This series, curated by Brian Johnson, founder of PhilosophersNotes, features big ideas from leading thinkers on a wide range of personal-development topics. Find his summary video of “The Miracle Morning” (free!) below.
When Hal Elrod was 20 years old, a drunk driver hit his car head-on at 80 miles per hour. He was clinically dead for six minutes. Revived in the rescue helicopter rushing him to a hospital, Elrod spent the next six days in a coma. When he finally awoke, his doctors told him he had suffered brain damage and might never walk again. But he defied the odds and went on to build a successful career in sales and motivational speaking.
When the global recession hit, however, he found himself deeply in debt. He battled depression — and even contemplated suicide.
Then, with the help of a friend, he began to use a regular morning ritual — what he calls “The Miracle Morning” — to help set the stage for a joyful and productive day. He found that the six personal-development practices improved his motivation and honed his focus, pulling him out of his funk completely. Now he’s helping others discover how this practice can change their lives.
If you’ve been looking to jump-start your life — or simply take it to the next level — there’s no better place to start than by dialing in your morning routine. Elrod’s book is a great guide to helping you discover the “not-so-obvious secrets” to rocking your day before 8 a.m.
Good Stories Inspire Change
Elrod shares the story of his head-on -collision to motivate us to meet our own lives head-on. He hopes his story is like any great hero’s journey — one that inspires us to overcome our own obstacles and write our own life stories.
“It is crucial for us to embrace the perspective that anything another person has overcome or accomplished is simply evidence that anything — and I mean anything — we need to overcome or want to accomplish is possible for us, no matter what our past or current circumstances,” he writes.
“It begins with accepting total responsibility for every aspect of your life and refusing to blame anyone else. The degree to which you accept responsibility for everything in your life is precisely the degree of personal power you have to change or create anything in your life.”
Elrod encourages us to see every day as an opportunity to live our lives with enthusiasm rather than running away in helplessness. He knows no good story is complete without a hero who overcomes challenges. In fact, the bigger the challenges, the better the story!
There are no limits to where your story goes from here; you get to decide what the next page says.
An A.M. Ritual
Mornings present an opportunity for turning the page and setting the tone for the day, because we often have more control over them than we do our afternoons or evenings. It’s an ideal time to set intentions and create the presence we need for the rest of the day — and the rest of our lives.
If your morning is rushed and chaotic, you are already behind for the day. If your mornings are stressful, then your days tend to be stressful, and then your weeks, your months, and your life follow suit.
“How you wake up each day and your morning routine (or lack thereof) dramatically affect your levels of success in every single area of your life,” Elrod explains.
“Focused, productive, successful mornings generate focused, productive, successful days — which inevitably create a successful life — in the same way that unfocused, unproductive, and mediocre mornings generate unfocused, unproductive, and mediocre days, and ultimately a mediocre quality of life. By simply changing the way you wake up in the morning, you can transform any area of your life, faster than you ever thought possible.”
Want to have a great day — and life? Start by having great mornings!
Mornings give you time — whether it’s six or 60 minutes — to implement a selection of life-changing practices that enhance your physical, intellectual, emotional, and spiritual development.
Elrod refers to the following morning practices as “Life S.A.V.E.R.S.” He suggests you do at least a little bit of each one before you kick the rest of your day into high gear:
- Silence. Meditation, prayer, or any other type of contemplative practice allows you to connect with something larger than yourself.
- Affirmations. Mantras are tools of the mind that affirm our capabilities.
- Visualization. We need to “see” what we want to bring into our lives before we can create it.
- Exercise. The benefits of movement — including boosting your mood — are innumerable.
- Reading. Turn off the television, disconnect from the Internet, and tune in to some higher wisdom.
- Scribing. Document what you’re excited about in your life.
These daily rituals allow us to slow down, take time for contemplation, think more clearly, and concentrate more effectively. Life savers, indeed.
Create New Habits
Elrod’s “Life S.A.V.E.R.S.” are tools that help us build new habits, which are essential because habits drive our lives. “You must identify, implement, and maintain the habits necessary for creating the results you want in your life, while learning how to let go of any negative habits [that] are holding you back from achieving your true potential,” he notes.
Elrod’s book includes a helpful chapter outlining the three phases — each 10 days long — of habit creation. In the first phase, the new habit is unbearable. It’s a pain. We don’t like doing it, but we persist.
The second phase is uncomfortable. It’s not quite as painful as the first phase, but not awesome either.
The third phase is when we become unstoppable. We feel the benefits of engaging in our new habits, and don’t need to use as much willpower to get ourselves to do them. We begin to hit our stride.
Adopting healthy habits helps us create the lives we want. And your best life starts by making the most of every morning.
About Hal Elrod
The best-selling author of The Miracle Morning: The Not-So-Obvious Secret Guaranteed to Transform Your Life . . . (Before 8AM), Hal Elrod is also a -renowned business achiever, a popular keynote speaker, one of America’s top success coaches, an ultramarathon runner, and a grateful husband and father.