By Bev Bachel
I’m a big believer in the power of mornings. And the closer I get to retirement, the more important my mornings become. If I use them wisely, I can plow through my to-do list, all the while feeling relaxed and optimistic. If I waste them, I run the risk of being unproductive and feeling stressed all day.
So I was pleased to learn that I’m not alone in my love of mornings when I discovered Hal Elrod’s The Miracle Morning: The Not-So-Obvious Secret Guaranteed to Transform Your Life Before 8 AM.
A quick read, the book features six practices Elrod calls Life SAVERS that have given my morning routine a needed jolt. They are:
- Silence. I used to wake up and do one of two things, even before I’d crawled out of bed: start listening to one of my favorite podcasts such as the Retirement Wisdom podcast, or start yammering away to my partner about my plans and to-dos for the day. Now, I instead tune into my breath, typically for five minutes during which I concentrate on breathing in peace and breathing out kindness.
- Affirmations. I then repeat three positive phrases that I have found to be particularly effective for me: It’s a great day. I’m in a great mood. I have all the time I need to do all the things I want.
- Visualization. Next, I picture myself effortlessly and enjoyably completing three tasks on my day’s to-do list: finishing a blog post, returning a phone call, folding a load of laundry. While these and other similar tasks aren’t onerous, they are ones I often put off.
- Exercise. I then get down on my hands and knees and complete the physical therapy prescribed for my ailing right hip, as well as two sets of pushups and sit-ups.
- Reading. Having read at least 52 books a year since graduating from college, reading for 10 to 20 minutes each morning comes easily for me. Although I occasionally indulge in a page-turner, I typically start my day with some form of self-help.
- Scribing. My early-morning writing occurs in one of two ways: quickly scribbled thoughts in my journal or heartfelt notes to family and friends.
Most days my SAVERS routine takes me 10 minutes; other days I invest an hour. Either way, the routine ensures I put myself and my mental and physical well-being at the top of my morning to-do list. Some days that, in and of itself, feels like a miracle.
Bev Bachel is a Twin Cities freelance writer and the author of What Do You Really Want? How to Set a Goal and Go for It! A Guide for Teens.
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