Miracle Morning - Throw Starfish Episode 002
Welcome to Podcast Throw Starfish Episode 002: Miracle Morning...all about our experiences with this really interesting 'start to the day' routine!
I first came across the 'Miracle Morning' when Pennie challenged a group of us to try it for 10days for a project she'd been playing around with.
To understand what it was all about I started off by finding it on Blinkist, to get the overview and key points so I could have a go...and then later went on to listen to all of Hal Elrod's book on Audible. No disrespect to Hal, I think the model he's created is great and have found it really useful, but I can't say I enjoyed the full version of the book; it's written...how do I put this...in a certain style, that could, perhaps conform to the stereotype of the American 'Self-help' / 'Get Rich' way of doing things!
I also absolutely, categorically, fundamentally disagree with his views on Sleep and the claims on how much you can get away without having, it's utter bollocks...and he should listen to our Podcast interview with James Wilson 'The Sleep Geek' to get the truth about the importance of one of the most important things in your life from someone who knows what they're talking about!
To understand what I mean you can watch this 4min video made by the author on the technique:
The good news is, we reckon you can get all you need to start having a go at your version of the MM by listening to our #002 Podcast and reading our three blogs...
So where to begin...
The MM advises that you start morning by setting yourself the night before ready for the morning...and I'd definitely subscribe to that. I think about the time I'm setting my alarm for and walk myself through a technique I got from The Chimp Paradox, the '1-2-3-4-5 Count'.
I don't know about you, but my mind is good for nothing while fighting it's way through from slumber...it doesn't understand a thing! So I set up this really simple step-by-step how to get my arse out of bed count by imagining each stage: on 1 I sit up in bed, on 2 I force my eyes to open (sometimes I have to do this one at a time and it can often take multiple attempts), 3 is duvet off, 4 is shuffle to the end of the bed and 5 is stand up. It might sound overly simple, but it's all my befuddled and clueless brain can cope with first thing!
All of this has the goal one objective to get me in to my day...not all of it, not so that I start thinking about everything that needs doing or might happen, but to the interim step of the MM: drink a pint of water and brush your teeth. Those 5 steps are so much easier and I find it much less daunting getting up, when all I'm setting out to achieve is hydration and minty fresh mouth!
I was already totally sold on this bit of the process, as I'd actually been meditating since the start of the year (2016). Meditation and Mindfulness (Episode #006 of our Podcast) are words that always seem come with a lot of preconceptions where people perceive there needs to be some (or a quite deep) level understanding of what they're doing, but there really doesn't and I'd highly recommend (and regularly do) Headspace for this.
It's an App (you get a full ten part course for free when you download it) and it takes you through what you have to do, in really straight forward, practical term, with beautifully animated short videos that help build your understanding along the way...all while getting the benefits from the very first session.
Incantations / Positive Affirmations
I first came across these in a pretty awful book I bought from a charity shop in my second year at University in Coventry.
It really was as bad as it looks, but the one thing I took from it (a bargain considering it cost 50p) came from the 1st Step on page one...the idea that the attitude you have towards and the way you think your health affects it; the authors line to repeat to yourself was "I have no serious physical defect: my body is fundamentally sound".
Which is a bit odd, but it got me thinking...
From this simple and somewhat awkward statement I developed my first affirmation which (has changed and evolved over the years, but) I still use today:
I then went on to create a full suite of them, for everything I can think of. I find them hugely beneficial and every time I come across something I don't like about myself / want to change I draft a new incantation. Here are some examples of some others I have developed over the years:
I also read through my Values and Beliefs, which I created as part of the My Life Program that I did with Pennie when we first started working together, with Hoppipolla by Sigur Ros playing over my Headphones as I do (BBC Planet Earth images occasionally appearing in my mind) to help anchor them even deeper! The run time on this track is 4m40secs, which also helps keep me going along at a good pace.
Quick consideration: It does take time to write and develop incantations / positive affirmations, sure you can find all manner of examples online like these in this Huffington Post article, but they're often pretty cheesey!
In our Podcast Ruth suggests reading a favourite quote or poem for this section to start with, which I love; it's a great place to start, as it does take time to write and develop your own set of incantations / positive affirmations.
This is the one that top athletes use all the time and forms part of some of the Leadership Training I deliver. It's all about picturing your goals, what you want..."Starting with the end in mind" as Covey would say. So every morning I take myself to a place where whatever I want to happen is already happening and Imagine it in as vivider detail as I can...the colours, the sights, the sounds, tastes, smells...I walk around and feel how great it is to be there...make it as real as possible.
What's the point of this...well the likes of 'The Secret' and other, similar opinions on life will try and tell you that in doing this the Universe will conspire to bring you these things, often, seemingly on a plate as if by magic. I don't subscribe to that! What it does do is it enable you to use conscious mind to wield the power of your un-/sub-conscious mind, by focusing it on what you desire. And in doing that it will start to throw up and create opportunities to take you closer to achieving it.
What do you imagine?
Simple, just ask yourself the question: 'What do I desire?'
This one seems a pretty obvious one as we all know we're suppose to do it, but I often find it tricky to fit in to my life! So I define my MM by doing the first 3 parts and then usually fit the other bits in at different times for the rest of my day.
Episode #009 is all about each of experiences with Exercise. I integrate walking into my day by walking places and using my prototype/make shift Exercise-bike Desk (it's amazing what you can get from a Charity Shop for £5)! When I have enough time to make it part of my morning routine I do press-ups, pull-ups and sit-ups.
I do quite a bit of reading online each day, articles on things I'm interested in, keeping up to date and informed on different areas and researching projects. When I do make reading part of a full 6 Part MM I usually use Blinkist, a brilliant App that has 1,500+ of the best-selling non-fiction books, that have been transformed into powerful shorts (read by someone and summarised) so that you can read (or listen to) them in just 15 minutes.
I've kept a Journal / Diary on and off since I was maybe 15/16 and although I don't manage it as often as I'd like, I do find it hugely beneficial when I do. I find it's a great way of getting things off your chest, discovering things about yourself you aren't fully aware of and just generally getting a better understanding of the way you really think and feel about things!
I'm not going to suggest how you should do this as that's really up to you. I've hand written mine, typed it and am currently experimenting dictating it, using speech-to-text. What I will say though is that I rarely do this at the start of my day...finding it much more useful doing it at the end of the day as it helps me wind down, quieten my mind and close off the day.
MM suggests including 'gratitude statements' as part of this section and although they do feel a little odd (and cheesey) to me...I think they can be a really important part of reprogramming and focusing your mind on, as Johnny Mercer & The Pied Pipers would say, 'accentuating the positive'.
I don't manage it every day, but have (at the time of writing) recently just reached my 100th Miracle Morning and do think it is a brilliant way to start your day...or perhaps more accurately, has 6 really important things that really benefit being made part of ones day.