In my last months article, “My Personal Recipe To Become More Successful”, I wrote about how limited thinking can hinder the level of success. As a result, my new years resolution is all about creating a better version of myself. One of the things I wanted to work on specifically, was to create a new morning routine. This is why I created this miracle morning challenge for myself to see what happens when I take advantage of the early morning.
My miracle morning challenge
My observations in the past showed me simply that I didn’t have the energy to work on my side projects after work. After sitting and designing in front of the screen for 8h at the office, my brain just couldn’t function at home anymore.
After work, I usually go to my sports club or hit the gym and I come home at 10 o’clock. I then start to make dinner and by the time I finish, it is almost 11.30pm…at that point, it is hard to find any energy to get any work done.
One day I came across “The Miracle Morning” by Hal Elrod. His book didn’t reveal anything new, but I really got inspired by his personal story and the way he packaged his findings. His personal morning routine consisted of 6 exercises which each one taking up only 10 minutes.
Finding the motivation to get up early
I’ve been doing it for over a month now and wanted to share my experience.
But before diving into the tips, I believe there is one important thing to consider first: The main reason why I see most people struggling with getting up early, is simply that most have no reason to wake up early.
In order to wake up early, you need to have a strong motivation to get you out of bed. If you hate your job, then your motivation is maybe to work on your portfolio to find a different job. Or, like in my case, to build a side hustle that could potentially replace your salary.
You need a purpose that get’s you so excited every morning, so you can’t even fall asleep the night before. Imagine when you were a kid during Christmas time. Weren’t you so excited to open the presents at Christmas morning? Wasn’t it absolutely painful for you to fall asleep? Didn’t you get up super early and woke up your parents at 5:00AM to finally open your presents?
THIS is the feeling you need to recreate!
My first month waking up at 5:00AM
To track the progress of my miracle morning challenge, I created a simple table to track when I got up early, when I struggled and when I kept sleeping.
X = woke up at 5.00 am
X* = almost gave up, woke up at 6.00am
O = no alarm clock, woke up when body was recharged.
The First week
Probably in contrast to others, my first week was actually great! I got super excited about starting this new project (my vinabrew project at the time) and I felt energized. Of course I was tired but the excitement level was greater than the pain.
The Second Week
The pain slowly took over. It is really hard to keep a high excitement level consistently. Since I’m going to training about 4 times a week, my body barely had time to recover and I almost gave up. As a result, I decided to modify my plan and turned off the alarm clock just for the weekend.
The Third Week
During the third week, my body was adapting and waking up early, slowly became a habit. I still felt tired in the morning but it was easier to overcome. To my surprise, I started to feel bad whenever I wouldn’t get up at 5:00AM because I didn’t get this feeling of accomplishment. Interesting…
3 things that helped me to get up early
Over the time, I developed some strategies to win the fight with my body and to become awake much more easily:
1. I put the alarm clock out of reach
I used to have my Smartphone next to my bed because I used to read articles before going to sleep.
With my “new” routine, I now put my Smartphone across the room and read a physical book or on my kindle instead.
By putting my phone far away, I’m forced to move myself out of bed to turn it off. This can be super annoying in the morning but it does the job.
By getting out of bed I put myself in motion which makes me half awake already.
2. I drank a big glass of water
I put the water next to my phone to hook this new habit with the old one of turning off the alarm.
Preparing the water is key. If you have to go to the kitchen in the morning to get water, you probably won’t do it. It’s too much effort.
What I also like is, to put a slice of lemon or mint in the water. This will give you a fresh breath in the morning and it also tastes good.
3. I want straight to the bathroom
After turning off the alarm and drinking the water, I usually go to the bathroom to brush my teeth. After this little ritual I’m usually fully awake and ready for my miracle morning routine.
Here is my personal morning routine
When I started a month ago, I tried to implement the techniques from the “Miracle Morning” which consisted of 6 exercises (each for 10 min.):
But after a few days, It felt too stressful for me and I caught myself watching the clock all the time to switch activities. Hence, I reduced the amount of activities and adjusted the timing so I had enough time to think and reflect.
My current activities include:
- Meditation 15 min
- Reading 15 min
- Exercise 10min
- Journaling 15 min
It is important to listen to your mind and body to see what works. Everyone is different and therefore everyone can have a different miracle morning routine.
The first thing on my list was meditation. Meditation was never really on my radar, but after a lot of successful people described it as a powerful tool, I decided to give it a try. Since I started with meditation, I’ve notice some small improvements regarding the noise in my head. Maybe it is just an illusion, but I feel that my mind calms down more easily, which gives me headspace to focus on important things. To get started, I used the Headspace App.
“Not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are readers.” – Harry S. Truman
After my meditation session, I usually grab a book which I placed in reaching distance. I was never a big reader at school because the lack of interest. But my biggest excuse after school, was that I never had the time during a busy work day to sit down and read. But with my new miracle morning challenge, I had no excuse anymore. As part of my new years resolution, I wanted to finish at least 6 books around business and personal growth. This is one book every two months.
Now I quite enjoy reading in the morning because it is so quiet. No distraction, no email, no people, no phone calls. Just focus. I also started to look into the techniques of speed-reading, which is an amazing skill to have, but super hard to master.
After doing something for my mind, it was time to activate my body. I usually do 4 exercises with each exercise for about 30 seconds in one round. 5 Rounds equals a 10-minute mini workout with no break in between. If you feel that 10 minutes are still too long, start with 5 min. A very useful App I can recommend is Interval Timer. After my 10 min. workout I quickly jump into the shower. I use to switch between warm and cold water (10 sec.) to strengthen my immune system. If you haven’t been awake yet, then THIS will do 😉
After the shower my mind and body were relaxed and ready for the last activity. But before I started with journaling, I usually prepared my morning coffee. I love grinding coffee beans and making a V60 in the morning because of the smell. It makes me happy and relaxed. The idea of keeping a journal came to me after reading Richards Branson autobiography. He always kept a journal with his ideas or took notes of his meetings or thoughts. For the start, it is not important to think too much about what to write. Free Flow journaling is totally fine to get into the habit.
“Writing are thoughts crystallized on paper” – Tim Ferris
My takeaways from my miracle morning challenge
By the end of all my activities, it was roughly 6:00AM for me and I still had 2 hours before going to work. I still had plenty of time to take a crack on my side project.
During the first month, I managed to create a new personal blog and worked on my first product. I honestly don’t believe that I would have been able to achieve this with my old mentality.
Waking up early has become a highlight of my day and I get excited every morning to work on my personal projects.