I’ve never been a morning person. In fact, I’ve always been an extreme night owl and had little-to-no morning routine. I feel that the height of my creativity happens after 9pm and I am most excited late at night. While this works really well for my musician life and could potentially be doable in my blogger life, it doesn’t necessarily work well for having a wife, a dog, friends, family, and a real life.
While I’ve never been good at sleeping and (maybe that informs this next thing) have always been terrible at waking up, I really value the mornings and have wished I could be a morning person. Growing up and working construction with my dad, he had to practically drag me out the door every morning at 5am, but damn if I wasn’t stoked to be outside swinging a hammer before 8am. There’s something to be said about getting a ton of stuff done and being on your first break before most people are even awake.
The First Morning Routine Change: Yoga
Over the past several months, I’ve been getting really into yoga and, after honing my basic skills and stepping up to some of the more advanced classes, I found that my favorite class happens at 7:30 every morning. While it’s offered at other studios throughout the day, I like the idea of waking up and getting it done as part of my morning routine, setting my day off to a good start, and being home and ready to start working by 9. You see, before I started going to this class, I’d be waking up somewhere between 8 and 9, taking Walter out, then nonchalantly scheduling my day while I ate breakfast. Then I’d probably read a bit, goof off online for a minute (read: a lot of minutes), and then finally start working somewhere between 10:30 and 11.
When I started putting this yoga class in my morning routine, I noticed a profound impact on the rest of my day. I would come home excited, go on a nice walk with Walter, and then start working right away. I was a bit more focused and I definitely had more energy.
The problem was, I didn’t go to this class every day. On the days I didn’t go, it was back to my normal morning routine and feeling scattered throughout the day. I was unfocused and felt pretty unproductive. This — coupled with The Boy Danced on Air (late rehearsals at the beginning of the run) totally screwing with my sleep pattern — meant that I was waking up even later, feeling groggier, and getting an even later start to my day. It wouldn’t be the end of the world if I worked late into the evening and/or night, but — call me crazy — I like hanging out with my wife when she gets home from work.
I knew I needed to change something, but I wasn’t sure what. I’m always looking for new ways to be highly productive and on top of my game (I think we all need to be as entrepreneurs), but I stumbled on what I’m about to tell you about relatively by accident.
The Turning Point
As you know, I’ve been a huge fan of Pat Flynn at Smart Passive Income for a long, long time. I’m also a huge podcast listener and was religiously listening to the Smart Passive Income Podcast for some time, but fell away from it for the last 6 months or so.
I ran into a friend at a Memorial Day barbecue and we were talking podcasts. He mentioned that he listens to the SPI Podcast pretty regularly and that it was because I turned him on to it. I had this thought of, “Oh man! I need to get back on that!” and a day or two later, found myself scrolling through the archives and looking to see what I wanted to listen to.
I had just gotten back from yoga and was feeling pretty good already, and I was extra excited to listen to Pat because he’s always inspiring to me and has such a neat, positive outlook on life and business. The episode that called to me was SPI 140: Productivity and the Early Morning Routine with Hal Elrod, an episode from December of 2014, but one I had not listened to yet.
Clicking play on that episode, I had no idea that I was going to be hearing such life-changing advice and completely re-thinking everything over the following week.
The Podcast That Changed Everything
In this episode, Pat interviewed Hal Elrod, best-selling author and life/success coach, about his history, morning routine, and some general philosophies about life and business. I’m not going to go into too many specifics in this post, but seriously do yourself a favor and check out the episode here. It’ll take less than 50 minutes of your life, and you may just be inspired like I was.
Here’s just a bit of Hal’s story:
- He was a record-breaking salesman at Cutco (at 20 years old)
- He was hit by a drunk driver, died at the scene, came out of it with a bunch of broken bones, was told he’d never walk again, and has permanent brain damage
- He then went on to build an incredibly successful career as a life and success coach, keynote speaker, best-selling author, and even run an ultra marathon
After hearing this, I realized what a piece of crap I am when I feel a little sore from an old injury and decide I don’t want to work out, or I’m a little tired so I take a nap instead of write a blog post. Ha! Feeling bad about myself is true, but it was so inspiring and I decided to make a change.
Hal came up with this concept for a morning routine (and wrote a book about it) called The Miracle Morning: The Not-So-Obvious Secret Guaranteed to Transform Your Life (Before 8AM). If you listen to the podcast, you’ll hear more about how this came about, and there’s even more history on him and this process in the book. Immediately after listening to the podcast, I bought The Miracle Morning in iBooks and started reading it right away. I devoured this book in a week. This is a big deal for me because, while I’m trying to change this, I’m not a big reader … I tend to start books and never finish them. Everything I read in it made so much sense and with every little thing I tried, I started seeing big changes and results.
The Miracle Morning
Let’s back up a second to last week. I started implementing aspects of The Miracle Morning into my morning routine before I even finished the book. Sunday night, I happened to read the chapter with Hal’s tips for (actually) getting up in the morning with your alarm (instead of snoozing) right before going to bed. With these tips — a nighttime affirmation, some visualization (which I practiced semi-regularly anyway), and some habits for first thing in the morning — I woke up before my alarm (what?!?), did a few things around the house, and then went to yoga. I went to yoga 3 days in a row and even started running last week, too.
I’ve never been a runner. I’ve never enjoyed it. My knees are kind of messed up from hereditary things and playing baseball forever growing up, so I always just wrote off running as a thing I couldn’t do. Cycling has been my go-to cardio activity for the last 4 1/2 years, and I really love it, but running was just never on the table for me. Through Hal’s story and motivation, however, I decided to say “fuck it” to those limiting beliefs and just go for it. Between yoga and running, I’ve worked out every single day for 9 days now and have had a few double days as well (yoga AND running).
Back to The Miracle Morning
Already, I saw a noticeable difference in how I felt and handled the rest of my day. At that point, I had really only implemented waking up earlier and exercising (no matter what) before starting my work day into my morning routine. I hadn’t done any of the other practices.
In a couple of block sessions last week, I filled out the paperwork for The Miracle Morning Fast-Start/30-Day Challenge, and was ready to jump in on Thursday. That was my first day with this system fully in my morning routine and I can honestly say it was one of the most productive days I’ve had in a long, long time. The Miracle Morning is based on a practice called the Life S.A.V.E.R.S., which is Silence, Affirmations, Visualization, Exercise, Reading, and Scribing. The idea is that if you start every day by doing these things, you’re working on personal development and bettering yourself and that will have a massive impact on any (and every) area of your life you want to make better.
Last Thursday, for instance, before 7:30 in the morning, I had already meditated, said my affirmations, visualized my day, did some push-ups and sit-ups, read, and journaled. I felt fantastic and ready to take on anything. In fact, before 9am, I had taken Walt out for a nice walk, created a new Facebook ad for Guitar Chord Kick-Start, and cleaned out my email inbox. I then went on a run at 10, showered, and left for a meeting with a company where I’m doing some consulting.
After this, I took care of some errands, got my hair cut, took Walt out again, and then started brainstorming this post. Following that, I reviewed my notes from the meeting and started doing some of that work until I had to leave for my show that night.
I felt fully energized through the entire day, was stoked about everything I was doing, and felt totally focused. The best part was I was proud of everything I was doing — not just what I was accomplishing, but the quality of what I was accomplishing, as well.
Six Days (Officially) In
Ok, so I did take Sunday off from doing a Miracle Morning (I planned to), but I’ve had that morning routine every day since Thursday. I’m certainly noticing a big difference and am really excited to keep this up and see what serious changes it will bring to my life. I’ve been wanting to make a change lately, and this has surely been a good one. I’m committed to creating the life, business, success, and happiness that I want and deserve, and I know that The Miracle Morning is setting me on the right track for that.
If you think The Miracle Morning might be something you’re interested in, check it out here on Amazon. Read some of the reviews and you might just be inspired like I was. (Just so you know, that is an affiliate link. It costs you absolutely nothing extra, but if you shop on Amazon using my link, I get a little bonus for sending you their way. So, thank you for that!)
Wrapping it Up
What’s your morning routine? Do you have any productivity or energy hacks? Like I said, I’m constantly looking for new ways to get on top of my game, and I’m super interested in this morning routine stuff lately. I’d love to hear from you in the comments what you do or if you have any questions about what I’m currently doing. It’s something I’m thinking about constantly lately and would love to talk to as many people as I can about it!