I have never been a morning person. Even though I like the feeling of accomplishment and the infusion of energy I get when I manage to haul my ass out of bed before 9 am, sleep is my precious, and I’ve always found it hard to disengage from its embrace. If I don’t set an alarm, my body’s default is to sleep for 9, 10, even 11 hours sometimes.
Oh, I’ve had stretches when, on one self-improvement kick or another, I did manage to stick to an early morning routine for a little while, but I could never keep it going. The siren song of my deliciously cozy bed was just too irresistible.
So when I first read about Hal Elrod’s The Miracle Morning the other day, I thought no thanks. Been there, tried that. I’m not a morning person. His advice is simple, and not exactly revolutionary: Wake up at the ass-crack of dawn, spend an hour or so doing six specific personal development activities, become an awesome human being, conquer the world before breakfast.
He came up with an acronym to denote the six activities — S.A.V.E.R.S. They are:
- Silence. Spend some time sitting quietly in meditation.
- Affirmations. Write down or repeat out loud (or both) statements that reflect the positive changes you want to see in your life.
- Visualization. Use a vision board or visualize in your mind’s eye the ideal life you wish to manifest.
- Exercise. This can be anything that gets your body moving and your heart rate pumping.
- Reading. The Miracle Morning reading sesh should be something inspirational or spiritual.
- Scribing. In other words, writing or journaling.
Well, I certainly couldn’t argue with any of that. These are all things that I have done myself, and some of the first things that I suggest to others. I know how powerful and life-changing these actions can be. But I had to admit, I had never done them all, first thing in the morning, every day. And because I hadn’t always made them a priority and done them first thing, they often just didn’t get done. One of Elrod’s main points is that if we put them off, we tend to get busy with our day and responsibilities, and despite our best intentions we never get around to them. We spend our whole lives promising we’ll start improving ourselves “tomorrow.” But then tomorrow we repeat the same pattern, and before we know it, we’ve lived a life of mediocrity, never fulfilling our true potentials.
I’m 52, it’s time to stop dicking around. The time to start fulfilling my potential is now. In the past few years I’ve developed incredible self-discipline in certain areas. I quit drinking. (Yay me!) I’ve been recording all of my income and expenses, every penny, for more than 3 years. I haven’t paid a bill late or incurred any debt in 5 years. I’ve been recording the day’s events in a little 5-year diary every single night for almost 2 years. I’ve written down every book I’ve read for more than 6 years. I floss every single night without fail. I’ve learned that self-discipline is like a muscle that gets stronger the more we use it.
So now it’s time to apply all that self-discipline to becoming a morning person.
I started today with my very first successful Miracle Morning! Last night, I told myself that I would wake up feeling rested and refreshed at 6:15 and I did. (Elrod recommends 5:00 but one step at a time…) I made myself a morning tonic of hot water, apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, honey and cayenne, and immediately got to journaling. I wrote morning pages daily for 3 months but then stopped and it felt so good to get back to it. Journaling is my dialogue with the Divine, and I’ve missed that connection. I wrote for a half hour until my son left for school.
Next, I sat in silence and meditated. I use mala beads, and one circuit through the beads takes about 15 minutes. After my meditation I was literally buzzing with bliss and energy. Better than any drink or drug I ever took. As always, afterward I thought, Man, I really need to be doing this every day. And for longer. Already I was feeling amazing!
After meditation it was time for affirmations, which I wrote out and then recited 10 times. I also used this time to say out loud my daily offering prayer, inspired by Tosha Silver’s Change Me Prayers. (I recently re-wrote this prayer to include a mantra by Matt Kahn called a Declaration of Divinity. I’ll post the whole thing soon.)
For visualization, I plan to create another vision board, but for today I sifted through my box of inspiring words and images and chose the ones that relate to morning and waking up. I may make a little Soul Collage with those.
Next came reading time. I don’t really need to make time for reading since it’s something I do all the time anyway, but I like the idea of focusing solely on inspirational things during the Miracle Morning. Today I read some of Matt Kahn’s book, Whatever Arises, Love That. (Review coming soon!)
And finally, exercise. Many years ago I bought Jorge Cruise’s book 8 Minutes in the Morning. It’s a 4-week plan, with different exercises using dumbbells and body weight for each of the 28 days, then you start the series over again. I’ve never made it past the 2nd week! This time I’m doing it. Mark my words, people. I’m doing it. I can do anything for 8 minutes.
I tend to amble leisurely through my mornings, so this took me quite a while. (Granted, it was interspersed with feeding the cats, making coffee, and putting in a load of laundry.) I think most people get it all done in an hour to an hour-and-a-half. Elroy says that even spending as little as one minute on each of the activities will positively impact your life.
I want to be accountable, so I will report my progress as I go on.
How about you, lovelies? Are you a morning person or a night owl? Do you have a morning routine?