How to get up early: books that inspire

I’ll spend some time tomorrow recapping my #StartFreshJune and talking about my goals for July, but tonight, I wanted to talk about my main goal for this past month: getting up earlier. As you know, I chose to focus on this habit and made it my number one goal for the month of June. And, I accomplished it! On average, I’m rising about two hours earlier than I was the month before. Success!

I wish I could say that this were a goal I’d tackled and accomplished head on in June, but the truth is it’s taken me months to even scratch the surface on this habit.

I’m a bookworm and naturally inquisitive. So, when something piques my interest, such as rising earlier, it’s simply in my nature to research it further. As part of working towards establishing this new habit, I’ve read several things that I’ve found inspirational, and I thought I’d round up the best of them, along with a few key personal takeaways, in case you need a little motivation too.

How to Get Up Early | the Maypop

1. Steve Pavlina’s blog series on How to Become on Early Riser

I feel like this is probably the first thing that I stumbled across, and I’ve reread this series several times.

Key takeaway from Steve:

Going to bed early isn’t necessarily the key to getting up early. Steve writes, “the solution was to go to bed when I’m sleepy (and only when I’m sleepy) and get up with an alarm clock at a fixed time (7 days per week). So I always get up at the same time (in my case 5am), but I go to bed at different times every night.”

This was helpful for me. Some nights, I’m exhausted and ready for bed just after I tuck in the boys. Most of the time, though, I relish the evening hours when the kids are asleep. This is the time that I can get caught up on chores or projects or simply browse the web. I enjoy not being a slave to a bedtime but rather going to bed when I’m tired. I’m sure this is not true for everyone, and I know that many of you will need to go to bed by a certain time in order to even have a hope of getting up. To an extent, that’s true for me too; I do need a minimum amount of sleep in order to function. But, I’ve found that I don’t need the same amount of sleep every night in order to be productive the next day. Sometimes, I can get by on six hours; other nights, I’m still tired after ten.


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2Maximize Your Mornings: Take Control of Your Day Before It Starts, Kat Lee

Next up is Kat Lee’s eBook. I’ve mentioned in other posts how helpful I’ve found her Inspired to Action podcasts to be. If you want to be a better mom, Kat’s blog is the place to start. I first found her blog when I started researching getting up earlier.

Key takeaway: Kat talks about “waking up FOR my children instead of TO my children“. This resonated with me so deeply. It is my mantra many mornings when I just want to crawl back under the covers.

Of the things that I read, this is probably the most practical. It’s truly a guidebook for starting your day with prayer, exercise, and a plan. There is little fluff here; it is a short but powerful read, with real tips for rising earlier and with intention.



3. What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast: A Short Guide to Making Over Your Mornings–and Life, Laura Vanderkam

The former sales executive in me especially loved this book. I devoured the statistics and the research, and I loved the stories of other highly successful people.

Key takeaways: This one is a bit harder to sum up, but Laura presents the idea of a “morning ritual”, saying that “successful people turn high-value tasks into morning rituals” and that “the best morning rituals are activities that don’t have to happen and certainly don’t have to happen at a specific hour. These are activities that require internal motivation.”

Laura’s ideas are more complex that just the how or why to get up early. This is where I want to head next – creating a morning ritual. Now that I’ve mastered simply getting up, I want to work on crafting the right events for this stage in my life, my own “morning ritual,” if you will. I’m focusing on her ideas that these are activities that “don’t have to happen” and that “require internal motivation”.

For me this means I need to work on filling my morning with something other than unloading the dishwasher. I do love starting the day with an empty dishwasher. I love keeping the sink clean all day and just being able to put the dirty dishes in as we go. While gratifying, this activity is hardly requires internal motivation (arguable, some days) and is not exactly “high-value” or “success” building.


4. The Miracle Morning, Hal Elrod

Last, I want to talk about Hal Elrod’s, The Miracle Morning.

Key takeaway: While Laura introduces the idea of a morning ritual and talks about the morning rituals of other successful people, it is Hal who really lays out a plan for a purposeful morning routine. Like Kat’s book, The Miracle Morning is a practical guide, but it is much more than that. I don’t have one key takeaway; the entire book is so helpful. In fact, I would say it is the most helpful personal development book I’ve read, and I’ve read a lot of personal development books.

I can’t put my finger on what makes this book special. He does not necessarily introduce a new concept; Laura and Kat and many others have written about the importance of an intentional morning routine. Maybe it’s his process for personal morning development, or maybe it’s that he has such a compelling personal story. Regardless, Hal’s approach to creating an empowering morning routine is the advice that I found most helpful of everything I read.

I mentioned that as a next step, I want to work towards creating a meaningful morning routine. Hal’s book will be my go-to for how to do this. I plan to reread it and imagine I will reference it almost daily the next month (or months).


Fellow goal setters and early risers – what books have you found inspirational? I look forward to reading your suggestions!


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  1. […] 1. Get up early. Interestingly, my usual little late sleepers have sensed me getting up earlier and have followed suite. So, even though I got up earlier this month than before, I still didn’t have the quiet time I was hoping for. For July, I want to work on getting up even earlier, on getting them to sleep a little later, and on creating a morning ritual. My plan is to use Hal Higdon’s The Miracle Morning as a guide. If you missed my post on books that will inspire you to get up earlier, check it out here. […]