My Miracle Morning Challenge (aka Why I Get Up at 5am)

Miracle Morning Challenge | Miranda's Notebook

Several weeks ago, I started feeling frustrated by how little I was managing to accomplish in my day. Work and creating blog content seemed to fill up all of my time, and, much as I love blogging, I wanted room for more. I wanted space in my schedule to work on other creative pursuits, like the embroidery I love to do but have set aside for far too long. I wanted to be able to take the time to read some photography books and slowly start to improve my own skills. Most importantly, perhaps, I also realised I needed time where I could simply sit and think and properly plan out ideas. I wrote down a list of problems (do any of these resonate with you?):

1/ I didn’t get enough ‘switch off’ time in the evenings where I stepped away from technology before bed. I’m a poor sleeper, so I was concerned that spending too long staring at my computer or iphone was disrupting my sleep. I also just didn’t want to be that person who’s forever checking their phone.

2/ Even though I was spending a long time in the evenings working on a laptop, I didn’t get a lot accomplished in that time. Writing a blog post would take forever because I was often tired after a long day at work and more easily distracted (e.g. by a TV show).

3/ Too often, my exercise routine would be set aside in favour of something else I ‘had’ to do in the evenings.Β 

4/ I was frustrated by having lots of ideas for future projects I’d like to accomplish, but had no idea how I could fit even more into my day. My problem has never been a lack of ideas, but always a lack of time.

In reading over my list, I thought how closely the feeling of success is linked to time management and the ability to work as efficiently as possible, in a way that feels energising and productive, rather than tedious and stressful. There is also, clearly, no room to be lazy! Reluctantly (because who really wants to get up at 5am?), I had to admit that the only part of the day I could create more quality time would be in the mornings. Just as I’d come to this decision, I happened to listen to Jess Lively’s podcast with Hal Elrod, author of The Miracle Morning,Β and I knew I was destined to become an early riser!

In The Miracle Morning, Elrod identifies key habits that are common amongst productive, happy people, the most fundamental of which is: getting up early. Based on his findings, he created a morning routine that incorporates the habits and disciplines of the most successful. Put simply, the ‘miracle morning’ routine involves: meditation, affirmations, visualisation, writing, reading and exercise. One of the things I love most about The Miracle Morning is how flexible it is: you can do it for a whole hour, or for 6 minutes or anywhere in between. You can also swap things around to do what ever order works the best for you (I always like to start with meditation and end with exercise). I’ve adapted it to suit me best, and I thought I’d share my routine and thoughts on each process with you:

5:00 – 5:10. Get up, make bed, drink a glass of water, sit on couch and meditate. I thought I would hate meditation, but in fact I love it! I focus on taking deep breaths, listening to the birds and enjoying the stillness.

5:10 – 5:15. Visualisation. This is the hardest for me, as I get side-tracked easily. Just as I start thinking out how I want my day to go, I start wondering what I’m going to wear, whether I’ve done my laundry and oh no! I forgot to make my packed lunch.

5:15 – 5:20. Reading affirmations out loud. I’ve generally been a bit suspicious of affirmations that run along the lines of ‘I am a caring and beautiful person who only attracts incredible people, things and thoughts into my life.’ Fortunately, though, Elrod encourages practical, precise affirmations rather than vague assertions. So, for instance: “I am committed to my goal of feeling confident in handling my camera in manual mode by practicing for x amount of time each day and reading my camera book / manual for x amount of time each week.”

5:20 – 5:25. Journalling. I use the 5 Minute Journal App to do this. I love this app because it is so straight forward and is great way to keep on track with your goals each day. Every morning, you are asked to write 3 things for which you are grateful (you know how I love a gratitude list); 3 things that would make your day great and a daily affirmation. If this isn’t your cup of tea though, then I’d suggest using the time to write whatever you want: work on your novel, write a blog post, or use the time to connect to those important to you. Send cards and postcards to friends, or get in the habit of writing a quick, daily email to someone special.

5:25 – 5:30. Reading. This reading time is designed for reading a book that is connected to your self-development. I have 3 such books on the go at the moment (I select whichever I’m in the mood for each day): a book on embroidery; a photography manual and a book on increasing productivity.

5:30 – 6:00. Exercise. I choose to do a longer period of exercise in the morning, because then I know that I’ve at least done one good workout for the day.

After 6am, I shower, get dressed, eat and work on blog posts before leaving for work at 7.45.

You’re probably thinking: ‘ok, Miranda is crazy, there is no way I would voluntarily choose to put myself through the unbearable torture of getting up at 5am everyday.’ Honestly, though, I was dreading my first 5am wake-up, I ended up LOVING it. I can’t tell you how great it feels to have accomplished so much and to have taken active steps towards achieving my goals before 6am. What makes waking up early in this way so special, is that you’re only doing it for you. This is your time. Your own personal goals and desires are likely to be different from mine: you probably don’t want to read a photography manual or do a ballet workout, but having the time in the mornings to think through what actually matters to you and what you want to improve, is life-changing. Perhaps you want to teach yourself a language, or how to design websites? Maybe you’re dissatisfied with your job, but never have time to hunt through job listings, write applications, or decide what you really want to do? Giving yourself that time in the morning is granting yourself the luxury to do only what furthers your personal dreams and desires. Since starting the Miracle Morning, and completing the 30 Day Challenge, I’ve been so inspired by fresh ideas for projects I want to undertake, now and in the future. I want to live as full a life as possible, and my morning routine is certainly helping me to do just that.

The Miracle Morning has become a way of life for me now, which is why I wanted to share it with all of you. I’d love to hear if you’re tempted to try it yourself, or something similar, and what personal projects you would love to develop. If you had the time, what would you love to do most? What would you set about learning or improving? What’s that project you always wish you’d completed? Please do share in the comments below, or feel free to email me. Do get in touch if you’d like to hear more about my Miracle Morning experience, or have any questions about it – I’d love to help! As part of my Miracle Morning Challenge, I connected with a ‘buddy’ through the supportive facebook group, and it was great to have someone else to message about the experience (and to know I wasn’t the only one finding visualisation hard!), so I’m definitely here to help if you get stuck.

++You can read more about The Miracle Morning (and get the first 2 chapters of the book for free) on Hal Elrod’s website, ask to join the facebook community here, listen to the amazing podcast or read the book. ++

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  • I may have to try this out and see if it works as well for me πŸ™‚

    As long as I can get early nights!

    Rosie
    x
    http://www.anenglishrosie.blogspot.co.uk

  • What time are you asleep by usually? A 5 am start makes my body ache just thinking about it πŸ™‚ x

    • I think a minimum of 6 hours sleep is always recommended, and I generally like to get around 7 hours. I’m the opposite though in that I’ve always hated staying up really late. xxx

  • Cindi Brumpton

    As an early riser, I guess I am already on-board. Finding time for yourself is critical, especially if u have young children (I don’t). My morning starts with making lunch while coffee brewing, reading emails, FB, and my blog stream while drinking coffee, some knitting, and then a one hour walk to work. I guess I do my meditating and affirmations while walking. I agree that it is all essential. Reading is always part of my life and I am always learning something new.

    • It sounds like you have a lovely morning routine. I so agree that making time for yourself is absolutely crucial. xxx

  • Super post, Miranda!

  • I love this post, how very inspiring! I too fear I achieve only about 20% of what I would be capable of achieving in a day and I often try to force myself to get up earlier and DO more but usually fail. I’m inspired to do better now!

    • Thank you so much! I’m so glad you found this post inspiring. In the past, I struggled to commit to getting up very early regularly, but I’ve found the Miracle Morning has really helped completely transform my mindset, and I now really look forward to my morning routine and would hate to miss it! xxx

  • emily

    What kind of ballet workout do you do? I used to do ballet and would love to get back into it on a more casual basis.

    • I love Sleek Technique and Ballet Beautiful workouts. Sleek Technique is super for online classes, and the trainers – Flik and Victoria – are absolutely lovely! I used to do ballet a lot too, and it’s so nice to be getting back into exercise that is based on simplified ballet moves. Hope that helps! xxx

  • I think this all makes sense. I don’t know if I can actually get out of bed at 5 (treacherous hour), but I think I could shoot for 5:45 to 6:30. Affirmations, huh??

    • I know 5am sounds horrid, but I would encourage anyone to try it at least once – I love having such a lot of time in the morning (I do, however, have to set out to work fairly early, so if you can start later in the day, then getting up a bit later makes sense!). xxx

  • I do totally want to do this as well. For me though I need to get to bed on time, but that never happens! Especially with a boyf who is a total night owl and would sleep in all morning, it’s hard to get a routine which is the complete opposite. I’m glad it’s working so well for you though! πŸ™‚ xx

    Jasmin Charlotte

    • Having such a regular morning routine is making me think a lot about having a better bedtime routine too, that makes it easier to get to sleep on time and also to sleep better. Everyone finds it such a struggle to get to bed on time, but I have to say – one advantage about getting up at 5am is that you’re pretty tired out by the end of the day, so it’s hard for anything or anyone to stop you from getting to bed!! xxx

  • Eleanor Baggley

    Getting up early makes such a difference to your day. I love to do it, although I’m usually dragging myself straight out of bed to go for a pre-dawn run which perhaps defeats the point a little. I’ll have to try spending some time on the meditation etc before hand. Thanks for sharing – I’m definitely going to check the book out πŸ™‚

    • I love my meditation time – it feels amazing to start the day from a place of such inner peace and calm. You’re so welcome – I hope you enjoy the book if you try it πŸ™‚ xxx

  • I’m definitely a huge fan of getting up earlyish, even at the week-end. My early is around 6 though, not sure that I could manage 5 just because I like to get around 8 hours’ sleep, so going to bed at 10 to be up at 6 is my ideal πŸ™‚ If I ever get up earlier than that, well, it’s usually because I really need to do some revision before going to work!

    xxx

    • I remember the days when getting up at 5am only meant that I either had to catch a plane, or had revision / an essay to finish! It’s so much nicer getting up at that time only to do nice things I enjoy. Getting up at 6am is certainly early enough to get loads done before your workday though! xxx

  • Kristina Collins

    I actually used to get up at 5 in university to run, but it’s been a while! I’ve always been a morning person though so very tempted to try this out. xx

  • Ali

    I have never been a morning person, but I will admit, when I get up even an hour earlier than I normally would, it does make a big difference. Provided of course I don’t mess about. I hear you about distractions. This year I made a conscious effort to put down the technology more. I think its fair to say it can become an addiction, like alcohol or smoking, and can become almost as unhealthy. I don’t think I could do 5 a.m., but 6 definitely. I’m going to go have a look at the 30 Day Challenge!

    Ali

    • It can become an addiction, and it’s one that I’m wary of forming! I’ve had to be active on social media a lot more since starting to blog, and I’m trying to make a conscious effort, like you, to put the phone down and the laptop away a lot more regularly! Hope you like the sound of the 30 Day Challenge! xxx

  • Honestly this post couldn’t have come at a better time for me Miranda. Your points 1-4 I can relate 100% with. I constantly feel like there’s not enough time in each day, my hours after work are unproductive and yet they are the only time I have to get non work related things done. It’s completely frustrating. I’m so compelled to try getting up at 5! I have always been a morning person anyway (I usually get up by 6.30 every day) and feel really excited about this!! Thanks so much for sharing such an inspiring post. P.s. Do you go to bed early to avoid feeling tired from a long day?

    • So sorry only just realised I didn’t reply to this! Very glad you found this post useful. Yes, that was exactly how I felt – evenings just aren’t my productive time! It’s amazing how much quicker I can get through editing photos / writing a blog post / whatever in the morning. I know 5am is pretty extreme – you could always just start out trying to get up 1 hour or 1/2 hr before your usual rising time. A big difference is in getting up with the intention and timetable in place to be productive in the morning – not just how early you set the alarm! xxx

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  • This has totally inspired me to try something like this….although 5am may be a push for me, I am not the best in the mornings! I am going to try just getting up early and even if I just sit and watch tv the first few mornings it will hopefully get me into a habit of waking up earlier! Wish me luck!

    Debbie | http://www.debbielifelondon.wordpress.com

    • I’m so happy to have inspired you! I think it’s a good idea to start small – maybe just setting the alarm 1/2 an hour earlier and seeing how it goes. Good luck! xxx

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