Two months ago, I began a concerted effort to create the habit of rising early. Following a bit of a struggle, I can now happily say that, yes, I'm an earl(ier) riser. Here's what worked for me as I worked toward my goal as well as how I plan to go forward.
Rising early makes you go to bed earlier. This is backwards from the advice usually given and works for me because it's soooo much easier for me to go to bed when I'm tired after an early morning rather than trying to force myself to bed so I can get up early the next morning. Eventually it all melds together, of course, but mentally this kind of thinking works better for me.
Getting a taste of victory. Before I made a push to make getting up earlier a habit, I had a notion that I'd face the busyness of the day refreshed and charged if I had some time alone first. This turned out to be true and now I'm hooked.
A change in circumstances. My husband's work schedule changed, serendipitously, as I was working on waking up earlier; he could no longer get the kids ready in the morning if I took my time getting up and getting ready. Now if I don't get up earlier, I miss out on noiseless time entirely. I think anyone who's serious about forming any habit could help themselves by manipulating their environment or circumstances to help "force" them into the change they want to make.
Wanting more. These days, post habit-formation (yay!), it's the exception that I'm not up before the kids. But usually, I only have time for coffee and some reading. What I really, really want is noiseless, distraction-free time to tackle a to-do or two before I face the day. This way, I feel like I'm facing the day ahead of it and on top of things and it sets the tone for my whole day.
Rather than catching up, chasing lost time, and having things hanging over me, I can be where I am right in the moment. For me, that's the ultimate reward of time management and achieving that more regularly now feels a bit more within my grasp.