Skeptics, relax. Technically, this book does not require anyone to get up early. Hal Elrod's thesis is summed up with the title and subtitle of The Miracle Morning: The Not-So-Obvious Secret Guaranteed to Transform Your Life Before 8 AM. He acknowledges that not everyone keeps the same schedule. The point of the book is not when specifically we wake up, but what we do first thing in the morning, and whether we are taking initiative in our lives. We should listen to him because he clinically died, spent six days in a coma, and had a shattered pelvis, yet went on to, well, LIVE and run an ultra-marathon. If nothing else, this book is worth reading for the description of his survival after a drunk driver hit his car head-on. When someone with that many causes for complaint tells me that something is a good idea, I pay attention.
I am not a morning person. Neither is Hal Elrod. "Being a morning person" is a fixed-mindset concept, as though what we do in the morning is affected by our astrological sign or genetics. I have a major parasomnia disorder, so I know everything I want or need to know about having sleep issues and being chronically exhausted. I agree with Elrod that our attitude toward sleep deprivation has everything to do with how we react to it emotionally. We can convince ourselves that we're tired no matter how many hours of sleep we get, as Elrod demonstrates by experimenting on himself. We can also push through and get things done no matter how many hours of sleep we get. I'm here to say that we can also fix our chronic sleep problems if we decide to try. If I could beat night terrors, virtually everyone can beat other sleep issues and function in the morning.
What we need is a reason. That's what The Miracle Morning is really about. "When you delay waking up until you have to - meaning you wait until the last possible moment to get out of bed and start your day - consider that what you're actually doing is resisting your life." Hitting snooze is what we do when we don't want to get up, and we don't want to get up unless we think there's something worth getting up for, like changing the world. If the answer to that is bacon or coffee, then one would think that OMG YAY COFFEE or whatever would be one's first waking thought. (If I thought I had to get up, drink coffee, and put bacon anywhere near my mouth first thing tomorrow morning, I'd already be working on my escape plan, but that's just me). The first thing I do when I wake up is to get my parrot out of her sleeping cage, and the first thing she does is to stretch out and give me a kiss. Sometimes, when she hears me coming, she whistles or calls out "Hurry!" She's working on "Good morning!" I start my day half-dead from cute.
The Miracle Morning involves creating a routine for self-improvement. Cynicism is the knee-jerk reaction to this idea for many people who don't understand that self-improvement is world-improvement. When I direct my focus to trying to be a better listener and stop interrupting people, that makes me less annoying to others. When I work on organizing my schedule and my stuff with the specific purpose of not being the last one to get ready, especially on group backpacking trips, that makes me less annoying to others. If you want me to keep interrupting you and making you late, by all means, be a naysayer and tell me not to work on my self-improvement goals! Personal accountability is the keystone of Elrod's morning plan.
A morning plan ideally includes a routine for when to get up, what to eat and drink first thing, what to wear, and what to do before the regular workday. Meditation, inspirational reading, visualization and goal-setting, exercise, journaling, and gratitude practice are some examples from the book. Another keystone habit is the concept of "eating the frog," or getting the most important or dreaded task of the day out of the way before doing anything else.
I set my alarm to play "Sexy and I Know It" because even the first couple of notes make me laugh. What would make you start the day laughing? What could you do every morning that would make you feel, Hey, my favorite! What's on the list of things that get you out of bed with a smile even when you're really tired? What kind of morning would make other people jealous? Not everyone has a red-tailed, silver-feathered, golden-eyed Noelie to wake up to every day, but you probably have something. Or you could, if you visualize it and prioritize it.
I've been working with chronic disorganization, squalor, and hoarding for over 20 years. I'm also a marathon runner who was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and thyroid disease 17 years ago.