How I Truly Became a Morning Person
They say that “the early bird gets the worm.”
But for most of my life I countered that and argued “well…the night owl gets the prey.”
For many years I had been a self-professed night owl. If it’s late, you bet that I’m still burning the midnight oil.
Me getting to bed before 12am? Forget out about it.
My mornings were always “just-in-time” experiences that I dreaded everyday. I got up, because I HAD to. You know the routine:
Alarm clock goes off. Immediately hit the snooze button. 5 minutes later…hit it again. 3 minutes later?
Again. And again. And again……
Yet recently, I started questioning whether this night owl thing was the way to go. Was I really being productive by staying up very late till the wee hours, then not looking forward to the AM?
I also began researching at the daily habits of the most successful leaders, entrepreneurs, and even millionaires. You know what was the common denominator?
They were all early risers.
If I wanted to be where they are, then I needed to at least try and change my mindset.
So I started incorporating an early morning routine.
While it was hard at first, I began to get the hang of it. But there are two specific resources that REALLY made the transition easier, and were also game changers for not only my mornings, but my life in general.
I Believe in Miracles
Sometime last year, I was reading one of my favorite books, titled The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod, which was a #1 bestseller. I also interviewed Hal about his book on my podcast, Gen X Amplified. Hal is a Gen Xer by the way!
The overall premise of his book is about the benefits of having a structured and consistent morning ritual, and how that can take your life to another level. Because, as he stresses in the book — how you start your day, influences the output and mindset for the remainder of your day. This is further punctuated in the subtitle of the book — “The Not-So-Obvious Secret Guaranteed to Transform Your Life Before 8am”.
While I was skeptical at first, I went ahead and purchased the book. And I can honestly say that it was the best reading investment I made in 2014.
What I love about the book is that Hal makes a very compelling case of waking up early and having a morning routine — especially if you consider yourself NOT a morning person. Which was me!
More importantly, he breaks down the Miracle Morning into 6 principles as a simple acronym, which what he calls the life S.A.V.E.R.S.
- S — Silence Gaining mental clarity, focus, and control through mediation and/or prayer.
- A — Affirmation Speaking motivational words that declare who you are, who you want to become, and what you want to accomplish.
- V — Visualization Similar to affirmations, but involves the power of visually thinking of action items — to dream and achieve your goals, especially for that day.
- E — Exercise Dedicating at least 5 minutes for physical activity to boost energy, increase the heart rate, and improve self-confidence.
- R — Reading Gaining clarity and knowledge by reading a favorite book, magazine, quote — or anything that will exercise your mind and facilitate personal development.
- S — Scribing or Journaling Writing about anything you choose such as your daily goals, inspirational thoughts, etc.
What’s great is that these are fully customizable and you don’t have to necessarily do these in order. It’s whatever works best for you.
The Best 5 Minutes of Your Day
As one of the Miracle Morning’s life S.A.V.E.R.S, — journaling is a very effective part of a daily routine. Now I have tried in the past to use different notebooks to write journals entries, but nothing would stick. And while I do love my Moleskine, I found it best serves as my note taking tool for business ideas, etc.
What I needed was something that would keep me focused, and inspire me to consistently translate my thoughts into words.
This is how The Five Minute Journal came to the rescue!
I initially came across this awesome book/journal through various mentions on the web. Its appeal centered on the fact that it offered something unique and different.
Unlike other traditional notebooks, The Five Minute Journal is specifically designed on the principles of psychology, and emphasizes gratitude, positive thinking, and goal setting — twice a day.
Each page represents a separate date for journaling that begins with a motivational quote. Then it’s broken out into two sections (morning and night) with “prompt” questions/statements for you to complete:
1. The Morning session — soon after you wake up to establish a productive and positive tone throughout the day:
- 3 things you are grateful for… Promotes the practice of gratitude increase a sense of happiness and first thing in the morning.
- What would make today great? Allows you to set your goals for that day and influence the outcome
- Daily affirmations, I am… This is where you train your mind on how you want to feel that day
2. The Evening Session — this is all about reflection and how to set yourself up for success the following day:
- 3 Amazing things that happened today… Looking back and documenting the victories that really made your day great.
- How could I have made today better? This is meant for you to review how your day went, then look at areas that you could improve for maybe the next day.
Now the Five-Minute Journal comes as either an iPhone app, or an actual physical journal — which is my preferred format. Either way, you can’t go wrong with this great journaling tool, and I absolutely love it!
The Undeniable Power Of a Consistent Routine
As busy professionals, entrepreneurs, or even stay-at-home folks, it is essential that we always look to improve how we can make our days better. Since I started implementing my morning and night rituals, I have never felt more energized, happy, and even excited to wake up each and every day.
I also strongly feel that being a “morning person” may not be for everyone. It all depends on your goals, personal lifestyle, schedule — and what makes you tick. For some, your productivity may actually peak during the late evening hours. That’s okay!
Again, it’s all about what works best for you.
But my goal here is to challenge you to take inventory of how happy and productive you are with your current routine, and make adjustments if necessary to get the most out of your day.
You deserve to start each day with purpose, passion, and the power to achieve your goals!
Question — Do you consider yourself a night-owl or an early-bird? Either way, what steps can you take to make your day more productive?