Remember the phrase “success leaves clues”? After life failed on him twice, Hal Elrod tried an exercise: he wanted to see what successful people do differently and model his actions after theirs. But Elrod took it a step further. He didn’t select one mentor to research — he selected dozens.
Elrod studied all the successful people he admired, and found patterns of habits and routines that were common among many of these successful people. He filtered out these habit patterns and created a method of success based on these commonalities called “Miracle Morning.” The goal of Miracle Morning is to improve every aspect of life. It’s based on six personal development activities.
In terms of energy management, this method is contradictory to Sleep Chronotypes — it follows the same philosophy as the “Golden Hour” method in the previous chapter. Find the method that feels right for you and take steps to implement it. This chapter on energy management provides you three options to try out — one of them is sure to stick!
In the economic crisis of 2007, Elrod lost everything that he had; his house, his money, his job — even his health failed him. He hit rock bottom and could not motivate himself to do anything for a long time. After a lot of pressure from a friend, Elrod finally mustered the motivation to go out for a morning run. During this run, he came up with the idea to start a morning routine.
When Elrod started to follow and further develop this morning routine, his life rapidly changed; so much so that it seemed miraculous — hence the term “Miracle Morning.” Elrod started sharing his routine with people around him, and after others also reported successes with the routine, they spread the word — and the “Miracle Morning” technique snowballed to global success in record time.
The 5-step snooze-proof wake-up strategy
Simply getting started is often the most difficult part of changing anything about your routine, and this is also true of the Miracle Morning — especially as it requires you to wake up one hour earlier than you normally would.
The first challenge is finding the motivation to wake up early — when chances are, your motivation is at an all-time low. To tackle this challenge, Elrod developed a “5-step snooze-proof wake-up strategy” to help get you out of bed.
Step 1: Decide on your intentions before going to bed.
In most cases, wake up with the same thought we went to bed with. So, before you go to sleep at night, you’ve got to set the right mindset. Get yourself excited and pumped up about your morning routine as you’re drifting off.
Step 2: Put your alarm clock on the other side of your bedroom.
Placing your alarm farther away forces you to get out of bed when you want to switch it off. With this simple movement, you create energy that helps you wake up.
Step 3: Brush your teeth.
Brushing your teeth is a low-effort activity we do in the first minutes of waking up. This kind of simple task gives your body time to wake up slowly.
Step 4: Drink a big glass of water.
Hydrating after waking up is essential for everyone, no matter what time you wake up — and it’s even more important when you wake up earlier than usual. Drink a large glass of room-temperature water (this absorbs faster than cold water) as soon as you get out of bed.
Step 5: Put on your sportswear.
When you want to make the most of your potential, morning exercise is key. Exercising puts you into an optimal psychical, mental, and emotional state.
These five steps only require a few minutes of your time and are not very complex, but by following this routine at the very start of your day, it’s easier to remain awake and carry out the rest of your Miracle Morning.
The Six Practices of the Miracle Morning
The Miracle Morning routine consists of six practices, which Elrod called the “life SAVERS.” These simple practices should be performed every day. Each exercise develops one or more intellectual, physical, emotional, or spiritual dimensions of our life.
According to Elrod, how we experience the outside world reflects our inside world. When we make changes to our inside world —our life — our outside world, or our situation, will improve at the same time. The six Life SAVERS are:
1. Silence (5 minutes)
At first it seems silly to set your alarm clock an hour early and then spend the first few minutes of the routine sitting in silence. But this exercise is necessary to soothe the mind and relax the body. It prepares you for the next five parts of the routine.
It is crucial to get out of bed — and even out your bedroom — to do this activity. It can be done in several forms: meditation, prayer, reflection, or deep-breathing exercises.
2. Affirmations (5 minutes)
An affirmation is a sentence or two outlining what you want to accomplish and who you need to be to accomplish it. Elrod suggests that you repeat your affirmation every day, ideally out loud. He explains: “They immediately make an impression on your subconscious mind, and they transform how you think and feel so you can overcome your limiting beliefs and behaviors and replace them with those you need to succeed.”
3. Visualization (5 minutes)
With visualization, you train your brain to see things as you would like them to be — instead of as they are. Elrod’s guidelines say that for five minutes, you should “visualize living your ideal day, performing all tasks with ease, confidence and enjoyment.”
4. Exercise (20 minutes)
You knew this was coming, because the snooze-proof wake-up strategy ends with putting on your workout gear! But this does not mean you have to run a 10k or go to the gym. Exercising can be as simple as a 15-minute yoga routine or doing some push-ups and crunches on your living room floor. You just need to get moving to get the oxygen and blood flowing to the brain.
Physical exercise should be a basic element of your daily routine. It offers an energy surge that benefits your health, improves emotional well-being, and boosts self-confidence. It clears the mind, allowing you to form cohesive thoughts and to stay focused longer.
5. Reading (20 minutes)
One of Elrod’s key findings was that most successful people read every day. He says: “The fastest way to achieve everything you want is to model successful people who have already achieved it.” For this 20-minute block of reading, Elrod recommends:
- Read a minimum of 10 pages per day.
- Ask yourself why you chose the book you did, and what you expect from it.
- Commit to implementing what you learn from the book you read.
- Circle and underline important parts; take notes.
- Re-read good personal development books.
6. Scribing (5 minutes)
This means “writing,” but a “W” would ruin the SAVERS acronym. Elrod recommends keeping a journal where you write down lessons learned and new commitments made. This activity allows you to see your progress, remember ideas, and review things you have learned.
30 days to master habits
Habits are things we repeat regularly on a subconscious level. If you do not control your habits, your habits will control you. The concept of the Miracle Morning is:
- To identify, implement, and maintain the habits needed to get to a desired goal
- To learn how to eliminate bad habits that prevent us from reaching our potential
Most people don’t implement or maintain good habits because they use the wrong strategy. People do not know what to expect, and they do not set themselves up for failures.
According to Elrod, it takes 30 days to correct a habit, whatever it may be, provided you employ the right strategy. This 30-day period to establish a new good habit (or to shake off an old bad habit) is divided into three ten-day phases.
Phase 1: Unbearable
The first days are sometimes easy and exciting because they are shiny and new. But when the novelty disappears, reality kicks in. The first ten days will be a challenge.
Phase 2: Unpleasant
In this phase, there is a growing confidence in the benefits of the new habit. But it requires discipline and commitment to persevere.
Phase 3: Unstoppable
Experts say that the change in habits take place after 21 days, but still it’ll take some time to become natural to you. In the last phase you will find pride and pleasure in your progress — but you’ve got to keep it up to really engrain the new habits for the long run.