I’m excited to bring you my first GUEST POST today. Shelly is amazing and has inspired me to refine my mornings. I know you’re going to LOVE what she has to offer! ENJOY!
Hi. I’m Shelly. And I’m a human. Being a human is complicated. As a human, I experience a wide range of emotion. I get to experience joy and peace and love. But I also have a lot of weaknesses and fears, and those can be painful. I also have strengths that I am trying to make stronger. Most of the time I am just trying to do my best and figure things out one day at a time. I’m trying to figure out my place in this world and who I really am. I’m trying to figure out how to be the person that God wants me to be. In the process of all of this, I make a lot of mistakes. Being a human isn’t easy.
Fortunately, God put some amazing things in place for this journey of life. And I believe that one of the greatest gifts that God has given us is the sunrise – the promise of a new day. The sunrise is actually my favorite symbol of Jesus Christ. It is through Him that we can begin again and start over.
I am grateful for the symbolism of morning, the sunrise and a new day, but I am also grateful for the literal morning and the gift that it is to each of us. I’m especially grateful for the early morning hours – the time when the world is quiet and still. My gratitude for the gift of the morning has grown a lot over the past few years. Embracing the early morning hours has changed my life.
For several years, I struggled with a big fear of driving. I would drive if I had to, and sometimes (rarely) if I wanted to, but mostly I just avoided it. My husband was the main driver in our family. My confidence level would wax and wane over time. Sometimes it was pretty good. Usually though, I felt trapped by my fears and they felt paralyzing.
I know that to some people, this fear/weakness doesn’t sound like that big of a deal. After all, there are much bigger problems in the world. But to me, it was a big deal. I hated feeling “broken” and like I should be comfortable doing this, because “Hello! I’m an adult! Adults drive! And it isn’t any big deal for them.” I also felt like it held me back from being able to be a better wife, mom, friend, etc. Just think about how many everyday things in life involve driving – grocery shopping, doctor’s appointments, school drop off/pick up, errands, etc. And I didn’t feel comfortable being the driver for any of them.
My husband was very patient and understanding through all of this, but it was definitely taxing on our relationship at times. It was also taxing on my relationship with myself. Like I mentioned, I hated feeling broken.
Over the years, I tried to figure out why I had this weakness and how I could move past it. Nothing seemed to really work though.
And then April 11th, 2015 happened. That day turned out to be a turning point in my life. It started out like any other day, but it ended with an answer to my prayers. I ran across a Facebook post from a friend who was telling about an early morning routine that he had been doing and that he was really enjoying.
I haven’t ever really been one to wake up earlier than I had to, but I felt really drawn to this routine. It helped that my husband and I had been looking for something that would help us better balance the new life demands that we were experiencing after recently moving into “real life” after graduate school. This routine felt like an answer to my prayers. I immediately ordered the book, The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod, that my friend’s routine was based on. I devoured the book, and immediately started getting up early and following Hal’s routine.
Like I mentioned, I haven’t always been a morning person but I fell in love with waking up early and spending time on personal growth before my kids woke up. Over the next few months, I gained insights and skills that gave me a determination to confront my anxiety and I was given strength beyond my own to face my driving fears head on.
Something (a few things actually) clicked inside me. I started facing my fears with more determination than I had ever been able to muster in the past. I was able to make more progress, more quickly, with driving than ever before. I started to see some light at the end of the tunnel. That light continued to get brighter and within a matter of a couple months, it was a like a night and day difference.
I now have no doubt that this early morning routine was an answer to my prayers.
I have experienced so much growth from this daily ritual. I have been led to many resources and tools that have blessed my life, including resources and paradigm shifts that helped me to progress and heal, not only from my driving fears, but from many other challenges as well. I have come to know myself in much deeper ways than I ever did before and that has been liberating, healing, motivating, and exciting.
So what exactly does this routine involve? Basically, this morning routine is a way to spend some intentional time strengthening each part of yourself – spiritually, physically, emotionally, and mentally. It’s broken down into 6 categories which Hal refers to as the Savers (life savers).
S is for Silence. This includes practices like prayer, meditation, reflection, deep breathing, gratitude, etc.
A is for Affirmations. This is the part where you work on reprograming your brain and changing your thoughts. Hal describes affirmations as allowing you to design and then develop the mindset (thoughts, belief, focus) that you need to take any area of your life to the next level.
V is for Visualization. This is the part where you utilize your imagination and create your desired results mentally, so that you are more able to create them in the physical world. Robert Collier describes this as a practice where you work on seeing things as you would have them be instead of as they are.
E is for Exercise. This one is pretty self explanatory. Exercise is good for our bodies. 🙂
R is for Reading. This reading time is reserved for religious/scriptural text and/or personal development books.
S is for Scribing. Hal just needed a word that started with the letter S, but this refers to journaling.
While I agree that it is possible to do these personal growth practices at any time of the day, and any time is better than not at all, I believe that there is something special about the morning. I believe that getting up early and starting the day like this holds extra power.
“If you are to be successful… you will need to be inspired. You will need to receive revelation. I will give you one piece of advice: Go to bed early and get up early. If you do, your body and mind will become rested and then in the quiet of those early morning hours, you will receive more flashes of inspiration and insight than at any other time of the day.” -Harold B. Lee
I have found this quote to be true. Over the past 2+ years, in the quiet of the early morning hours, I have received more flashes of inspiration and insight than at any other time.
Don’t get me wrong. That insight and inspiration hasn’t led to my life being perfect. I’m still human. I still make a lot of mistakes and I still have days when I’m grumpy and stuck in a rut. I still experience negative emotions and I still have fears and weaknesses. I think that the biggest difference though is that I know how to get unstuck. I have acquired skills and tools and I know where to go for help.
I have a better perspective and I can think more clearly first thing in the morning when no one is fighting for my attention and I’ve had a good night’s rest.
I’m also less prone to distraction/buffering because I am intentionally awake with the purpose of doing my routine. I’m not tempted to do other things like mindlessly scroll through social media because if it weren’t for my routine, I would still be in bed, asleep.
I have also learned tools and skills that have propelled me forward and helped me to grow and progress and discover my passions and interests.
Even though I’ve been doing this routine pretty consistently for almost 3 years now, I’m still human and I’ve skipped days or weeks here and there. I can definitely feel a difference in my life when I’m in a good habit of waking up early and doing my routine. My day has much more focus and purpose.
Another thing that I’ve been paying attention to lately is that getting up early is a good practice in choosing what I want most, over what I want now. Usually what I want now (when the alarm goes off) is to keep sleeping- even though I’ve experienced so many benefits of this routine, the temptation is still strong a lot of the time. But choosing to stay in my bed and get extra sleep isn’t going to help me achieve my goals. It’s not going to help me get what I want most. And so I push past that temptation. I force myself out of bed. And I have never, ever regretted it.
This routine is pretty flexible. You can modify it to fit your daily needs. Some days, you might feel drawn to spend more time on journaling and less time on affirmations. Other days you might feel drawn to spend more time on exercising and less time on visualization.
Personally, something that I have been trying out in this new year is focusing my morning routine on my 2018 word. The word that I am choosing to focus on this year is Feel. If you’re interested in why I chose that word, you can read about it here.
I know that I’m not very far into 2018 yet, but I am excited to see what kind of progress I make this year as I intentionally put my focus on learning how to really feel and I know that my morning routine is going to be a big part of that progress.
Recently, while attending a church meeting I heard a woman share this quote: “Live life mile by mile and it’s a trial; Live life yard by yard and it’s hard; but Live life inch by inch and it’s a cinch.” Then she talked about how all we have to do is commit to be true and righteous and faithful for just one day. And then the next day we commit again for that day. And the next and the next until we will find that we will have been true and faithful and righteous for a lifetime. We just have to take it one day at a time.
It made me think about my morning routine and how it is a way for me to recommit everyday and renew goals and resolve to keep trying and keep going and keep improving.
If you’re reading this, I’m going to assume that you are a human too, just like me. Which means that you also experience a wide range of emotion – both positive and negative. You have fears and weaknesses. You also have strengths that you would like to make even stronger. You are just trying to figure out your place in this world and who you really are. You are trying to figure out how to be the person that God wants you to be. In the process of all of this, you make a lot of mistakes. Being a human isn’t easy.
I’m here to tell you that God has given you a gift. The morning is a gift and utilizing the early morning hours by working on yourself as a whole – spiritually, mentally, physically, and emotionally – makes being a human a lot easier.
You might be thinking “that all sounds nice, but I’ve never been a morning person.” And to that I say “never say never. :)” Try it out. Push through the temptation to press snooze. I promise that the results are worth it.
If you’re interested in learning more about my routine and how I apply it to my everyday life, come on over to goodmorningshelly.com. 🙂
ABOUT SHELLY: Hi. I’m Shelly. I’m just your average Mormon girl who happens to be passionate about personal growth. I write about my life and morning moments – both literal and figurative. The literal morning is meaningful to me because I do an early morning personal development routine everyday that has blessed my life for the past 2+ years. The figurative morning is meaningful to me because of the light that these moments bring to my life. Moments where I feel dark, confused, alone, afraid, etc. But then something crosses my path (sometimes this takes minutes, sometimes years,) and I start to see the light.
I hope you enjoyed that wonderful post and feel inspired to boost your morning routine! I’m so thankful she was willing and able to join us and bring us a little bit of her light and example. Thank you, Shelly! You’re amazing!
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