Every time you choose to do the easy thing, instead of the right thing, you are shaping your identity, becoming the type of person who does what’s easy, rather than what’s right.
~Hal Elrod, The Miracle Morning
I guess I’ve been gone for a while – I intended to start writing regularly again in April but then life (my thesis) got in the way. It’s not an excuse, but that’s what happened. I almost stopped my creative writing altogether, apart from a few poems here and there. I played with the thought of writing new blog posts a few times, but the lack of things to write about, the lack of discipline and, I have to admit, plain laziness stopped me. Sometime in July I figured that enough was enough – I had to get my life back on track. And then I read this amazing book and everything seemed to fall into place.
The book I’m talking about is Hal Elrod’s The Miracle Morning. My sister and her boyfriend gave it to me for my birthday a while ago, and while I was away on holiday I dived into it. I finished it in two days (in between enjoying the sun and hiking) and just like when I started eating vegan, I was so enthusiastic again. The Miracle Morning is basically a ritual that shapes your morning (or afternoon, or evening, depending on when you do it). It consists of 6 different aspects: silence, affirmations, visualisation, reading, journaling and exercise. You can choose to do a short version of the morning ritual, by doing just 1 minute of all the different tasks, but generally people choose to do it for about an hour. What this ritual mainly provides you with is a greater focus on your purpose, which in turn helps you to go for it 100%. That’s just the short version (go read it!), but I was so intrigued that I wanted to give it a try. In fact – I couldn’t wait and didn’t want to, but I was away on holiday so to prevent myself from quitting after a few days, I decided to start on August 1st. Which was this morning. And I have to admit – it was harder than I thought. One of the things Elrod wrote about was the power of positive thinking, and how it really changes the way you feel things. I wanted to use that when I went to bed, as the book describes that the thought that you go to bed with, is the thought that’s on your mind when you wake up. So when I was setting my alarm clock for 6am the next morning (this morning) I tried to think – you still have more than 7 hours to sleep! You’ll be so well rested in the morning. However, when it got to, Hey, you still have 4 hours of sleep! I found it pretty hard to believe that I’d wake up full of energy. Sleeping has always been an issue for me but I didn’t want to give up on the first day. So when my alarm clock went off (set at 6am, 6.02 and 6.05 to make sure I would really get out of bed) I thought about the list I had made the day before. I had created a list with goals (both mental and physical) and also jotted down some values that were important to me. One thing I really wanted to work on was having discipline. And with that word in my mind, and everything set up in my room for my new ritual, I dragged myself out of bed. It was with the thought, “I’ll go back to bed when I’m done,” but at least I got up. And as it turned out, after my ritual I didn’t even want to go back to bed.
One of the things from the book that really stood out to me was when Hal Elrod talked about the process of getting up. He writes, “Why do you wake up most mornings? […] Is it because you want to? Or do you delay waking up until you absolutely have to?” He then talks about the fact that most people only get up because they have to “be somewhere, do something, answer to – or take care of – someone else”. I had never really thought about it before, but he’s right – in a way it doesn’t make sense to want to stay in bed. Yes, it may be cosy and comfortable, and yes, you may be tired, but if you want to (truly want to) pursue your goals and create the life you want, you have to want to get up in the morning. So that’s what I focused on this morning. I’ve given up so many times (the lack of blog posts the past few months being a painful reminder of that), but I wanted this time to be different. I got up, sat in silence for a few minutes, visualised who I needed to be to achieve my goals, did some positive affirmations (this still feels a bit odd, but it’s said that they work so I couldn’t ignore them any longer). After that, I did some journaling (maybe I can finally fill up an entire notebook instead of buying new ones all the time), finished a book that I was reading and then I dragged my butt to the gym. I still felt tired and had every intention to go back to bed afterwards, but once I was outside (it was now around 7am), did my workout in the gym and returned back home, I didn’t want to anymore. And as a result, I got so much done today. I took up bullet journaling a while ago, so yesterday, to prepare for my morning ritual, I created a list of all the things that needed to be done. And now that the day is coming to an end, I have done almost all of them. I had written down that I needed to write a blog post, and although I procrastinated a bit, the reminder in my journal that I need to be disciplined if I want this time to be any different from others, got me to open my laptop and just do it.
So here I am, on the first of August, ready to take on my life and create the one that I want. Like Hal Elrod, I want to …
… do what I ha[ve] never done before: to venture from my painfully comfortable realm of mediocrity – from which I operated my entire life – into the space of being extraordinary.