Morning woes? Start slow

In advance of my ebook, What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast, coming out next week, I asked readers of my newsletter if they had tips for successful mornings. Christine Dahl, who lives in the Netherlands, wrote that she had wanted to exercise in the morning, but “success meant breaking the new habit into small steps.”

So how did she do that? “I started by just getting up a little earlier and enjoying my coffee without doing anything else,” she says. “After a week, getting up earlier was routine, and I added some other activities — lifting weights, cycling and running. It still takes me about 20 minutes to get moving, but move I do!”

I think Christine gets at an important point here. The habit of getting up early to exercise is, in fact, two habits: getting up early and exercise. If you’re already in the habit of doing one of these things, fine. But trying to create two new habits at once often sets us up for failure.

So, to make early morning exercise a habit, first you should try making early mornings a habit — but with nothing too strenuous in store. Sure, it sounds a little silly (and perhaps like a waste of time). But personal change is hard. If getting up early for a few weeks for no real reason makes success more likely, then that’s not wasting time at all. 

How have you made over your mornings?


5 thoughts on “Morning woes? Start slow

  1. Laura

    When I started my online business I had to completely revamp my morning, particularly the time before my daughter’s breakfast.

    I used to lay in bed and read or daydream.

    Now I check email, answer questions and work.

    You see the majority of my clients are on the otherside of the world and I need to open that inbox as quick as possible. I need to read and reply quickly and hope to get more information back from clients.

    I do most of that work in bed (wouldn’t dare walk past her room as she may wake)

    I know it sounds crazy but it works. If I didn’t do this work before breakfast it would be very difficult for me to do my online work quickly and efficiently


  2. Also what is t he reward.. that book you mention and I mean to read talks about how if there is a reward… if I write down what I’m eating, if I work in the a.m. early I can leave early on friday, get a pedicure etc. or just the exercise itself is the reward…. it is hard enough to do the behavior and then to regularly reward oneself for it …

  3. Laura, I just saw someone link to the article on Inc from Twitter. Can’t wait to read this. I have always been a night owl,but lately I just can’t do it too often anymore to catch up on work. I do find myself waking earlier, especially in spring and summer, so I would love to learn some tactics for early am productivity. My wife has been saying this to me for a while, to get up and get an early start. The days I do it I am amazed at what I can accomplish BEFORE 9am.

    1. @Tommy- welcome to the blog! I’m so glad you heard about the ebook. I, too, am amazed by what I can get done in the morning when I try. It’s still a bit of a work in progress, but mornings are great for getting things done, so I’m trying to use them (even if I’m a bit of a night owl myself)

  4. I adore early mornings! As the mother of 3 (including an almost four month old), and because I am a busy entreprenuer with 4 employees, I usually start my day around 5:30 am.

    The 2 hours between when I wake and when my house begins to rise is critical to my happiness!

    Most of the times I spend it mapping out my day, answering emails and working on my business. Other times I journal or write poetry. Sometimes I wake up and I know it’s a “play day”. Those are days I’m feeling a little depleted and I know I need to nurture myself. I get out my markers, glue sticks, pretty pictures and whatever else strikes my fancy and get to work in my vision book.

    I couldn’t survive without this focused time to myself…in fact I wouldn’t trade them it “All the Money in the World.” 😉

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