“Lose an hour in the morning, chase it all day.”
The first hour of every morning is our opportunity to lay the framework for an extremely productive day.
You know this, and I know this, but for some reason, most people end up sleeping in until the last possible second and letting the day slip by without even noticing.
Don't feel bad if this is you.
It wasn't until several years ago that I really started to take the process of morning domination seriously.
When I did, it changed everything for me.
- It helped me get into the best shape of my life.
- It helped me graduate college while working full time and raising my son.
- It helped me earn enough from my side hustles to quit my job.
- It helped me find a peace of mind I had never experienced.
In this article, I'm going to share a process with you called "The Miracle Morning," which was created by a man I hold in the highest regard possible, Hal Elrod.
Hal is the author of the book "The Miracle Morning: The Not-So-Obvious Secret Guaranteed to Transform Your Life (Before 8AM)"
The book is life changing, and I recommend you go beyond this article and read it in its entirety when you have the time, BUT this post will give you a quick overview of the key takeaways from the book.
After reading this post, IMMEDIATELY go and craft out your own miracle morning. Literally, with a pen and paper, write it down.
Don’t worry if it isn’t perfect right away; you’ll refine it as you go.
But before you do that, let me explain what the Miracle Morning is all about, what to consider including, and some tips on making sure you actually stick with it long enough to make it a lifelong habit that you actually look forward to like me!
The Miracle Morning Concept
The concept of the miracle morning is simple...
A miracle morning routine is a regimen of self-developmental tasks that you perform every morning first thing upon waking. It can range in duration, but the typical time is between 30 mins and 1 hour.
A quality miracle morning routine can and should result in...
- A better body
- More mental clarity
- Better peace of mind
- Mastery of skills (of your choosing)
- Improved productivity throughout the rest of your day
- More self esteem and confidence
- Increased earnings
Seriously. This isn’t BS; it’s nearly guaranteed IF you commit to not just doing it consistently but also doing it with 100% focus and effort.
A miracle morning routine breaks the morning up into short but laser focused tasks, and we cross them off in a ritualistic order as we complete them,
I’ll explain some of the different types of tasks we will do, but first, let me lay down the rules.
The Rules of the Miracle Morning
In order to get the most out of the miracle morning (and there is a lot to get from it), you need to abide by the following rules.
Please note that I do deviate just a little bit from the miracle morning process laid out by Hal Elrod in his book, but just barely.
Rule #1 Complete Your Routine at Least 5 Days a Week.
7 days is ideal, but I understand that many people do want to have the flexibility to stay out late on the weekends. I think that's perfectly normal and healthy, and the last thing I'd want to do is recommend you stay up until 1 AM and then still try to wake up at 5AM or 6AM and not get enough rest (which is another key point I'll get to shortly).
To create good habits, we need to avoid breaking the routine as much as possible.
Even on the weekends, if you do sleep in a bit, wake up and complete your miracle morning like you would Monday through Friday. You'll just start it when you wake instead of at the usual set time.
The power of the miracle morning lies in consistency. Without it, you’ll fall out of the habit. Time and the opportunity for growth will pass you by without you even realizing it.
Rule #2 Wake up at the Same Time each Day, but ALWAYS Get at Least 6 Hours of Sleep
Sleep deprivation has no part in the miracle morning process. It loses its power if it means sleep deprivation that will leave you without energy later in the day.
Considering this, getting to bed on time is just as important as (and often more difficult than) waking up on time.
"Sleep deprivation has no part in the miracle morning process"
The snooze button to me was easier to ignore than the desire to watch Netflix or stay awake browsing the internet at night.
"Morning" IS Relative
Depending on your schedule, your miracle morning might actually be at night. If you work a night shift, for instance, and you normally wake up at 10 PM to get to work by 11 PM, you could wake up an hour earlier at 9 PM to do your routine. Don't let your schedule keep you from creating a routine! Although there is something powerful about the early morning hours and working before the "rest of the world" is up and ready to distract you, the real power lies in the routine itself, not the time of day.
Which brings me to rule #3.
Rule #3 F*ck the Snooze Button and Hit the Floor the Second You Hear Your Alarm Ring
The option of hitting the snooze button needs to be completely removed from your mind.
When your alarm goes off, you wake up. Period.
This can be extremely difficult at first, but as is the case when forming any new habit, it gets easier.
Fight through it and know that waking up on time is going to eventually unlock the life of your dreams.
There is no productivity hack that outperforms the power of a ritualistic morning routine, so remember WHY you're waking up early. After a few days, you'll most likely become EXCITED about your routine starting.
Seriously, it is a commonality among committed MM followers.
Rule #4 Give the Activities TOTAL Focus, and Avoid ALL Other Distractions
Your morning routine should be devoid of ANYTHING but the tasks you have written down.
Things to avoid in your routine include things that open up a Pandora’s box of distractions like...
- Checking emails
- Reading texts/messages
- Scrolling social media
- Making or receiving phone calls
- Reading the news
My iPhone has a role in my routine, BUT I don’t let it distract me. You may want to get it as far out of site as possible if you can't resist it's siren's call.
I’ll explain how I use my phone in a minute, but if your routine doesn’t include it, just turn it off or on airplane mode while you complete your routine.
Rule #5 Make Routine at Least 30 Mins Long
I find 1 hour and 15 mins to be the ideal length, and there is no harm in going longer than this if you like.
Anything less than 30 mins doesn't leave you with much time to really check both the mind and body boxes.
Rule #6 Your Routine Is Just As Important as All Other Work
This is bold but true.
Commit to NEVER jumping into work before your routine. The routine IS work, and by doing it, you’ll get more out of everything that you do.
You can let yourself ignore the long to do list and deadlines. 1 Hour is not long enough to make a dent on any deadlines. If it is, you need to prioritize and plan you life better.
Rule #7 Plan Every Minute of Your Routine But Improve and Modify It Liberally
You should have no empty time planned on your routine.
If you want short breaks between tasks, plan them in. The key is to plan the routine, so you know with certainty if you completed your routine completely and on time.
I don't typically take breaks between tasks during my morning routine. This approach doesn't necessarily work over the entirety of a day, but for just over an hour, it is totally fine to skip breaks.
My Morning Routine
Your routine should be catered to your needs, but here is what mine looks like to give you a soft framework.
Note: I typically get to bed around 10 PM EST, which gives me a full 7 hours of sleep (assuming about 30 minutes of lost time falling asleep or waking up during the night). Also, I track my sleep with the Oura Ring. You don't need to use this, but I highly recommend you get a sleep tracker of some kind, so you can be sure that you're not shorting yourself on rest.
Nate's Miracle Morning Routine 2020
START OF MIRACLE MORNING STANDARD ROUTINE <>
5:30 AM Wake Up
I admit, I've struggled with this for years. Previously I was waking up at 7 AM but found the extra 90 minutes of silence before my kids wake up to be a real game changer and worth going to bed an hour earlier.
5:30 AM- 5:35 AM Cold Water to Face + Personal Hygiene
I splash cold water on my face, pee, brush my teeth, wash my face, and do all the other basic hygiene necessities before I head downstairs. Oh, and Rogaine is applied here...I will not go down without a fight when it comes to baldness!
5:36 AM - 5:37 AM Drink 12 Oz of Ice Water + Prepare Coffee OR Drink 5 Hour Energy
I like a little caffeine boost but find the ice water is just as refreshing and invigorating. If I choose coffee over the 5 hour energy, I have it nearby, while I complete the other tasks of my routine and sip it casually.
5:37 AM - 5:45 AM Read Morning Mindfulness Prompts
I read a list of "prompts" that remind me of the person I want to be each day. I don't do "positive affirmations" like many other miracle morning followers, but this is a close alternative. You can download my list of mindfulness prompts here.
5:45 AM -5:55 AM 10 Min Meditation
It's a shame meditation can't seem to shake the misconception that it is a religious or spiritual practice. Sure, it can be, but the meditation that I (and many of my productivity chasing peers) do is about regaining control of our minds. It has a number of amazing effects when done properly. I have two iOS apps that I use for meditation They are Calm and Headspace. They both have free and paid features. The app isn't as important as the process itself. I'll link to them and an additional book I recommend on mindfulness and meditation in the resources at the end of this post as well.
5:55AM- 6:10 AM Stretching + Core Exercise
I use an iOS app called Sworkit for my routines. I start with a 5 minute full body stretch and then complete a 5 minute "core" workout. I workout at the gym 4x-5x per week, so on my off days I may add an extra 5 minutes of core work. I don't workout my abs in the gym anymore. It seems inefficient when I can just do it at home in the morning. Also, I find myself skipping them if I try to do them at the end of a hard workout.
6:10 AM- 6:30 AM Music Practice
I am an avid piano and guitar player. I spend 15 minutes each morning practicing a new song, learning a new method of some kind, or just jamming on my own. I have a pair of headphones that allow me to play as loudly as I want without waking up my wife and kids. Currently, I can't play my guitars because they're too loud, but in the near future, when we inevitably move, and I get a new office space, I'm hoping to incorporate guitar back into my morning routine as well
<>END OF MIRACLE MORNING STANDARD ROUTINE
6:30 AM- 7:00 AM Content Creating
This time is used on my biggest project, the thing that might fall to the side if I put off doing it until later in the day. At the time of this blog post, this includes finishing a book I've been writing on affiliate marketing.
7:00AM-7:10AM Daily Planning
Although I typically know what the day's tasks are the night before, I always review the tasks of the day before I start working on anything. I ask myself "what is the most important thing I need to do today?" Then, I make sure that I do that thing first, until it's complete.
7:10 AM - 7:30 AM Business Reading
I make sure to dedicate 15 minutes to reading something non-fiction. This might be a book or just skimming through my Feedly RSS feed. I try to focus this time on specific, actionable content that can be immediately implemented in my day vs. broad topics.
7:30 AM - 8:00 AM Walk
I take my phone and walk around my neighborhood. I love walking, and this is also a good time for me to think creatively and jot down notes in my phone's basic note app.
8:00 AM - 8:15 AM Breakfast
My preferred breakfast is 3 scrambled eggs with a slice of turkey and pepper.
8:15 AM 8:45 AM Break/Wife/Baby Time
My daughter wakes up around 8, and I spend this time with my wife and her watching the news and talking.
8:45 AM 9:15 AM Top Project
Whatever the most important task of the day is, I start working on it here.
9:15 AM - 9:30 AM Email and Fire Extinguishing
I've delayed reading emails as long as possible, and it's time to see if I've gotten anything overnight. No reasonable person will complain about waiting until 9:30 AM EST to receive a reply to an overnight email.
9:30 AM -5:00 PM Everything Else
In a perfect world, I'd have my entire day mapped out, but that's not for me. There are so many things involved in my business that I don't want to tie myself to processes that I can't keep long enough to turn into real habits. The routine from 5:30 AM until this point gives me more than enough structure to count the day as a win regardless of what comes next.
Miracle Morning Task Ideas
The tasks that we complete in the miracle morning have something in common. They’re the things that we’d most likely forget to do without dedicated planning.
Most people don’t find time to meditate or read once their days have started.
Keep in mind, the miracle morning concept is the same idea as the air mask rule on airplanes that are rapidly descending. You put your mask on first.
Your routine should consist of things that put your mind and body first. Putting yourself first and allowing everything else to wait isn’t selfish either. By improving yourself, you’ll be more effective and valuable to others.
Here are some of the Miracle morning tasks you might add to your routine.
- Positive affirmations
- Weight lifting
- Making your bed
- Prepare/Eat/Drink a Healthy Breakfast
- Learn something new (Piano, Spanish, etc)
Can you think of something I missed? Feel free to add it to your routine as long as it improves you in some way!
Additional Miracle Morning Tips
Here are some tips that will make sure you create the miracle morning habit without any slip ups.
#1 Prepare the Night Before
The miracle morning actually starts the night before.
If you don't have a nightly routine that ensures you're in bed on time and ready to get your full 6-8 hours of sleep, you're destined to fail.
I highly recommend that you lay out your clothes the night before. Also, avoid screens (with the exception perhaps of a low lit Kindle for reading before bed) an hour before bed time.
Get mentally prepared to wake up in the morning. Remind yourself, "there is no way that I won't do my routine tomorrow. I will want to hit the snooze button, but I know that I will regret it for the rest of the day if I do, so I won't."
#2 Put the Alarm Clock Away From the Bed
You should have to get out of bed to hit your alarm. It is much easier to snooze when your alarm or phone is within slapping distance.
You know the snooze slap that ends up turning your attempt at a productive early morning into a foggy hour of painful mini wake ups?
One thing that I do is set two alarms on two different devices. That way, if something happened to one (battery died, I accidentally silenced it, etc), the other one should still go off. I set one of them (my iPhone) to 5AM and the other (my Amazon Show) to 5:05AM. If the 5AM works, I just cancel the 5:05AM, so I don't wake up my wife.
You really don't want to break your routine because of an accident. It's very deflating and is one of the only ways I can picture myself ever missing my scheduled wake up time.
#3 Create a "Not To Do" List
What you don't do in the morning is just as important as what you do. Things included on my not to do are...
- Browse social media
- Read the news
- Check emails
- Play Tap Sports Baseball (an app I am mildly addicted to in 2020)
- Check sports scores
If you have other tempting distractions that are eating your productivity, jot them down and avoid them like the plague.
Miracle Morning Resources
I'll leave you with some resources.
- The Miracle Morning: The Not-So-Obvious Secret Guaranteed to Transform Your Life (Before 8AM) by Hal Elrod - This is the bible for morning routines. There are 12 variations of this book as well that focus on special fields like Real Estate Agents, Writers, ETC.
- Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics: A 10% Happier How-to Book by Dan Harris - This is a great book for learning the art of mindful meditation.
- Atomic Habits by James Clear - The bible for habit building and my most gifted book.
- Mini Habits: Smaller Habits, Bigger Results by Stephen Guise - A great book on "habit stacking," which is also the foundation of the miracle morning process.
- What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast: A Short Guide to Making Over Your Mornings--and Life by Laura Vanderkam - A quick read showcasing the morning rituals of high achievers. This is a great book if you want some inspiration for your own morning ritual.
- HeadSpace (iOS and Android) - This is my favorite guided meditation app, although I alternate periodically to keep things fresh.
- Calm (iOS and Android) - This is my second favorite guided meditation app.
- Sworkit (iOS and Android) - This is the program I use for my short at home workouts and stretches in the morning. Everything can be done without equipment and in a very small space. I have a separate routine for my actual gym workouts, but this is a great app for home and travel.
- Day One Journal (iOS and Android) - If you choose to incorporate journaling into your routine, this is a great app for it.
- Blinkist (iOS and Android) - An app that summarizes non fiction books into 15 minutes or less.
Love love this! Thank you! Great motivation and this step by step instructions have set a path for success!
Nate, I always count on you to provide some great insight, and this article is a good example of why I follow your work. Thanks.
Thank you Gerald! It means so much to hear that people are enjoying this sort of content! It’s my favorite type to write.
Thanks Gretchen! I really appreciate that!!!