I've made my lists of many goals in past years, and this year, I'm keeping things simple. While I did jot down 10 things I would like to be able to do this year, I really only made 1 goal that I plan to completely devote myself to.
Rising early has been so life-changing for me in the past that it's a wonder I ever stop doing this and have to re-start it every New Year. Somewhere in the fog of holiday party planning, staying up late watching cheesy Christmas romances, getting less sunlight and time outdoors, I always seem to fall off the wagon and start sleeping in late again. Sleeping in may mean lots of zzzzz's, but no amount of sleep is worth waking to bickering, fighting, crying, kids yelling that they need to be wiped and "Where are my socks???" and "What's for breakfast???" as I try to open my bleary eyes.
Getting up before the kids is so beneficial to me that it enables me to meet my other goals and energizes me to better myself. When I rise early, I begin the day with peace and quiet, components that really set the tone for my introverted-self for the entire day. When I rise early, I prioritize my relationship with God, spending time praying, reading the Word (so I can finish the whole Bible in 2014), and just taking a moment to reflect on my day. I begin the day with a plan of attack instead of feeling attacked by needy little ones and therefore am less resentful toward them and am able to start the day feeling like a more-patient mama. Arising before my family enables me to get a nice shower in, without kids banging on the door; I can dress, light a candle, listen to a favorite worship song, and then spend time loving on, reading to, and making breakfast with my earliest risers as they trudge up the stairs.
Making the commitment to get up early seems to also spur me to exercise more. I can do pilates before the kids get up, or at least get a jump on my day so that I can carve out time for exercising later in the afternoon or evening. Perhaps it's merely a case of "discipline begets discipline" that exercising is easier to find time for on days when I rise early.
My husband has made comments about how he notices I'm at my best as a wife and a mom when I'm making early rising a priority. So, in addition to doing it for my health, my relationship with God, my job as a homemaker, my role as a mother and my desire to be a kind and patient mom, I'm also thankful that this habit blesses my husband and marriage too.
I'd better get to bed so I can get up early tomorrow! ;)