I grew up with a fairly cynical and skeptical view of the world when it comes to “self-help”, “positive thinking”, “meditation” and all the other things that the 90’s tried to push as the way to get rich quick. I’m a big reader, have been since I was a kid, and I’ve been known to read a non-fiction book or two in my life. When I was 26ish I read “How to Win Friends and Influence People” and I credit it as being the proponent of a fundamental shift in the way I saw relationships and I believe it was instrumental in my career progression. (It also might have helped dial down the arsehole tendencies that I thought I needed to be able to get ahead in life – you know the “crush or be crushed” mentality that a lot of young professionals think they need to be able to “kill it” and be successful. I’m not saying I still don’t have the ability to be an arsehole, I just like to think that I do it with a rare frequency now.)
I don’t know why I stopped reading books about personal development after that book having such a profound impact, but I did. (I guess I started reading fertility books instead!) I’ve always struggled to reconcile my cynicism and skepticism with my desire to make a change and not seeing any other way of doing it then to read those personal development books. It’s been a big obstacle to overcome, and it still makes me squirm.
In June 2014 I made the conscious decision to work harder at my blogging and quilting and try and take the things that I love and earn enough money from them to make them self-sufficient (and one day have them earning enough to be able to support my husband quitting his day job to pursue his dreams and support our family to do the things they want to). It’s a big goal. I still have big moments of doubt about whether it’s a realistic goal despite seeing the returns of my hard work start to materialise.
In March 2015 I started to expand my podcast listening and I was lucky enough to be recommended a podcast by Ros (of Sew Delicious) called “The Lively Show” and the episode in particular that Ros recommended was an interview with Pat Flynn (of Smart Passive Income). I’d never heard of Pat before, but I figured if Ros was taking the time to recommend something the least I could do is give it a try.
I was glued to the episode (you can click here listen to it). Pat seemed to be talking about he done a lot of the things I’d like to do and he seemed like a really nice, down-to-earth, no hippy dippy crap, kind of guy. I was smitten. I went off and listened and read a lot of the stuff that Pat has available on the internet. (I also made HUBBY listen to “The Lively Show: Pat Flynn” too because I thought it was such a gold mine of information and inspiration.)
Pat lead me to Hal Elrod. Hal had written a book that Pat swore by, “The Miracle Morning“. I wasn’t initially convinced, but I wrote the details down in my note pad (I always have a note pad with me these days for trying to capture all the bazillion things I seem to be thinking about these days) and figured I’d come back to it at some time. Pat also lead me to Tim Ferris (of The 4 Hour Work Week) and Tim lead me to some other, and down the rabbit hole I went.
HUBBY and I spent an entire weekend road trip just listening to one podcast after another from all these people who were out there following their dreams and achieving and as I sat in the car listening a pattern emerged. What did all these successful people have in common?
- Hard work. They were doing the stuff that 99% of us know we should do if we want to achieve but for whatever reason we’re not doing it.
- Meditation. I lost count of the amount of people that said Meditation formed a crucial part of their habits for success.
- Removing repetitive decision making. They recognised that they had limited time and decision making thought space and so they did the same things every day so they didn’t have to waste decision making power on what to have for breakfast.
- Goal setting. They all spent a large amount of time on goal setting, focusing on what they actually want out of life and breaking the goals down in to achievable chunks.
- Focus. They didn’t have a lot going on in their lives, they were focused on achieving their goals and this is how they geared their lives.
It reaffirmed what I already knew… if I wanted to take my life to the next level then I needed to stop making excuses and start doing what I knew I had to in order to get where I wanted to go. (Poo!) I consider myself highly driven, but I also consider myself to be highly lazy. (I’m talking super lazy – there’s been times when I’ve texted my husband from the next room because I didn’t want to get up and go and do whatever it was that I wanted to do, like feed myself.)
I’d say that in 60% of my life I’m highly driven and I’ll do what it takes to get what I want, and that’s been a great asset to have. It’s gotten me experiences I could only have dreamed about and it’s seen me do things that others only talk about. But I still want more out of life and I’ve come to the point where that 60% is running out of oomph. I need to change something if I want to really achieve the things that I know deep down I want to.
So, after 2 days of non-stop podcast listening my notes had circled me back to Hal Elrod and his “miracle mornings“. I did some googling to see if I could work out what made his mornings so miraculous. Turns out Hal has developed a system for starting the day that helps you start the day with intent and in the right mindset to be open to all the opportunities that come at you during the day that will help you achieve your goals.
The miracle morning consists of 6 components: Silence (Meditation), Affirmations, Visulations, Exercise (Double Poop!), Reading and Scribing (Journalling).
All of these components can be found in the majority of highly successful people’s routines. I’d been listening and reading things that consistently backed this up so I decided to take the leap of faith and purchase “The Miracle Morning” and read it for myself and see what it was all about.
I devoured the book, despite the skeptic in me trying to tell me it was all hogwash. I resisted for a couple of days and then I decided that I was going to commit to The Miracle Morning 30 Day Challenge. I figured that I was (hopefully) going to live those 30 days regardless of what I did, so I could either do something to try and reach my goals or I could continue on the path I was one which was clearly running out of road.
So I made the commitment to myself.
I ordered The Five Minute Journal (another book that had consistently been mentioned by the people I was reading and listening to and something I thought could help a journaling novice such as myself) and when it turned up I started my Miracle Morning. I’ve allocated 10 minutes to each step, but it’s very fluid and so I tend to do a minimum of 10 minutes instead (I often go over time with the scribing, reading and exercise).
I do my morning routine in a different order to the one in the book, I like to finish on exercise so I can come home and have a shower. I’ve also been using The Five Minute Journal and a notebook for the scribing part – I like to do the journal prompts and then write some further thoughts in my notebook. I read for 10 minutes and then when the timer goes off I finish the chapter I’m in before I shut the book (just a personal preference thing, I can’t finish mid-chapter and retain it overnight).
I’m struggling with the visualisation portion of the routine, but I’m going to do some more reading and research about techniques and try to get a handle on it. I’m also not so strong on the meditation and affirmations, but I’m using an iPhone app for Guided Meditation and I’m using the affirmation examples that are provided on the Miracle Morning website. I figure these are two things that I can change up as I need to and grow in confidence.
I started getting up at 5:30am (and I am so not a morning person, but I’ve come to realise over the past ten years that if I want to achieve anything in my day I need to rise early to do it) and now I’m getting up at 5am so I can fit it all in before I go to work. I do it every day of the week, weekends are no exception.
In the book Hal talks about the 30 day challenge and how to be realistic about it…. the first 10 days are going to be the worst! He’s not wrong. I’m in my first 10 day period and while I bounced out of bed happy to start on the first day, the second day it took me a little more convincing. (In my head I just kept repeating “I need to do what’s right, not what’s easy” and that got me out of my toasty warm bed on a very winters morning!)
I can’t really comment on the long term benefits of doing it because I’m yet to do it long term, but I can confidently say that it’s helped me to focus at a time when I’ve felt mentally drawn in a million directions. It’s helped me bring some much needed order into my mornings and I’m really enjoying the shift in my mental attitudes. I’m still reading personal development books and listening to podcasts so I’m in a constant state of hearing similar messages to help me keep on learning, growing and achieving. It’s like the Bible says, “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” (Proverbs 27:17)
There’s some big shifts happening mentally for me at the moment and I’m lucky enough to be going through this growth with my Husband. I’m making changes slowly in other areas as well to help support our dreams and goals and I’m really excited about it all. I’ve been feeling like I’ve been staring at an elephant trying to work out how to eat it and where to make the first bite and this routine has really helped me take charge of that feeling and do something about it. I can’t wait to check back in here in 27 days and tell you that I completed my challenge and the differences that it’s made. If you’re interested in doing the challenge and you decide to do it I’ll happily be your challenge buddy, just let me know.