I Woke Up One Hour Earlier Every Morning For A Week, And It Changed My Entire Day

"I was thinking there might just be something to this early morning business."

Kelly Stilwell is the one-woman show running Virtually Yours, a popular lifestyle, travel, and entertainment blog. Passionate about her family and travel, she's a busy mom who could certainly use a few extra hours in the day — or at least one. That's exactly why A Plus asked her to wake up one hour earlier every day for a week as part of a weeklong challenge to become the best version of herself. Each morning, she cataloged the way this experience transformed how she approached the rest of her day: 

Would an extra hour each day make a huge difference in your life? I was about to find out.

A Plus reached out to me a couple of weeks ago and challenged me to get up one hour earlier for a week and share my experience. Honestly, I have a pretty erratic sleep schedule, but I've read a couple of articles lately about early rising, so I accepted the challenge.

On Day One, I was looking forward to starting my extra hour in the day with some quiet time, which is usually the first thing I neglect when I'm busy.


Photo Credit: Kelly Stilwell

I also took an early morning walk, which is the next thing I often put off. I had forgotten how beautiful the sky can be in the morning in Florida.

Photo Credit: Kelly Stilwell

Following just these two small changes, the rest of my day went better than usual. I was thinking there might just be something to this early morning business.

On Day Two, after some quiet time, I decided to go to the gym. I had to be somewhere a little later, but I could easily do 30 minutes of cardio. Bonus: I also caught up on the news!

Photo Credit: Kelly Stilwell

It's really amazing how much you can get done in just 60 minutes. I even had time to have a nice breakfast.

Photo Credit: Kelly Stilwell

On Day Three, I started with quiet time followed by a walk, and even talked my husband into joining me. We are often rushed when we walk, but on this day, since we started earlier, we walked down to the river.

Photo Credit: Kelly Stilwell

Day Four began like the first three days of the challenge: with quiet time and exercise. I started to think about actually attacking my procrastination list, which was getting longer by the day. I made a phone call to schedule an overdue annual mammogram (ladies, don't put it off!) and even set the appointment for first thing in the morning. The challenge definitely had a positive effect on me.

On Day Five, I decided to try out a new recipe for the slow cooker I rarely use. Coming home to dinner ready and waiting is so much better than having to pull something together at the last minute. The recipe took a little longer than I thought, but my house smelled so good all day and the Italian chicken was divine.

Day Five accomplishment? Five days of quiet time in a row and dinner was already prepared! Score!

Photo Credit: Kelly Stilwell

Day Six was a Saturday, and let me just say I was tempted to bail on the challenge, but I decided to get my walk in. I was so glad I did as I had a lot going on and needed to clear my head. Starting the day earlier meant getting more done, too. I finally had time to edit pictures from a recent vacation to Raja Ampat, Indonesia. What an amazing experience to see the before and after!

Photo Credit: Kelly Stilwell
Photo Credit: Kelly Stilwell

Finally, Day Seven arrived and I woke up early without the alarm, a good sign that the challenge is really developing a new habit for me. By the time my husband got up, I had already done two loads of laundry and even put them away. He's wondering what's up with me, and I'm thinking he needs to take the challenge, too.

After seven days of rising just 60 minutes earlier, I truly can't believe the difference it made. Starting my day with quiet time meant setting a positive tone for the rest of the day. Moms especially know the difference that can make! Accomplishing just one thing on my long list also put me in a better mindset. And exercising several times a week? That's been on my list for years. 


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