It seems impossible to talk about the “early rising” movement in recent years without also mentioning Hal Elrod’s 2012 book, The Miracle Morning, in the same breath.
Since being published, productivity junkies, high-level executives, and business owners of all kinds have sworn by it.
In fact, I’d go so far as to say that if you have an interest in becoming an early riser, or already are and want to maximize your morning routine, The Miracle Morning is the one and only book you need to read.
I suggest reading it in its entirety, as Hal’s personal story and the details of each task offer a ton of value that is far beyond the scope of the lessons below.
However, to get you started, we’ve distilled down three of the most important lessons from the book you can take with you now to start creating a refreshing, invigorating, and productive morning routine for yourself.
Strive to make everyday the best day of your life, because there is no good reason not to.
– Hal Elrod
Here are three lessons from Hal Elrod’s The Miracle Morning on making the most of your mornings.
1. Use each morning as a springboard for the rest of your life
When people first start to consider waking up early, or earlier, they’re typically attracted by the idea of having time to exercise, get some extra work done, or start on a passion project.
However, what you quickly realize is that your morning routine does a lot more than make you a little healthier or more productive in the morning– it can positively affect the entire rest of your life.
I was a night owl most of my adult life, so when I started working on rising earlier it was a pretty drastic shift. However, the benefit of having that silent time in the morning to meditate, work on my most important creative tasks, and just hear my own thoughts was incredibly powerful.
What you do in the morning can make waves in every area of your health, professional, and personal life from your stress and anxiety level to your focus, energy, productivity, and positivity.
However, that brings us to the bigger picture: do things in the morning that will influence the rest of your day. That’s where the real magic is.
When you first wake up, you’re fully recharged and clear minded from the last night’s sleep. That means much of what you do will be more effective in that morning block than any other time in the day. So, reserve the morning for health and/or creative tasks to maximize the time spent.
2. Excitement is the most crucial element in waking up early – and how beneficial the morning is to you
There are a lot of tips out there for helping you wake up early and become a consistent early riser (I’ve written about many of my own).
However, the single most important factor of all that not only influences how likely you are to push yourself up in the morning but also how effective that morning routine is, is how excited you are when you go to sleep at night.
It’s all about crafting the right mental state right before you go to sleep. Take a minute to remind yourself of what you have to be excited about tomorrow morning (and tomorrow in general) and imagine yourself jumping up from bed and getting to work on something that really matters to you, or that you simply enjoy thoroughly.
However, keep in mind that you need to set that up beforehand to have that reason to shoot out of bed. If you wake up and read email, or drag yourself to the gym, you’re not going to get yourself up in the morning because you’re not (assuming) excited to do those things.
You need to be excited, so either get excited about what you’re doing or change what you’re doing to something that fills you with enthusiasm.
I can tell you from experience that the difference between just slogging up in the morning and getting yourself genuinely excited just before bed is like driving an old minivan vs. the latest sports car.
3. Combine best-practices to create a powerful morning routine that sets you up for success
Earlier, we talked about the power of the morning and I mentioned how focusing on health or creative tasks will give you the most benefit.
However, throughout the book, Elrod details a routine that takes things to another level using everything from the latest scientific research to empirical evidence from high performers to craft a routine that is, well, virtually perfect.
Elrod calls these the “Life S.A.V.E.R.S.”, six practices which he says can save you from a life of unfulfilled potential.
Those practices are:
- Silence (5 mins): The silence of the morning offers a benefit which is difficult to describe but altogether nourishing. To take this to another level use your “time of silence” to meditate or pray.
- Affirmations (5 mins): Create a set of affirmations designed to work on basic qualities such as confidence, belief, focus, and anything else you deem relevant or important to crafting to life you desire.
- Visualization (5 mins): Take a few minutes each day to visualize yourself achieving your major dream or goals. Use all five senses to maximize the value of the experience and make sure there’s an emotional connection.
- Exercise (20 mins): The benefits of physical exercise are long and well-known, but many people think you need to be in the gym for an hour to get those benefits. That’s just not the case, even seven minutes can provide a great workout if it’s intense enough.
- Reading (20 mins): There are a lot of benefits to reading regularly, so you should devote at least a few minutes each day to reading new books and blogs that will benefit you.
- Scribing (5 mins): Scribing is all about writing, whether it’s a daily journal about what happened the previous day, what you’re grateful for, or articulating ideas that have been on your mind in the form of a blog post or just for your personal use.
And if you’re looking at this thinking “I don’t have an hour in the morning to devote to a routine like this” or you’re just getting started as an early riser, don’t sweat it.
Elrod elaborated later on his blog that any amount of time devoted to each task is better than nothing (even one minute) and it helps develop each as a habit over time which you can then expand on over time.