The Habit That Changed My Life

My whole life, I’ve been notoriously bad at mornings.

So bad that my online persona jabs at my name, Dawn, by making it “dusk.”

I even have a standard response when someone mentions an excessively early time, “There’s a 5am?!” with shock and awe.  My school days, college, even work days pre-kid began as late as humanly possible so that I could arrive on time. I was thankful for jobs with flexible hours, though. When I had babies and toddlers I maximized the excuse of sleeping when the sleep was good.

As our family aged, though; and consistent homeschooling became more important than less; and mom’s wherewithal was required, I knew I had to get better at mornings.

Kicking and screaming. But, how?

What would regularly motivate me, Dawn Garrett, out of bed?

Coffee.

Coffee, that someone else prepared.

Evening Dawn could be that “someone else.” Evening Dawn could serve Morning Dawn by making her coffee and setting it to magically brew at the waking hour. Of 6am.

Well … maybe start at half past 6 and move back incrementally to 6.

At kitchen cleanup time, I started to prep the coffee maker – grind the beans, add the water, press the magic brew at button. The smell wafts to me enticingly and draws me out of bed. I could stagger to the kitchen like a mummy and pour and drink and be ready to start facing the day.

That became the first step.  The time adjusted back to that 6am goal. Now I often hear the click of the machine turning on with the alarm, sometimes I’m even in that almost awake state before the alarm rings. But the iterations didn’t stop there.

pouring coffee red cup

How I kept making progress

I started to prep breakfasts the night before so I could feed my people well with little morning activity. These were simple things that I could pop in a preheating oven and not babysit at the stove.

As I was starting to become more accustomed to 6am and needing the coffee jolt less, I determined to drink 8oz of water first, before my cuppa. I know that I generally need to drink more water, so this is one little goal in my effort to increase that intake.

I could finally establish the routine for devotions that I had always wanted to, I was up at 6 but my kids wouldn’t be for an hour. I could use Pam’s PEACE framework for lifelong learning to continue to learn and grow.

The most recent iteration was when my husband had to begin to work remotely in March 2020. I had  to get up because his office is in our bedroom, but getting my day going quietly and peacefully means we could start his workday with a walk instead of his 45 minute commute.

I’m always ready to go because I’ve been up and about my business while he’s getting his day started.

But it all started with one

One habit – the night before – turned my mornings around for the better.

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  • Anne Ryan says:

    This is encouraging! I struggle with mornings!

    • Dawn says:

      I’m glad you were encouraged. What’s one thing you could do?

  • Sarah says:

    Yes!! When I load my coffee pot to start brewing the next morning, I’m also more eager about getting to that fresh cup of coffee when my alarm goes off. I have wondered if it is b/c I’m already winning before I even step on the floor or if it’s simply the little comfort in that cup that makes me feel the cozy can continue while I drink it & wrap up in a throw to read God’s Word.

  • Katriona Wolff says:

    This is awesome. My question is always “how do you keep you kids from getting up with you?” Setting the coffee pot is such a good idea though.

  • Ali Marez says:

    My husband runs the coffee pot at about 3:00 a.m. every morning… I don’t have to the heart to ask him to refill and reset it when he’s already got to get going so early. Hmm…… I’ll need to think of another trick!

    • Dawn says:

      That’s the beauty … one habit 🙂

      Or, maybe you need a second coffee maker LOL

  • Jessica says:

    Care to share some of those breakfast recipes you started the night before? 😉

  • Priscilla Wong says:

    I love this idea. I often have much better mornings when I prep for the morning the night before.

    • Dawn says:

      Yep. But don’t always think “night” … late afternoon or evening work too 🙂 Maybe while cooking dinner?

  • Alexia says:

    I like how you incrementally set morning goals for yourself. And I would love to know what type of recipes you prep the night before for oven-ready breakfast the next morning.

  • Emma says:

    I can attest to the efficacy of these routines, especially prepping breakfast the night before. Starting the morning with less stress is so helpful. Thanks for sharing your routine, Dawn!

    • Dawn says:

      Evening habits help my mornings be less decision-fatiguing.

  • Alison says:

    Lol, I am with you, Dawn! It is the promise of fresh hot coffee that gets me up consistently, and I actually am a morning person. Yes and Amen to prepped breakfasts too!

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