'I remind myself that life doesn’t need to be perfect to be wonderful'twitter/zarascomics

There’s something irresistible about a morning routine that claims to transform our lives. The internet is replete with wacky anecdotes about any number of successful people in the world – presidents who swear by just four hours of sleep per night, business magnates who start their everyday jog before 6 am, or influencers who drink a picture-perfect green smoothie at sunrise.

For a committed night owl who can’t seem to get to bed before midnight (and who functions extremely badly on less than six hours of sleep), none of these options seem viable.

If a six-minute routine can get me out of bed faster, I’m already sold

Hal Elrod, at first, seems like another peddler of oversimplified success. He describes his 6-minute miracle routine as “six practices could change anyone’s life” on the Deliciously Ella podcast, and then alleges that the routine was integral to changes in his life ranging from doubling his salary to suddenly committing to run a marathon. Bold claims.

I have my doubts. It sounds too easy. That being said, my mornings currently consist of lying in bed scrolling Instagram until I’m sure I won’t fall asleep again, and then dragging myself out of bed to begin the day feeling guilty for already having wasted too much of it.

If a six-minute routine can get me out of bed faster, I’m already sold. Other than that, my expectations are low.

Day 1

Minute one is “Silence”. Perhaps the riskiest to start with – ‘silence’ seems like a perfect way to fall asleep again. Instead, I force myself to sit up and focus on my breathing, still somewhat lost in the dream I was just having. The minute flies by.

Minute two is “Affirmations”. I’ve always liked the idea of affirmations, but I’ve never particularly found any that feel right. Hal Elrod points out in his chat with Ella that lying to ourselves doesn’t work. So instead of chanting to myself that my life is already perfect, I remind myself that life doesn’t need to be perfect to be wonderful – and that I am committed to obtaining my goals even if they aren’t complete yet.

This morning routine doesn’t seem designed for people who have a guest sleeping over...

Minute three is “Visualisation”. Apparently, the trick is to not just imagine the results, but the steps you will take to get there. I run through my hectic day ahead in my mind and imagine it all going smoothly and staying focused for all of it. I mostly just feel silly.

Minute four is “Scribing”. For this, Elrod uses a journaling app. Picking up my phone sounds too risky (distractions galore), so I’ve put some paper on my bedside table, and have time to write about a sentence about ‘what I’m grateful for’ before the timer goes off again.

Minute five is “Reading”. I have borrowed a book on mindfulness from the library which, in four weeks of term, I haven’t succeeded in opening even once until now. I read about a page, then set the timer for another minute to read the next page. This feels altogether too short to make too much difference – but I did make a start!

Minute six is “Exercise”. This is one I’ve been dreading, but it’s for an experiment, so I get up and try to do, as suggested, some star jumps. This makes my head hurt. But I’m awake! Out of bed after only ten minutes, and ready to go! Predictably, the first day felt clumsy and forced, but I’m counting it as a success.

Day 2

Today starting the routine is harder (I start reading my emails before I realise I’m supposed to be sitting quietly), but the visualisations part is more satisfying than yesterday. There’s something about imagining my day going well in my head which makes it easier to put plans into practice when the timer ends.

Hal Elrod's definitive (and beautifully packaged) guide to a 'miracle morning'twitter/mafermontes_

I also extend the “reading” minute, pushing the whole routine further towards ten minutes when you include the time taken to set the timer each time. Other than that, my day feels pretty ordinary. No miracles yet!

Day 3

I wake up an hour earlier than expected (thanks, noisy neighbours) so I get creative. I spend five minutes meditating using a free app instead of the usual minute of silence, then allow myself a few minutes of reading and a minute of writing before going back to the affirmations and visualisations steps. As usual, I end with a minute of painful exercise because that seems the most reliable way to stay out of bed.

It feels pretty good to make the routine work for me in a new way and to purposefully take the time to start the day well. I’m starting to enjoy the affirmations, but I don’t feel any more calm or focused than usual during the day.

Day 4

The morning routine did not go well today. Groggy and very much in danger of falling asleep again, I make the mistake of picking up my phone and delay the beginning of the routine.

I do not think the visualisations step is working the way I thought it would two days ago. Perhaps I’m focusing too much on visualising my day and not enough on the results? Something I’ll try and rectify tomorrow…

I’m surprised at how much I was missing the routine

Day 5 & 6

I have to admit, this morning routine does not seem designed for people who have a guest to sleepover. Getting my affirmations out or doing star-jumps on my carpet didn’t feel right while my boyfriend sat in bed browsing Reddit as part of his morning ‘routine’. But I’m surprised at how much I actually missed trying the routine over the weekend!

Day 7

Back at the routine! It’s beginning to feel a little more natural, and with some tweaks, I think I could make it work better. The lasting beauty is that even when I wake up late, I have no excuse for not spending just 10 minutes doing something positive to start the day – no matter what that something turns out to be.

Final thoughts

There’s something dangerous about promoting the idea of a one-size-fits-all routine which can solve all your problems. But there’s nothing wrong with investing a few precious minutes in some much-needed self-care, no matter what form that takes.


Mountain View

What the brownies taught me about self-love

While I didn’t feel that my morning routine was making a major difference to my day as a whole, it did force me not to begin the day scrolling social media. Maybe six minutes is, as I suspected, too short to make a real difference? But I wonder if, in time, I might find it has more of an impact than I’d expect.

If you want to try the miracle morning, I’d recommend starting out by sticking to Elrod’s suggestions and then adding, removing and lengthening steps in a way that suits you.

Take claims like his with a pinch of salt – but don’t let the doubt stop you from trying something new. Even a small improvement is an improvement all the same.

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