I suppose I’ve always been a morning person. Never a habitual snoozer. Early college classes didn’t bother me. Growing up, I heard phrases like “nothing good happens after midnight” and “bedtime is 10pm” over and over. Those pretty much stuck. Any random day you’re gonna find me in my pj’s by 9pm or earlier in the darker days of winter. A quiet, dark room and newly laundered sheets is a favorite combination just before I close my eyes.

I digress.

In my early years, I’d use the term morning person to describe myself.

Now, however, I’d say I’m an intentional, disciplined, expectant early riser.

Here’s the hidden hope – it doesn’t really matter where you are now. You may be a habitual snoozer. You may desire later evenings over sunrises. You can still become an intentional, disciplined, expectant early riser.

If you are a night owl, you may currently be rolling your eyes. That’s fine. Hang with me.

Here we go with 3 ways to go from night owl to early riser:

  1. Start by asking the right questions. Don’t get bogged down in the how’s. Things like lay your clothes out the night before, preset the coffee maker, put your alarm out of arms reach are all helpful and true. However, the first step in changing this really ingrained habit is to ask yourself WHY you want to wake up early. Why is this change important to you? Just like all the other big habits we attempt to break or shift in our lives, our why matters. It’s what will ultimately keep us going when all the how’s get hard.

Try starting with some categories like these:
* why do I want to I want to have extra morning time spiritually?
* why is getting up early a benefit to me physically?
* why am I in a better place mentally and emotionally when I wake up early?

  1. Be willing to start little by little. I’ve enjoyed following Lara Casey at @cultivatewhatmatters for years. (By the way, her PowerSheets are just that – really powerful!) One of Lara’s favorite phrases is “little by little.” Little by little progress adds up. Little by little tweaks turn in to habits. Little by little your daily decisions turn into your life.

After you’ve determined waking up early matters, take the measures you need to make it happen little by little.

  • Shift the alarm back 10 minutes a day each day of the week instead of trying to move it back an hour the first go around.
  • Commit to just one full week of early mornings instead of the whole school year, for example.
  • Don’t try to include every morning rhythm that sounds desirable into your new routine. Choose one or two and build from there.
  • You could build in some quiet time – even if it’s just two minutes of silence and solitude before the Lord. Read one verse of Scripture out loud to yourself and jot it down on an index card or make it your lock screen to refer to during the day. Play some encouraging, soothing music in the background as you move through your morning to-do’s.
  1. Consider your own experience of intentional mornings and build from here. Don’t just take my word for it or someone else’s word for it. Although you may be encouraged by the famous Thomas Jefferson who said, “But whether I retire to bed early or late, I rise with the sun.” I tend to believe Jefferson was on to something even way back in 1819. Jefferson experienced what early mornings offered him and he wasn’t willing to give them up no matter what. Once you experience a full week of earlier mornings, consider how the experience impacted your days, your relationships, your attitude. Go back and compare your actual experience to the “why” answers you discovered earlier. Actually write down your answers. Seeing your answers in front of you reminds you of the actual feeling and serves as tangible reminder in the times sleeping in sounds more appealing.

But whether I retire to bed early or late, I rise with the sun.

Thomas Jefferson, 1819

Five years ago, I felt a nudge from the Lord to wake up incrementally early and set aside that time for Bible reading and journaling. My morning time has developed and changed over the years to include more prayer, more sweat, some reflection, and music. But, taking those first little steps of obedience (mustard seeds steps) have grown into a bountiful harvest of intention and desire for early mornings. I have complete confidence that you’ll also experience such a harvest as you turn from night owl to early riser.

I can’t wait to see you at the sunrise!