If you've ever felt overwhelmed with your goals, and searched for some self-help and motivational books. You may be familiar with the popular recommendation we're talking about today. For those who feel they need to be more energised and productive, it's easy to look at the current habits you have daily: sitting scrolling on your phone, sleeping in, having late nights, procrastination...
For those who have felt unmotivated and almost as if they are battling to get to where they want to be, there's a theory that has become extremely popular, all from the back of a book. The book in question is "The Miracle Morning", an insightful productivity book by Hal Elrod. Most people who hear about the benefits of the book are immediately intrigued, as the 2012 book promises to reveal a “not-so-obvious secret” that’s “guaranteed to transform your life” — before 8 a.m.
The author claims his book has transformed the lives of hundreds of thousands of people, helping them wake up each day “with more energy, focus, and motivation” to tackle their goals. Apparently, Elrod seems to know what he’s talking about. Despite multiple challenges in life, including two brushes with death and bankruptcy, he shares his journey around how he became an ultramarathoner, international keynote speaker, author, and grateful husband and father, all by age 30.
You can download a few pages first, to get a little taster, or jump straight in and purchase the book yourself. The main focus of the book is about 'levelling up your life', waking up as early as possible - ideally 5 am - to feel productive, happy, and healthy each morning. As I'm currently writing this article, I've just finished the book myself and I have high hopes on how I will transfer this into my daily life, up to now!
So, let's explore the tips and advice that are given in the “Miracle Morning” and what to expect if you choose to follow the routine every day — and see how it can (hopefully) transform lives.
Set the alarm for 5am
When you read the book, the 'ideal' time recommended to start your day is 5am. Now this isn't always going to work for everyone, and Elrod does understand this throughout the book. If you're sleep deprived or had a late night, or just simply cannot get up at 5am, then you can re-work it to a time that suits you. However, the book does favour that by rising at 5am, you will 'properly' set your day up for the most productivity and success you can hope for.
For some, this may be quite simple. For others - not so much. It's a personal preference, but one that is worth trying if you plan on following The Miracle Morning precisely.
The Six Practices of The Miracle Morning
The book focuses on how you should adapt a "Miracle Morning" routine. Elrod abbreviates them as “S. A. V. E. R. S.” and says they’re “guaranteed to save you from a life of unfulfilled potential.” Here they are:
We've heard of morning meditation, but this theory explains how you should just sit silently. It's a form of meditation, and you can twist this up to suit yourself. If you want to use this silent time to use a meditation app or follow a meditation routine you know and love, then that's fine. Morning meditation has a nearly endless list of proven health benefits for your body and mind — from less stress and anxiety to more creativity and clarity — so there's clearly a benefit with starting your morning off this way. We recently recommended some calming apps to explore, which could give you some insight here if you need some meditation guidance.
If you're not too sure what an affirmation is, it's basically a sentence or two in alignment with what you want to accomplish and who you need to be to accomplish it. In the book, Elrod suggests repeating your affirmation daily, ideally out loud, after your meditation/silence session.
He says: “They immediately make an impression on your subconscious mind, and they transform how you think and feel so you can overcome your limiting beliefs and behaviors and replace them with those you need to succeed.” If this is something you wish to do, write out your affirmations and place them somewhere visible, or keep them in a book that is always to hand that you can access easily. Say them out loud as if they are right, such as 'I'm successful at running my business' 'I'm a loving and kind person', or 'I am going to achieve great things today'. Of course, tailor these towards your own life.
The visualisation step is simply where you train your brain to see things as you would like them to be, instead of as they are. Elrod says in the book that you should spend five minutes after your affirmations “visualising living your ideal day, performing all tasks with ease, confidence, and enjoyment.”
The best way to approach this is to close your eyes and visually map out how the day should run, and can realistically run, with all the positives happening. In your mind, see the successes and the steps to take to get there fold out. Many of us will need to be realistic here, especially those with children or demanding bosses!
Exercise always comes into it, but the good thing here is you should tailor this to what you feel comfortable with. There's no pressure to run a mile, or visit the gym. It can be a 10-minute yoga stretch session, picking up your free weights, or just having a dance around your room. Elrod says "You just need to get moving and get the blood and oxygen flowing to the brain". With lots of workout videos online, it's easy to do this at-home without feeling like we have to get ourselves outside.
The next one works because you're getting up early, as not many of us can squeeze in reading if we're waking up right before starting work.
Elrod says. “Don’t reinvent the wheel. The fastest way to achieve everything you want is to model successful people who have already achieved it.” And by that, he recommends reading a minimum of 10 pages per day and suggests choosing a personal development book or a religious text. This is where motivational books, business books, or even heartwarming and inspiring stories can come into play.
When the book refers to 'scribing', it's basically a way of saying “writing,”. There's quite a lot of flexibility with this as the rules of what you should scribe aren't too set. However, Elrod recommends taking the time to focus on journaling, jotting down ideas, making a gratitude list or simply putting whatever is on your mind down onto paper. You can opt to do this digitally too, if that's how you prefer to work. But pen to paper is usually recommended...
Miracle Morning Thoughts and Takeaways
1. Can you trick yourself into having this newfound energy?
If you're someone who loves to sleep and a good old lie-in is ideal for you. You may tell yourself you have no energy in the morning and waking so early and starting the day to a regime is too difficult for you. However, Elrod reputedly says in the book that even if you thought you were not a morning person and lack energy so early in the day. You can do the 5am get up and continue the Miracle Morning effectively — even on less sleep than you’re used to.
He claims: “Whether you currently consider yourself to be a ‘morning person’ or not, you’re going to learn how to make waking up every day easier than it’s ever been before. To do so, set an intention at night that you’ll feel energised and excited to take on your day when you wake up in the morning. This can essentially trick your mind into feeling more awake. The mind-body connection is a powerful thing,” Elrod notes. This is pretty powerful, and lots of people who have reviewed the theory say that this mind game works.
The best way to do it is to ease in by setting an alarm at 7 a.m first, before committing or trying the 5 a.m rise. Soon, you'll find yourself naturally waking up before your alarm. And sure enough, you will probably begin to feel far less groggy and way more awake in the mornings...
2. Meditation is brilliant for everyone
If you never meditated before, you'll potentially find that it makes a huge improvement to your mindset quite quickly. Many people choose Calm or Headspace apps, which can help with their meditation routine in the morning. After discovering it, you could find it really changes your life! The 'silence' step also gives many people the chance to really clear their minds too. So if you've never gave yourself that time out to just sit in silence and be calm, you'll potentially find your mindset appears to be much healthier even after just a few days.
3. It can be unrealistic to stick to
So we don't want to throw a negative in here, especially when the Miracle Morning theory overall has positive comebacks. But you do have to bear in mind that life can unexpectedly throw things up in the air. And also the pressure of feeling like you have to go to bed early in order to rise so early can provide added stress.
It looks like the key is to adapt The Miracle Morning to what is a realistic way of life for you. Getting up earlier and practicing the steps Elrod maps out aren't just advised for the sake of it. They all have some form of proven way to improve your mindset, productivity and energy levels. You just have to learn how to work them into your typical life, even if that means focusing on some of the steps over others.
4. Affirmations can really change your way of thinking
Elrod hits the nail on the head with his affirmations. You see, if you're not actively 'seeing' your goals written down in front of you every day, pressed to the forefront of your mind, are you really going to give them as much focus as you should?
When you recite your affirmations daily, it's like you are telling yourself what needs to be done, and you'll instinctively follow it. Telling yourself your goals that you are going to achieve every morning can only have a positive effect. Now, we're not saying that writing down and visualising a goal is the only thing to do to make it happen. It's more the positive reminder aspect of it, that brings it to your mind, and helps you push yourself to let it happen.
5. It encourages gratitude
You'll find when reading The Miracle Morning book that Elrod talks a lot about gratitude. “The simple act of writing down the things I was grateful for lifted my spirits,” he says. And science agrees: Many studies have shown that practicing gratitude can help people feel happier, less anxious, and less depressed.
Whether or not you write out a gratitude list in the mornings. It's all about how focusing on the things you should feel grateful for can have a positive impact on your mind. You start to see each day differently. You don't let the negatives get you down, and you feel more 'lucky' which can leave you feeling much happier.
Is it worth a read?
Whether you're skeptical or really passionate about rising early and following the above steps. There are so many stories behind the book that shares that the Miracle Morning routine is tried-and-true. There’s no doubt that these practices will enhance your life by boosting your productivity and improving your well-being. It's just about how you really work it in with yours. If you can't avoid late nights or have a struggle in your life that prevents a 5/6am wake up call every morning, then you'll feel deflated at the thought of trying to achieve it. And no one needs any added stress.
But if you can be rising that bit earlier, then you should welcome the Miracle Morning into your life with open arms. Why not have a read yourself, or take a little time to read some reviews online?
And if you're reading this because you've tried the theory, or you currently follow it to this day, we'd love to hear your thoughts!
For more inspiration, check out our Lifestyle articles over on The LiveWell Project.