To set the record straight, I am not a naturally born morning person.
In fact, my partner and children have long given me a very wide berth each and every morning, not expecting me to show up for breakfast or have a single conversation until at least the caffeine of an espresso has had the time to enter my veins.
So why on earth would I be writing anything positive about mornings?! Hal Elrod has won me over to the benefits of waking up earlier than when my brain tells my reluctant body it must get out of bed:
How you wake up each day and your morning routine (or lack thereof) dramatically affects your levels of success in every single area of your life. Focused, productive, successful mornings generate focused, productive, successful days—which inevitably create a successful life—in the same way that unfocused, unproductive, and mediocre mornings generate unfocused, unproductive, and mediocre days, and ultimately a mediocre quality of life. By simply changing the way you wake up in the morning, you can transform any area of your life, faster than you ever thought possible.
The title of Elrod’s book, “The Miracle Morning: The Not-So-Obvious Secret Guaranteed to Transform Your Life (before 8AM),” would have been a mere turn-off to me due to that last bit in parentheses. And yet, my interest got piqued by friends who were raving about its benefits. One of them said:
I highly recommend this book, to anyone who feels like they don’t have enough time, focus and/or energy, to
anyone who feels lost or confused, depressed or anxious, even if you think you are ‘not a morning person,’ to anyone who wants to change ANYTHING about their lives, this book is f-ing brilliant.
I first heard of the Miracle Mornings in early 2015, when one of Brian Johnson’s emails arrived in my inbox highlighting the latest 10-minute video in his excellent Philosopher’s Notes series (for busy people who love to learn, but not always finding the time to read an entire book!).
Here’s a quick scan of how I incorporate this into my life (there’s a variety of ways), taking about 45 minutes to an hour before I get dressed, using the acronym (Life) S.A.V.E.R.S.:
S is for Silence. I take 15 minutes for meditation, typically using an app that guides me through it, or I focus on my breath, sounds, observe my thoughts, body sensations, emotions, etc.
A is for Affirmations. I jot down three things in a blank book: what I long for in my life (or sometimes for the day), why I want it (what it would bring me), and at least one step I can take this day to move in that direction.
V is for Visualization. I take a few minutes to envision how it would be/feel if I actually receive the thing I just described.
E is for exercise. Just 10 minutes of moving my body in the way it wants to move – typically yoga poses, pilates movements, or calisthenics – just to wake things up (I’m learning this can be as effective as caffeine!)
R is for Reading. Something inspirational – can be very short – just to stimulate and inspire me. I save up articles, read a few pages from a book, or watch a Philosopher’s Notes video.
S is for Scribing. This is my favorite part actually (on very rushed mornings, I try to at least take this step). In my blank book, I continue writing, focusing on the following:
- Name one thing I learned yesterday
- Name three things I did that I appreciate about me/my actions
- Name three things for which I feel gratitude
- Name one thing I am proud of that I did
- Name one thing I can do today that will make it better than yesterday
- I commit my life to . . .
One of the things I notice the MOST about my life since incorporating this new practice is that I feel overall happier due to the ability to more clearly CHOOSE for gratitude. If you saw my last article posted in expatsHaarlem and want some extra guidance on choosing for gratitude (as opposed to being in a complaint cycle), I highly recommend reading Elrod’s book on Miracle Mornings.
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- Reduce conflict during family vacation - August 24, 2016