The Miracle Morning – One Year Later

It’s been a whole year since I started doing The Miracle Morning and I’m amazed at the changes I’ve made in my life because of it. As I mentioned in my previous posts, I had a lot of personal changes going on and The Miracle Morning gave me a way to focus on my priorities and not lose myself in the process. If you missed my introduction post, you can see it here, my 60 day post here, my 90 day post here, and my 180 day post here.

Here are a few things I added to my morning routine over the last 365 days:

Silence

I’ve upped my Headspace meditation to 15 minutes from the original 10 minutes. I’m currently working through the focus pack. I also started reading the One Year Bible and I love everything I’m learning. I’ve never read through the Bible in its entirety and it is a breath of fresh air. I also have been trying my hand at memorizing Bible verses. So far I’ve memorized Psalm 23, John 3:16, Mark 12:30 and Psalm 1:2.

Affirmations

I’m still using the Think Up app for my affirmations, one of which has been to drink a gallon of water every day. Since I’ve introduced the Hidrate Spark into my day I’ve gotten a lot closer to hitting that goal on a consistent basis.

Visualization

This Tony Robbins is currently my visualization jam. I want to be a millionaire and I want to go to Fiji and this video has it all. Plus Tony is amazing:

Exercise

Since it’s been so cold out, Sport and I haven’t been able to walk too much so I’ve been hitting up my Gaia app and working out to old “The Firm” videos. I need to buy a set of 8 pound weights and move up to the next level from my 5’s and 3’s. I love doing Cardio Party on Fridays. I currently have this set of 20 pounds total, which are handy to have around.

Reading

Since my last post I’ve read The Body Book by Cameron Diaz, You Are a Badass by Jen Sincero, Let it Out: A Journey Through Journaling by Katie Dalebout, The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts by Gary Chapman, and Successful Philanthropy: How to Make a Life By What You Give by Jean Shafiroff.

Scribing

This is been the hardest thing to get into over the past year, but reading Katie Dalebout’s book really helped give me some direction.

This journey I’ve been on for the past year has changed me for the better in so many ways. If you’ve read The Miracle Morning and are looking for a time to start, now is the time. Join me on the journey for a brighter future! I promise you won’t regret it.

If you’ve already started your Miracle Morning I would love to hear how its been going for you.

For more Be the Best You posts, click here.




Just Drink It with the Hidrate Spark

One of my long-term goals has been to drink more water. If you need more reasons why you should drink a gallon of water every day, here are some of the most beautiful celebrities in the world espousing the benefits.

I’ve tried a number of apps, like Plant Nanny (which I talked about here) and bought fun water bottles but nothing was really getting me to drink more water. When I started doing my Miracle Morning, I added a water-drinking affirmation “I will drink a gallon of water every day.” This has been hard for me to stick to. I started chugging water at certain points in the day if I hadn’t hit my hourly goals.

Back in December 2016, I started seeing ads for the Hidrate Spark, a smart water bottle and I saved the ad on Facebook to go back to later. When I added the goal to my Miracle Morning, I remembered the bottle and decided to try it for myself.

The Hidrate Spark was created in 2014 by a group of U of M students for the Google Startup weekend in Minnesota. They built this bottle in just 54 hours! That is amazing! About a year later, they were able to launch their business. Go Blue baby! After reading that, how could I resist springing for my own bottle? I settled on the teal color and waited for it to arrive.

The first day I had the bottle, I hit my water goals no problem. It was so fun! After the novelty wore off, I went back to my average daily amount and had to work up to hitting my goal. That’s where the Hidrate Spark really shows its value. You can set the bottle to light up when you are behind on your water goals with a variety of settings. It is pretty funny to be in a meeting and your water bottle starts blinking. I’ve received so many funny looks about this bottle at work. The second part and my favorite, is that the bottle texts me with all sorts of funny things to remind me to drink up. Here are some samples from the past few days:

The bottle is powered by two coin sized batteries that you can get at the drugstore. The company gives you an extra set to start with. I also loved that the Hidrate Spark connects with my Fitbit app so you can keep everything in one place. Another cool feature, is that the water intake goal changes based on your weight and the temperature. So if it’s hotter outside your goal will increase.

This app has the capability for you to compete with friends too. Unfortunately, I don’t have any friends with the Hidrate Spark yet so let me know if you get one and we can be friends!

After about 3 or 4 months after getting my first bottle, Hidrate Spark came out with a limited edition blue bottle and I couldn’t resist getting it. I figured it would be nice to have a second bottle so I could wash one and use the other and then swap them out. You can put the bottle and the top in the dishwasher, you just have to take off the sensor stick. I usually remove the little tie on the back too. They bring back this blue color every so often, so if you want to get that one, just sign up for their emails to be notified when it comes back.

On a side note, this is not a sponsored post, I purchased both of these bottles myself and love them. A few months ago I dropped my teal bottle one too many times and my cap broke and wouldn’t snap shut. I contacted the company about a replacement cap (which I would have purchased) and they asked me a few questions and ended up sending me the replacement for free! Talk about great customer service.

If you’re looking to increase your water intake or for a great gift idea for that health conscious person in your life, I highly recommend the Hidrate Spark. Let me know if you have any questions about the bottle and I would love to answer them.

For more Be the Best You posts, click here.




The Miracle Morning – 180 Days

I just hit the 180 day mark on my Miracle Morning journey and thought I would give you a little update! In case you missed my introduction post, you can see it here, my 60 day post here, and my 90 day post here.

Something amazing is happening! Since my last post, a few of my friends have starting doing The Miracle Morning after seeing my process on a recent girls trip. I love that we are all pushing each other forward! Our texts have changed to sharing fun motivation posts and asking meditation questions. This by far is one of the best outcomes of starting this journey.

Achieving 180 days of The Miracle Morning requires a lot of discipline. When I get questions about my routine, many people ask how I have time to focus every day. My answer is that some days are more hectic than others. The important thing is consistency. If you can’t do a full blown workout – do a 10 minute ab workout. It’s about quantity more than quality on some days. The second you stop doing it, the easier it is to not start back up again the next day.

Here are a few things I’ve added to my routine in the past 90 days:

Essential Oils

I wrote a post on adding essential oils to my meditation and morning routine. Right now I am using peppermint, lavender, rosemary and lemon in my diffuser, but hope to add more to my collection soon. I had a lot of trips scheduled in June and brought peppermint along for the ride. It was so helpful to get me in the Miracle Morning mindset when I was in a different place. Smell is really powerful in bringing you back to your routine.

Meditation

I’m still loving the Headspace app and it recently received an update. One of the great new features is that you can change the time of your meditation daily instead of sticking with only 10 minutes for an entire pack. For example, if you have extra time you can up your meditation to 15 or 20 minutes and then go back to 10 minutes the next day. Headspace also shared this new video – if this doesn’t convince you of the importance of meditation I’m not sure what will:

Reading

I completed The Power of Consistency by Weldon Long and I highly recommend it. Weldon has an incredible back story as a 3-time convicted felon. If he can make affirmations and visualization work in an 8×8 prison cell, what’s your excuse? I would love to read his other book, The Upside of Fear which shares more of his personal journey.

If you’re still not doing The Miracle Morning, what’s stopping you? Watch the following video with Hal Elrod himself explaining how The Miracle Morning can transform your life:

How are you sticking to The Miracle Morning?

For more Be the Best You posts, click here.



Set Your Intention with Aroma Foundry Essential Oils

I received complimentary samples from Aroma Foundry in order to provide a review. All opinions are my own. 

If you’ve been following the blog for a while, you’ve probably noticed my Miracle Morning journey. I’ve just crossed over 120 days and am always looking for ways to enhance my morning routine. When Aroma Foundry reached out to me, I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to incorporate essential oils into my Miracle Morning routine and maybe even create my own Miracle Morning blend.

Essential oils are all-natural and extracted from plants. Aroma Foundry sources Native Oils where they are first known to have appeared. For example, Aroma Foundry Rosemary is sourced from Morocco. Each of their oils has a little history attached to it. Rosemary has this background: “Going back to the time of the indigenous Berbers, fields of wild rosemary were sustainably harvested and utilized for many centuries.” 

If you are thinking of incorporating essential oils into your Miracle Morning routine either by diffusing, smelling or applying them, here are a few to consider:

Rosemary

Rosemary is the perfect oil to diffuse during your affirmations and visualization time. It is known to promote memory retention, concentration and productivity. It also uplifts and stimulates the mind. You can also take it with you during the day and take a quick inhale whenever you need a reminder to stick to your goals.

Bergamot

A type of orange, Bergamot has a calming effect and its citrus properties will help to uplift you during meditation. Aroma Foundry sources their Bergamot from the Netherlands where it is popular as a fragrance, in teas, and even in beers.

Peppermint

Aroma Foundry sources its Peppermint from Washington which surprisingly produces more mint than any other region in the world. Who knew? Peppermint can be used as an energy booster and to promote concentration. It can also stimulate clear thinking. It would be great in a brainstorm or when you are doing your visualizations. You may try taking a whiff of this when you first wake up in the morning.

John and I used Peppermint during a road trip to stay alert and energized.

Lemongrass

If you are hitting your yoga mat every morning, consider diffusing Lemongrass or applying it to your wrists prior to practice. Aroma Foundry uses Lemongrass from Guatemala because the climate produces some of the most fragrant oil. Lemongrass will invigorate your senses and open your mind. It’s also perfect for those sore muscles and can be used in massages.

Lavender

Source in the United States, Aroma Foundry’s Lavender is 100% pure and not diluted. Lavender can help relieve nervous tension and depression. To ensure you get a good night’s sleep, rub some behind your temples before bed and visualize the next morning’s routine.

Grapefruit

This grapefruit oil is sourced from Florida and has a stimulating effect on the body and the mind. It’s another mood lifter, perfect for your down days or when you need to focus on your goal with clarity.

Lemon

Aroma Foundry’s Lemon oil is sourced from California. Lemon promotes concentration and can help calm you when you’re exhausted or feeling angry. This is a good one for an early morning meditation when you really don’t feel like doing it that day.

It’s your lucky day, because Aroma Foundry has generously offered to give a $25 gift card to one of my readers. I am thrilled to share this with you so you can kick start your Miracle Morning practice using essential oils. Enter the giveaway below and I will select a winner on June 5th:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

For more posts about the Miracle Morning, click here.



The Miracle Morning – 90 Days

I am thrilled to share that I recently hit 90 days in my Miracle Morning journey! In case you missed my introduction post, you can see it here and my 60 days post here. Since I started doing the Miracle Morning, I have been more on track and focused on my goals than ever before. I can see a number of positive changes already happening in my life which makes me even more determined. If you still aren’t convinced that getting up early is a good thing, take a look at this article from Business Insider on all of the successful CEOs that are incorporating parts of The Miracle Morning into their routines. I never considered myself a morning person, but if I can do it, so can you!

If you’ve been following along, I’m going to share a few insights and tips I have learned or added to the morning routine for each of the SAVERS.

Silence

I am still loving the Headspace app more than ever! Now that it has warmed up and I’m walking the dog again, I’ve been using the Walking Meditation available in the Singles section. I haven’t mentioned it yet, but after the first 30 days I wanted to add some devotions to my silence. We had a copy of Jesus Lives in our guest room and I have been doing that every day after my meditation.

Affirmations

I’m still loving the ThinkUp App for my affirmations and I recently discovered that you can categorize them. So I could have a set that I listen to in the morning and some on the way to work, etc. Over the past 30 days, I have hit two of the goals that I have been saying daily affirmations for. I can’t tell you how exciting it was to do that. One was a money goal that I set a specific time limit to (end of Q1) and the other was my water goal. Ever since I got the Hidrate Spark, I went from barely getting in 8 ounces a day to exceeding 100 ounces everyday! Both were HUGE accomplishments for me. Stay tuned for a full review of the Hidrate Spark in an upcoming post. I also want to create a group of bedtime affirmations that are specifically targeted for the next day and start a night routine as well. I’m sharing this video just for fun – you have to own your affirmations people!

Visualization

This is the area I have the most trouble with. I am still using my HayHouseVB app but think I need to step it up a bit. Someone in the Miracle Morning Facebook Community suggested YouTube visualization videos and I am just starting to incorporate them into my morning. For example, one of the things I am visualizing is taking a trip to Paris, so I found this video which is 100 times better than just looking at photos:

Exercise

Now that it has warmed up again, Sport and I are back at our morning walks. I try to get 10,000 steps each day which is hard to do without our walk. About a month ago I accidentally flushed my Fitbit Zip down the toilet so I couldn’t track my steps anymore. This was the perfect reason to upgrade to the FitBit One, which I love! This added a sleep tracker and the ability to set an alarm. So I now have an alarm set on my Fitbit to vibrate and wake me up in the morning. How cool is that?

Reading

I finally finished Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill. That one was a harder read just because of the outdated language, but the principles are great. I took a short stop to my next book to read Michael Ellsburg’s manifesto What Does it Mean That Your Life is Perfect? This was recommended in one of Hal Elrod’s podcasts and it is a free download and only about 40 pages.

Scribing

This is another SAVER that I am still working on. One thing I want to incorporate into this next round is adding one thing that I’m grateful for each day.

How are you sticking to The Miracle Morning?

For more Be the Best You posts, click here.



The Miracle Morning – 60 Days

I wanted to give a little update to my original Miracle Morning post. I recently hit the 60 day mark and wanted to share some of my tips and tricks for my SAVERS and hopefully get some tips from you if you’re following along at home.

Silence

I am OBSESSED with the Headspace app. The first 10 days are free and then you subscribe for a nominal fee. I recommend doing the first 10 days free and then subscribing afterwards. I have a few free month trial codes if anyone is interested. The first two people to email me at elizabeth@detroitduchess.com can have them. I will put you on the list after that in case I get more. Also let me know if you are using this because we can be meditation buddies!

Affirmations

For my affirmations, I got an app called “Think Up.” You can type your affirmations and then record yourself saying them. Every morning I play them back to myself.

Visualization

To help visualize my goals, I downloaded the HayHouseVB app, which is essentially an online vision board. I like that you can create a bunch of different boards and I have a lot of fun with this. Plus they are always with me and I can look at them anytime.

Exercise

Since we are in the winter months, I’ve had to find some alternatives to walking as it is FREEZING outside. When I lost weight in the past, I was an avid follower of The FIRM workout plan. I found out that The FIRM was acquired by Gaia and that you can get all of their workout videos from the Gaia app. So I went ahead and got myself a subscription. This has been one of the best investments I’ve made! I LOVE these workouts and I love being able to do them on our Apple TV. You can find all of The FIRM workouts here. I also like that I can get any kind of workout I want at anytime anywhere from Gaia. Here’s a little taste from YouTube in case you’ve never done one before:

Reading

I finished 10% Happier, my pick from the first 30 days and now am onto Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill. This one was recommending by Hal Elrod and he noted it was where he first heard about affirmations. The book is interesting because it was written in 1937 and published during the Great Depression. Most of it still holds up today and I love that it is a collection of real world examples of 20 years of studying successful people.

Scribing

This has probably been the hardest area for me because I’m not really sure what I’m supposed to be doing here. I did end up purchasing the official Miracle Morning Journal because I like the SAVERS checkboxes. You can get a free sample here.

How are you sticking to The Miracle Morning?

For more Be the Best You posts, click here.



The Miracle Morning

Hello readers! I’m back!

Long story short, 2016 was tough on a personal level and I was definitely pushed to my breaking point. This forced me to re-evaluate my priorities and focus on what was most important. I worked really hard and ended the year on top with a big promotion at work. I had planned to kick off the year with this post, but got hit with a bad case of pneumonia, which is why I’m hitting the restart button on 2017 now.

Last year, I was turned on to The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod and have been following parts of it ever since. I decided that I would really commit to it in 2017 and wanted to invite you to join me.

I first heard about The Miracle Morning on Episode 37 of the Marriage More podcast with Jeff and Mandy Rose. They interviewed Hal Elrod and I was blown away by his story! From being on top of the world to a horrific car accident, Hal had every reason to give up. But that’s not what he did. His optimism inspired me and I was hooked. From the podcast I was inspired to start getting up early and doing some of the things that Hal outlines in his miracle morning. After hearing this, I started listening to Hal’s podcast and then I bought and read the book.

Essentially, The Miracle Morning is a lifestyle change that will help you achieve Level 10 success in every aspect of your life. The crazy thing is it’s really simple. The premise is that you have to wake up early and then do a routine of self-improvement activities (Life SAVERS) before you start your day.

I’m inviting you to start this process with me for the next 30 days and I will outline a few of the things that I am going to focus on with my Life SAVERS.

Silence

On one of Hal’s podcasts, he recommended the Simply Being app to help with meditation and the times I’ve used it, I thought it was extremely helpful.

Affirmations

The next step is to write your affirmations down and review them every morning. Here is one that I liked and will use to kick this off.

Visualization

I plan to do my Miracle Morning in our office, so I want to create a larger vision board that I can focus on during my SAVERS. I have a few small ones right now, but I want to make a bigger board for 2017.

Exercise

Normally I love to walk Sport in the morning, but right now it’s too cold so I will be hitting my morning yoga class until it is warm enough to start walking him again.

Reading

To kick off the first 30-day challenge, I am planning to start reading 10% Happier by Dan Harris. Dan is a Nightline anchor who had a nationally televised panic attack on Good Morning America. Afterwards, he decided to make a change and learn about meditation. I’ve been listening to Dan’s podcast for a while and love it! I had no idea so many people meditate every day. I figured this would be a good book to start with as I will be meditating now.

Scribing

The last SAVER is scribing or journaling. I am terrible at this, I hate writing my thoughts down on paper, but there are a number of benefits to doing this. Hal recommends The Winners’ Journal for this and I also have The 5-Minute Journal app to get me started.

Will you start The Miracle Morning Challenge with me? I loved this quote from the book and thought it would might help convince you.

For more Be the Best You posts, click here.



2016 Health Goals with Meijer

Disclosure: I received sample products from Meijer in exchange for this post. All opinions expressed are my own.

I’m not the kind of person that likes to make big sweeping resolutions…mostly because they don’t work out. I like to set goals and take baby steps to reach them. In 2005-2006, I lost more than 50 pounds, working out and sticking to a strict diet. Unfortunately, in 2007 I slowly started to gain all of that weight back plus an additional 45 pounds. BOO. Ever since we adopted our sweet pup Sport, I’ve been getting up early each morning to walk him nearly three miles and I’ve lost 15 pounds since implementing that step into my daily routine.

07_6

This is a picture of me at my lowest weight in 2007.

The point of all this is to say after losing a lot of weight very quickly, I never really changed my lifestyle and that made it easy for me to go back to the status quo once I had lost all the weight. So my goals for 2016 are to start making small changes and mastering each step before adding something new in. I hope to be successful this way and really sustain healthy living.

So after I started my daily walking routine, which in turn gets me to 10,000 daily steps, I decided that the next goal was to start drinking my daily water goal. I was recently introduced to an awesome app called Plant Nanny that has been helping me reach my water goals. This app is like a game and makes logging your water a fun task by growing a plant. It also reminds you in a real way that if you don’t water your plant it will die and in this case you are the plant.

plant nanny

This is my third plant, a cactus named Sparky

The next step is where Meijer comes into play – healthy eating and calorie counting. I like to incorporate shakes and meal replacement bars into my diet so when I go out I can indulge a little bit more on the big meals. Meijer sent me a variety of different shakes to try. I’ve previously only done Slim-Fast shakes before so I am excited to try some of these. Depending on how much time I have in the morning, sometimes I will add fruit to my shakes for a little something extra. I usually take my shakes with me during my morning commute, so convenience is important.

Shakes

Do you have any good shake recipes? I normally just do a cup of milk, powder and sometimes if I’m starving a tablespoon of peanut butter. For lunch, I will do a meal replacement bar and 200 calories of something else, usually a half of sandwich or a serving of soup. It’s a joke in our house because I keep all my bars in our cookie jar. There are rarely cookies stored there, haha!

bars

Calorie counting and movement are the keys to shedding the pounds for me and I am thrilled to start 2016 out with some helpful calorie management aids in my pantry. Meijer also has a great website called “A Healthier You” where they share tips and tricks for meal planning, health and fitness.

Have you lost weight before? What are you best tips and tricks for a healthy new year?

For more Meijer posts, click here.



Be the Best You in 2015

Happy New Year!

When I started this series last year, I said, “2013 was a year of preparation, getting us ready for what’s to come in 2014. I’m looking forward to 2014 to bring us a new home, a puppy and maybe even a baby!”

We don’t have a puppy or a baby, but we do have a fabulous new house that I cannot wait to move into!

You also may have noticed that I didn’t finish any of my Be the Best You projects in 2014 – I am still working on all of them. This is a common theme in my life, I LOVE to start new projects and the majority of the time I never finish them. The one thing that has been consistent is this blog. I am really proud of myself for keeping this blog going for a year and a half. My goal in 2014 is to finish all of the old projects I have started and to see any new projects all the way through to completion.

finish what you start

Aside from that resolution/goal, I find that most of the time I am always working on something, whether it be work, or teaching, or this blog, etc. I rarely take time out to just do nothing or relax, so in 2015 I want to find the fun!

fun

Aside from finishing my projects, I want to spend more time with friends and family doing fun things, like brunch, happy hour or general merrymaking. Once we move into the new house I want to host more parties and start having weekly family and/or friend dinners.

000_ant21-500x500

I also want to spend more time this year “dating” my husband. I’ve noticed that most of our quality time consists of us watching TV and interacting with our various devices (laptop, iPad, iPhone, etc.). I want to do more fun and exciting things that keep the spark alive. The Dating Divas have some amazing ideas that I hope to use this year.

engagement photo

I plan to document all of my fun right here on this blog, which I hope inspires you to go out and have some fun in 2015.

What are your New Year’s Resolutions for 2015?

You find more posts in this series here.

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