What would you do if you knew that just one hour could change your life?
While it does sound like a worn-out catchphrase, setting the alarm one hour earlier can work miracles for you. A consciousness movement founded by Hal Elrod, the Miracle Morning, basically consists of a 6-step morning routine based on this simple idea. Nobody has access to a special reservoir of time. Your best bet is to invest in yourself, consistently, first thing in the morning.
My First Attempt
I was fairly impressed by Hal Elrod’s story. So I went all in and decided to try it myself. I set my alarm for 6 AM and – well, nothing happened. Actually, I woke up groggy and tired, and I crawled through the day with a heavy, no-energy feeling. After a week or so, I gave up. What I was doing was actually harmful: I was cutting down my hours of REM sleep – when our brains are most active.
“I’m An Evening Person”
I decided to tell myself that 6 AM was just too early. Maybe I was an evening person. But then I read studies suggesting that evening people handle stress worse than their morning peers (even in the evening!), that they score poorer on several measures of cardiac health and that they have a poorer quality of sleep. I needed to retrain myself.
The One-Minute Trick
I couldn’t push back the alarm the full hour. But maybe I could go for something a little less overwhelming. What about one minute? I would go to sleep one minute earlier every evening and wake up accordingly. I basically spread out the effort of the miracle morning over two months. And I did create a successful habit.
Kaizen In Action
This simple idea was actually kaizen in action. Getting a little bit better every day is a more successful strategy than aiming for some kind of palingenesis. Compounding effects make sure that, eventually, a big gain can be achieved.
Once you develop the habit and your body adjusts, everything gets easier. A miracle morning can change your life. Maybe you’ve always dreamt of becoming a writer. Did you know that Kurt Vonnegut wrote from 5:30 AM to 8:00 AM and then left for his school teaching job? Successful people often follow similar routines. Oprah Winfrey starts her day with 20 minutes of meditation, which she says fills her with “hope, a sense of contentment and deep joy.” Former President Barack Obama would always start his day in the White House two hours before his first scheduled event. How you wake up each day and your morning routine dramatically affect your levels of success in every single area of your life.
What’s stopping you? It takes just one single minute.