Exactly one year ago, I started a morning routine that has become an integral part of who I am. I got the idea from a life-changing book called The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod. One year later, I can honestly say that implementing this daily routine has been the second best decision I have ever made (the best decision was to marry my wife, obviously)!
I always start my morning by simply sitting in silence for a few minutes. Some days I sit for five minutes, other days I might sit for 30 minutes. The goal is to simply let my brain roam wherever it wants. This silence is golden because it allows my brain to process and filter everything about the past, present, and future without any interruptions.
After sitting silently, I read affirmations I have created over the past year. I have affirmations for my wife, my kids, my health, and all of my life “accounts”. These affirmations have evolved as I have evolved. For instance, my current affirmations for my wife include, “I will LOVE her unconditionally, without judgement, and without expectations of anything in return. LOVE is a verb, and I will LOVE her as much as I possibly can, and then some more. She gave me the two greatest gifts I have ever received, and I am forever grateful.” By reading through these affirmations every morning, I put gratitude at the front of my mind. I also focus on my priorities, which are significantly more important than my responsibilities.
I then try to visualize the futures in each of my life “accounts.” The Mrs. and I are 80 years old, sitting on our front porch with a cup of coffee, planning out our day. The Boy and The Girl are coming home with their kids to spend the holiday with us. I’m still exercising every day and running circles around people half my age. By visualizing regularly, we can create an energy/power that aligns our actions with our ideal futures.
Next, I read. I’ve read some amazing books this past year, including The Happiness Advantage, Think and Grow Rich, The Millionaire Next Door, The Slight Edge, You are a Badass, Choose Yourself, Share Your Work, The One Thing, and about 50 other books, blogs and websites that I will share with you on a Resources page soon. All of these books and resources have changed the way I think in one way or another. The stimulation provided by these resources has motivated me to do things I never even thought about just one year ago. For instance, I’m now writing a book about all of this, in addition to writing a few children’s books, and I created a podcast because…why not?
After reading, and while reading, I write. I busted out a composition book like you would use for school, and I started writing every day. These days I start by writing about a positive experience from the previous 24 hours. I then write notes about what I’m reading. Recently I’ve added the practice of writing down 10 ideas every morning to flex my “idea muscle” as James Altucher puts it. When I first started writing every day, I didn’t know what the hell to write about, so I would just write whatever came to mind. Here is my first entry from exactly one year ago:
5/11/16–Time keeps on slipping, slipping, slipping into the future. Just tried to visualize the kids as teenagers and adults. Last night, they were running through the house like mad people as music blared. Amelia screamed excitement at the top of her lungs a couple times, and I had a vision of her being in high school at a party or somewhere with her friends and just screaming at the top of her lungs a an expression of her overwhelming excitement and appreciation of the moment. How do I help create a space where that same excitement from last night is evident frequently? They are such great kids! They are funny, silly, care-free, yet respectful. I want to bottle this up and be able to present it to them when they might be having a bad day down the line.
And this is my entry from this morning:
5/11/17–If we rely on/make the mistake of using responsibilities as our weekly foundation, we are susceptible to collapse. Our base is weak. It’s like the little pigs using straw and sticks to build their houses. The big, bad wold (life) will come blow it down. Priorities are like bricks though. Actually, they’re more like iron and steel. They can withstand the big, bad wolf and so much more. The wolf will come around, or there will be an earthquake (stress, overwhelm). Will my foundation be strong enough?
-But life is very short and anxious for those who forget the past, neglect the present, and fear the future. When they come to the end of it, the poor wretches realize too late that for all this time they have been preoccupied in doing nothing. — Seneca
-We rob ourselves of joy and happiness when we stop and check in with what everyone else is thinking and saying about us. — Dashoma
The best thing about writing every day is looking back through my writing, which I try to do every month or so. It’s great to re-live trips we’ve taken, funny moments, memorable days, great quotes I’ve come across, and the day-to-day things we often take for granted. I also like the idea of my kids one day going through all of my old composition books and really understanding who I was, though my goal is to make sure my actions speak louder than my words between now and then.
I finish my morning routine/daily practice with a workout. I usually do a 30-minute Beachbody workout, alternating between high intensity training, weight-lifting, and yoga. I try to look at my workouts as preventative maintenance as much as keeping myself fit and strong. At 41 years old, every health decision I make (what I eat/drink, whether I work out or not) will have either positive results or negative consequences down the line. I don’t just want to live a long life, I want to physically be able to do everything up until the end of my long life!
This past year has been the best year of my life in so many ways. I am healthier and happier than I have ever been. I am at peace with the world like I have never been. I am perfectly content with who I am, while simultaneously knowing that I am a constant work in progress.
I hope that by sharing my routine with you, and by sharing the value I receive from the routine, it might inspire you to start down a similar path. I look forward to reading all about it one year from now!