The Miracle Morning
Mis à jour : 13 sept 2019
The magic of waking up at 4 AM
After having tried biphasic Sleeping, experimenting with the amount of sleep I actually needed, I kept on waking up at 5 in the morning. Often I would be delighted with the idea of having some hours of sleep left, so I would turn around and fall asleep again. At one point, however, I felt I should do something productive with this extra time. As much as I love sleeping, the idea of getting something before the day even started appealed to me.
Learning about the miracle morning
Since I was training for an ultra marathon and I had been on a break because of injury, I decided to build up my running stamina again. I started going on a short run each morning. A 30 minute run gave me an energy boost for the rest of my morning. As soon as the alarm clock went off, I jumped out of bed, ready for the day. Having already experimented with some morning routines before, I got interested in learning more about several methods and their benefits. That is how I stumbled upon the book ‘The miracle morning’ by Hal Elrod. To be honest, it was not the best book I had read. It was not written that well and a bit repetitive, but the core message still triggered me to try out the routine the book was proposing. I had not really read a self improvement book before, but I liked the challenge. The author explained how to enjoy waking up at 4 in the morning for 30 days straight. As soon as I finished the book, I decided to give the 30-day challenge a go. For about a month, I had been running everyday, so I was warmed up already.
Snooze proof morning
Preparing your morning before going to bed helps a great deal. It can be as simple as putting your alarm or phone on the other side of the room, to prevent snoozing, with a glass of water next to it to rehydrate. Getting into a workout outfit, prepared the night before, gets you in the right mood for exercise already. The mundane task of brushing your teeth requires barely any effort and helps you ease into your snooze-proof day as you slowly wake up. Once finished the real ‘life S.A.V.E.R.S.’ routine can begin. This convenient acronym stands for six separate sections of your one hour morning routine.
The author proposed this order, so I followed it initially, customizing it to my own needs later on.
The first S for Silence is about giving you a moment of stillness and reflection, a moment to be with yourself. Just focusing on your breathing is a very effective way to relax and escape your compulsive thoughts. It is a very accessible introduction to meditation as well. Just 3 to 5 minutes of silence can have a very positive impact on your day, especially in this impulse driven world we live in.
Even though I always had a certain curiosity towards meditation, I had never gotten to the point of maintaining it on a daily basis. This was my chance, an opportunity to keep it up for at least 30 days. I started with a simple three minutes per day to gradually build it up to 15 or 20 minutes. About halfway through my routine, I was staying with a zen Buddhist couple who started their day with half an hour of meditation and this was a great way for me to enhance my meditation skills and learn more about zen Buddhism.
Silent meditation was very rewarding. Still, I was intrigued to try out other ways. After the initial 30 days, I tried out guided meditation through the insight timer app. The downside of using an app, and consequently your smartphone, during your miracle morning is allowing many unwanted impulses to sneak into your morning. Nevertheless, the app is a very useful and interactive tool. It functions kind of like a social medium for meditation, where anyone can share their knowledge.
App or no app, silence enhanced the quality of my day and got me ready for the rest of my routine.
Affirmations, the second part of the S.A.V.E.R.S. acronym, basically reminds you of what your goals are. Before taking on the Miracle Morning challenge, it is very helpful to take the time to jot down one or more goals you would like to achieve in the near future. As you do this, it is crucial to clarify why you want to attain these goals and which steps you will take to get there. The reason and the system are more important than the goal itself. Reading your affirmations out loud and repeating them every day will help you to achieve more results and to appreciate the process of getting there. Affirmation does not take up a lot of time of your miracle morning, but a simple habit like this, can have a significant impact on your mindset.
In my opinion, visualization goes hand in hand with affirmations. Taking the time to close your eyes to imagine yourself doing what you want to do, being who you want to be and living our ideal day, narrows the gap between dreams and reality. By imagining a successful version of yourself, you become closer to actually realizing this ideal. You can go even deeper into this and create a vision board if you want to. Whatever you do, this small part of the miracle morning will leave you with a smile for the next part of your routine.
The reason for putting on a workout outfit as soon as you wake up, is to focus on exercising each morning. Breaking a sweat and earning your shower, makes you feel more energetic for the rest of the day. The author recommends yoga in the morning and this can be a way to combine strength training with flexibility. There are many techniques out there you can experiment with and many will benefit your physical and mental health.
Personally, I tried morning hikes, 7-minute intense calisthenics and 10km runs. Morning hikes are part of the luxury and freedom you get as you travel and this is quite impossible to keep up on a daily basis. Since my marathon schedule insisted on implementing rest days, I stopped running every day and did not keep this as my daily exercise routine. Eventually I stuck with calisthenic exercises, for 7 minutes I did intense workouts where I only used my body weight without needing any tools. I still added on hikes and runs whenever possible. I used the 7-minute workout app to get some more variation in my workouts. Again you risk distraction by using your phone in the morning, so after a while you can do calisthenics without the app, since you memorized the workouts.
Because a full miracle morning and an hour or more of running takes up too much of my time, I experimented with combining some things. During my run I would recite my affirmations or visualize my goals. The running endorphins enhanced the meaning of my words and it was a fun experiment. I also started listening to audio-books and podcasts during my runs. This helps me not only to complete more books, but also to find extra motivation for running.
In my case, exercise stays the core element of my morning routine. This always gives me energy and thus improves the quality of the rest of my day.
As long as I can remember I have always loved reading. On the same time I also felt I never read enough. Having a moment to read every morning is a lovely activity to include in the routine. Your mind is at its sharpest in the morning and if you read straight away you do something you often seem to forget during busy days. When you try to read at night, you often end up reading yourself to sleep after having read the same page three times in a row. A mere 5 to 10 pages a day can build up quickly to a significant increase in your reading time. My main problem was that I often was not able to stop, thus lengthening the time of my routine. As a traveler you have less responsibilities, so my morning routines finished around noon at more than one occasion. This is not really the point of the miracle morning, but I still enjoyed spending my morning doing what I love doing.
Using 'scribing' instead of 'writing' is only because SAVERW does not make any sense and SAVERS is way more catchy. Thank you Hal. Anyway, taking the time to jot down ideas, thoughts, to journal, to express gratitude or to write in any creative form will most certainly have a positive impact on your day.
I started out by journaling every morning, reflecting on what I was grateful for and planning for what was to come. I tried it digital and on paper and it was quite fun, definitely while being on the road. In the end, I realized that journaling is not really my thing but being grateful for what you have and actively writing it down never caused any harm. Halfway through the 30 days I met someone who wrote a poem every morning, by letting his thoughts freely ease out on paper. Having tried poetry before, I was inspired and started ' a poem a day', which was again more time consuming but way more satisfying. Thanks to the miracle morning I have included more spontaneous writing, creative or not, in my life and each time it feels rewarding again.
After the hour
After finishing the 6 parts of the one hour routine, and not a lengthier version, you are not only rewarded with a lovely sunrise, but also with a well deserved shower and breakfast. The author proposed a recipe for a healthy supersmoothie every morning. This is the recipe.
It is indeed as delicious as it is nutritious and yet another positive element of the book that has stayed a part of my life.
Doing this 30 day challenging while being constantly on the move was challenging, complicated but on some occasions even more rewarding! During my first morning I was sleeping in a shelter in the mountains doing a multi day hike. When I finished the routine and started the hike I was rewarded with a gorgeous overcast in the bright moonlight, with mountains peaking through, followed by a stunning sunrise. I could not have imagined a better motivation for waking up at 4 am and this image was the only motivation I needed to keep on going for a month.
After the experiment
Currently I am no longer practicing the miracle morning every day, but a lot of its core elements have stayed a part of my life. This was a fascinating experiment and I would definitely recommend trying it out! If you have any questions or would like more details, feel free to ask or go ahead and give the book a try yourself. It is a quick read. Hal Elrod has also a website, themiraclemorning.com, which is full of resources and has an active community of people who have years of experience with the routine and its obstacles.
If you try it, I wish you all the best and I hope you get as much satisfaction out of it as I did.