Mornings are important. They define the way you begin the day, set the tone, and determine the trajectory of your mood, thoughts, and energy. Just as the first meal of the day is the most important, the first activities, thoughts, and habits of the day are equally important. The husband and I have been slowly placing more emphasis on our morning routine for the past year, and recently committed to a consistent, solid 60-minute routine.
What changed the game for us, was the book "The Miracle Morning" by Hal Elrod. Elrod writes about creating a morning routine of any length (but preferably an hour) which includes the 6 personal development practices proven to have the biggest impact on personal growth. The concept is designed upon the concept that mornings are the rudder for your day. Just as a rudder steers a ship, the way you spend your morning, determines the rest of your day. If you begin your day with intention, with positive thoughts, and personal development, chances are, the rest of your day will be more positive and intentional. If you begin your day by hitting the snooze, resisting the day, rushing through your morning, chances are, the rest of your day will be spent resisting and reacting to life, rather than living with intention. The other main concept guiding The Miracle Morning, is the idea by Jim Rohn that "Your level of success will rarely exceed your level of personal development, because success is something you attract by the person you become." Elrod explains "Our outer world will always be a reflection of our inner world. Our level of success is always going to parallel our level of personal development. Until we dedicate time each day to developing ourselves into the person we need to be to create the life we want, success is always going to be a struggle to attain". Below are the 6 practices Elrod recommends to practice each morning if you want to maximize personal development:
- Silence. this could include meditation, breathwork, mindfulness, or gratitude practice
- Affirmations. Affirmations are messages you want to train your subconscious to believe so you repeat and/or write them over and over, feeling them as true in your mind. Pick 1 or a few to repeat every morning consistently over time. Revise as needed if values change or affirmations are achieved and no longer needed.
- Visualization. Visualize the life you want, the person you are, and how you will feel living this life of your dreams. Be as specific as possible in your visualization of your life, including all the details you can think of, and again, try to 'feel' this visualization.
- Exercise. It's important to connect with your body and get your heart rate up every day, even if it's only 1 minute of jumping jacks, sit ups, pushups, or L-sits. We go to yoga after work, so instead of the exercise piece, the hubbs and I have been doing breathwork instead.
- Reading. I'm going to be cheesy here and say that knowledge is power. Matt and I have been reading something from the personal growth/self-help section every morning, and it's a beautiful way to feed your mind and soul.
- Writing. This could be writing of any sort including journaling, gratitude lists, writing a book, writing your affirmations. I usually stick with a mix of journaling, gratitude lists, and writing my affirmations down. Journaling was something I've been wanting to do for years, and now I have the time and structure created to make it possible. Writing gives words and thoughts extra power, so be intentional about what you write down. I try to keep mine positive and focus on writing only the thoughts, desires, and emotions I want to grow.
So that's the miracle morning. I've actually enjoyed my mornings despite the fact that I'm waking up 30 minutes earlier. I have been more focused, inspired, and having consistently better moods since starting this routine. Matt has also enjoyed it, and it's been nice to do the practice together. If you only have 30 minutes in the morning, you could practice each activity for 5 minutes. Our morning routine is below in the order that we practice each activity:
- Silence - 10 min
- Affirmations - 5 min
- Visualization - 5 min
- Reading - 20 min
- Writing - 10 min
- Breathwork (to replace exercise) -10 min