Wake Up Early, Change Your Life

April 30, 2013 — 3 Comments


I set this alarm for every day.

I set this alarm for every day.

I woke up fifteen minutes before my alarm today. The clock read “4:45.”

I willingly got out of bed at 5:05am. And yes, this is the Austin D. Hill you know.

Even though I’m feeling a little groggy right now, and drinking some of the worst Starbucks coffee I’ve ever had, but am too lazy to go complain about it, I’m happy I woke up early today.

In truth, I never regret the mornings when I get up early.

Most of the time, I end up having more energy than I realized I had, and even when I am feeling a little tired, I’ve still always been glad for the time I had when I woke up early.

As much of a challenge as it is to wake up early, the benefits always outweigh the cost. Here are five reasons why I’m making it a habit to wake up early most days.

1. I like being selfish. I love it. Even though I’m an extrovert, my day doesn’t feel complete if I don’t spend some time doing whatever I want to do, focusing on myself. Nobody else who needs anything from me is awake at 5am. So I can do whatever I want from about 5-7:30am. That’s an awesome way to start the day.

2. In response to this, people say, “Why don’t you just do what you want at night, after everybody else goes to bed? Interestingly, I want to do more productive things in the morning.

When I have free time at night, I want to play video games or watch movies. However, even when I tell myself that I can do whatever I want in the morning, I usually choose to read, write, and exercise. I get just as much enjoyment from these activities as gaming or watching TV, but I almost never do them at night.

3. Also, when I spend my mornings doing what I enjoy, I’m less tempted to over-indulge. It’s significantly harder to read a book for five hours straight when I know I still have work that day. When relaxing at night, I don’t have anything built into my schedule to remind me that I should stop like I do in the morning. Besides, if I really want to sacrifice more sleep for something I enjoy, I can just get back to it later that night.

4. I’m less anxious throughout the day when I start it early. As I said in my first point, I’m selfish. And I have certain things that I want to make sure I do each day, especially if it’s a day off. When I get to do those things before the rest of the world wakes up, I’m able to be more present with those I love. I’m not worried about finding time to write the next blog post or to have a quiet time. I’ve already done all of that so I’m free to enjoy my family, whatever we decide to do.

5. When I wake up at 5am, I start every day on my own terms. For most of my life, mornings have been proof to me that we live in a fallen world. I absolutely despise them. And I still do. For about the first ten minutes. A typical day used to begin with me snoozing for way too long, feeling guilty as I finally got out of the bed, and rushing to whatever my first commitment was.

When I started my days this way, I would resent activities and people that required me to wake up early. And every week I have a 6:30am Bible Study on Tuesdays, while I also get to church at 7:30am on Sundays. So you can imagine how I felt on those mornings, and the nights before.

I began to dread Monday nights and Saturday nights. Ironically, I’d dread them so much that I’d often have difficulty sleeping, knowing that I had to wake up early the next morning. Then I’d be that much more tired!

When I wake up at 5am, I wake up on my own terms. I wake up then because I want to wake up, not because I have a Bible study or church service (unless it’s the Easter Sunrise service…) This has an incredible impact on my mood and outlook for the day. I’m starting my day in control, eager for the opportunities God has before me.

I start the day with intentionality, and I’m much more likely to be intentional throughout the rest of the day.


This week, I’m finishing up a great little book called Early To Rise. I purchased it a while back and have been reading through it each morning that I wake up early. Part of the book is a 30-day challenge. The author, Andy Traub, promises that you will be a different person by the end of the challenge.

The fact that I woke up at 5am this morning, went to the gym, read my Bible, helped Sara with Lylah, and wrote in my journal by the time I used to wake up is proof enough for me that Andy made good on his promise.

In celebration of my completion of Andy’s book this week, I’m going to spread the wealth. I want to give away a Kindle copy of his book. Just like this post on Facebook or Twitter, and answer the following question in the comment section below. I’ll pick one winner early next week and buy you a copy of Andy’s book.

What would you do with the extra time you’d have by waking up early?



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I'm a pastor, writer, speaker, husband, father, and follower of Christ, to name a few titles. You can find my contact information in my About page.
  • SavidgeAdventures

    Mornings are the best. I have always thought….if there was going to be only one sunrise in your life, wouldn’t you get up to see it? I would not miss it!

    • Now that the weather is getting nice here in Iowa, I’ve been able to go on walks outside. The other morning, I had gotten to the eastern edge of my neighborhood, looking out over the cornfields into the horizon where the sun would rise. It was about 5:50, maybe thirty minutes before the sun would come up, but the colors in the clouds and sky were amazing.
      With the recently returned birds chirping around me, I stood there for about five minutes, marveling at the scene.
      To have moments like that, before before everything else comes my way, is a perfect start to the day.

  • scrhill

    I am so proud of you for getting up early. I appreciate your being up in the morning to help with Lylah if she is cranky. I appreciate that you can see us before we head out the door and I don’t feel guilty for waking you up at 8:30am any more. Thank you for this sacrifice. Not only is it benefiting you, but I think it’s benefiting your parenting and our marriage, too. I love that we both go to bed at the same time now. Once I am no longer pregnant or up in the middle of the night with a newborn, I hope to join you at 5am. I love you.