We all have the exact same amount of time in a day.
Have you ever wished longingly that you had a clock that could magically freeze time, just so that you could have time to squeeze everything you want to do in? I do. Often!
I first heard of the Miracle Morning at the end of 2015 on the Boho Berry Blog. From the blog alone I was intrigued enough to give the process a try myself. Then in April I actually got round to reading the book myself. I’d definitely recommend giving the book a read. It certainly re-motivated me on the benefits of getting my arse out of bed in the morning and following the process.
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Strictly speaking this can be done at any time of day, so if you are a night owl, you could just do it at night. That way you are setting yourself up right for the following day. I’m going to continue to refer to it as morning time because that it when I do it, just switch Miracle Morning to your Miracle Midnight, or Amazing Afternoon. Whichever time you can claim for your own.
So what is the ’Miracle Morning’ exactly?
Hal Elrod researched the practices of highly successful people and noticed there were a lot of similarities. He worked out they all seemed to do a mixture of six things:
All six together are the main components of a Miracle Morning or SAVERS.
Now some of the successful people would claim their success was down to 1-2 of these things, others would do more. The reason it is called a Miracle Morning because it involves doing all six. Now before you panic, how long you spend doing each of the six is entirely up to you. As is which order you do it. It could be as little as one minute on each. It could be 5 minutes of some and 10 minutes of others. It’s flexible and can change day-to-day depending on your needs.
This could be sitting in silence, or meditation or prayer. Pick the spot that you do this carefully. I personally prefer to do this outside as I live in the countryside. I find it much easier to quieten my mind when I’m outside surrounded by birds singing and I can watch clouds slowly blow by. There’s special quality to the world at dawn when everyone else is asleep and it’s just you and the early morning sun.
The benefits of establishing a practice of regular silence is helps grow your focus and concentration. It reduces the impact of distractions on you. Helps you to recognise when you are being distracted and get back on track. I personally love to use the Headspace App as it teaches you how to meditate and build up your mental focus.
I’ve been rather public about how I have struggled with affirmations. It’s not that I don’t think they work. I think the main issue is that my mental image with affirmations is Chandler from Friends listening to a stop smoking cassette telling him he’s a strong confident woman who doesn’t need to smoke.
When I read one of the more general affirmations my mental dialogue goes like this:
I radiate love and happiness
(my brain instantly leaps to radiation, so I now have a picture of me glowing bright green. Bright fluorescent green)
Ok forget the word radiate, let’s focus on love and happiness
(my brain now gives me a video of me running through fields of buttercups, laughing like a loon)
Not very affirming, or helpful.
So, what I have I found that has worked? This book has excellent advice on setting affirmations. You make them very, VERY practical and specific. No chance for the image of running through buttercups to pop into my head. What do you want to ultimately achieve and what do you need to do to get there. Basically it’s goal setting but on a life level. By reading these affirmations everyday it keeps you focused on your big goals and how you plan to achieve them,
What would success look like? Actually picture it in your mind. This doesn’t have to be your perfect life, it could be how you would deal with a challenging situation successfully? Such as getting a four year old to eat her broccoli. Picture it in your mind. Walk through step by step how you would achieve it and work through the challenges as your best self.
(broccoli update; one four year old down; one four year old and two year old to go)
What areas would you like to improve in your life? Personally and professionally. What subjects would you like to learn more about? Art, music, quantum physics? Use this time to develop yourself. There are millions of books out there on thousands of different topics. One will be able to help you make progress.
Now I’m writing this as someone who used to struggle to find time to read. And I work in a library!
One of the main ways I fit reading in, is by listening to audiobooks and by reading actual books in small little chunks of time that I carve out. I would highly suggest starting at your local library as then you can try out mountains of books for free before investing your money.
Basically a fancy word for writing or journaling. Give yourself the time everyday to sit down and write about what’s going on in your head. Writing it down is a great way to not only process things and work through challenges, it also creates a record of your achievements and the progress you make. There are many benefits to journaling, which are wonderfully summarise in this Huffington Post article
The main lesson of the entire book is to make time for your own personal wellbeing and personal development. By doing these things first thing in the morning you are setting yourself up right for the rest of the day. Most of us have more control over our mornings than any other time of day after all. I know I certainly do. I have created three children who are fellow early risers and I’m married to a night owl. So it’s only by getting up earlier that I get anytime to myself.
What are you getting up early for?
Before you start setting your alarm clock, it’s worth sitting down and working out what you want to achieve. Not only with this time in the morning, but what do you ultimately want to achieve with your life.
It’s a big question I know. One of the main takeaways I got from the book was this idea of always making progress towards your goals and the cumulative effect will add up. Level 10 Life from this book has become a popular concept now thanks to Boho Berry. This is where you look at the main components of your life and work out if your life was utterly perfect what would they look like? It’s best to think of a perfect life that you could achieve rather than rely on a lottery win which is out of your control
Now then Hal suggests the areas that you look at in his Miracle Morning Fast Kit, where this exercise is called a Wheel of Life Assessment. But I would suggest using those titles as a springboard and picking what seems most relevant to you. He picks ten topics, but I always tend to go for 8. Not just because it’s easier to split a circle into 8 without a protractor, which it really is! But because those topics feel the most relevant to me and my life. Make it personal to you.
How close are you to that right now? You then mark that on your wheel. For this just go with your gut instinct. Think about where you are right now, on a scale of 1-10 in each area. Be honest, after all, this is only for you to get a visual about where you are now.
Then work out what next steps you could take to get you to the next level. Break your goals down to the next tiniest step you can take if needs be, so that doing it is no real work at all. This way you should always be making progress towards your goals, no matter how small. Those small steps add up.
Some people, me included, then use the level 10 life when setting monthly goals. That way it keeps the momentum of moving you in the right direction.
This quote keeps sticking in my mind. I’m a working mum to three young children, I’m currently in a season of my life that’s very busy. I’m constantly trying to bookend any personal development at either end of my day when the children are in bed or sneak it in during the day when I can. I work 4 days a week which is not quite full time, but it’s not quite part time either. I plan because otherwise my head is buzzing with who needs what, when, for home and work. The minute my babies arrived in this world I thought that my goals basically would have to go on pause for a few years. Because after all you just want to step back and enjoy the early years, you never get them back. I thought it was an either or scenario. I could either put my goals to one side and enjoy my children and family life. Or I could work towards my goals but miss out on my family life. Because that’s the message we all get told over and over again isn’t it? You can’t have it all.
Working towards your own goals is not selfish, it’s essential to being the best person you can be. This isn’t about ignoring your loved ones to put yourself first, but it is about being willing to make yourself a priority.
Some days I don’t manage all six, but I do my best. Some days, kids are poorly and snuggles on the sofa have to take priority. But now I find that I can relax and settle into those days. As I know I will get that time the following day.
I’m still awaiting a magic clock that will let me freeze time so that I can fit more into the day. But until that becomes a reality I’m getting up at 5am.
Don’t forget to prioritise your sleep.
If you are getting up earlier you naturally have to go to bed earlier. It’s common sense I know, but as my father was always fond saying, the thing with common sense is it’s not that common.
Since starting the Miracle Morning 6 months ago I was getting 6-7 hours of sleep a night, which is a decent amount. Only it turns out I need 8 hours. You’ll have no doubt noticed the maths doesn’t work. But I was finding the benefits of the Miracle Morning so good, that I kept going for 6 months. I should clarify that I wasn’t burning the midnight oil here, I was going to bed at 10 o’clock. But that’s walking up the stairs to bed. So by the time I was actually tucked up in bed and drifting off to sleep it was more like 10.30 pm. That’s not counting the hits on sleep when there’s poorly children, or someone’s had a nightmare and needs their mummy.
That’s fine short term, but slowly I was building up a massive sleep deficit. I didn’t even notice it until I reached the point where my brain literally couldn’t think.
So right now, I’ve moved to attempting a micro miracle morning most days. Just to try and catch up on my sleep. Some days I do bedtime with the kids and then promptly put myself to bed. I’ve slept for a solid 12 hours. This is unheard of for me.
I have to admit I miss those quiet hours in the morning where I would set myself up for the day, planning and writing this blog. The days would run so much smoother. But humans need sleep to function. I’m still working on how to fit everything in.
Do you have a morning routine?
I’d love to hear about you do to set up your day in the comments below.