The morning has always been a sacred time, across traditions and throughout history. If you wake up every morning and immediately check your phone, and can’t understand why you’re not achieving the happiness and success you’re looking for, then this post is for you.
Let me and keynote speaker Hal Elrod introduce you to the power of a morning routine.
“In 2008, when the U.S. economy crashed, I crashed with it,” said Elrod. After six months of his health, finances, and career going in a downward spiral, he needed to make a change.
He researched personal development practices of high-performers and came up with six tried and true habits that the most successful people swear by.
And it changed his life. In less than two months, his new morning routine led to dramatic improvements in his financial, emotional, and physical health. He doubled his income, got out of his depression, and started training for an ultramarathon.
Commit to what Elrod calls his “miracle morning” routine for two months. See how it goes. I guarantee this slightly earlier wakeup call will help you will begin to see the life changes you’ve been aching for.
#1 Start your day with silence
Whether you follow a meditation practice or simply sit in silence for 10 minutes, carve out time for peaceful, purposeful silence every morning. I personally sit for no less than 20 minutes per day and I can’t imagine a day when I don’t do this. It has had such a positive impact on my life.
Silence helps you lower your stress (cortisol) levels and turn your attention inward, Elrod explains, to generate new ideas and establish a clear mindset for the rest of your day.
Don’t judge yourself for any part of the experience. Simply sit and try to find that balance between relaxation and attentiveness.
Every day you do it will bring new levels of consciousness, feeling, and being, “…and the benefits of spending time in silence will simply be amplified and deepened over time,” says Elrod.
#2 Craft your affirmations as commitments
Elrod defines an affirmation as a statement that directs your focus towards something of value. And he offers a twist on traditional advice.
To create affirmations that produce results, Elrod advises not to affirm who you are or what you want to be. Instead, affirm what you’re committed to.
Answer these four questions to craft results-oriented affirmations:
This can also be an intention for the day. What do you want to focus on? How do you want to feel? Set an intention in the morning and check in with how your behavior and thoughts are aligning with that intention or affirmation throughout the day.
#3 Visualize success
Just like an athlete who visualizes their performance before they even step foot on the playing field, Elrod recommends using visualization to prepare yourself mentally and emotionally for whatever the day has in store.
Let’s say you have to resolve a team conflict at the office today. First, visualize the lead-up. Imagine yourself walking into the room as a confident mediator. Imagine the team members motivated and receptive to finding a resolution.
Then visualize the end result: a positive outcome where everyone commits to work collaboratively as a team.
The more specific you can get in visualizing all the various details of the situation, the more effective this tool will be.
This should help you worry less, not more, about the upcoming task.
#4 Add exercise to your morning routine
Even if you only exercise for a very short period of time, it will give you an energy boost to help you wake up more quickly, Elrod explains. It can be a seven-minute workout on YouTube. Yoga stretches. 60 seconds of jumping jacks. Anything to help you wake up.
I personally have a 20-30 minute yoga practice in the morning. It helps me get out the sleepy energy from my body and get ready to take on the day!
If you already go to the gym after work—that’s great! Don’t change it. But do add in a few minutes of morning cardio or stretching, and you’ll see how it positively impacts your entire day.
#5 Read a few pages each day
Whether you strive to be a better manager, get more fit, or have happier relationships, Elrod says that you’re a book away from learning what you need to improve that area of your life.
With all the books out there, it’s easy to find one that speaks to where your head’s at. If you read even five pages a day, that’s 150 pages—or one self-development book—a month, which is 12 books a year.
“You’re separating yourself from 95% of our society, and you’re joining the top 5% that read those books,” says Elrod. And that can make you a different person.
#6 Write to get clear on your priorities
Every morning, Elrod takes time to journal on two questions.
First, what are three things you’re most grateful for? When you start your day with gratitude, it helps you see the world through a positive lens.
It only takes a couple of minutes, and whether you write them down or simply identify them in your mind, it’s a game changer.
Not sure what there is to be thankful for right now? Start with a pumping heart, air in your lungs, running water—the basic and very real things we can be grateful for.
Second, what are the three most important things you need to do today? Of everything on your to-do list, what will move you toward your biggest goals, your greatest dreams, the life you want to live, and the impact you want to make?
Elrod says this practice has allowed him “to make massive progress on these goals that once were just fantasies that I never really believed I could accomplish.”
You may be looking at this list and thinking: how early are you people waking up?! Even if you don’t do all six of these things for the duration or amount described, give a few of them a shot for at least two months. Watch the difference it makes!