If you’re a busy and striving young woman like me, you’re always looking for ways to improve and, most importantly, get more stuff done. During this semester, I’ve been challenging myself to wake up before I normally would.  Overall, I couldn’t be more pleased with the results. Whether it’s fifteen minutes or an hour early, making a small lifestyle tweak like this is just one way to propel yourself towards those productive days. Here’s what I found when I started getting up earlier in the morning.

1) You’ll get more done

This one is obvious.  I was pleasantly surprised by how much I was able to accomplish when I started doing work in the morning before starting my day. I usually brew a strong cup of coffee, open my agenda and begin.  Sometimes it’s working on my latest piece for FFL, sometimes it’s chipping away at a paper I have due later in the week, and sometimes it’s strictly leisure, like pinning outfits and recipe ideas on Pinterest. Whatever I find myself doing, I always feel more productive during the day having started on a positive note.

[RELATED: A Lazy Girl’s Guide To Increasing Productivity]

2) Morning workout sessions

Stay with me on this one. As someone who pays for a gym membership, I want to get my money’s worth. I think the best time to go, if I plan on going at all, is first thing in the morning. If I wait until my break between classes or until my day is over, I tend to make a million excuses and find other “important” things to fill my time with. Even if you stay home and do a little yoga to kick-start your day, your body will thank you and your energy level will soar.

3) Time to reflect

The morning is a perfect time to assess. If you’re not slamming the snooze button and subsequently racing out of the house half dressed, you have time to slow down and think. Sitting in bed sipping your coffee is the perfect time to meditate on things you wouldn’t during your everyday routine. I started practicing gratitude by making a small note of what I’m grateful for every morning. It might be something simple like the cup of coffee in my hand.  It might be something more profound like being fortunate enough to receive a college education. When you have time to reflect, you gain a deeper appreciation for the life you live and where you’re headed.

[RELATED: 5 Things You Should Do On Sunday To Ensure A Productive Week]

4) Healthy breakfast

This might be my favorite reason for waking up earlier.  I love breakfast food. I won’t waste your time by telling you in depth how breakfast is the most important meal of the day.  You should already know that.  I will tell you that by waking up earlier, you have time to set the precedent for how you’re going to eat that day. If I wake up late, rush out the door and grab the first thing I see, like a chocolate chip cookie or something, I would venture to guess the rest of my day would be spent hungry, cranky and apt to make other poor food choices. A healthy body and a healthy mind go hand-in-hand.

5) Highly successful people do it

I recently read an article published by Business Insider titled, I Spent 5 Years Studying Rich People, and Here’s What They Tend to Have in Common. This article explored the common qualities of wealthy, successful people. Not surprisingly, they start their days early. The author found that 44 percent of them wake up at least three hours before their work day begins. The proof is present.  People who want to live highly successful lives know what they have to do in order to achieve their goals.  They don’t mind sacrificing a little extra time in bed for it.

If you want to be a happy and healthy version of yourself, the best way to start is by making this lifestyle tweak. It’s proven that only positive things can come from starting your day a little earlier.  In the long run, I guarantee you won’t miss those last few minutes of sleep.

Kate C