Six Steps to Productive Mornings
Mornings present an opportunity for turning the page and setting the tone for the day. So here are six simple steps, inspired by Hal Elrod's The Miracle Morning, to utilize your morning to the fullest and set intentions and create the presence we need for the rest of the day — and the rest of our lives.
“How you wake up each day and your morning routine (or lack thereof) dramatically affect your levels of success in every single area of your life” explains Elrod in his book. Indeed, if your morning is rushed and chaotic, you are already behind for the day. If your mornings are stressful, then your days tend to be stressful, and then your weeks, your months, and your life follow suit.
“Focused, productive, successful mornings generate focused, productive, successful days — which inevitably create a successful life — in the same way that unfocused, unproductive, and mediocre mornings generate unfocused, unproductive, and mediocre days, and ultimately a mediocre quality of life. By simply changing the way you wake up in the morning, you can transform any area of your life, faster than you ever thought possible.”
Want to have a great day — and life? Start by having great mornings!
Mornings give you time — whether it’s six or 60 minutes — to implement a selection of life-changing practices that enhance your physical, intellectual, emotional, and spiritual development because we often have more control over them than we do our afternoons or evenings.
Elrod compiles six personal development practices to enhance your morning as “Life S.A.V.E.R.S.” He suggests you do at least a little bit of each one (5 to 15 minutes each) before you kick the rest of your day into high gear:
Silence. Meditation, prayer, or any other type of contemplative practice allows you to connect with something larger than yourself. For beginners, it helps to have an application or an audio to help you guide through the meditation.
Affirmations. Mantras are tools of the mind that affirm our capabilities. Positive self-talk is a powerful tool, used by many professional athletes, actors, successful entrepreneurs, and even authors. Here is an example of affirmations you can use to develop your mind!
Visualization. We need to “see” what we want to bring into our lives before we can create it. The best way to do this is to close your eyes, have a specific picture in your head and consciously think of the positive emotions that you will be feeling. You can visualize your day, your week and your next 5 years in a positive way to attract positive energy!
Exercise. The benefits of movement — including boosting your mood — are innumerable. You don't need to head to the gym (great if you do!), you can simply follow a short workout program or do simple exercises such as push-ups to wake up your body. Check if there's a morning workout program on TV that you can do every morning!
Reading. Turn off the television, disconnect from the Internet, and tune in to some higher wisdom. Give yourself a goal to read 10 pages a day. This will end up in approximately 300 pages a day, suddenly reading 12 books a year seems very feasible!
Scribing. Also known as Journaling, document what you’re excited about in your life. You can also divide this in morning and before bedtime: set goals in the morning and look back before bedtime. You can include motivational quotes in the morning and gratefulness reminder before bedtime, you are the writer and creator of your own journal so customize it to your own taste!
These daily rituals allow us to slow down, take time for contemplation, think more clearly, and concentrate more effectively. Life savers, indeed.
Creating New Habits
Elrod’s “Life S.A.V.E.R.S.” are tools that help us build new habits, which are essential because habits drive our lives.
“You must identify, implement, and maintain the habits necessary for creating the results you want in your life, while learning how to let go of any negative habits [that] are holding you back from achieving your true potential,” explains Elrod.
In his book, The Miracle Morning, he explains the three phases (each 10 days long) of habit creation:
In the first phase, the new habit is unbearable. It’s a pain. We don’t like doing it, but we persist.
The second phase is uncomfortable. It’s not quite as painful as the first phase, but not awesome either.
The third phase is when we become unstoppable. We feel the benefits of engaging in our new habits, and don’t need to use as much willpower to get ourselves to do them. We begin to hit our stride.
To keep track of your habits, you can use a simple Habit Tracker and see how you are doing at implementing them! Adopting healthy habits helps us create the lives we want. And your best life starts by making the most of every morning.
But I'm not a morning person....
For someone not used to waking up early in the morning, it might sound impossible to wake up an hour before their usual wake up time. So here are few tricks to ease up saying good bye to your comfortable bed in the morning.
Set up your mindset the night before. Elrod provides us a template of a Bedtime Affirmation that you can use to make a commitment to yourself to wake up in the morning. Print it out and read it every night before you go to bed. Mentally preparing your mind the night before will give you a boost in the morning to get out of bed and start your morning!
Put your alarm clock across the room. This will force you to stand up and get out of bed. The use of an oldschool alarm clock is highly recommended instead of using your cellphone as your alarm clock. You will want to avoid checking your phone until your morning routine. If it's still dark when you wake up, having a timer to turn on the light in your room might be a good investment. This will boost up your energy in the morning.
Make your bed. This might be the hardest thing to do in the morning because you can hear the warm invitation from your bed to go back. But don't listen to this invitation. Instead, make your bed and walk away from it.
Change in to your workout clothes. Taking off that pyjama will force your mind to get into a wake-up mode and will reduce your urge to go back to bed. Anyways, at this point your bed is already made so you don't want to go back and ruined the perfectly made bed!
Drink a glass of water. Your body is dehydrated when you wake up so make sure you get back that hydration by drinking a glass of water.
Brush your teeth with your other hand. Having a fresh breath will brighten up your mood and by brushing with your other hand, it will also wake up your brain!
By doing hard things in the morning (such as waking up early), you will develop a strong discipline and will be able to improve your every day life!
You can also get your copy of The Miracle Morning here.