My close friend, Angelica, recommended The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod. I never really gave much thought to how underutilized my mornings were until I read it. I'm talking about missed opportunities to work on my personal development or do the things I say that I never have the time for. As I read the book I became perceptive of what my morning routine looked like. The funny thing is that I AM a morning person and wake up naturally around 6am. Waking up at 6 gives me enough time to do yoga or workout before I shower and get ready for work. I still feel rushed in the morning though, which can give me anxiety. So for a morning person like me, waking up 30 minutes to an hour earlier (yes, I know that would be 5am), would make such a major difference and be greatly beneficial to my day.
The Miracle Morning is a book on how to make time for "me"-time.
But wait... you're not a morning person or you never get enough sleep at night so you always feel tired in the morning. That's OK, Hal was these things too. He also talked about how he would wake up, get ready for work, come home, spend time with his then-fiance but be too exhausted to do anything else. Wash - Rinse - Repeat. Sound familiar? Is this your story too? Well, the same goes for the other 95% of Americans who are also living mundane, mediocre lives (this is a for real statistic in the book). But remember you're not bound to this story, and you can choose to live a purposeful life. You absolutely DO have the time to meditate, read, exercise, etc. If these things matter to you, then create time for them even if that means waking up earlier.
I got so many nuggets of information from this short book.
One of my favorite "a-ha!" moments was about isolating incidents, which Hal explained was one of the reasons for mediocrity. In an isolating incident, you may think that a choice you make affects consequences in that particular time or situation but not the bigger whole. An example of this would be hitting the snooze on your alarm. You may have planned to go to the gym that morning, but your excuse for not going was that the bed felt way too warm and cozy to get out of. Although this may seem like no big deal, in the grand scheme of things you're signaling to your subconscious that you don't follow through on your intentions. Now imagine if you're one to hit the snooze button consistently. Are you someone who lacks commitment or discipline? Because that's the overall message you're sending to your subconscious. So maybe you'll think twice about hitting the snooze button next time. I know I will.
Thanks for that insight, Hal. That shit was deep.
I don't want to give too much of the book's content away (go read the book), but I found it worth mentioning how Hal advises on maximizing your personal development time in the morning. S.A.V.E.R.S. is an acronym to describe a series of mindfulness activities, which may even be things you say you never have the time for. If you can't get every single item checked off your list in the morning, don't sweat. You tried your best. Hal does suggest to allocate an hour to get all these activities in, but even spending 5 minutes each on these activities is time well invested on yourself. And hey, you'd only have to wake up 30 minutes earlier than usual.
S = Silence
Spend a moment in silence. Meditate to ground and recenter. Take deep belly breaths. Clear your mind of the laundry list of things you need to do today (there will be a time and place for all of that). Be present in your space. Notice the environment around you with no judgment.
A = Affirmations
While being in a moment of silence, you can transition easily and effortlessly into stating positive affirmations in your mind or out loud. Tell yourself that you got this and will conquer the day ahead of you. Thank your body for getting you through the day. Remind yourself that you are strong, resilient, and beautiful. Say some prayers of gratitude for what you have and call in the abundance of the universe.
V = Visualization
After you finish meditating and speaking your affirmations, open your eyes and take a peak at the vision board you created. If you don't have a vision board yet, use this time to start putting one together! It may reflect all the ways you want to succeed, the things that drive you and give you purpose, or how you see yourself in 5 days... 5 months... 5 years.
E = Exercise
Have a nice stretch or get a full blown workout in. Either way, get some blood flowing!
R = Read
Does reading work emails count? Just kidding... but not really, because I'm guilty of reading work emails as the first thing when I wake up in the morning. I wouldn't recommend this since it can start my day with stress. So with that said, read a book. Read a chapter if you're on a time crunch or pick up a quick read like a poetry or motivational quote book.
S = Scribe
I'm a huge fan of journaling. I have a journal that I use for dreams and profound thoughts, but I've kept things simple too. A couple of years ago I had journal activity I would do every morning, which literally only took me 5 minutes. I would write a brief reflection for the quote of the day on a 365 day motivational quote calendar. (Check out my blog post on this: 2018 - My Year in Quotes). I kicked the habit in 2019, but The Miracle Morning inspired me to do this again. I have recently found that there are tons of fun guided journals, including this one I picked up for 2020 called Do One Thing Every Day That Makes You Happy. This journal contains writing or drawing prompts every day, which should take no more than 5-10 minutes to complete.
Have a miracle morning!
For more information on The Miracle Morning as well as other publications from Hal Elrod, check out this link here.