Welcome Julie Perry, entrepreneur, leader, property developer, wife and mother. With many strings to her bow, Julie, who has learnt a lot through a rich and varied life, has kindly offered to impart some of her wisdom and the lessons she has garnered from the book, ‘The Miracle Morning’, in the hope that you too may benefit from revamping your lifestyle and daily rituals. Lets call it a Spring Clean of your morning Routine!
Quite simply – I read a book. I changed my routine. This massively impacted on my life and continues to do so. I really think this could help other women, mothers, entrepreneurs.
If someone had told me a year ago, that the way to have my best day possible was to wake up daily at 5am, whilst my 3 children were still sleeping and before a day of work, I’d have thought there was just NO WAY I could do this, even if I saw the benefit.
This is me a year ago – self-employed; creating interior designs for properties and raising my 3 young children (Aged 5, 3 and 1). Late nights spent working and forever trying to achieve a balance that worked. Through the night, disruptions were common and sleep was precious. It was normal for me to savour every moment I could in bed, before a little voice broke the silence in the early hours. It was busy and exhausting. Though in many ways I was achieving, I just knew I could do better and feel better.
I had been trying out listening to audiobooks, in snippets, often on the rare occasion that I would be driving alone. I was recommended a book ‘The Miracle Morning’ by author Hal Elrod. The overview explained that it was about 6 key practices and you only needed to devote 1 minute to each of these, in your daily life, to notice a transformation in your ENERGY, MOTIVATION and FOCUS.
Here are the 6 key practices. They are referred to as ‘Life S.A.V.E.R.S’;
Many people think meditation is like an aspirin for the mind but indeed it is more preventative than cure.
I used to think (possibly like many others) that meditation is all about stopping thoughts, getting rid of emotions and controlling the mind. I now understand that it is actually about stepping back, seeing the thought clearly, witnessing it coming and going, emotions coming and going, without judgement but with a relaxed, focused mind. The aim is to allow you to be more ‘present’. It sounds so ordinary, but yet we spend so little time in the present moment that it is anything but ordinary. I remember reading once that when you are feeling down or depressed it is because your mind is stuck in the past and when you are feeling anxious, your mind is consumed with the future.
I bought the ‘Headspace’ App – creation of British entrepreneur, Andy Puddicombe. It is absolutely wonderful. You don’t have to burn any incense and you certainly don’t have to sit on the floor ☺ unless you’d like to of course! The app is great as you can choose a topic like ‘change’, ‘focus’, ‘happiness’, ‘sleep’ and select the duration of your guided meditation, which is an audio recording of Andy himself. I always select ’10 minutes’ and I’m currently on session 15 of 30 of ‘Focus’. I have also delved into the kids section for our children who surprisingly have really taken to it and see it as a treat before bed if they get to listen to one! There is no doubt that I experience a greater sense of focus, calm and clarity as a result.
Affirmations are sentences aimed to affect the conscious and the subconscious mind.
Everything that we repeatedly say to ourselves out loud or in our thoughts are an affirmation.
The Reticular Activating System (RAS) is a part of our brain that makes words that get repeated over time as part of our identity, positive or negative.
So in my case, an example of a negative affirmation, was that I had consistently told myself (out loud in conversation with others, and in my thoughts) that I am not an athletic person and I’m not good at exercise or sport.
Just like sowing seeds in a fruitful garden. When we water and nurture the seeds every day, they will grow (most of them). That’s like repeating an affirmation. Repeating affirmations affect the subconscious mind, which in turn, influences the behavior, habits, actions and reactions.
This affirmation had therefore become true for me. It had become a self limiting belief.
The amazing thing is, positive affirmations have the potential to combat self limiting beliefs, motivate you, keep you focused on your goals, ultimately changing the way you think and behave. Incredible right? There’s no doubt that positive statements make you feel positive, energetic and active, and therefore, put you in a better position to transform your inner and external worlds.
So I’d recommend writing a list of any beliefs you have about yourself which are negative and could be holding you back. Next, write some statements in response to each of these, that are positive and in the present tense. So for example, in my real struggle to wake up earlier (the way I saw it, 6/6.30am was already too early!), I wrote ‘I effortlessly wake up at 5am daily to perform my miracle morning, enabling me to access my greatest day possible’.
If you’re still stuck for how to get started, look on google for examples of affirmations and see which, if any, resonate with you. Start with these. You know they are the right affirmations if you find it a little hard to say and believe to begin with… but say them consistently and see what happens..
As ‘The Miracle Morning’ book suggests, I use a mirror to say my affirmations out loud. I used to find this such a strange concept and the thought of it made me cringe big time. All I can say is, have an open mind and try it. Go somewhere out of ear shot and have a go – it’ll take a minute. What’s there to lose?
This is all about mental imagery – the kind that involves imagining success – whatever that may be for you. Knowing what this truly is for you, may be half the battle and don’t be surprised if this evolves and changes over the weeks and months. Originally I allocated 5 minutes daily to visualising what success looked like to me. I soon found myself questioning what success really was for me and so decided to create a ‘vision board’ with my family. It is a wall in our bedroom, a place to pin up words and images that mean something to us about how we want to live our life and what we want to achieve, whether it’s more time dancing to live music, camping adventures as a family or planning to attend a course for entrepreneurs in Bali. Although I do not include visualisations as part of my daily routine I do add to and interrogate our family vision board regularly, which creates a great deal of value for me and my family.
Depending on your circumstances, you could get to the gym, go for a run, or exercise at home. My husband soon followed suit after reading the same book that motivated me. He now runs around the city walls of Chester at 5am, whilst I do a mixture of interval training (‘Insanity’ workouts) and yoga (30 days of Yoga with Adriene on YouTube) at home – having children at home partly dictates what we can do but we are both very happy with this routine. We now dedicate 45 mins to exercise daily – I seriously never thought I’d be doing or saying this! Importantly, the point is to get your heart pumping, blood circulating and breaking a sweat. This could be 5 minutes, depending on where you are at physically. The key is doing this regularly and pushing yourself (safely) and with whatever form of exercise works for you. Again, no doubt you will see a change here as you become capable of more!
As I mentioned earlier, I have found listening to audiobooks, via my mobile phone, to work best for me. I do this in the morning whilst I’m getting ready. The surprising thing is that even if I only listen to 10 minutes a day, I will nearly always take something from it. I have tended to listen to books centred around self development or entrepreneurship/business development and so it’s great to feel that I’m always learning.
Scribing (or ‘Journaling’)
I have loved keeping a journal. I choose a simple lined notebook. I will doodle and draw but mostly write. I often use it to ‘empty’ my mind or reflect. Sometimes I write a little list of things I am grateful for. Again, even if I have 10 minutes, it’s brilliant and can be revealing when you try to write about the things that have been on your mind. I do often use this an an opportunity to get clear on my focus for the day too and clarify what my key goals are for the day.
Here are my top tips to making a success of this:
- Read the book. If it inspires you, run with it!
- Start small – schedule 5-10 minutes for each of the 6 actions above (total 30-60 minutes). You can always extend certain sections if and when you feel ready.
- If you’re really struggling to get out of bed earlier, don’t snooze. Have a rule that you will get out of bed the instant that the alarm goes off. I also found a bedtime affirmation helpful at the start and the author has one pre-written for you.
- Buddy up with someone – your partner or friend. This will help you to hold each other accountable and to motivate and support each other and hopefully celebrate together when you see real change!
- If you have a smart phone, clear your welcome screen (move apps to the screen you see when you swipe across). On the welcome screen keep only the apps that you’ll need for Miracle Morning – in my case it’s ‘Calendar’ (date for journaling) ‘Notes’ (where I save my list of affirmations) ‘iBooks’ and ‘Headspace’. This means I am less tempted to check my messages that have come through overnight and keeps me focused.
- Although the book is called ‘The Miracle Morning’ it is not exclusive to being a morning practice (perhaps you work night shifts) – you can still get value from doing this in the evening.
- Last but not least, keep an open mind. Your reality can only ever be what you allow it to be.
If anyone would like to know more and connect, please feel free to email me at Julie@smartpropertiesinvestments.co.uk. I’d love to support you to find the same value that I have and make every day count.
Julie Perry is passionate about people and bringing people together. She translates value into action through people, leading Smart Properties and working together with her husband Olly. With a degree in Fine Art, Julie has also added value to the business in other ways, designing unique interiors across their rental property portfolio in Liverpool – picture grass walls in the bedroom, umbrella lampshades, animal themes and bold ‘pops’ of colour throughout. She has enjoyed the diversity of learning on projects such as building a model sustainable community, working with young people and those underrepresented in the film industry to create short films and documentaries.
Absolute joy for Julie is quality time with Olly and their three children, Lola (6), Raphael (4) and Elias (2), and friends and family. Julie believes that ‘the Master of the Art of living makes little distinction between his work and play’ (A quote from Book ‘Red Rubber Ball’) which harbours at its core a message of aspiring to live in ‘flow’.