A few months ago I came across a book that has changed my outlook on life and immensely increased my productivity on a daily basis. I believe that it has helped me to define my focus and redefine how I choose to live my life every single day. It is, in part, responsible for me starting this blog.
I can’t remember how I came across Hal Elrod’s ‘The Miracle Morning’, I don’t know if someone recommended it to me or if I came across it in a podcast or if it was simply whilst cruising around on the internet. All I know is that after reading it I changed my everyday routine. In fact, I didn’t even read it, I listened to it on Audible whilst commuting to work and after listening to it for the first time, I immediately listened to it again because I wanted to glean as much from it as I could.
I also bought a copy for my boss as part of our recent Secret Santa and I know that he has started to put it into practice also. So go buy a copy and see what it can do for you.
The idea of this book is that you look at your goals in life and then devise simple steps towards them. This is not a ‘make money quick’ book , this is a ‘use each day wisely book’. It’s about defining your long-term priorities and what you need to change within yourself in order to achieve them.
“You are where you are because of who you were, but where you go depends entirely on who you choose to be.”
Honestly, go and read the book or download it from Audible like I did:
And check out the resources at The Miracle Morning online
The basic idea is that you get up an hour (or more) earlier in the morning and carry out 6 habits before you start your day…woah woah woah..don’t go anywhere just yet, I couldn’t face that either. As an insomniac with a 2 and a half year old who has only just started sleeping through the night, I could not face the idea of getting up any earlier either. Most days my toddler is up and playing in his room before me anyway, so I found my own way to incorporate the 6 habits into my daily life.
To be honest, the book does state that you can spend as little as a minute doing each of the 6 activities in the morning but I like to dedicate a little longer to them. In order to give each habit the time I believe they deserve, I spread them out over the course of the day.
THE SIX HABITS
I find it very difficult to sit down and do nothing at the best of times, and even when I do my head is often buzzing with all the millions of things that I need to do that day. My husband often refers to me as a whirlwind as I am always on the go (much like our son!).
I try to dedicate 5 minutes to silence in the morning. I incorporate it into my routine of getting ready, or if I do happen to wake up before my whirlwind toddler then I will use that time to sit in silence.
To quiet the whizzing and whirring of my mind I use an app called Stop, Breathe and Think which is available for iPhone and android. There are a number of guided meditations on there that can help to restore a bit of peace and quieten a busy mind. I have also found that I turn to it during the course of the day if I find my emotions getting the better of me.
I have chosen meditation as my method of being silent, but there are many other ways that you can incorporate silence into your routine.
In order to do this, I first of all I had to define my long-term goals and then break them down to determine how I can live my life in order to achieve them. I then created my affirmations as a mantra to be repeated every day. I printed my affirmations and laminated them so I can read them in the shower and it takes me approximately 2.5 minutes.
I don’t use generic affirmations, these are ones that are personal to me and where I want to be.
“Who you become today will determine what you are capable of creating tomorrow.”
I also have some bedtime affirmations that I read when I get into bed to help calm my mind and prepare myself for the following day.
This involves using a bit of imagination and really doesn’t take long at all, again this is something that I often do in the shower. I try to visualise how my day is going to pan out. If any negative thoughts pop into my mind I quickly replace them with positive ones.
I do not expect that everything is going to go exactly as I plan for it but if I start with a positive frame of mind then I am more likely to look for positive outcomes even when things don’t work out as I expected. After all, mistakes just offer lessons to be learned!
I also have a vision board which is a collection of pictures representing my long-term goals. You can find more information on creating a vision board here. I confess that I don’t look at my vision board every single day but I do have a mental copy that I carry around with me at all times.
I have also photographed my affirmations and vision board so I can view them on my phone to help stay focussed.
“You have the ability to change or create anything in your life, starting now.”
This is one that I like to dedicate a little more time to so I tend to do it in the evening once Z is in bed. I only do about half an hour of exercise 5 times a week and that includes a 5km run on Saturday mornings with my local Parkrun. I do walk to and from work three times a week on top of this and I generally get my ‘10,000’ steps in most days anyway.
If you are really pressed for time then you could always try a 7 minute workout.
I love to read. In fact, I have a list of books that would take me several lifetimes to read. I incorporate a mixture of fiction and non-fiction. My mum was a librarian when I was young and a love of reading was instilled into me from a young age. This is something I hope to pass on to my son. He loves books and has done since he was tiny, I have read him a bedtime story since he was 6 months old.
I am only really including non-fiction in this section though as it is really the books about the personal growth/development that are included in the miracle morning. It also doesn’t have to be a book in paperback form as there are often lots of resources available to read on the internet or via Kindle. I often listen to books on my Audible app during my walk to and from work. I also try to read at other times in the day. If I get a few minutes to myself when all the chores are done and Z is asleep I will read a few pages of one of the many books in my reading to-do list
This is something I like to do at the end of the day as part of my winding down for bed routine. I enjoy reflecting on my day and reflecting on aspects that have gone well and others that I might need to change for the future. It can take as little as 5 minutes or up to half an hour depending on my day.
I have a page to view diary and I divide it in half vertically. On the left side I keep all my appointments and daily ‘to-do’s whilst on the right side I place my reflective writing. For me this is not a piece of prose. I have three headings: gratitudes, achievements and lessons learned.
I note down at least three things that I have been grateful for over the course of the day. They don’t have to be big things and I try to avoid repetition. I often end up writing more than three things but I make sure I have a minimum of three. There is some significant research about how reflecting on gratitude is good for mental health and that is one of the reasons I like to keep my reflective writing in a positive frame.
My achievements don’t have to be anything major, they have been known to be simple things like ‘making a delicious dinner’ or ‘successfully plumbing in the new washing machine’ as well as much larger things like ‘achieving a new PB for running 5km’.
The Lessons learned generally come from when things haven’t gone to plan and I feel I can prevent the same mistake in the future or if I want to make a conscious effort to change a habit (like leaving milk out on the work surface or turning lights off in rooms that aren’t in use) or if I have learnt a new skill or technique for something I do already. It’s just a way of noting change and room for growth on a personal level.
I have found the processes of ‘The Miracle Morning’ to be very beneficial for myself and as a knock-on consequence for my family and career as well. Having read a few books on personal development, I have found that this one brings together a lot of information that is written elsewhere and provides a concise way of implementing the strategies into your daily life.
I don’t always manage to get all of the 6 habits done every single day but I do the majority of them most days and I don’t beat myself up if I have had a day where I have missed one or two out. I’m in it for the long run rather than a quick change.
I’d be really interested to know how other busy families have integrated the principles of the miracle morning into their lives.