The Miracle Morning: Hal Elrod’s 6 practices for waking up with purpose

“How you wake up each day and your morning routine dramatically affects your levels of success in every single area of your life” — Hal Elrod, author of The Miracle Morning.

I despise bold promises like this. In fact, I avoid articles with titles exactly like the one I’m writing now. They all sound the same to me. And the author always looks smug; like he or she knows about the secret to happiness, and I don’t. Well I apologise about making you click on this link (that I wouldn’t have clicked on myself), but this is well worth reading.

I recently came across a podcast episode; the host interviewed Hal Elrod, author of The Miracle Morning. On another day, I might have skipped the episode, but South African radio is awful, so I stuck around. The interview was mesmerising. Long-ish story, short — I went home and bought Hal’s book. Well played, Mr Elrod.

I read the book in one evening. It motivated me. More importantly, the message was clear. And this is a decent summary (from the book) of what changed the game for me: “Our outer world will always be a reflection of our inner world. Our level of success is always going to be parallel to 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.” Read this again. Slowly.

The way I see it is: how do you expect anything in your life to change, unless you make the change yourself? Personal development is crucial. And the best time to do it is in the morning.

Why is it best to do it in the morning, I hear you ask?

Great question, friend.

In the book, Hal quotes Steve Pavlina: “It’s been said that the first hour is the rudder of the day. If I’m lazy or haphazard in my actions during the first hour after I wake up, I tend to have a fairly lazy and unfocused day. But if I strive to make that first hour optimally productive, the rest of the day tends to follow suit.”

This made sense to me. Enough said.

The benefits of waking up early

Although there are plenty of benefits to waking up early — more energy, lower stress, overcome limiting beliefs, improve health, increase productivity, and improve focus — I believe that the biggest benefit of waking up early is that nothing can distract you. You have time to yourself before everybody else in the house demands your attention. Also, it is much quieter.

Effective waking up strategies

I really like sleeping, and I have comfortable pillows. But Hal’s strategies have helped me to wake up earlier:

I set my intentions before bed. Your first thought in the morning is your last thought at night. So I tell myself, “I am going to wake up with energy at 6:30 am tomorrow morning, and smash the day in the face!” Hal has some better, more precise words for you just before bed — check out the “Bedtime Affirmation” on

I moved my alarm clock across the room. Now I have to get up to switch it off. Smart.

I brush my teeth straight away. This wakes me up with a minty, fresh start to the day!

I drink a glass of water; to rehydrate obviously. Water is the best energy juice.

Now that you’re awake and ready to go, enter: The Miracle Morning Life SAVERS. I love cheesy acronyms.

The Miracle Morning Life SAVERS

Hal’s set of six simple, morning practices, each of which will develop one or more of the physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual aspects of your life.

S is for Silence:

Begin your day with calm, clarity and piece of mind. Difficult when you’re still half asleep. In Winter. But for now, know that meditation, prayer, reflection and deep breathing are some of the best ways to immediately maintain focus with regard to goals and priorities. I listen to the Ho’oponopono meditation in the morning. I’ll write another article about this at some stage.

Don’t worry if your mind wonders at first. I think about breakfast sometimes. Acknowledge your thoughts on bacon and eggs, and then focus on your breathing again.

Although this is very difficult, persevere. I find that I’ve become better at focusing on my breathing, but it takes practice. I’m still not there yet. With that said, waking up with calm is a lot better then scrambling to get ready and leave for work on time.

A is for Affirmations:

“I am the greatest!” — Affirm these words over and over again, and you will become them! I love this! Affirmations allow you to design and develop your mindset and make an impression on your subconscious mind. If you believe it, you will become it! Ask yourself the questions below, and affirm the answers every morning.

What do you really want?
When do you want it?
Who do you need to become to create it?
What are you committed to doing to create it?

I focus on a few affirmations every day, and my confidence has increased. Here is a great mental image for you: I repeat the affirmations in the shower, before work. I stand like Superman, with my chest out and my hands on my hips. Pleasure.

V is for Visualisation:

Use your imagination to create mental pictures of specific behaviours and outcomes that occur in your life to generate positive results in your outer world. Focus on what you want in your life, who you need to be to create what you want, and what you need to do to get there.

I do this for my long-term future and for the day ahead. I drive a really big 4×4 in the near future.

E is for Exercise:

Significantly boost your energy, enhance your health, improve self-confidence, think better and concentrate longer when you exercise for just a few minutes every morning.

I hate exercising by myself. I’ve played every sport under the sun since I was six, but unless a coach was screaming at me, I wasn’t going to run. Well I have to change if I want to improve. Skipping, push-ups and sit-ups in the morning makes for energy throughout the day! Also, bigger muscles for my Superman pose in the shower, my boy!

R is for Reading:

Acquire knowledge, ideas and strategies you need to achieve success in any area of your life. Read something that will help you. Not Harry Potter. Read The Miracle Morning!

S is for Scribing:

Well, writing or journaling (otherwise this incredibly coincidental acronym wouldn’t work). Gain valuable insights by writing down the thoughts in your head. And review your entries. This will help you to gain clarity, capture ideas, review lessons and acknowledge your progress.

I write about everything. I write about ideas for this blog, or where I’m struggling with it. I write about drinking tequila on a night out with friends. And I write to the future me as well, reminding him about the smart (and stupid) things I did in the past. Past me is awesome though.

This brings us to the end of the SAVERS. I’d like to write a separate post for each of them. I would have done it here already, but I’m scared you stealth readers and auto-bot thingys would get bored. I will write these in future posts. More so that I can learn about each practice in more detail and improve on my morning routine.

With that said, I would like this article to come to an end now. And I’m sure you do too. The point is, wake up early and take time to improve on any area of your life. And customise your routine. Learn Chinese for ten minutes every morning. If you do it every day, you’ll be fluent by Christmas. Well, if you’re reading this in January. Or February. You’re smart enough to take the first month off.

If you’d like to read more articles I’ve written, wander over to and make me feel better about myself.