It’s January 4, 2016, and I’ve just completed my 365th Miracle Morning routine. Three hundred and sixty-fifth. 3. 6. 5.
When I started this routine a year ago, it was with the hope that it would become just that – a routine. I say “hope” because the idea that I’d still be practicing these self-improvement skills a year later was so abstract, I really couldn’t see it. But here I am.
(In case you’re just tuning in, 365 days ago I began The Miracle Morning (TMM) routine, based on Hal Elrod’s inspiring book.)
What an amazing year! I feel like it’s been a rebuilding year following a few, well, pretty awful years if I’m honest. Layoffs, traumatic injuries, the loss of a family member, depression, financial struggles – that sums up the previous 3 years. While 2015 wasn’t always an upward trend on the graph, it definitely ended higher than it began, and I know that my TMM was a major factor in that result. Here are just a few examples of what happened in 2015.
- I haven’t finished my 2015 bookkeeping yet, but even without the numerical confirmation I can say that this has been my best year as a freelancer so far! Granted, it’s only my second full year, but I’ve already either met or surpassed my last 9-to-5 job income (again, need to finish bookkeeping chores).
- I added two new clients in 2015, both of which I successfully negotiated up to higher rates than initially proposed thanks to techniques and encouragement from some of the freelancing resources I read during my TMM.
- I’m also now the editor of a digital magazine (3 issues and counting) and have accepted a trial editorship of another magazine within the same family to see how the workload fits into the rest of my assignments.
- Just as important as adding new, decent-paying clients is letting go of clients that aren’t a match. A few months ago I faced facts and acknowledged that a particular project I’d been working with for nearly a year was not a good fit for my skillset. The client wasn’t the problem; I simply had no business taking on the project. Severing that relationship was tough, but necessary.
- Calm, focus, purpose – these were watchwords for me in 2015, skills and traits I wanted to learn and practice through my TMM. Mediation helped tremendously, which came as a surprise to someone who had never put much stock (or, let’s be honest, commitment) into meditation. I feel like I still have a long way to go in all of these areas, but am very happy with current progress.
- I’ve almost filled 4 journals with visualizations and gratitude journaling. This year I plan to do more long-form journaling and have already started mind mapping as part of my visualization process.
- Several relationships/types of relationships are undergoing changes as a result of what I’ve learned about myself as well as how healthy relationships work. This is ongoing, and generally private since it involves other people, so I won’t go into detail.
- This year was my best experience at Comic Con in years. Maybe ever. Much of that can be attributed to practicing mindfulness and living in the now rather than thinking ahead to the next thing and the next thing and the next thing…
- I traveled to two new places – Table Rock Lake in the Ozarks and Las Vegas. These trips came about as part of my commitment to saying “yes” more and following through on opportunities.
- I would also like to mention that I’ve seen Star Wars: The Force Awakens four times so far and listened to the soundtrack while writing this post because Jedi! And I re-read the Harry Potter series which meant a resurfacing of that obsession. Not necessarily TMM-related accomplishments, but I feel like all of this nerdiness should be recorded for posterity because it makes me happy and isn’t that what this is all about?
- I had two bouts with depression this year; a minor one in January and a major one over the summer. The latter threw me off track in many areas, as depression is wont to do, and I’ve not yet regained all of that lost momentum. My TMM was my lifeline, particularly over the summer, giving me some structure and purpose, keeping me from spiraling as far down as I have in the past. Currently life is good, my brain is my own, and I’m excited about getting back to work on my health in particular.
- I haven’t done yoga every single day as part of my TMM, but it’s been part of at least 75% of my mornings over the past year, and boy, can I tell a difference! My joints, my neck, my shoulders, my back – everything has improved. My posture is better, I’m more flexible and less prone to injury, and it’s easier for me to calm down when I start getting anxious or angry or flustered (yoga breaths). Adriene has been adding some interesting new practices to YouTube recently, and I’m looking forward to challenging my body.
What I’ve Read
An important part of TMM is reading books that help you learn and grow in a variety of areas. I focused on relationships, health, and business growth this year. Here’s an almost complete list of what I read (I know I’m missing a couple of titles):
- Blog posts related to freelance writing & running a business, specifically from The Renegade Writer and Sarah Von Bargen
- The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman (fantastic!)
- The One Thing by Gary Keller (interesting concept, still working on putting into practice consistently)
- Help Thanks Wow by Anne Lamott (loved!)
- A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle (attempted, did not like)
- Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill (made it about halfway through; need to start over)
- The Five Love Languages of Children by Gary Chapman and Ross Campbell (SO helpful)
- A Course in Weight Loss by Marianne Williamson (planning to re-read shortly)
- The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey (am working on the baby steps now)
- Emotional Intelligence 2.0 by Travis Bradberry and Jean Greaves (both insightful and full of practical advice)
- Daring Greatly by Brene Brown (started but didn’t finish; realized that I’ve already done most of the work she’s outlining, although I was delighted by her extended Harry Potter metaphor)
- Zealot by Reza Aslan (currently reading; fascinating historical biography of Christ)
- Listful Thinking by Paula Rizzo (currently reading and nearly finished; I’ve been making lists galore!)
I plan to continue my TMM because it gives me needed stability and measurable results. My next goal is 500 days in a row on my way to a full two years. I’m deeply encouraged that I’ve stuck with a routine – any routine, let alone one that pushed me so often – for this long, so I’m working on using this as motivation to establish other healthy/productive routines. As tempting as it is to go full steam ahead with checklists and charts and plans for routines in all areas of my life, I’m being mindful of my resources and considering my options. My physical health is a top priority, and this is a good month to embark on a routine with discounted gym memberships, healthy food, etc., so that’s probably my next area of focus. Look for that decision and progress made in my next TMM update.
Books to read: I have quite a pile of books waiting for me already this year, including: On Writing Well by William Zinsser; Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott; Rebuilt by Michael White and Tom Corcoran; Life is Hard, Food is Easy by Linda Spangle; and The Mindful Brain by Daniel J. Siegel. I’d also like to find a well-researched and documented “rebuttal” to Zealot; hit me up with suggestions!