Thursday, September 29, 2016

That Time I Gave Up Coffee

In honor of National Coffee Day (who makes this stuff up?) I am going to share my experience giving up coffee. It was recent, just a few months ago so I remember it well.
My new eating plan does not include coffee. What is my new plan you ask? Portion control and no sugar or carbs. Also no soda, even diet soda. And for a short time no coffee.

At this spot in the middle of my life I recognized that if I did not take control of my  weight now when would I ever do it? I have needed to lose the baby weight from my youngest child for all of her 14 years.

I started in the middle of May 2016 and did not drink coffee again until 2 months later in the middle of July. Was it hard? Kind of. I was not a huge coffee drinker but I do love the taste of it. I remember when my middle child, my son who was a terrible sleeper, was a baby I would go to bed at night looking so forward to my cup of coffee the next morning. Now that the baby days with him are 18 years in the rear view mirror my hankering for coffee is not quite so intense.

So I did it. I gave up coffee for 2 months and have pretty much given up sugar and carbs as well. The results have been fantastic. My head is clearer, you hear that a lot from people who have gone carb free/sugar free/ gluten free but until you experience it it's hard to imagine.
Because my head is clearer and I have lost weight my energy is up and my need for that cup of energy boosting coffee is down. 1 cup a day or less some days is my average.

I am sure that National Coffee Day is all about marketing and getting people to drink more coffee but as with anything for real life and good health moderation in all things is key.

Now if I could give up partying like a rock star every weekend. Just kidding, I wish ...

So that's my coffee story. If you are a coffee drinker enjoy all that free stuff out there today and  thanks for reading. Stay tuned for more from My Middleton Chronicles ... I'm on a roll with this blogging thing.


Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Miracle Morning - The Home Stretch

2 more days to go in September and for me the Miracle Morning has meant meditation. I've done 10 days of a motivation meditation 'pack' as they call it on the head space app and I am partway through a self esteem pack. It really is amazing how quickly the 10 minutes go by and how different I feel before and after.

We are all so busy multi tasking that getting a little head space each day is like a breath of fresh air. Yesterday I truly was not feeling good, thought I was getting sick and felt totally different after meditating.  The ibuprofen and vitamins I took probably helped too!

Looking ahead what will my October challenge be? I am going to participate in 'Making Your Home a Haven' as I did last year but that's easy, or at least the first week is.
How easy is it? Pick out your favorite candle scent. Buy the biggest candle in that scent you can find. Light it each day in your kitchen and say a prayer for your family. I can handle that. There's more to it as the month goes along but none of it is tough to do.

Here's a post from last year about 'Making You Home a Haven'

Stay tuned for more from My Middleton Chronicles and if you are inclined comment and tell me about what you do to stay happy, healthy and challenged in your life.


Monday, September 26, 2016

Miracle Morning and Microblog Monday - That's a Mouthful!

"If I'd known then what I know now ..." Do you ever think about that and how things would have been different?

For me I think I could have avoided tons of anxiety had I known back during certain points in my life what I know now.  Hindsight tells me that things truly have a way of working themselves out. Maybe that's a charmed way of thinking and a big rude awakening is on it's way, I hope not.

One of the great things about the Miracle Morning is that it gets me in the right mindset to take on the day. My playlist for the exercise portion of the morning is the 'Happy' channel on Pandora. It's great for working out, cleaning and anytime you want something up beat on to keep you going.

As the Miracle Morning attempts continued this past week I found their Facebook group.
It's a huge group and it's inspiring to see that so many people are working on the same thing I am.

Stay tuned for more of My Middleton Chronicles and keep me honest in my challenge attempts. I'm in the home stretch with this one.


Thursday, September 22, 2016

Miracle Morning - Do What You Love

When asked the secret or key to happiness Sandra Day O'Connor, Supreme Court Justice, answered without a moments hesitation. "Do what you love."

As the  first woman to be appointed to the Supreme Court in 1981 O'Connor was certainly a hugely accomplished person. Getting to a position like that takes hard work and passion. Words of wisdom from her are not be overlooked.

Does the concept of 'Do What You Love' seem like a pipe dream? Try switching it around a bit and figuring out, through enthusiasm and appreciation, how you can make what you are doing currently something you love. Self improvement and increased effort help with that. Balance can also help.
If you are in need of balance check out my recent post on avoiding splat, also known as crash and burn

I visited a coffee shop yesterday and in talking with the owner it became apparent that she was doing what she loved. As she spoke of how people were starting to come from neighboring towns for her shops coffee because they loved it you could hear the pride in her voice.

At my husbands work the employees are currently involved in a steps challenge. Whoever gets the most steps is the winner and they are doing the challenge in teams. Increased energy that comes from increased physical activity can help with loving what you do. Smart employer.

What do you love? If you take notice of what activities energize you and what drains you it will help with identifying what you love.
Once you've identified it be conscious of making time for those things.

Have a great Thursday and stay tuned for more from My Middleton Chronicles.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

The Miracle Morning and Splat

I recently read an article about 'splat' moments and the author talked about Hillary Clinton's moment when she had to leave the 9/11 event recently. 'Splat' could also be known as 'crash and burn'.
It comes when you are so busy that the time needed to take care of yourself is not available due to a crazy work schedule or unusual demands on your time.

In my work with real estate agents I have observed this in others and have experienced it myself. I'll never forget my own 'splat' moment in 2001 when I was walking a new construction lot of land with a buyer and his brother and I passed out. That's right fell on the ground passed out. It was horrifying and embarrassing and was my 'splat' moment. 

Life is busy and the demands on our time are many. The Miracle Morning is a way to take care of yourself and still do all the things you want and need to do to reach your goals. It can be tough to do, it certainly takes discipline and my Miracle Morning is for sure a work in progress but the alternative of not reaching my goals or even worse having a 'splat' or 'crash and burn' episode is keeping me going.

Here's the Bernice Ross article,
Check out the part where she gives the formula for figuring out your hourly rate (2nd to last paragraph)

CoachingClues: Are You on the Road to Splat? - Bernice Ross
Are you running with your business seven days a week, missing family events to handle client business, and constantly feeling stressed out? If so, you may be on the road to having a “splat” moment that can have serious consequences for both your health and your business.
I recently spoke for the Maryland Association of Realtors® on Winning the Mindset Game. During that session, I outlined a three-step model that alerts you when you need to make a major course change.
The Feather, Bat, Splat Warning Model 
The first warning sign in this powerful model is the “feather.” The feather is that little voice inside that says, “You’re working too much, you’re not eating right, and you really do need to take some time off.” You may also be making little mistakes that you normally don’t make—you miss an appointment, you forget to pay a bill, or leave your phone at a restaurant.
The second step is the “baseball bat.” This occurs when you come down with a bad case of the flu, you have an abscessed tooth that requires a root canal, or your hard drive crashes and your data is wiped out along with it. Your business may be plagued with difficult clients, problem transactions, and computer issues.
If you ignore these warning signs, you may go “splat” by having a car accident, a major illness, or some other problem that keeps you from working weeks or even months.
A Very Public Splat Moment 
As I watched the video of Hillary Clinton’s so-called “wobble,” it struck me that the events leading up to this event followed the model above. Clinton has struggled with persistent allergies and a cough for months (the feather).
Clinton’s physician, Lisa Bardack, revealed that in January, Clinton was suffering from sinusitis and an ear infection that required antibiotics, steroids, and myringotomy tube to be placed in her ear to drain the fluid (the baseball bat).
As Clinton’s cough worsened, she saw Bardack on September 9, 2016. Bardack informed Clinton that she had pneumonia and advised Clinton to amend her campaign schedule. Clinton refused. Instead, she attended the 9-11 event in New York City. The result was a very public “splat” moment that dominated the headlines.
How to Avoid Going Splat 
Sadly, many real estate professionals end up working seven days a week, grabbing fast food on the run, and giving up precious family time to work on doing another deal. I know, because I did it for two decades. It’s taken years of coaching and work to break the habit.
Moreover, I don’t even remember those people’s names or what was so important that I was willing to sacrifice two decades of memories. What I do remember is the time spent with family, special events with friends, and the memories made having fun outside of work.
Take Time to Refuel 
When you push seven days a week or work long hours, it’s the same as running your car 12 to 14 hours per day. Sooner or later you need to replenish your fuel. The only proven way to do this is to take time off.
As Ann Lamont observed, “Almost anything will work better if you unplug it…even you!”
What I’ve found is that after I take a day off, I get twice as much accomplished as I did on the day before my day off.
You Don’t Have to Be Available 24-7 to Succeed 
Regular contact doesn’t mean 24-7. Instead, if you regularly update your clients with the latest activity on their listing, any new competing properties that have come on the market, or use a transaction management platform that notifies your clients of each step being taken in the transaction, there’s little reason for them to contact you. Unless something very unusual is happening, there’s no reason for you to give up your evenings and special times with loved ones. Virtually all real estate issues can wait until the next morning when you are back at work.
Identify What You Do Well and Delegate the Rest 
How much do you make an hour? To answer this question, divide your net income from your Schedule C, LLC, or Corporate tax return by 2,000 (that’s 50 weeks at 40 hours per week.) For example, if you made $50,000, then your net hourly rate is $25.00 per hour.
What this means is that if you are doing $8.00 an hour work such as putting out signs, picking up lockboxes, or going to the post office, each of those activities costs your business $17.00 per hour. Hire someone else to do these simple chores so that you can generate the extra one or two listings per year to cover the cost.
Furthermore, if you hate doing paperwork, a transaction coordinator will get the job done faster and more accurately. This frees up your time to do more lead generation as well as making it easier for you to take time off.
When You Get the Feather, Pay Attention to It! 
When your body starts telling you that you are doing too much, pay attention! You can’t help your clients if you’re home sick with the flu or if something else goes seriously wrong.
Instead, schedule a full day off, take time to enjoy your loved ones, and make a point to catch up on your sleep.
Also, be proactive about preventing problems by having regular physicals, visiting the dentist every six months, and having your eyes checked annually.
While it may be a challenge to do these things, it certainly beats the “splat” alternative.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Perfect VS. Good

10 days of Headspace with 6 days down and 4 to go.

The Miracle Morning efforts continue. As with any new endeavor it is a work in progress. Some days are better than others. The main thing is the effort and attempt to fit in things that I know are beneficial.

There are many versions of this quote which I think originally came from the book Good To Great written by Jim Collins. "Don't Let Perfect Be The Enemy Of Good." or "Don't Let Perfect Get In The Way Of Good." Or maybe it came from my guru Grethen Rubin.

I'm not going to get caught up in what I've done or not done. Instead the focus will be on daily improvement. One thing that has become clear over and over is that exercise should get done first thing or it may not ever get done. That will be my small goal for tomorrow. Get the exercise done and out of the way first thing.

Monday, September 12, 2016

4 M's - The Miracle Morning and Microblog Monday

The Miracle Morning continues!

"Be grateful for all that you have, accepting of all that you don't, and actively create all that you want."

You can read about the start of The Miracle Morning here:

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Vision Board - Miracle Morning

Great Things Are Done By A Series Of Small Things Brought Together

A piece of The Miracle Morning is visualization. For me that brings to mind a vision board.  It must be from my experience with The Secret. Remember that book and video? I do believe in that stuff. One of the sayings that stuck with me goes something like this - 'what the mind can conceive one can achieve'. The thing that many people found lacking with 'The Secret' was the part about actually having to do something about getting what you want. That there is work and effort that has to go in to it to. You can't just visualize being thinner. You have to actually eat right and exercise. Money does not just fall off of trees if you visualize it. You have to work and earn a wage, create something you can sell and then sell it or find a product you believe in and sell that or some combination of all of the above.

The saying you see in the photo on this post hangs in my home office. At least it's supposed to be my home office. If you could see the desk you'd see that there are books my daughter purged out of her room next to it, pencils and markers that I dug out before going school supply shopping so we would not duplicate what we already have, an abandoned laptop of my husbands ... but I digress.

One of my mistakes of the past was to look for the quick fix. The nice thing about having some life experience behind me is that I now no there are very few overnight successes. There's always a story of hard work and perseverance behind it.

So after doing a prep day for The Miracle Morning and 3 actual days practicing it I made it to the weekend and am going to do some more prep work which brings me back to the vision board. I spent some time reading Boston Magazine this morning and the great thing about Boston Magazine is it illustrates lifestyles. We are lucky in Massachusetts that we have the great city of Boston and all it has to offer, there are mountains to our north and west and all that they offer and there are beautiful shores all up and down our coastline. The September issue ranks the top schools and takes on the debate of charter schools vs. public schools in one of the articles. Being a mom I am grateful that compared to other areas of the country you pretty much can't go wrong when choosing a school for your children. The public education here is excellent and there's no shortage of other choices when it comes to education.

So what I need to figure out for my vision board is what should go on it. What am I striving for in those small things that I will so that will come together to form something great?
One of them is for sure good health. Another is good personal relationships. The third would be professional success. One of the tasks from the start of The Miracle Morning was to rank from 1-10 where you are currently in these areas:

Romance/Significant other
Environment home/office
Family and Friends

I wrote a bit about it in this previous post

How do I get to level 10 in these areas and which ones are most important to me?

Stay tuned for more of My Middleton Chronicles and if you have any comments or advice  on figuring this stuff out I'd love to hear them.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Miracle Morning Day 3

So don't be disappointed in me but I did not get up 1 hour early today. My plan is to still do the activities of the Miracle Morning just at different times of the day.

I'll try again next week! Have a great weekend everyone.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

The Miracle Morning Day 3

My thoughts on affirmations ...

Are they goofy? Is it weird?

The affirmations that come with The Miracle Morning I like. Right now they are speaking to me. It's like having someone whisper really great stuff in your ear.

Day 3 is done. It was, again, tough to get up when the alarm went off. One more day this week and then it's the weekend ...

In other good news the Boston Red Sox are in 1st placed. Go Sox!

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Miracle Morning Day 2 - Level 10 Habits

Level 10 Habits

To start this 'miracle' process based on the book 'The Miracle Morning' by Hal Elrod (which I still haven't read completely) readers are tasked with ranking areas of their life from 1-10.
Here are the areas that are ranked -
Personal growth and development
Romance/Significant other
Environment home/office
Family and Friends

The next question is what habits will help bring all of those areas to a level 10.

The things that you do during your extra time when you get up early are called the level 10 habits. There are 6 that are prescribed and there is room to add your own. I added planning meals to my list of habits. Very little extra time is needed and it is huge when trying to eat healthy.

As I was getting ready to do the meditation portion of the Miracle Morning a jogger ran by outside. I was not the only one up and doing something healthy. I will admit the thought of rolling over not getting up did cross my mind when my alarm went off.

So day 2 is done and I am still loving the meditation with the Headspace app, I added in another exercise and I am liking the affirmations.
Here's the quote I wrote in my planner "Today and every day I choose to create the best day of my life." The quote is not credited to anyone so I can't give credit but thanks to whoever you are.

Off I go to try and keep my level 10 going. Hope you choose to create your best day!

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Miracle Morning Day 1

Today, day 1 of my Miracle Morning 30 Day Challenge,  was not a complete success but is was not a total fail either. I set my alarm for 5:30 PM. When I awoke at 6:00 AM I was confused about why my alarm did not go off. Aha ... Set for the wrong time of day. I've done that before so I was not surprised.

The Headspace App is my meditation and I picked the motivation pack. If you haven't heard of Headspace check it out. A cool monk named Andy takes you through guided meditation. The 1st 10 are in a pack called Take 10 and it's free. You do pay to access more. I paid for this a while ago, glad I am finally inspired to get some use out of it.

The sample meditations are good. I read them to myself. Will that make a difference? Just wasn't feeling saying them out loud.

Exercise - I did sets of hand weights, sit ups and planks. Added in some stretching and it felt good.
Hey, there's a reason to go to bed in yoga pants now! Tropical storm Hermine cancelled any plans for a walk, it's wet out there.

As I mentioned this blog is my scribing. I missed the reading due to lack of time but instead of surfing social media before bed last night I read a fun book so maybe that counts?

Off to get ready for the day!

Monday, September 5, 2016

My Attempt At The Miracle Morning

I heard about a book called "The Miracle Morning" by a guy named Hal Elrod. I liked the concept and downloaded the book to my ipad to check it out. It's right up my alley and I am going to give his methods for self improvement a shot.

Starting tomorrow I'll be attempting his 30 day transformation challenge. The first step was to do an assessment of where you are in all areas of your life. The 30 day challenge includes getting up 1 hour earlier than usual and in that hour doing a series of activities geared toward increasing energy and productivity for the day.

Here's how I'll execute based on the prescribed activities -

Meditation (headspace app)
Affirmations (I'll use the sample ones from the book to start)
Visualization (a vision board?)
Exercise (what can I get done in 20 minutes? tomorrow will be hand weights and a quick walk)
Reading (read the parts of Elrod's book that I skipped over :)
Scribing (I think I'll use this blog for scribing)

Time I'll be up tomorrow - 5:30 AM

Here's the quote that spoke to me the most from Elrod's materials - "Be grateful for all that you have, accepting of all that you don't, and actively create all that you want."
I like it!

Let's see what this 30 day challenge does for me.