There’s nothing effing miraculous about my mornings!

Oh, sorry, what I actually mean to say is: “Good morning! And what a wonderful morning it is. I am truly blessed, grateful and inspired. It’s only 6am and I’ve already been up for 2 hours. I’ve exercised my body in the gym, got in touch with my inner soul with an amazing meditation session, set my intentions for the day ahead and consumed the healthiest of green juices to replenish me. I’m feeling energized and ready to get going. What constitutes your miracle morning routine?”

Oh, purr-lease!!!! Is it just me, or is anyone else fed up with all this ‘miracle morning’ baloney? The only miraculous thing about my morning is those first precious few moments upon waking before my brain kicks in and all the stress and worry come flooding back: where can I find new clients, should I think about getting a ‘proper job’ — but I’m over 40 and we all know anyone over 40 never even gets a look in, I need to get such-and-such done today, why is everything a battle, etc., etc., etc.

Are the people who post these really trying to inspire people? Or is it, like much of social media, a case of look at me, look how great I am. I’ve got up super early to do all of this to make myself look good, as if I’m crushing it, to make you feel even worse about what a loser you are.

I’m sure that it really is the former, but unfortunately it ends up looking like the latter.

Let’s face it, most people, especially right now are struggling most days. Whether this is juggling working from home with home-schooling and entertaining the kids, trying to pick themselves up from being made redundant or simply trying to cope with the isolation.

Like I said there’s nothing effing miraculous about my mornings, and like most of us who live in the real world it’s usually taken up with real life activities such as getting children up and ready for school, unloading the dishwasher, putting laundry on and trying to grab 15 minutes to exercise all before 8 o’clock in the morning.

So let’s take a few ‘miracle morning’ recurring themes and work out whether they actually really need to be done when most sane people are asleep.

Gratitude

We can all find at least five things to be grateful for, and yes when you’re feeling a bit blue remembering the things you’re grateful for can have an uplifting effect. Obviously it doesn’t completely remove the reason why you are feeling blue, but it can certainly help lessen the devastation and take your mind off it, for a while at least.

The main thing we can all be grateful for first thing in the morning is that we’re awake and alive.

I believe the actress Linda Gray (Sue Ellen from Dallas for those old enough to remember the 80s) says a big ‘thank you’ as she puts her feet on the floor when she gets out of bed in the morning.

Rather than struggling to come up with a list of 10 each day, which quickly turn into the same list of 10 every day, maybe simply being thankful for being alive is the one and only thing we need to be grateful for each morning.

So tomorrow morning, why not try saying thank you as you get out of bed, at whatever time you decide to get up, and see how your day goes.

Exercise

Yes, exercise is good for you. Yes, exercise actually can increase your energy. And yes, Elle Woods was right, exercise makes you happy.

The average adult ideally needs to get 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week. If you divide that by five days, that’s just 30 minutes each day with the weekend off.

The main point is, everyone knows they need to exercise but many people don’t, citing lack of time as the main excuse.

Sticking exercise into a ‘miracle morning’ routine just helps you make sure you exercise, eventually turning the act of exercising into a habit. But this would happen anyway irrespective of what time you chose to exercise each day.

So, exercising in the morning can be a good thing, if you have the time, but you don’t have to go all Mark Wahlberg about it though and get up at 4am to slog away in the gym for two hours. If mornings is not good for you, pick a time when you can squeeze 30 minutes of exercise in.

Just as long as you exercise.

Meditation

Meditation first thing in the morning helps you still the mind and enhance your awareness of your thoughts.

I get that, I really do but I have two problems when I meditate:

1. My mind does not clear. I know that if a thought pops into your head, you simply have to let it float away. The trouble is if a thought pops into my head I end up following that train of thought and then other related thoughts appear

2. Meditating when my body is still in the throes of waking up makes me feel sleepy

If meditation works for you, all kudos to you.

If it doesn’t, this simple breathing technique will pretty much do the same thing — calm the mind! All it takes is three breaths:

  • Breathe in through the nose to a count of four
  • Hold for a count of four
  • Breath out through the mouth to a count of eight
  • Repeat two more times

No fuss, no drama, simple.

Intentions

Doesn’t setting intentions sound like yet another type of ‘to do’ list to you?

Today I’m going to feel this and be that.

Yet at the end of the day if you didn’t feel this and be that all through the day, you end up feeling disappointed, disheartened and reaching for the ice cream tub. Exactly the same as if you didn’t quite finish everything on your ‘to do’ list.

Rather than feeling empowered, this daily setting of intentions starts to become a bit of a drag and slowly you come to conclusion: “What’s the bloody point?”

So maybe the trick with intentions is not to think I must feel this or I must be that, but simply to insert the word ‘try’? Today I will try to feel like this and try to be like that.

Now for some, that may seem like a bit of a cop out and the word ‘try’ has softened the meaning and given the person an easy excuse as to why they didn’t follow their intentions through.

But who are these people? Does it really matter one little iota how people set intentions? After all, all those ‘gurus’ out there are forever preaching about when you set goals they have to be SMART. Well, that little word ‘try’ helps make that intention achievable.

And as they say it doesn’t matter how you get there as long as you keep moving forward.

By using the word ‘try’ if, at the end of the day you had moments where you didn’t feel how you wanted to feel, you can think back and work out what happened to make you lose the intention, and then create a game plan for how to handle it next time, ice cream tub optional!

Green juice smoothies (or whatever the latest craze is this week)

My grandad always said: “The worse it tastes, the better it does you.”

Well, I know he was talking about medicine and not green gloop which tastes vile. It’s like drinking grass cuttings.

Greens that you shove into your post-workout morning smoothie are a dietary supplement. Note the word is word supplement, not replacement.

If, and this is a big if you eat a good, clean, healthy diet already why do you need the greens? Do they really do any good?

Or is it yet another thing that people feel they must do because all the celebs are doing it, and not really understanding why, or even realising that a simple tweak to their diet might be all they need.

Journaling

What is the difference between journaling and a ‘to do’ list?

That’s not a joke, I’m actually being serious, I really don’t know.

I’ve tried it: 5-minute journaling, High Performance Planning, Atomic Habits, online journaling, etc.

And you know what? I got bored with it really quickly. It did not make my life easier. Trying to work out what sign to put where, moving items constantly from one page to another by sticking a line through it, constantly working out what I could have done better each day was such a palaver, and quite frankly a waste of time.

My ‘to-do’ list works for me.

Yes, it might not say ‘I’m going to be super focused all day, and all good things will come my way’, but it does tell me what I’ve actually got to get done.

And, it’s simple. Very simple. Write down what you need to do, go down the list and each one you complete, cross it out.

Who needs stars, circles or pointless acronyms?

In conclusion

Most of us are overtired anyway, so getting up at 4am in the morning to go through a list of activities which themselves prove to be a bit of a chore seems to be a bit pointless, when we could have an extra two hours, or more in bed, relaxing our bodies before sensibly waking up.

The marketing message behind all of this malarkey seems to be, by doing this you will earn a fortune and get all that you wish for.

Call me cynical, but doesn’t that sound a bit like Aladdin’s lamp to you?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for positive thinking and what you put out into the universe gets reflected back to you.

But by implying that only super highly successful people get to where they are by doing this is wrong. They get where they are by hard work, and having a system that works for them.

What is being forgotten is that everyone is different, and what works for one, might not work for someone else. And just because we don’t get up at 4am, meditate, drink the latest superfood gloop and do a whole heap of stuff so we’re exhausted by the time we actually get to sit down at our desks, does not for one minute mean we are doomed to failure.

So, if you want to get up at 4am, be my guest.

And as for all the other stuff, let’s knock it down to something that can be done in five minutes, immediately upon waking:

  1. Open eyes
  2. Say thank you
  3. Breathe slowly and deeply three times
  4. Get up

Exercise can be done at any time which is convenient for you.

You are in charge of what goes in your mouth, so if you make sure it’s clean and healthy you don’t need to drink grass cuttings.

And as for your ‘to-do’ list, either do it before you leave work the night before, or do it whilst your computer is firing up in the morning.

Oh, and one final thing, don’t let anyone make you feel bad that you’re not part of the ‘miracle morning’ crew!

This has been a teeny bit of a rant I know, but I’d love to hear your thoughts on miracle mornings.

Let me know by leaving a comment.

(I first published this on my Medium page: https://bit.ly/30O2CXd )


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