3, David prays, “O LORD, in the morning you hear my voice; in the morning I prepare a sacrifice for you and watch.”
- The Psalmist says in Psalm 119:147, “I rise before dawn and cry for help; I hope in your words.”
- Jesus himself made it a habit of rising early to spend time with his Father. “And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed” (Mark 1:35).
It makes perfect sense to spend the first part of the day (that early morning time), with the One who created us and sustains us. The great prayer warrior of the 19th century, George Mueller, saw how essential beginning his day with God was in his life. He said, “The first great and primary business to which I ought to attend every day is to have my soul happy in the Lord.” Similarly, the great puritan and Bible commentator, Matthew Henry, said, “The morning, being the first part of the day, it is fit that He who is the First, should have the first, and be first served.”
Seek the Lord first, before anything else. Begin your day with Bible reading, prayer, and meditation. No matter how busy the day ahead might look, if you begin it this way, you will be well prepared to face it with wisdom and joy. The great reformer, Martin Luther, was arguably a very busy man, and yet, he did not use busyness as an excuse for neglecting time with the Lord. He said, “I have so much to do that I shall spend the first three hours in prayer.” And look how the Lord used him!
Are you beginning your day with the Lord? If not, what changes do you need to make to your schedule to make sure that you can begin your day in the best possible way?
2) Have a Morning Routine
Second to beginning the day with the Lord, having a morning routine has completely transformed both my mornings and the rest of the day.
I came across this idea when I read author and blogger, Crystal Paine’s book, Say Goodbye to Survival Mode. She provides so much helpful information on establishing a morning routine in this book. I enjoyed it so much, that I jumped at the chance to purchase her new ecourse, Make Over Your Mornings. This course is chock full of practical advice on transforming your mornings, and it contains an ebook, video sessions, and helpful printables. It’s like having a personal coach who will help you and encourage you as you establish new morning habits. It’s well worth the money, and I highly recommend this course! You can also find other helpful articles on many topics, including establishing a morning routine, over at her very popular blog, MoneySavingMom.
Essentially, a morning routine is a list of 3 to 5 things that you want to get done every morning. We all have routines or habits, whether we realize it or not. The transformation comes when we are intentional about these habits.
By being intentional about establishing a productive morning routine, I have begun using my time much more efficiently. It has also help set the stage for being productive the rest of the day.
In the summers, my goal is to get up at 6:45 a.m., and during the school year, my goal is to get up at 6:00 a.m. I emphasize the word goal, because this doesn’t always happen! Having a morning routine, however, really makes me want to get up early so that I can accomplish everything on my plan.
Here is my current morning routine:
- Quiet Time (Bible reading, prayer, journaling, devotional reading)
- Healthy Breakfast (usually small but with a good source of protein – protein bar, Greek yogurt, granola with fruit and almond milk, etc.)
- Planning (I look over the schedule for the day as well as upcoming days)
- Blog work (writing, editing, photo editing, social media, etc.)
- Shower/Dress for Day
While I certainly don’t keep this perfectly (some items like blog work or exercise get pushed to later in the day), it is so helpful to have a framework to guide my mornings and keep me on track so that I can use that time in the best way possible.
By the time I make it through these, my boys are usually up and ready for their breakfast, and then we begin their schoolwork together (or get to the day’s activities if it’s in the summer). It feels great to focus on them knowing that so much has already been accomplished earlier that morning!
Having a morning routine has been revolutionary for me, my productivity, and my peace of mind. When I follow a morning routine, I’m much more likely to have a healthy, happy morning.
How about you? Do you have a morning routine or do your mornings just seem to haphazardly happen? What 3 to 5 things do you want to accomplish each morning? How might accomplishing those things affect the rest of your day? What changes do you need to make to ensure that those things get done?
3) Eat Breakfast
This may seem like a no-brainer, but many people skip what’s been rightly dubbed “the most important meal of the day” – breakfast.
When we eat breakfast, we are literally breaking our fast which our body has experienced while we are sleeping. Our body has gone without food anywhere from 7 to 12 hours.
Our blood sugar is in need of stabilization with a balanced breakfast of protein, complex carbohydrates, and healthy fat. If you skip breakfast, just drink coffee, or eat a breakfast full of sugar (think pop-tarts, doughnuts, pastries, and sugary cereals), your setting yourself up for a blood sugar crash.
This will leave you feeling sluggish and cranky…not exactly the way you want to begin your day.
It’s a good idea to eat a balanced breakfast within 1 hour of waking up. It doesn’t have to be anything huge – just enough to provide our body with the energy and stabilization it needs to face the day. And if you love your morning cup of coffee, just make sure to enjoy it with a nourishing breakfast.
Check out my Healthy Breakfast Ideas post as well as these other yummy recipes:
- Cookie Dough Protein Bites
- Lemon Blueberry Cooler
- Gluten Free Banana Pancakes
- Sugar Free Strawberry Parfait
- Banana Chia Pudding
Eating a healthy breakfast will help stabilize your blood sugar, boost your serotonin levels (that’s your “feel good” hormone), and give you energy. All very good reasons to eat breakfast. And if you’re not used to eating breakfast, begin slowly. Start with just a few small bites and gradually work your way up to eating a small breakfast. Your body will adjust, and you’ll actually find yourself craving something to satisfy your morning hunger.
Mornings don’t have to be a drudgery. They can actually become your favorite part of the day. I hope you find these 3 suggestions helpful. And I would love to hear about how you spend your mornings! What tips can you share for having a healthy, happy morning?
And if you haven’t already, don’t forget to subscribe so you don’t miss this week’s upcoming posts, 3 Ways to have a Healthy, Happy Evening and 3 Ways to Savor the Sabbath. Yes, it’s a week of “3s” 🙂