It’s no secret that I love rising early and it turns out that I’m not the only one. According to Hal Elrod, author of The Miracle Morning, many of the world’s greatest influencers—Oprah Winfrey, Bill Gates, Albert Einstein, and Aristotle to name a few—also practice(d) this life-changing ritual.
Even though each person’s morning ritual may be unique as dictated by individual needs, Elrod stresses that morning rituals should have six critical elements: silence (meditation), affirmation/visualization, exercise, reading and writing. Some people may wish to spend more time in silence, while others may prefer to read or write more. Some people, like myself, might prefer to incorporate listening to an audiobook or reading an eBook into their exercise routine. Whatever you decide, it is critical to ensure your morning ritual includes all six elements in one form or another. They are like the ingredients in a magic recipe that fulfill your emotional, psychological, and physical needs.
I started my power hour ritual after the birth of my daughter. I was not one of those fortunate mothers whose baby slept through the night. In fact, during my daughter’s first three years, I was up several times each night! Even putting her down for a nap was a challenge. I was, therefore, craving some alone time like any sane parent would. That’s when I started looking for any moment from which I could carve out time for myself. As luck would have it, the only true block of time available was early morning—from 4 to 5 am. Since I was already in the habit of waking up at 5 am to have coffee with my husband, this was a relatively slight adjustment to my normal morning routine.
Now, you may be saying to yourself, “Okay, that’s crazy! There’s no way I would get up at that ridiculous hour!” I get it. However, for me, it was essential that I had that personal time. This was so important to me that I was willing to sacrifice a bit of sleep. Since I woke up with a purpose and accomplished important personal goals, I became increasingly energized by the process. Incidentally, I did manage to sleep longer on the weekend.
However, the key message here is that by adopting this power hour habit, it is possible to accomplish many things that are of importance to you. By starting your own morning power hour ritual, you will have the time to start meaningful projects, read inspiring books, and grow. This routine will be at the heart of what energizes you and gives you the fuel to push through the day. It will allow you to gain some control over your precious time and increase your overall happiness. In other words, your morning power hour will elevate you and allow you to tackle whatever life throws your way.
Finally, there is nothing preventing you from adjusting your morning routine to suit your changing needs. I, for one, prefer to start some mornings by journaling and then moving straight on to reading. Other mornings I skip my meditation practice to have a longer writing session. Still other mornings, I prefer to meditate and go straight to the treadmill. The idea here is not to be militant with your morning routine, but rather allow it to fulfill your inner self-cultivating needs to help you flourish and grow. Just as your body will tell you when you need certain vitamins and minerals, so too will your mind tell you when you need to recalibrate with meditation, etc. Listen to your inner voice and adjust your routine accordingly.
Here are some simple things you can do to rise and shine and make the most of your morning power hour:
1. Stop using the snooze button. Place your alarm clock away from the bed so you are forced to get out of bed to turn it off.
2. Before going to bed, tell yourself that you will wake up fresh and rested. According to Adrianna Huffington, author of Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder, this is a way of “tricking” your brain into a more restful night’s sleep.
3. Wake up with a purpose. Each night, plan what you will read, write and do during your power hour.
4. As soon as you get out of bed, brush your teeth and drink a full glass of water. This will help you wake up and replenish lost fluids.
Tip: If you do not want to wake up your partner, wear a Fitbit on your wrist and program the silent alarm function accordingly. It works like a charm – but don’t forget to get out of bed!
If you are an early riser like me, what special morning routine helps you kick start your day? Do you have a ritual? What benefits have you noticed from your early morning routine?
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