3 Ways to Modify The Miracle Morning for Chronic Pain and Illness

My newest and best tool for organizing my morning is Hal Elrod's The Miracle Morning or TMM for short.

TMM states to get up an hour early and essentially have some much-needed me time: mentally, soulfully, and physically. Eldrod calls his morning routine Life S.A.V.E.R.S.

S is for silence (meditation or prayer or both)
A is for affirmations
V is for visualization
E is for exercise
R is for reading
S is for scribing (journaling)
He also says to do this no matter what time you go to bed. He has lovely affirmations to read to get hyped and good tips on how to get you out of bed.

I did his program faithfully for 30 days and my pain levels definitely went up. I also simply lost energy or 'ran out of spoons' by lunchtime, if you want to put it into chronic pain terms. However, at the end of 30 days, I got more accomplished than I had in the last two years. That's results.

I caught onto the program when one of my favorite bullet journal bloggers was mentioning it in her New Year's post. She was talking about Level 10 Life Goals and I didn't know what that meant. So in researching it, I found that Level 10 Life was part of The Miracle Morning program.

On Amazon, there is a slew of TMM books, the original version, plus several new additions...one for realtors, salespeople, parents, and even college students.

I was not surprised to see that there was not a Miracle Morning for Illness...

Being ill, disabled, or suffering is to be a part of marginalized society. I will keep my social justice diatribe to myself, or attempt to at least.

Being used to the fact that most self-help, habit change, education, and inspiration books are written for normal people with average problems, I decided to give it a go with as open as a mind as I could get.

Sometimes my snarkiness can get in the way of a good read, but again, I have to realize that the author isn't thinking of someone with a devastating, painful illness when they are telling you to get out of bed at 4:30 AM or to assure you that you can function on 4 hours of sleep.
I know I can't unless I want a pain flare from hell.

So here is my:

3 Ways to Modify The Miracle Morning for Chronic Pain and Illness

1. Pick your bedtime and stick with it.

First off, those of you that work and have chronic illness and pain, bless you, I seriously don't know how you do it and I'm fully aware that I have advantages that allow me to stay homebound.

My point is, whether you do or you do not have a job, you need to figure out what is your sleep goal. 7, 8, 9 hours of sleep? more? You need to know. Spend time tracking your sleep and your energy levels.

I know that I need 7 - 8 hours of sleep to not run out of spoons and hopefully avoid a flare-up of my nerve pain.

I don't have a job so I 'technically' don't have to get up an hour early, but I do have yoga and physical therapy a couple of times a week. It would be nice to get a jump start on the day before I have to go...which is why I wanted to try TMM to begin with.

To get up by 6, I have to get in bed by 9 so I'm asleep by 10.

Yes, it takes me an hour to fall asleep.

It's called chronic pain for a reason.

I say my TMM affirmations to help me get ready to wake up. An hour into being in bed my sleep medicine kicks in and my lidocaine patches numb my nerves down to a 3 or 4 on the pain scale which is enough to go to sleep.

Hopefully, I stay asleep, but sometimes I don't (more on this later).

Either way, I should have gotten enough sleep to be awake by 6:00.

2. Just Be Consistent No Matter the Wake-Up Up Time

Let's say you had a high pain night, or the new medicine the doctor put you on made you throw up all night long. 


Don't get up an hour early, but when you do get up, do your TMM.

This past Friday morning I woke up with horrifying pain. This is nothing new, it happens once or twice a month.

In fact, I was dreaming I was in terrible pain...only to be woken up at 4 AM at an 8 on the pain scale. 

I crawled out of bed, grabbed my emergency snack and bottle of water, took my medicine and laid in bed waiting for the breakthrough medication to kick in. I did not get up when my furry, golden retriever alarm clock told me it was 6:30.

Side note, I had my dog trained so well after 30 days of TMM that I no longer have to set an alarm. He just wakes me up.

#leohusband got Fluffy Alarm Clock outside and fed. 

Meanwhile back at the lodge, I slept until 10:00 AM. When I did get up I immediately did my Life S.A.V.E.R.S.

Who cares that it's 10:00?

I still got them done and even though it set me back another hour to start my task list at 11:00, I felt happy I got my SAVERS in. Doing them made me productive for the rest of the day. SAVERS really kick start you, even on bad days.

3. It doesn't have to be an hour.

Elrod even mentions this in the book, somedays he has an early meeting and needs to get out the door. He describes using one minute for each lifesaver.

Basically, you can adjust the program to tailor to your needs.

My program is different depending on the day, although some things remain consistent.

S - I always do my 10 min of Headspace

A - My affirmations are usually 3 - 5 min. 5 minutes if I have plenty of time, 3 minutes if I have yoga or PT that day

V - Same as above, what I usually like to do is combine affirmations and visualization to 5 minutes on a 'quick' day

E - I'm slowly working up to 2 min planks. I add this in with a couple of yoga asanas, except on yoga class days, those days I just plank. My E is anywhere from 4 - 15 min depending on what I have going on. Cleaning the house day...just planks. Yoga class...just planks. Nothing physically demanding that day...full routine.

Consistency here is key.

Since I workout every day I'm building more muscle and the intensity is low, so I'm less likely to have a pain flare.

If you are a completely inactive chronic pain patient you may want to check out my guide to getting started on a workout program. Instead of 10 min, I would say start with a 1 min slow walking lap around your house or 1 min of soup can bicep curls on each arm. Start slow!

R - I normally read for at least 10 minutes. Usually, it's longer because when my timer goes off I read until I get to the next section.

S - I love that this program has built-in journal time. I always spend at most 10 minutes in my bullet journal. This has made my consistency skyrocket on keeping up with my bujo. My trackers are accurate. My goals and task list are always at the forefront because this is the last thing I do in my SAVERS.

It is worth mentioning that Elrod also states that you don't have to do them in order. I just prefer it this way because after my workout is over I finish the rest of my water and grab a cup of coffee to enjoy while I read and bullet journal.

I really do recommend checking out TMM and read it with an open mind especially if you have a chronic condition.

I definitely remember thinking, "Sure sounds easy when you don't have a night of painsomnia..." However, I think the actual morning routine and habit forming process can lead to a healthier mindset and enable you to do things you did not think were achievable.