How do you start your day? Do you have a ritual or a practice that prepares you for the day ahead? Or, do you sleep in as late as possible, get the kids off to school and rush to work?
During the past year, I’ve adopted a morning ritual based upon Hal Elrod’s book, The Miracle Morning. The author suggests setting aside 60 minutes every morning to go through his six-step process for a miraculous morning.
Here’s a brief synopsis of his six steps (and SAVERS acronym):
- Silence - Spending time in silence as soon as you wake up.
- Affirmations - Repeating affirmations to guide your thought process.
- Visualization - Visualizing your life as you would like it to unfold now and in the future.
- Exercise - Getting your body moving every day.
- Reading - Taking time to read a good book.
- Scribing - Writing in a journal.
If you are like me, one hour of uninterrupted time is hard to carve out, even when I do get up as early as 4am. I am a full-time working mom (in my final week of pregnancy at this writing) and have a two-year-old daughter and a 13-year-old stepdaughter. Between pregnancy insomnia and midnight toddler wake-ups, getting enough rest and energy is a challenge.
Establishing a miracle morning routine may sound daunting at first, but it’s been one of the best investments I’ve made in personal development. With a Type A personality, I have a hard time choosing the optimal activities to include on a regular basis—I want to do them all—but, the miracle morning routine is one of the few that has stuck with me.
If you want an easy starter plan, I do recommend Hal Elrod’s six steps. I discovered after following his routine that it was both too long and too rigid for me, but many people follow this shortened version or follow it as prescribed. I decided to customize it based upon my current goals, preferences and other habits I wanted to establish.
Here’s what I do before my miracle morning routine to get into a relaxed mindset:
- Wake up. I get up as early as I can, while listening to my body. This usually means any time between 4:45am - 5:30am.
- Get ready. Take a brief ice cold shower to get my metabolism and brain gowing, followed up by my anti-aging skincare regimen.
- Start brewing. It’s coffee (when I’m not pregnant) or Bulletproof hot cocoa (during pregnancy).
- Podcast. Listening to a few minutes of an inspirational podcast (or one that’s health or fitness-related) while I brew.
And then, I start my writer’s miracle morning routine. I’ve shortened it to 30 minutes, as I found that I could be consistent with 30 minutes daily but not an hour.
- Write in the 5-minute journal. For many years, I followed Julia Cameron’s advice on doing Morning Pages, but that practice took at least 15-20 minutes. The 5-minute journal is quicker and gets me in a more positive mindset than brain-dumping on the page.
- Track daily markers. I use the Tictrac app to keep track of biomarkers that matter to me, such as mood, hours slept, calories, exercise, meditation, etc. I watch trends to see which factors influence my productivity and overall wellbeing.
- Read five pages of an inspirational book. I have been working my way through Steven Pressfield’s books, and reading five pages is enough to give me some food for thought each day.
- Fill up my social media queue. Keeping up on my favorite blogs and sharing them is important to me. I read an average of 3-4 articles each day and share them using Buffer.
- Review my Level 10 vision. At the beginning of each quarter, I redefine what I want my ideal life to look like, which addresses each of the important areas of my life. I read through this vision daily to remind myself to be grateful and stay focused on my biggest goals.
- Play one brain game. I like to keep my mind challenged, and I’ve found playing one game on Lumosity daily to be an effective (and fun) way to do so.
- Pin one inspirational image. I use Pinterest boards, like this one, to keep track of images for my writing projects, and I find that pinning one image each day gets me “in the mood” to write.
That’s it! After getting through that sequence in 30 minutes (or less), I’m ready to start my day. If my toddler is still asleep, I jump into my next daily habit of writing for 30 minutes. Whether I get to write then or later, I find that my day flows more smoothly because I took the time to get my mind right first. As a writer, this is critical to consistently feeding my creativity.
What about you? Do you have a morning routine to set yourself up for a great day, every day? If not, I challenge you to create your own miracle morning routine, and I’d love to hear about which activities you include.