The Power of a Morning Routine
Did you know that the way you start your morning sets the direction for the rest of the day? That’s why, highly successful entrepreneurs and creatives kick off each day with a morning routine.
What’s a morning routine comprised of and what can you do to create your own, even if you aren’t a morning person?
In this post I show you the steps you’d need to take to get started with a morning routine and I share some insights from an interview I did with Hal Elrod, the author of the best-selling book The Miracle Morning: The Not-So-Obvious Secret Guaranteed to Transform Your Life Before 8am.
If you’d like to transform your life with a morning routine, there are a few things you should do to get ready. Doing this is going to help you increase your “WUML” (wake-up motivation level) and have the right mindset to get started.
Hal Elrod calls this The 5-Step Snooze-Proof Wake Up Strategy, ideal to increase your wake-up motivation level and have the right mindset, even if you aren’t a big fan of morning (other than for sleeping).
1) Set Your Intentions Before Bed
Did you know that your first thought in the morning usually is the last thought you had before going to bed?
This is why, you want to take a moment each night to set your intentions for the following day. Think about what you’re going to do and how your day’s going to look like.
2) Move Your Alarm Clock Across the Room
Most people sleep with their alarm clock or smartphone on their night table. The problem with this, when it comes to getting the right mindset for your morning routine, is that it enables you to be a “snoozer”.
Move your alarm clock across the room so that, when it rings, you’ll have to literally stand up and walk to turn it off. This little burst of activity is going to turn your “body switch” on and will help you get started.
3) Brush Your Teeth and Wash Your Face
Brushing your teeth isn’t important only for your hygiene. That, combined with the washing of your face, helps you wake up and feel refreshed.
4) Drink a Full Glass of Water
The first thing some people do as they wake up is prepare themselves a good cup of coffee.
If that’s you, you may want to reconsider that.
You need to hydrate your body and coffee doesn’t help you with that. It does quite the opposite, actually. Make drinking a full glass of cool water a habit, you need to hydrate yourself ASAP!
5) Get Dressed or Jump in the Shower
Taking a shower goes without saying (by the way, exercising is one of the steps of the Miracle Morning, so you may want to get dressed first and take a shower after your morning routine is over).
Some entrepreneurs, creatives and work-from-home bloggers will spend most of their time in their pyjama or clothes they wouldn’t wear outside of their house.
They may have business calls or coaching sessions using Skype (and the webcam may even be turned off), so they may not have any face-to-face interaction throughout the day.
So why bother getting dressed?
Even if you work from home, make sure that you get dressed, that’s going to help you in terms of productivity and motivation.
The 6 principles of the Miracle Morning: Life S.A.V.E.R.S.
Ok, so what does the Miracle Morning consist of, exactly? The morning routine discussed in Hal Elrod’s best-seller, which has inspired and has been adopted by thousands of people around the world, consists of six moments:
- Silence: a moment to clear your mind in our noisy, fast-paced lifestyle.
- Affirmations: your self-talk has a dramatic influence on your level of success in every aspect of your life.
- Visualization: visualization motivates you to achieve your goals.
- Exercising: doing some cardiovascular activity every day to get in better shape and stay fit.
- Reading: the fast-track way to transforming pretty much any area of your life.
- Scribing: journaling, documenting your insights, ideas, breakthroughs, realisations, successes and lessons learned, as well as any area of opportunity, personal growth or improvement.
Purposeful silence is a great way to reduce your stress levels, start each day with the kind of calm, clarity and peace of mind that will help you stay focused on what matters most to you.
The idea is simple: begin your day with a moment of silence. Meditation, prayer, reflection, deep breathing and gratitude are all things Hal Elrod mentions as part of the Silence portion of his morning routine.
I want to spend a few words on meditation.
Many successful people like Oprah, Jerry Seinfeld and Sting have publicly stated that regular, often daily, meditation has become an invaluable part of their life.
I have been meditating for some time now, and have been positively impacted by it. I use a mediation and relaxation app called HeadSpace to do that.
I highly recommend HeadSpace, especially if you have never meditated before. You’re going to have your (virtual) “personal meditation teacher”, who’s going to walk you through daily 10-minute meditation sessions.
Some people may prefer having some ambient music (or similar) in the background - the choice is yours.
In the attitude of silence the soul finds the path in a clearer light, and what is elusive and deceptive resolves itself into crystal clearness - Mahatma Gandhi
You’ll be a failure, until you impress the subconscious with the conviction you’re a success. This is done by making an affirmation, which clicks - Florence Scovel Shinn.
Your self-talk dramatically influences your level of success in pretty much every aspect of your life: confidence, health, happiness, wealth, relationships.
So, what can you do to create your own affirmations?
Do these 5 five things:
- Ask yourself what you really want
- Ask yourself why you want it
- Think about whom you’re committed to being to create it
- Think about what you’re committed to doing to attain it
- Add inspirational quotes
Don’t get confused, visualization isn’t about imagining random things. Follow these 3 simple steps to make purposeful visualization part of your morning routine:
- Get ready
- Visualize what you really want
- Visualize who you need to be and what you need to be
If you want to learn how to create a good visualization, check out The Complete Guide to Vision Boards by Uplevel YOU president and founder Christine Kane.
Everyone’s difference, so you can do your own type of visualization. You can hang something on your wall, use a white board, create collages from magazines.
When I interviewed Joe Fairless on the 360 Entrepreneur podcast, he discussed his own way of doing it.
He’d look for an image that represents what he wants to achieve and puts it as desktop screensaver, as well as background photo on his smartphone.
I personally like the idea of using an image that motivates you as screensaver on your phone, for the fact that you’re going to see it every time you look at your phone (to answer phone calls, write text messages, send emails, etc.).
Exercising is the fourth step of the Miracle Morning.
This goes without saying: exercising is good to get in shape and stay fit.
If you think about the expression “Mind, Soul and Body”, this is represents the “Body”.
As best-selling author and well-being and health researcher Tom Rath explains in his latest book Are You Fully Charged?, doing some type of cardiovascular activity in the morning will give you a boost for up to the next 10-12 hours.
If you aren’t that much of an active person, you can even start with a simple 10 minute walk (for Rath, doing some type of regular activity is highly beneficial, for the fact that it helps you avoid the risk of chronic inactivity - sitting for hours at your computer without much cardiovascular activity).
Whether you go to the gym, go for a walk or do a series of jumping-jacks and similar exercises at home, taking care of your body is going to have a positive impact on the way you think, function and in your decision-making.
The “R” in Life S.A.V.E.R.S. stands for reading.
Reading is one of the most immediate methods for acquiring the knowledge, ideas and strategies you need to achieve and live a Level 10 life.
At this point, you may be wondering: “How many pages should I read?”
Hal Elrod recommends reading a minimum of 10 pages per day.
You can either purchase books from Amazon, your local bookstore or borrow some from a library. Printed book or ebook, the choice is yours.
If you’re an avid reader, I’d like to mention a very good resource with you: BuckBooks.net. BuckBooks is a website that features daily deals and topic-specific bundles where you can purchase a series of books for as little as 99 cents each.
In case you aren’t that much of a reader, but you do enjoy listening to podcasts, you should check out Audible. You can download your first audiobook for free, get a free 30-day trial and get access to Audible’s catalogue of over 180,000 best-selling, fiction and non-fiction audiobooks.
The last and final part of the morning routine is Scribing.
It’s journaling, an excellent way to document your insights, ideas, breakthroughs, realizations, successes and lessons learned. And it’s good for personal growth and development too.
To get started with scribing, you need to:
- Choose a format (print or digital?)
- Get a journal (this can even be a simple notebook)
- Decide what to write
Successful entrepreneurs like Tim Ferriss, Pat Flynn and Natalie Sisson have had nothing but great things to say about journaling and a specific tool they use for journaling: the Five-Minute Journal.
Available as both a journal and smartphone app, it helps you journaling by leveraging proven principles of positive psychology and real-world results.
In terms of duration, Hal Elrod breaks down the Miracle Morning as follows:
- 5 minutes of silence
- 5 of affirmations
- 5 of visualization
- 20 minutes of exercising
- 20 of reading
- 5 minutes of scribing
THE 6-MINUTE MIRACLE MORNING
But what if you’re super-busy, and don’t have an hour to dedicate to your morning routine every day? You can still go through what Elrod calls the 6-minute Miracle Morning!
The idea is to do dedicate one minute of your time to each of the six Life S.A.V.E.R.S. It can work for days, where you don’t have the time to do your full morning routine. However, he doesn’t recommend doing this super-fast morning routine every day (you want to go through your regular morning routine and use the 6-minute one only when really necessary).
Now, I’m curious: what does your morning routine look like? Is there any particular thing, activity or app that has had a positive impact on your life?
Let all of the Your Peak Community know by leaving a comment below.
About the author:
Yannick "Yann" ilunga is the founder of 360 entrepreneur.net, a blog and training community for entrepreneurs and small business owners. He's also the host of the 360 Entrepreneur Podcast, show that features inspiring conversations with A-Listers like Pat Flynn, John Lee Dumas, Kim Garst, Bryan Kramer and Natalie Sisson. Connect with Yann on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.