The Not-So-Obvious Secret Guaranteed to Transform Your Life (Before 8 am)
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The Miracle Morning is about adopting simple approaches to produce life-changing results. The morning is arguably the most critical part of the day. It sets a precedent for the remainder of the day. Therefore, if you can significantly improve your morning routine, you can significantly improve the rest of your life. In The Miracle Morning, Hal Elrod outlines how he turned his prognosis of disability and brain damage, caused by a car accident, into a life full of success and potential.
Hal Elrod’s Perspective
Hal Elrod is an American Author and success coach. Hal suffered a severe car accident at the age of 20. He uses this moment and his subsequent recovery as an example of how anybody can better themselves and have the life they want. He is the founder of the Achieve Your Goal podcast and has written two books: The Miracle Morning and The Miracle Equation.
We All Have the Potential to be Successful
Most Americans are living a life that falls short of their potential. They are more overweight, more in debt, and more lonely than they should be. Hal explains that the Social Security Administration offers a point that exemplifies the degree to which people are falling short of their potential. If you follow 100 individuals for 40 years, you will only find one wealthy person and four financially stable people. Comparatively, five will need to work their whole life, 36 will have died, and 54 will still be reliant on friends and family. Basically, 95% of people are not living life to their potential.
Hal uses himself as an example of how anybody can start living up to their potential. Hal was dead for six minutes following a car accident. He then spent several days in a coma. Then, upon awaking, doctors told him that he would have permanent brain damage and would not be able to walk again. However, Hal did not give up and ultimately recovered. Instead of wasting time wishing he had a different life, he created the life of his dreams and fulfilled his potential.
Rearview Mirror Syndrome and Isolating Incidences are Our Downfall
“Our subconscious minds are equipped with a self-limiting rearview mirror, through which we continuously relive and recreate our past. We mistakenly believe that who we were is who we are, thus limiting our true potential in the present, based on the limitations of our past. As a result, we filter every choice we make—from what time we will wake up in the morning to which goals we will set to what we allow ourselves to consider possible for our lives—through the limitations of our past experiences.”– Hal Elrod, The Miracle Morning
Your thought processes are deeply linked with your performance. Therefore, the way you are thinking about your life could be preventing you from reaching your full potential. The majority of us tend to focus our thought patterns on things that have happened in the past. Hal describes this tendency as Rearview Mirror Syndrome (RMS)
One of the most significant issues that arise from RMS is that people look to their past to define their future. Suppose an individual with RMS has a new opportunity. In that case, they will turn them down as they have not yet experienced these opportunities before. Hal uses the example of people who meet a fantastic potential partner but turn them down because of the failed relationships they have had in the past.
Our tendency to isolate incidents also prevents us from fulfilling our potential. Isolating incidents involves disconnecting events from other events and your future. Hal provides an example of people who put off doing a workout. Frequently people tell themselves they will do today’s workout tomorrow. However, these people are forgetting that these decisions will impact on the person they are becoming. They are becoming somebody who is happy to put off important tasks in favor of comfort.
Individuals are happy to put off a workout because people are more lenient with themselves when they consider events in isolation. However, if you look at the events together, you will notice that exceptions are becoming a norm.
Change How You Think About Sleep
“Every time you choose to do the easy thing, instead of the right thing, you are shaping your identity, becoming the type of person who does what’s easy, rather than what’s right. On the other hand, when you do choose to do the right thing and follow through with your commitments—especially when you don’t feel like it—you are developing the extraordinary discipline (which most people never develop) necessary for creating extraordinary results in your life.”– Hal Elrod, The Miracle Morning
Many of us are guilty of hitting the snooze button as soon as we wake up. The issue with this is that we choose to start our day by letting ourselves off the hook. Instead, we can wake up with a sense of purpose. If you wake up with a purpose in mind, you will be on your way to crafting a happier life. The most successful people across all fields have one thing in common: they get up early.
Hal describes how tiredness in the morning is not to do with not having enough sleep but not having enough anticipation. We never struggle to have enough energy on Christmas morning or our birthdays. The anticipation for the day ahead stops us from being tired. We need to recruit this same purpose for every day of our lives.
Hal recommends forgetting about the number of hours of sleep you will get. Thinking about how exhausted you will be tomorrow will only spoil your productivity for tomorrow morning. Hal recommends telling yourself that you will feel good in the morning as you have a purpose and a goal tomorrow.
Create a Morning Routine that Instils Motivation
Hal recommends a few things you should incorporate into your morning routine to improve your motivation levels.
- Before going to bed, you should remind yourself that you will wake up tomorrow feeling refreshed. Looking forward to the next day will make waking up feel like less of a chore
- Place your alarm clock on the other side of the room to where you will be sleeping. Try and make turning the alarm off a more challenging choice than going back to sleep
- After switching off your alarm and getting up, you should brush your teeth straight away. Brushing your teeth will give you a feeling of freshness after waking up
- Next, you should head to the kitchen and drink a glass of water as fast as you can comfortably manage. We lose large amounts of water overnight, so we must rehydrate ourselves. Dehydration can make us feel more tired
Fight Stress Through Purposeful Silence
Stress is a part of everybody’s lives. However, our morning routine has a significant impact on how much stress we experience throughout the day. Meditation is a popular example of purposeful silence. Hal outlines the steps you can take to engage with purposeful silence.
- Take a break from your worries and concentrate on yourself
- Find a quiet, comfortable place to sit. Try and sit cross-legged and upright
- Close your eyes
- Bring your attention to your breath. Inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth
- Breathe slowly into your belly rather than your chest
- Set a pace for your breaths by breathing in for three seconds, then out for three
If meditation doesn’t work for you, then there are alternatives. Hal suggests that people can pray if they are religious. Alternatively, you can merely reflect on your life and the things you are grateful for.
Visualization and Affirmations Can Help You Obtain Your Ideal Life
“Our outer world will always be a reflection of our inner world. Our level of success is always going to parallel our level of personal development. Until we dedicate time each day to developing ourselves into the person we need to be to create the life we want, success is always going to be a struggle to attain.”– Hal Elrod, The Miracle Morning
The way we speak to ourselves is hugely important. Our self-talk subconsciously programs our brains. Therefore, we can improve our lives simply by using positive affirmations. Hal recommends the following steps to start introducing positive affirmations into your life.
- Write down how you want your life to look in the future. Make sure you cover as many areas of your life as possible
- Ask yourself why you want these things
- Ask yourself how committed you are to doing whatever is needed to obtain these life goals
- After creating these positive affirmations, you should read them aloud to yourself at least once daily
Another approach that can help you obtain your ideal life is merely imagining yourself in that position. Suppose you want to become an Olympic athlete. In that case, you should visualize yourself on top of the gold medal podium at the Olympics. You can even combine these visualizations with your affirmations by considering what you want and then visualizing having it.
Morning Exercise is Key to Body Health and Personal Success
People often make excuses about how little time they have to exercise. Plus, a frequent excuse is when they do have a spare hour for some exercise, they are too exhausted to do it. Therefore, the morning is the best time to do some exercise. Exercise is vital for our health, and fitting it in soon after you wake up will mean you won’t have to worry about it for the rest of the day.
Hal provides an example of self-made multimillionaire entrepreneur Eben Pagan. Eben described the one key to his success as being morning exercise. He specifically said this exercise was his “personal success ritual”.
Your morning exercise doesn’t have to be extremely intense. Anything that gets your blood pumping is a good choice of exercise. For example, just following a yoga DVD for 20 minutes every morning will still have a huge impact on your life.
Read and Write In the Morning for Personal Growth
After exercising, you should aim to focus on your personal growth. Two of the best activities for personal growth are reading and writing. Reading and writing help you reflect on your current successes and your future goals.
Specifically, Hal recommends reading books on personal development. These books help you gain insights from people who are already successful. Try and read a minimum of ten pages per day. This is only 20 minutes of reading but will have a massive impact as each reading session adds up. For example, that is 3,650 pages a year.
Hal recommends writing for just five to ten minutes each morning. Topics you can write about are your thoughts, feelings, and insights. Personally, Hal would split his page into two columns: Lessons Learned and New Commitments. He would fill each of these every day. Simply filling these columns allowed him to learn from his mistakes and commit to new life changes.
Customize Your Miracle Morning
Although Hal recommends specific habits, he also recommends customizing your morning to suit your own needs. For example, you may want to spend more time exercising each morning than the recommended 20 minutes. Plus, you might want to prioritize a specific activity over another; this is fine as long as you include each of the habits.
Additionally, some people may not have a typical morning routine. Hal travels a lot and subsequently ensures he can engage with his routines wherever he goes. Hence, he makes sure he has some yoga lessons, a book, and a journal with him wherever he goes. Equally, shift workers might not wake up in the morning. This does not change the effectiveness of allocating dedicated time to self-improvement.
Find an Accountability Partner and Commit to Challenges
The miracle morning works best when it is used consistently over time. One way to make sure you adhere to your miracle morning every day is having an accountability partner. This person should check in on you each day or do exercise with you. We are more likely to adhere if our behaviors are tied to somebody else. This person doesn’t have to be a close friend. Instead, they might even be a person you have found through an online community.
The 30-Day Miracle Morning Transformation Challenge
It takes approximately 30 days to form a habit. Therefore, Hal recommends trying the miracle morning for 30 days. If you can adhere for 30 days you will find it easy to maintain these self-improvement practices.
This article was first published in August 2020. It was updated in December 2021.
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