This is going to be my year!
Said Adam (me), every year, for 20+ years.
Especially in the last few years since becoming a dream chasing, entrepreneur in October of 2010. I have always had big dreams. I’d say my dreams are bigger now than they were in the past. I would also say that I am much more confident in achieving those dreams today than I was in the past as well.
Every year I have big goals.
Every year I come up short.
Not a defined plan, no clarity, lack of focus/vision, not chunking down the goals and laziness are some of the reasons I came up short in years past. I take 100% of the responsibility. I am the only one to blame.
There was a popular study conducted on the 1979 Hardvard MBA program that proves the power of writing your goals down. It’s a fascinating study and highly recommend checking it out. That link is to an article about the study, not a bunch of boring “study speak/language”.
I’ve read about that study a few times over the years, but still have never written my goals down.
I always thought — My goals are in my head. I don’t need to “review” them. I don’t need to read them out loud. I can do it my way and still get results.
I was wrong.
It took me a long time to realize that.
I now write a letter to myself each month. It’s a letter from the future, the first day of the following month. So at the beginning on March, I will write a letter dated April 1, 2015.
In the letter to myself, I talk about the 3-5 goals I accomplished from the previous month. This is “chunking down” my yearly goals. I then read the letter out loud every morning to myself. This really helps me stay focused on what I am aiming for. The reading out loud part just makes such a difference, too.
Give it a shot, I bet it will help you out as well.
A Life Changing Book
I read a book at the end of December that changed my life.
A bold claim, I know, but let me explain…
I started reading the The Miracle Morning: The Not-So-Obvious Secret Guaranteed to Transform Your Life (Before 8AM) at the end of 2014.
I cannot recommend the book enough. Buy it, read it, take the 30 day challenge and if you don’t see radical changes, let me know and I’ll refund you the price of the book.
The plan was to have it finished by January 1st, so that I could start off this year with some momentum.
Like I set out to do every year, but this year, it was going to be different.
How This Year Was Going to be Different
This year I was going to track my progress.
This year I was going to publicly talk about it, to hold myself accountable and inspire other to follow along.
This year I had a plan and a vision. A vision to do something great, something beyond myself and my family.
This year I was committed to creating the best year ever.
I didn’t actually start my Miracle Mornings on January 1st, but did on January 5th. That was the first Monday of the year, so it made sense. There are a ton of people in the Facebook group with the same “start date”, so that certainly helps. We all started the journey on the same date.
So, I guess, in a way, I wasn’t off to the best start.
Today, was my 42nd consecutive day practicing the Miracle Morning. For 6 weeks, I have woke up earlier than normal (about 60 – 90 minutes before I used to wake up) to complete my morning ritual. There have been a couple days I slept in on a weekend, but typically stick to it on Saturdays & Sundays as well.
42 days X 6 daily habits = 242 total daily habits
I have completed all 242 of them.
I have not missed a single one.
I am damn proud of that.
This is now part of my daily routine. It is now a habit of mine, a very good one, that I am extremely proud of.
My girlfriend would call it an obsession.
And she would be right.
I track every single thing on a spreadsheet that sits on the kitchen table. I have to do it old school with pen and paper. Something about checking off each box each and everyday helps me. It creates a chain of ‘X’ marks. A chain I don’t want to break, once I get a few in a row.
Very similar to this website, which was inspired by Jerry Seinfield.
I also track everything because…
You cannot improve what you don’t measure
What is the Miarcle Morning
It is a book my friend Conrad told me about for months. I finally listened to his advice, picked up a copy and implemented it. Not many books do I read AND implement. Actually, to be honest, probably only a small handful of books do I read and implement.
This book was different.
Hal Elrod, the author of the book, teaches his morning routine/ritual that he developed over the years. He recommends getting up an hour earlier, and practice what he calls, S.A.V.E.R.S.
S — Silence (sit in silence for 5 minutes)
A — Affirmations (read aloud affirmations)
V — Visualize (visualize the life you want)
E — Exercise (do some form of exercise)
R — Read (pick up a book and read)
S — Scribe (writing in a daily journal your thoughts, dreams, struggles, etc.)
This is typically done before you do anything else, but you can tailor it to fit your schedule.
I try my best to complete all six of my SAVERS before Ava wakes up. Some days, she gets up early. I have to push off exercise, but it works out to my benefit as you’ll see below 🙂
This is what I start with. I like to sit at the kitchen table and read while drinking a cup of coffee. I have to have my morning coffee, although I plan to eliminate that (caffeine) in March.
I have been reading 2 books/month since November. This new routine keeps me on that same pace, but can see myself reading 3 on some months.
Well, not everything, as that would take hours/weeks/months 🙂
I also write 5 things I am grateful for. I have been doing this daily since last May. It is not easy, but an extremely effective exercise. Give it a shot.
Coming up with 5 things each and everyday is difficult. There are repeats, but I try to add as many new ones as I can.
Gratitude makes us happier, makes people like us, makes us healthier, strengthens our emotions and here are 27 other reasons why gratitude can change your life.
I can be loud when doing my affirmations, so I do them in my car. Remember, it is around 6 am, so some people are still sleeping.
I really like to say these with conviction. I really “feel” what I am saying when I read these aloud. I really like this exercise.
I also review my goals for the month as this time, too. I read the letter I wrote to myself out loud after my affirmations.
I recline the seat back a bit, close my eyes and breathe. I really focus on my breathing, like they talk about in meditation.
When I breathe in, I say “I Love Myself” (I got this from an excellent book called Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends On It)
When I exhale, I usually say something like, “God is Good”. Or I just let go of the other thoughts I have.
I have tried meditating over the years and just find I can never get my brain to slow down. A lot of times it seems like a carnival in there and I can never get it to “calm down”. This breathing exercise has really helped me.
By far, my favorite part of the SAVERS. I have always been a dreamer, so this one comes naturally to me. This is a fun one, but a lot of people in the Facebook group seem to struggle with this one.
I am still sitting in my car and put an ink pen in my mouth.
You can watch a video of this “happiness hack” here.
I do this as it forces me to smile. I sit back and envision all kinds of things. I think about all my goals, as if I already accomplished them. I try and use all my senses and really “feel” it. I don’t want to get all new age on you, so I’ll leave it at that.
I have a routine that I “dream-walk” myself through. It starts early, like that day/week and goes forward, 3 to 6 months out. I never really think anything long-term (over a year). Maybe I should, I just don’t at this time.
Here are some of the things I visualize…
- Laughing, smiling and being happy
- Walking tall, confident and my head held high
- Doing what is right, now what is easy (something Hal talks about in the book)
- My clients calling me thanking me for transforming their business
- Sharing stories of how their spouse was able to quit his/her job because the client makes enough to support the family
- How they now have enough money to put little Johnny or Susie into private school
- How they can spend more time with their family/loved ones as they have more freedom
- Other entrepreneurs calling/emailing me about how they quit their jobs
- Writing checks to a few non-profits here in Las Vegas
- I visualize writing exact dollar amounts and handing them the checks
- I visualize the feeling I get when handing them those checks
- Writing checks to some family members
- I visualize exactly where I sit when writing the check, dropping the checks off in the mail and our conversations on the phone
- Giving the keys to my car to my parents (they only have one car, although that is by choice and said they don’t want my car). I still visualize it as it has always been a goal of mine. I’ve always wanted to pay their house off, but they do not have a mortgage.
- Meeting Dave Ramsey and screaming “I’m Debt Free!” at his radio studio in Brentwood, TN
There are some days where I don’t get my walk (exercise) until the afternoon. When I miss my morning walks, I try my best to take ones in the afternoon with Ava. This ends up working out for both of us as we both enjoy it. Although, I know I get more out of it 🙂
I find walking in the mornings is a great way to wake up. It’s also a great time to think about what I want to accomplish for the day ahead.
I have taken little 20 minute walks for years and find them to be incredibly powerful. So peaceful and calming. I absolutely love them, although some mornings were cold, even in Vegas.
Here is a power on the brain after a 20 minute walk…
I try and do everything in the morning, as there is no better feeling than completing all the above before 6:30 am. I used to wake up at 6:30-7, so have all this done by then is absolutely amazing to me.
Miracle Morning Ripple Effect
Since I track my morning ritual on my spreadsheet, I added some daily habits to track. This has really helped me “stay the course” and add more positive, healthy habits to my life.
Since starting the Miracle Mornings, I have
- Quit smoking
- Have not eaten fast food
- Taken a daily walk everyday
- Write my goals out monthly and read them aloud daily
- Cut out sweets on 2/1 — I have always had a sweet tooth, so this is BIG
- Do not eat after 8 pm
30 Day Challenges
I have also started other 30 day challenges as I am a personal development nut. The thing is, I did the 30-day challenge for the Miracle Mornings, but am on day #42. I am finding these 30 day challenges are just the beginning of new habits for me.
I am on day #38 of planking. I started off doing 20 seconds day #1, which was much harder than I thought it would be. I gradually increase the duration. I am currently doing it for 3 and a half minutes each day now. It is very hard to do.
I am on day #28 of hand writing sales letters. This is something famous copywriter Gary Halbert recommended doing to improve your writing. I think writing copy/persuasively is such a valuable skill. Once learned, you can write your own ticket (pun intended).
I am on day #2 of taking cold showers. This is where I take a 5 minute, cold shower. No jumping out early or turning the water to warm/hot.
I read about this awhile back, but never did anything with it. Last night, I stumbled upon another blog post about it, watched this Ted Talk and immediately went upstairs and jumped in the (cold) shower. It wasn’t as bad as I thought.
This morning was cold shower #2 and was much more difficult, for some reason. I delayed my shower for a good 20 minutes as I was finding anything to avoid the 5 minutes under the ice cold water.
This will become a habit of mine, and I actually look forward to it.
One of the most common habits among Fortune 500 CEOs have is that they wake up early. Typically, they all have a morning routine.
Tony Robbins calls it the Hour of Power.
Steve Jobs started every morning by asking himself ONE question;
For the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?”
And whenever the answer has been no for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.
Science says that willpower is highest in the morning, so start strong.
Do you have a morning routine? if so, has it made a big difference in personal and business life?
**Disclaimer: Links included in this post are affiliate links, which means I will make a commission if you purchase something. It’s literally pennies on the dollar, so I will not be retiring anytime soon from this.