If you’d told me in January that changing my morning routine would change my life, I’d have laughed in your face. I thought I was doing pretty good: waking up and—usually—getting dressed before the kids. Exercising…sometimes. And reading. I’m definitely good about reading.
But I dreaded mornings. I’d begin by hitting the snooze button multiple times, dragged until at least my second cup of coffee, and went through my quiet time in a near comatose state.
Last week I celebrated my 100th day in a row of practicing “the miracle morning.” As I shared my celebration with others, I was overwhelmed by how transformational this one change in routine has proven to be. I might not agree with those who says each morning feels like Christmas now, but I’m pumped to dive into my day head first.
Curious? C’mon and I’ll show you why.
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What is The Miracle Morning?
The Miracle Morning is a book written by Hal Elrod. At a rock bottom point in Hal’s life while fighting deep depression, he experimented with adding different practices into his daily routine. Over time he settled on six specific practices and—although he fought against the idea—realized the power came from doing them first thing in the morning.
Hal named his six practices the Life S.A.V.E.R.S.. You can read about them in full in The Miracle Morning and, if you’re anything like me, you might not have the patience to order a hard copy of the book. But that’s okay. The Kindle price is just $9.97. Do it. Seriously, you need this book yesterday.
What exactly are the Life S.A.V.E.R.S.?
Nope, they’re not candy. It’s a little more involved than that, my friend, but again—totally worth it.
Let me break it down for you.
S – Silence.
Silence is your time to spend a few minutes in meditation, prayer, reflection, deep breathing, or gratitude. This is when I practice mindfulness and try to wrangle my busy brain into a state of calm. The goal here is to still your mind.
During this part of the practice, I like to set the timer on my phone. This way I’m not worrying about time or possibly falling asleep. (Hey, it happens.) However, you can also use tools like Rituals or the Headspace app for guided meditations. When first starting out, I really enjoyed this seven day meditation challenge by Lululemon.
A – Affirmations.
Affirmations are a way to talk to yourself rather than mindlessly listening to the ongoing dialogue in your brain. One of my favorite quotes addressing this subject is by D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (from a book on depression, no less):
Now, don’t laugh when I tell you this: up until this year, I’d never given affirmations a try. Sure, I’d written lists of truths to speak to myself…and promptly lost the lists. This was one part of the practice I got stuck on.
Thankfully, Hal has created generic affirmations that you can access here. I used those for the first few weeks until I settled on what I wanted for my personal affirmations.
I’m not quite ready to publish my affirmations, but I will say this: it’s a powerful practice. As I read my affirmations each morning, I literally see how I’ve gotten a step or two closer to my goals in the last 24 hours.
Oh, what the heck. I’ll give you a tiny glimpse. 😉 Here is how my affirmations end:
Today I will be stretched and challenged, especially by my children. By God’s help I choose to stoop down, enter their world, and teach them truth and love. God loves them even more than I do, and he will strengthen me as I seek his help.
Today will send its share of challenges, but I choose this as my motto: I never fail; I only learn and grow.
Today and every day I choose to create the best day of my life.
V – Visualization
Visualization is forming a mental image of your desired outcome, and can be applied to both short-term and long-term goals. For example, I can mentally picture how I will respond to, say, toddler meltdowns. I create an image of myself assessing the situation with logic instead of emotion and then responding calmly.
This is difficult for me. For being a highly visual person, I struggle with imagining and creating pictures in my mind. But I do my best and move right along.
E – Exercise
This doesn’t require much explanation, does it? Everybody move yo’ body.
Girlfriend, I am *not* a fan of exercise. This, while two of my sisters are former trainers, and all three of them work out for fun. (Freaks. I know.) But I’ve been consistent(-ish) about working out since my teen years.
That’s why it shocked me that this happened to be one of the hardest practices for me to give 100%. Time constraints were part of the problem, so I started out experimenting with 10-minute lifting sessions, which is hardly enough.
I finally put on my big girl panties and decided to get up even earlier (yuck!), and move my exercise session to the first part of the morning. So I sleep in my workout clothes, tumble out of bed at 5:15, brush my teeth, put on my shoes, and start the day with this Jillian workout. And my days have been so, so much better ever since.
R – Reading
This, as you probably can guess, is where you read. And this is also the easiest of the S.A.V.E.R.S. for me. During this portion of time, I read my Bible or a devotional, and then I read from whatever non-fiction book is currently on top of my pile. How fun is that?
S – Scribe
The last of the S.A.V.E.R.S. is “scribing,” which is the acronym-friendly term for journaling. Here you can take time to process the previous day, write your thoughts, jot down notes from your reading–whatever. Some days I write a few lines, sometimes it’s a page or more.
Again, this is a something I’ve done my entire life, but not so consistently since becoming a mom. However, looking back on the past three months of journal entries offers a clear picture of my personal growth, which is highly encouraging.
How I order my S.A.V.E.R.S.
There is no required order for practicing your S.A.V.E.R.S. After much experimentation, I’ve found that if I exercise first thing, there’s less chance for me to talk myself out of it. Formerly, I’d save exercise for the end, but then I ran into the problem of kiddos waking up and interrupting my workout or shower. For me, it’s easier to manage their early wake-ups after I’m dressed.
So I exercise, shower, meditate, repeat my affirmations, attempt to visualize, read, and journal. On good days, I can get most of my makeup on before the kids wake up at 7am.
Here’s a tip if you have young children who are early risers: get yourself a Tot Clock. We purchased one for the Little Butt right after Little Miss’s arrival, and it’s been a huge lifesaver. This specific model allows you to have preset wake times for weekdays and weekends, as well as a bedtime setting. The face glows yellow during wake times and turns blue during sleep hours, along with several other features.
How The Miracle Morning has changed my life
As I mentioned in this post, when I talk about The Miracle Morning I worry about sounding like I drank the proverbial Kool-aid. But it really is that amazing.
I’ve been pretty open about my struggles with depression. It’s something I’ve fought for the past 20+ years.
These days depression is not even a part of my life. Seriously. Yes, I’m still currently on my meds, but I plan to talk to my doctor about weaning off of them. In this post I referred to medication as a cast you apply to a broken bone. For me, The Miracle Morning has been instrumental in healing the break.
There are several reasons for this result. For starters, anyone who works with depressed people will tell you that exercise is vital for mental health.
Mindfulness trains my brain to control my thoughts, and the affirmations tell my brain how to think. How you think affects how you feel.
As I read I’m learning and growing, and as I journal I’m processing. Learning creates excitement, and journaling documents the journey.
Another longtime struggle of mine has been insomnia. If you’ve faced this, you know the fear of placing your exhausted body in bed only to spend hours staring at the clock or giving up and watching mindless TV until you fall asleep on the couch.
No more, my friend. Because I’m waking up at the same time every single day, my body has adjusted. I usually don’t remember anything after turning off the light at night. And it’s good quality sleep.
In addition to beating depression and insomnia, my motivation increases every day. I’ve always been a driven person, but now there is positivity and energy behind it. I’m making better choices, which results in more time and greater productivity. My life is filled with hope. Every day is a gift that I can’t wait to unwrap.
Will you give The Miracle Morning a try?
There’s no guarantee that your results will be the same as mine, but isn’t it worth a try? You’d be in good company. People like Rudy Ruettiger, Dr. Ivan Misner, Pat Flynn, and Robert Kiyosaki believe in and apply this practice, along with millions of everyday people like you and me. You can join The Miracle Morning Community here on Facebook. It’s a great place to connect with others who are excited to learn and grow, as well as to find an accountability partner for your first 30 days.
What do you think? I’d love to hear about your results in the comments below.