I've been experimenting with Miracle Mornings for about 3 weeks now. Still new to it and still working out my own routine during the early starts. It was an eye-opener to read messages from friends and my instagram followers who are intrigued by giving it a go so thought I'd share how I've been finding it, my routine, and tips for giving it a go if you're considering trying it.
What is a Miracle Morning?
Miracle Mornings is a book by Hal Elrod, produced to help people build habits that transform their lives. Many, many experts and entrepreneurs have dubbed it as a 'life-changing' read, saying it literally contains the building blocks to get your life back on track, turn it around, or enhance it in one single book - depending on your personal aims and so long as you put the practices in place to build the habit of Miracle Mornings into your day.
Hal's book explains in greater detail, but the method to a Miracle Morning is shared widely over the internet, and once you try it, it seems to build momentum really fast.
A Miracle Morning should consist of 7 steps:
1. You wake up well before you normally do (normally 2 hours before you leave for work)
2. You have a period of Silence
3. You read or say Affirmations
4. You do Visualisations
5. You Exercise
6. You do some important Reading
7. You Scribe / journal / write
All this before you've left the house to go to work.
I didn't believe I could do it either.
Why are you doing Miracle Mornings?
I first heard about Miracle Mornings about 6 months ago when I bumped into a friend at an event in London. She asked me why I hadn't blogged in a while, and I explained it was because 'I just can't seem to find the time'.
She told me all about the book group she hosts and how they had just finished reading Hal's book, dubbing it as the book that's 'changing the world one morning at a time'.
I'm a sucker for anything self help and asked her to tell me all about the book, her routine and why she does it, amazed at her willpower to roll out of bed at 5.30am every morning - something I won't do unless I have a flight to catch once in a blue moon.
I left the event with Miracle Mornings ringing in my head.... and like most things, it became just a note in my Google Keep for something to read up on later ...when I don't have time.
So 3 months passed and I end up finding myself in the same 'how does she get so much done?! I just don't have time' comparison loop in my head looking at women who juggle careers, side hustles, families, friendships in a way that seems effortless.
Then I realised, 'I just don't have time' has been my personal excuse for the last 6 years, stopping me from saying yes to things I probably could make the time for if it was important enough.
I started researching ways to get more from the working day, searching for habits and techniques I could experiment with to get a better work/life balance, and basically get more of the things I want to do, done.
And then I came across Miracle Mornings again and was so intrigued by entrepreneurs owing their success down to early starts that I just thought I'd give it a try...
What's your routine?
My routine looks a bit like this...
5.30am Alarm, shower, get ready
6.00am Do 10 mins of meditation with Headspace (a meditation app I've used in and out for years)
6.15am Do 20 mins creating a visualisation board (I used a private Pinterest board for this, tips below)
6.35am Do 20 mins scribing, writing a blog post mainly
7am Have breakfast with Neil, get lunch ready, pack my bag for work etc
7.30am Catch the bus to work and read for 30 mins (it's normally an hour trip to work on 2 buses)
8.00am Get off the bus 30 mins early and walk the rest of the way
There are parts of the Miracle Mornings suggested 'SAVERS' I haven't included in my routine like Affirmations, simply because I forgot it was a thing! Also on some days (like today) all I want to do is write, so I'll do that for the whole time instead of visualising etc. I'm not religious with the routine, just happy to be getting more done in my day.
How have you found it?
Well first of all, I'm in a state of shock that I've been able to get up so early. Neil will tell you, most days if I had to leave for work at 7.30am, I wouldn't get out of bed until 7.10am and rush around to get ready.
Now, if I stayed in bed I would feel like I wasted precious hours... I'm in awe at the amount I get done in such a small space of time, and I think the key to that is time blocking actions to make the most of the 2 hours.
As for the actions, doing meditation more often has calmed the worry in me. I've quit coffee too, so perhaps this could have been the culprit? Who knows. I'm feeling much more calm during the day and feel like I have more of a 'purpose' given I've also spent the morning visualising where I want to be in 5 years time. There's nothing like a daily reminder.
Do you feel tired?
In the first week I woke up at 5.30am every day. I was fine for 3 days, but on the 4th/5th day I started to get really tired at work at about 1pm. I realised that I even though I was getting up earlier, I was going to bed at the same time I always did (about 10.30pm) so lost sleep.
I don't like going to bed any earlier than 10pm so I've decided to do Miracle Mornings 3 times per week, not every day, and on the nights I know I'm going to be up early, I go to bed early.
Does it create a better work/life balance?
Honestly? It's changed my work/life balance like you wouldn't believe. Prior to me changing my routine like this, it was normal for me to feel like my whole week revolved around being in an office, simply because that's all my mind and routine focused on during weekdays...
Wake up, go to work, have lunch, go back to work, go home, make dinner, wait for the weekend, sleep, repeat.
Work was always that large chunk of the day that prevented me from doing things I wanted to do in my personal life.
Now, with a Miracle Morning routine in place, I feel like I've been living my life in a more balanced way, work has become just a section of my day as opposed to the whole day snatched away from me. I have more time to think about my goals, work on the stuff I love (writing on my blog, which I'm doing right now in my miracle morning!) and more importantly, I've been able to spend time with Neil over breakfast every day.
It's also been pretty nice to walk along the beach on route to work in the mornings. I love Brighton.
Has it effected your relationships?
Yes! Before Miracle Mornings, me and Neil would spend time together after work and during evenings only. We come home from work, still with our mental space half at the office, we offload stories about our day whilst making dinner, whilst feeling hangry... which is a routine we need to do to switch off, but definitely isn't us chatting at our best.
Being able to sit and have breakfast together (Neil makes me smoothies :) ) means we get to have a chat at the start of the day when we're creatively and mentally at our freshest. No rushing around, just a relaxed brekkie and optimism for the day ahead.
What's the hardest part of Miracle Mornings?
The obvious answer here is, getting up but surprisingly, that's not what I find difficult. I struggle a little bit with keeping to the routine in the way that, when I start writing a blog post (like this one for instance), I don't want to stop writing... I have to tear myself away from unfinished work. As a writer, this is the best thing you can do though. It allows me to come back to my work with fresh eyes the next day, ready to make edits. I've learned to be relaxed about completing all the miracle morning steps every time I do it because I'm just happy to have extra hours in the day to write. I do try to do mindfulness and visualisation at least twice a week though. I also struggle a bit going to bed earlier the night before because I love chilling out in front of the sofa watching Netflix but I'll take the hit on tiredness for that. It's not too bad when I do it 3 times a week.
Will you carry on in winter?
At the time of writing this, it's the middle of Summer, we have the brightest mornings which makes it much easier to get out of bed.
Winter will be tricky. I'll give it a good go and see how different it is (who knows I might prefer it? The silence of darkness outside!) but I think my fall back solution if it doesn't work out will be this. I'm going to try getting up one hour (not 2 hours) before work, and then also use an hour after work to complete my routine (i.e exercise in the evening instead). I hope this will be a bit more balanced. If the dark mornings still get me down I think I will allocate time every evening to work on this (instead of mornings) to try and build the habit.
I'll report back on my Instagram stories once it starts to get darker.
What tips do you have for people who want to get started?
Firstly, if you struggle to wake up early (like I did) I would say, try and get excited about starting it. The only times I've been able to jump out of bed early is when I'm excited to do something, so try to put something in place you know you're doing to enjoy. It helped me get up as soon as the alarm started going.
Secondly, create a visualisation board and affirmations in the time you've got - don't feel like you have to have these already made in order to start as that could be an excuse not to do it. 'I haven't made my visualisation board yet, I can't start'. I used Pinterest to create one. I spent the first few miracle mornings pinning photos related to how I'd like to see my life in 3-5 years (dreaming big!) and pinned them all to a secret pinterest board to look at on my phone or laptop daily.
Thirdly, write down a rough plan for what you're going to do and how before you start. Having a structure like this will help to reinforce habit. Also it helps to know that when you come to do meditation, you've got the app you're going to use, and the time frame all planned out. There's no danger of you going over time and being late for work this way. FYI I use Headspace, I've used it for years and I highly recommend it.
I hope that's helped encourage you to give Miracle Mornings a go. Whilst they haven't changed my life (yet) they've drastically improved it. I can't see myself giving them up any time soon! If you have any questions or need a bit of encouragement, drop me a message on Instagram, I'd love to hear how you get on!