We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.
For the last couple weeks, I’ve been starting my day with the Miracle Morning, a specific routine built on the idea that starting your day with a few intentional activities can improve your day and, as a result, your life. Life changing is a dramatic description for anything that only takes 60 minutes, but I can attest that it is, at the very least, life improving. It’s good enough to share and recommend. Here’s how I make it work for me:
Get up early enough that you can have about an hour of uninterrupted time to go through the entire routine. On most mornings, knowing I have this reason to get up early helps me to actually get up at 6:00 am without hitting snooze even once. I’ve come to look forward to this hour of constructive time to myself.
Spend 10-15 minutes on each of the Life S.A.V.E.R.S – a handy acronym to remember the individual parts of the routine.
SILENCE – I do not sit in total silence. Instead, I listen to a 10-minute guided meditation. This serves to center me and put me in the mindset of being intentional and in charge of how the rest of my day will go. I like the free app Insight Timer.
AFFIRMATIONS – I hate this part. Hate. I think that’s probably why it’s so important. When I’m close to being able to believe something about myself, the affirmations do help pull me along. Some affirmations, on the other hand, make me want to throw up when I even think about saying them out loud. That’s how I know what I need to talk about in therapy.
VISUALIZATIONS – A lot of people use this time to look at pictures of things they want, but that doesn’t feel natural to me. Also, most of the things I want aren’t things. Instead, I visualize myself getting through my day, accomplishing my most immediate goals, feeling good about what I’m creating and in my relationships. This daily walk through is especially helpful my schedule includes a task that is hard (or boring) but necessary.
EXERCISE – Blergh. I am making a concerted effort to take better care of myself this year, and my physical health is a huge part of that. I’m tracking what I eat and trying to make better nutrition choices. I’m also trying to be a little more active than not at all. So far that’s mostly meant walking my dog every morning. With the miracle morning, I’ve added ten minutes of some kind of strength training – ie sit ups or jumpees or yoga or, really anything that is building strength because I have none at the moment. This 10-minute calisthenics routine is my current favorite.
READING – This is really why I get up every morning. This is the only section that requires me to use a timer because I have to be reminded to stop. Right now I’m reading The Book of Knowing and Worth: A Channeled Text, by Paul Selig. It’s one of the most airy-fairy books I’ve read in a long time, but I’m still loving it!
SCRIBE – Because Life SAVERW doesn’t have the same ring to it. This is writing. Journaling. Free writing. This is taking the time to pour what’s in your head out onto paper without any thought or concern about whether it’s fit for consumption. This isn’t a writing practice or a practice just for writers. It’s an opportunity to process your thoughts in a tangible, safe space that is outside of your head. I probably love this because I write better than I think.
That’s it. Because I am a writer, ending on scribe can sometimes make it tricky to get out of the miracle morning and into the real day. Fortunately, my family wakes up about 7:00 and quickly makes it difficult for me to continue spending any more time alone.
I’ve noticed a big difference in my mood, mindset, and productivity when I start my day this way. For one thing, I’m hitting the normal start time of the day with alertness and a little activity already under my belt – and a hell of a lot earlier than I would if I had stayed in bed waiting for everyone to leave. The activities themselves are also useful in their own right. Centering and meditation has always been good for me when I’ve made time for it, but I’ve rarely made consistent time for it. I hate doing affirmations but know the research behind their effectiveness. Same with visualizations. Reading is something I love to do, but I don’t always make time for reading edifying books-but 10 to 15 minutes is just enough to get me thinking. Even journaling is something that I tend to avoid because I don’t know why I don’t do things that I know are good for me.
Have you tried the Miracle Morning, or do you have another morning routine you swear by?