How you start your morning can have a huge impact on how the rest of your day goes. Often, when we have a bad start to the day, our mindset looks for everything else that goes wrong from that point on. We're having "one of those days". This can be overcome by a conscious mindset shift, but that's hard for a lot of people and sometimes we just don't have the energy for it. Another way to avoid this downward spiral is to make sure our day starts well by having a consistent and positive morning routine that sets us up to win right from the get go.
The Miracle Morning
I first heard of The Miracle Morning without knowing what it was. Someone else had written about their 6 minute morning using the SAVERS acronym. SAVERS stood for Silence, Affirmations, Visualisation, Exercise, Reading and Scribing and you spent one minute doing each. This started your morning right while just taking up an extra 6 minutes. This worked well for me as I didn't do well in the mornings. I was always struggling to get up on time and make it out the door. I thought could manage 6 minutes extra though and for a little while I did, but it didn't become a lifelong habit.
More recently, I was listening to an interview with Hal Elrod who mentioned his book, The Miracle Morning. When he was describing it, I realised that we was describing the 6 minute morning routine that I had done before, except his version lasted more than 6 minutes. So what exactly is it?
This can be personalised depending on what you want from your silence. I use it to meditate, usually for 10-15 minutes with the Calm app. Other people spend it in prayer. Some people literally just sit in silence for a while. Tony Robbins talks about spending time with himself, checking in to see how he feels that morning and if there's anything he needs to be aware of within himself. It's basically just the part of the day that you take to yourself to do whatever it is you need to in order to settle your mind and be present in the moment.
AffirmationsAffirmations are the things we tell ourselves. We probably have a few that we're not even aware of and the chances are that these ones are not so beneficial as the ones we set on purpose. How often do you catch yourself in a day or a week thinking "I can't..." Maybe it's I can't do that, wear that, eat that, afford that, make that happen. If we tell ourselves these things often enough they become true. They become our self limiting beliefs. Conscious, deliberate, positive affirmations have the same effect. If we tell ourselves positive things often enough, these also come true. This is the theory anyway and I have to say, I have noticed some changes around the affirmations I've made. They seem to happen without too much effort.
Ok, so this was the part that interested me. I've heard of visualisation and even tried it a little bit, though in a rather non-committal way. The interview I listened to with Hal Elrod gave me a whole new view on this. Basically what he said was, everyone does this wrong. What people do when they visualise is this: they decide the thing that they want and they visualise themselves having it. Some people do a bit better and visualise the feelings that go with it. They picture the scene, feel the emotions, smell the aromas, etc. and then they feel better and go on about their day, generally waiting on the universe providing.
What you're supposed to do, according to Hal Elrod, is to visualise the thing that you want and then visualise the things you need to do to get it. Imagine yourself doing all the steps required, going through the process of achieving your goal. See yourself working hard on your website or exercising every day, or sitting and writing that book you've been planning at your desk. Don't just imagine the outcome, but visualise all the steps between here and there.
This worked really well for me. I found that I got excited about it by visualising my goals this way. They were no longer abstract wishes that I was imagining. They became realistic and attainable and I started my day full of belief and excitement and with a plan. I had just reminded myself of the things I had to do that day and why I was doing it.
Exercise is important for everyone, no matter what you want to achieve in your life.It has a whole host of benefits and exercising in the morning also carries its own perks. If you can get it done in the morning then it's out of the way for the rest of the day. If it's not part of your morning routine, then it sits on your head and takes up space when you think about trying to fit it in later. Also, many more things occur through the day that I find often result in evening exercise being pushed back and back as I deal with more immediate requirements until it never happens. Just do it first thing to make sure it's done and then you can move on with your day.
ReadingEvery successful entrepreneur will tell you that learning is something you must always do. They will mostly likely also say that they set aside time each day or each week to read something that makes them better in some way. The miracle morning adds this in as part of the routine. Now, I have to admit that this is the one I'm not so consistent with. I manage to fit in everything else, but reading somehow doesn't quite make it in the time I have in the morning. It's something for me to work on.
Reading doesn't just have to be educational either. Just 6 minutes of reading a day can lower stress levels and help you get a better night's sleep. Tim Ferris from the 4 Hour Work Week only reads non-fiction and sets aside an hour each night to do it. It seems like any kind of reading will do for this section.
ScribingScribing basically just means writing things down. But you don't write down just any random thing that comes into your head. It's structured scribing. You start with writing down something you're grateful for, then something you're proud of and finish by setting your intentions for the day and writing down one thing you're committed to doing that day. I use the Freedom Journal for this. I love my Freedom Journal. I've gotten so much more done with my life since setting a daily focus.
My Morning Routine
Each day, I wake up knowing what I going to do. I know that I get up at 6:00am. I sort my teeth and start my push-ups (I'm doing 100 a day for 100 days and am 64 days in as I write this. 100 days is starting to feel like a long time!). I meditate for 10 minutes. Then I go through my affirmations and visualise them along with their steps. I have 3 affirmations so I usually just do one and alternate them and go through all 3 on weekend days when I have more time. I then write in my Freedom Journal what I'm grateful for this morning, what my 100 day plan is, what my main focus for the day is and how I'll achieve it. From here, I usually head to the gym or do some yoga at home, depending on the day.
My day can then progress in an orderly fashion, with the most important things already done. Now I just have to follow through on my plan and I'm set up to win. Every day.
Since starting this morning routine, I've found myself having much more direction than before. I do give a lot of that credit to my Freedom Journal, but the journal is part of my morning routine. I may not have stuck so well to the Freedom Journal if I didn't have a morning routine set aside to write in it every day. The scribing and planning part are huge in focusing my attention.
I've found the meditation incredibly helpful too. If I lose focus on something I'm doing through the day, I find it much easier now to come back to it. I can realise that my mind is rambling on to itself and set aside those thoughts for later. Now I can just take a breath and come back to being fully present in what I'm doing. This is hugely beneficial at work when I'm doing something repetitive that also requires concentration.
For my whole life, I've never been a morning person. Even going to the gym in the morning was always a fight, despite how much I enjoy it. Each day was a fight with the alarm and myself and every day started with a struggle. This isn't the best way to start any day, let alone every day! But since I've set this morning routine, I get up at 6:00am every day without fail. I don't even snooze the alarm.
Recently I was thinking about this and I concluded that I now enjoy waking up. Now, I get up to do things that I like, rather than just getting myself to work. My day starts with doing things that will move my life in the direction that I want. I set my day up deliberately and I don't just float through it wondering what I should be doing next. I always have a focus and I'm no longer drifting. As cheesy as it sounds, my morning routine has given my life more meaning on a day to day basis.
What's your morning routine? share it with us in the comments and don't forget to subscribe!