I’ve always been a bookworm – I love to lose myself into the pages of a good book, whether it’s a fantasy adventure or a good self-help tome.

Some time back, on the advice of a friend, I’d subscribed to Audible, thinking I could listen to some words of wisdom from people I could learn from while driving to appointments, or even out walking the dogs.

I subscribed. I listened to one Tony Robbins book, and then I forgot all about it. It just sat there, dormant, money going out each month, but no action. A bit like my gym membership before I started working with a personal trainer for accountability!

Some time later, I had an email alert to say I had loads of Audible points just sitting there and, if I didn’t use them by the end of the day, they’d be gone.

Cue Operation Download!

I logged into my Audible account and downloaded the biggest, meatiest personal development books I could find – taking care to avoid the abridged versions… I wanted the deep stuff I could really soak up, not just the highlights. And anyway, the abridged versions cost far less… I didn’t want to ‘waste’ my points on those when I could be getting so much more bang for my buck (or book!).

I’d downloaded all the titles that called to me and had one point left.

What would I do with it?

I scrolled back and forth until I found a book called The Miracle Morning, by Hal Elrod. I’ll be honest – it was the cover shot that drew me more than the title – a silhouette of a guy, arms outstretched, greeting the sunrise.

Despite realising the beauty of getting up to welcome in the new day, I’d never really connected that with the possibility of becoming a morning person, so when I saw the cover of Hal’s book, something deep inside spoke to me. And then I read the strapline, nestled in smaller print beneath ‘The Miracle Morning’ – ‘The not-so-obvious secret guaranteed to transform your life before 8am’.

I scoffed.

Then shrugged.

Then thought ‘maybe…’.

Then I downloaded the book.

That evening, when my wife was engrossed in a project she was working on, I sat down in my lounge, plugged in my headphones and began to listen to The Miracle Morning.

The first thing that struck me was all the similarities and parallels I found. Hal’s life had been changed by a car accident, just as mine had (though my broken back was nothing compared to Hal’s awful ordeal that had included brain damage); Hal had been a high flying corporate guy before realising he had bigger dreams to realise; Hal was using much of the same language I was using in my seminars and motivational speaking – in many ways, it was like listening to myself… except with a bit more USA!

And then the moment of realisation came.

Hal advocates waking an hour earlier than usual and devoting that time to personal development.

He even goes so far as to provide tips on dragging our backsides out of our warm beds, when all we want to do is snuggle under the duvet.

All useful tips. But what really made the difference was hearing Hal’s take on changing our attitudes on waking.

Hal suggests that the last conscious thought we have before bedtime is the first thought we have on waking; if I’m going to bed late, with an attitude of wanting the dreamtime to feel like forever, of telling myself I won’t have had enough sleep time and that I’ll be exhausted when the morning comes too soon, I’ll believe exactly that when the alarm goes off.

No wonder I hadn’t been a morning person!

Hal also talks about experimenting with different amounts of sleep time, consciously changing our thoughts from ones of not having enough time for rest to mantras about knowing we’ll be perfectly rested and recharged and excited to face the day by morning.

I decided to download Hal’s bedtime affirmations from his website and give it a go.

The next morning, I woke up bright and early, ready to face the day, looking forward to whatever it might bring. Before 7am, I was out in nature, walking two of my dogs, down by the river close to my home.

This was unheard of! I even recorded a video blog down there to share with my social media audiences.

Surely, I thought, this must be a fluke. It was summer, so I justified my early morning adventure as something I had to do to ensure I’d exercised my furbabies before the heat of the day.

I decided to try again the following day.

This time, I came up with my own affirmation before bedtime; Hal’s are great, but a little too long-winded for me. I shortened my own to something like “I am really grateful for the sleep I’m about to have – thank you. I know that these six hours of rest will be exactly what my body needs to recharge, rejuvenate and awake in the morning alive and ready to embrace the new day with eagerness and excitement. Tomorrow will be awesome!”

For years, I’ve been convincing myself that I need a good eight hours’ rest every night, so I wanted to test Hal’s theory by giving myself less.

Guess what?

I woke up bright, early and ready to face the day. No more morning doldrums.

I don’t follow Hal’s advice to the letter. What I have done, though, is taken his idea about using bedtime affirmations to prepare for the coming day, and that alone has utterly changed my life.

Now, I wake up happy and alert and realise that wanting to stay under the duvet was actually saying a big, fat ‘NO’ to life, rather than the ‘YES’ I advocate in every other area of my life.

It’s obvious really. If I believe we create our reality through our perceptions, it stands to reason that the rule also applies to getting up in the morning. I don’t know why I never thought of it before. It’s so, so simple. You might call it a ‘no brainer’.

Sometimes, we just need someone else to point out the obvious for us. So thanks, Hal – I feel like you’ve unlocked one of those final doors for me… and it really helps me to demonstrate the power of perception to everyone reading this column.

If you’ve always had an issue with mornings, give it a go. Buy Hal’s book as well – it’s a good read and it’ll make a perfect perception changing partner to my most recent tome – Unleash Your Awesome – as well!

Until next time,