So…Which version are you? Jump out of bed with energy and excitement or do you roll over and hit the snooze alarm to put off the inevitable? I’ve been both. Until I started carving 60 minutes each morning for me, myself, and I! So here goes…
I’m borrowing this acronym article from Rebecca Pendelton to help all of us laugh our way thru a hard but exceptionally effective way to create a personal platform from which will rise a self-transformed phoenix. Too much?
Hang with me…it’s worth the ride.
After a bit of trial and error, I’ve landed upon a fairly ridiculous acronym that:
- Is memorable
- Makes me laugh
- Is personal to me (but feel free to steal it, or make your own)
- Is aspirational (it’s so freaking long that I challenge myself every day to complete it)
Enough suspense. My word is MARVELLOUS. Moreover, the full acronym becomes: WHAT A MARVELLOUS DAY.
I told you it was ridiculous.
But it works for me.
(Before you say it, yes I do know that Marvellous only has one L in American English. But I’m a British overachiever, so I like my extra L, thank you very much.)
Let’s start with the core word: MARVELLOUS
M is for Meditate
I use Headspace for 10 minutes in the morning. I like this word better than ‘Silence’ because it’s an active word and feels like I can cross something off my day. Plus, ‘SARVELLOUS’ doesn’t have the same ring to it. Heh.
A is for Acknowledge
This is one of my favourites. For this step, I write down three very specific things I am grateful for.
This might be “my coffee tasted particularly delicious this morning” or “my plant sprouted a new leaf!” The more specific the gratitude, the better.
Secondly, I contact three people in my life that I am grateful for. I leave them a little voice note saying hello, or just write them a short Whatsapp message.
Acknowledging the people and things in your life that make it worth living is a great way to start the day.
R is for Reflect
Here I’m essentially journalling: writing down how I’m feeling, what’s going well, what’s worrying me. I set a timer for 10 minutes and just get everything out onto the page.
V is for Visualise
This one is fun. I draw a quick sketch of what I want to achieve that day or that week (or even a life goal) and then close my ideas and picture myself doing it.
The pictures are so terrible that this also makes me laugh in the morning. Here is an example:
Anyway, the important thing is closing the ideas and picturing the before, during and after of the goal — helping to cement it in your mind and make yourself believe it’s possible.
E is for Empower
Another one I stole from the Miracle Morning technique. Instead of Affirmations, I call this ‘Empower’ (mainly to fit into the word Marvellous).
Based on how my mood is, I’ll write down a couple of motivational statements and then whisper them to myself. I feel like a bit of a freak doing it, but goddammit, it does make me feel better.
L is for List five good ideas
This is one that I took from an article by Tim Denning. In it, he describes how James Altucher started a habit of writing down 10 ideas in the morning, and how it changed his life.
I tried 10, and I found it really difficult. But five is totally manageable. In fact, my L was originally “List 10 good ideas,” and now it’s just “List five ideas.” I’ve taken away the pressure of making the ideas “good” — and instead I’m just focusing on the practice of daily creative thinking.
Phew! Let’s have a little break, shall we? We’ve achieved a lot. And to be honest, if you just want to stop there because you’re running a bit behind with the rest of your day — no worries, you’ve already achieved the word MARVEL (which is a way better word than SAVERS). And it even makes sense, because you can MARVEL at your achievement. Ha!
However, the next four are pretty useful and I end up naturally doing the first one anyway, so then it makes me want to complete the LOUS to get to the word MARVELLOUS. Sneaky, right?
L is for List out daily goals
Another list. But this is for your tasks and goals for the day. It’s your basic bitch to-do list. Get it all down on the page, in a task list tool, or into a notebook. I use TikTock (and I plan to write about how great this app is at a later date).
Nothing special here. Check! Time to move on.
O is for Organise the day in (colourful) blocks
Back to the fun. Colours! All of the colours. And blocks. (I am a child.)
Anyway, for this one, all you need is a calendar app. And then you want to literally block out every minute of your day with your tasks.
This sounds insane, but it actually really works. I used to find myself getting distracted a LOT during the day, but now I just refer to the calendar to get me back on track.
I make sure to factor in time for ‘doing sweet f-all’, ‘eating chocolate’ and ‘catching up on Love Island’. But ensuring I am being intentional with my time helps me to focus on what I need to do and feel accomplished every day.
U is for Understand three personal priorities and three possible pitfalls
Look. There aren’t many great verbs beginning with “U” that aren’t negative, ok? So while “understand” might be a cop out, I don’t care.
As a product manager, I’m all about prioritisation. So I find it really useful once I’ve listed out my tasks/goals and mapped out my calendar to understand what my absolute “must do” actions are.
- Top three priorities: What absolutely HAS to get done today? What will bring the most value to my life? What things are moving me towards my bigger goals?
- Top three pitfalls: What are the three things most likely to get in my way today? How can I avoid these or get around them? Do the same things keep coming up? If so, how can I change this?
S is for Stretch
We’re at the end! And that’s why my last letter is an activity that brings me so much value, but often got skipped before I didn’t have my crazy acronym to force me to complete it.
Stretching is so important for me in the mornings as it gets me moving and peps me up for the day. I’m a huge fan of Yoga with Adriene as she has the cutest dog.
Making it into a phrase
Yay, we did it! I also guarantee you feel MARVELLOUS right now, and you’re smiling because the word is so antiquated and posh and reminds you of that great book by Roald Dahl where the boy poisons his grandma.
BUT WAIT! It doesn’t stop there. Since I realised there were other habits and goals I wanted to achieve during the day, I extended it to be a phrase: “What a Marvellous Day”. This is the real ridiculousness, right here. I could have just stopped at Marvellous, but no, I needed to take it that one step further. Idiot.
Anyway, the first section is about what I want to do before I start my morning routine:
- W is for Wake up before 8am
- H is for Hydrate (drink a ton of water when I wake up)
- A is for Allow only 10 mins for phone scrolling (I tried ‘avoid phone’, but that was too hard)
- T is for Take medication (a handy reminder!)
- A is for Apply cold water to the face (this is a game changer — the best way to shock the system into waking up. Showering in cold water also works.)
Then I do my MARVELLOUS routine in the morning before work (see above). During the rest of the day, I have three goals I like to try and complete:
- D is for Do something creative (writing, drawing, dancing)
- A is for Accelerate heartrate and educate (exercise while listening to a podcast)
- Y is for Yearly goals (I try and do something that contributes towards one of my yearly goals).
And that’s how you get to the most ridiculous daily routine acronym, ‘WHAT A MARVELLOUS DAY’. Since implementing it, I’ve managed to do far more self-care every day than ever before. I’ll be honest — it’s near-on impossible to achieve the whole phrase. I’m not superhuman. But my word, do I have fun trying.
Go on, make your own. How about a LOVELY Lunchbreak? A FAB Friday? Whatever it is, make it silly, memorable and unique to you.