In her class Write Better Faster, author and personality coach R.L. Syme introduced me to the book “Miracle Morning” by Hal Elrod. According to Elrod’s website, the book is “based on the premise that how you start your day largely determines the quality of your day, your work, and your life, The Miracle Morning gives you the ultimate morning ritual and teaches night owls how to beat the snooze button, even if you’ve never been a morning person.”

The Evil Snooze Button

In his book, Elrod not only gives naysayers hard-to-ignore arguments, but step by step suggestions on how to defeat the allure of the snooze button and start each morning on a positive note.

As a lifelong user of the snooze button, overcoming my addiction to “sleeping just nine more minutes” has been the hardest part. Mia’s struggling with it, too. But, I’m stoked at the progress I’ve made so far.

Morning Ritual

Before I start writing each morning, I follow my version of Elrod’s Miracle Morning. The length of this time can be as long or as detailed as desired. For me, its length depends on what I have waiting for me after my writing time.  If its going to be a busier than busy day, I cut it shorter.  Or, if I wake up later than normal because I was up later the previous evening, I cut it short. It can be customized to whatever works for that day.

Here is an outline of my Miracle Morning:

  1. Silence. As my priest Fr. Kevin Shanahan said in an editorial piece a couple of weeks ago, “…we need a lonely place for reflection… We are surrounded by noise and constant activity. We are unable and unwilling to be alone, to be silent and to be still. Then we wonder why we are not happy, why we do not find it easy to get on with others and why we cannot pray… The hermit goes into the desert, not to lose himself, but to find himself.”  Wise words. I normally spend a minimum of 10 minutes in guided or unguided meditation. For an ADD personality like mine, this is difficult. However, the guided meditation has helped to slow the constant thoughts in my head and even clear it. It brings peace to the whirlwind that is in my head each day.
  2. Affirmations. I read aloud my affirmations and goals for the week and year in order to keep me focused on my plan (more on that in a future blog).  Elrod provides positive affirmations for readers to use or customize. It’s important to read them aloud every morning and every evening before bed. Whatever you go to bed thinking about, you will wake with it on your mind. If your last thought before you fall asleep is excitement on tackling a goal for the next day, that same excitement and focus will be on your mind when you wake. It’s powerful stuff.
  3. Visualization. Each morning, I visualize the life I want to live.  I want to write at the beach, see my name on the bestseller lists, among many other things.  If you want to work in a large, corner office with a window, find a photo of the office you want and put it on a board. Stare at it. Visualize yourself sitting in that office.  Find a royalty-free sound bite of office activity and play it, find a photo of a Vuitton bag you want to buy and visualize it sitting on a credenza under the office window. The idea is whatever your goals are, whatever your dreams are, picture yourself living them.  I do this each and every morning. It keeps me focused.
  4. Exercise. I’m still working on this one but it’s slowly progressing. I just bought some exercise DVDs I want to try.  The idea is to do some kind of activity to get your blood flowing and endorphins dancing.  It can be anything from fifteen minutes of yoga, to running a mile, or thirty minutes on the elliptical.
  5. Read. My goal is to read a book a week.  Something that will help me accomplish my goals. Right now, I’m reading book two in Elle JamesBrotherhood Protector series (reason to come!).  I spend each morning reading (or listening to) a chapter or a few pages.

Like Julia Cameron‘s the Artist’s Way, Elrod suggests journaling each morning.  However, due to time constraints, I spend my writing time working on my stories. I try to spend two hours writing before I start my day.

I’ve only been at it a couple of weeks, but I hope to make it a lifelong habit. I tend to be one that doesn’t stick to new routines easily.  And with sleep a lifelong addiction, it’s been an uphill climb. It’s taking a level of commitment I’ve never given before. That’s why my goals must be something I’m passionate about. I need something besides my limited willpower to boost me out of bed.

Like Elrod says in one of his sample affirmations: “I am just as worthy, deserving, and capable of achieving extraordinary levels of success and all of my goals as any other person on earth, and that the only thing that separates me from those at the top is my level of commitment.”

Next time, I’ll talk about my new planner. Squee!

Til then… Fasten Your Seatbelts

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