"Human beings have proven time and time again that you can absolutely overcome any limitation for the most part. You can accomplish just about anything despite any odds that are stacked against you."
Thank you so much for allowing me to be a part of your life; it means more to me than you might realize. As many of us will be celebrating the Thanksgiving holiday tomorrow, know that I am deeply thankful for you and for our community, and I appreciate that you allow me to be a (small) part of your life. I truly don’t take that lightly, as you’ll hear in the beginning of today’s podcast episode. :^)
Speaking of today’s episode, although the Miracle Morning has become a huge part of my life, it’s just been recently that I’ve started thinking about creating an evening routine to help me become a better, happier, and more effective person.
A practice that I started several weeks ago led me to create a (somewhat rough and unrefined) Miracle “Evening” routine – and it has already led me to some powerful insights and personal transformation.
On today’s podcast, I take you through the three steps of this evening routine that’s almost as new for me as it will be for you – and I highly encourage you to give it a try!
- The importance of manufacturing breakthroughs – and how this practice led me to my new Miracle Evening routine.
- How to determine what’s stopping you from achieving major goals and how to take major steps forward.
- The moment I learned that I was bad at celebrating the high points of my day and how to find beauty in everyday moments instead!
- And much more…
JOIN THE CONVERSATION
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COMMENT QUESTION: What is your big takeaway? Write it in the comments below.
Hal: Goal achievers, what’s going on? This is Hal Elrod and welcome to another episode of The Achieve Your Goals Podcast. This is a solo episode. Just me. Nobody else is here and I have been dealing with some major cognitive challenges and I’ve actually been dealing with those for 20 years with the brain damage that I had for my car accident, but I’ve had cognitive challenges really due to chemotherapy that I went through from my cancer. At least that’s what I think that it’s from. I’m reading a book right now called Your Brain After Chemo. I’m trying to figure this out. But here’s the reason I’m sharing that with you to start off the episode today and that is that we all have different challenges. We all have strengths and we have what you might call weaknesses or areas of improvement and really there are weaknesses. There are certain areas where no matter how hard we work on them, there’s areas that we’re not naturally like they don’t fit our personality or brain type or our biochemistry. And for me, I’ve had these cognitive challenges and today is an example and this was the last, last week’s podcast too. I was like I started a podcast last week and I’m like, “I don’t know where I’m going to go with this,” like I could not get my brain to just figure out what in the heck I was going to talk about.
And last week’s podcast episode ended up being I think it was how to turn reading books into taking action like totally a topic I wasn’t even planning on. But the reason I’m sharing this with you is because we all have challenges and we have to make the best with what we have and, in fact, it creates a lot of insecurity for me these cognitive challenges where I’m like I need my brain to do my work and I need to be able to think straight and I just recently have, I’ve been working on a book, a new book called The Miracle Equation and I signed to the publisher as my first traditionally published book with Penguin Random House and I wanted to write it completely on my own without any assistance which I’ve done for Miracle Morning and my other books, and the publisher, we had a deadline of three months and I said, “Give me a month to see how far I can get,” because my agent was recommending, “Hey, why don’t we hire a writer to help you?” I said, “No, no, no. I want to do this on my own,” and I wrote almost every single day for about a month and at the end of that month, I was nowhere near where I needed to be and I just couldn’t get my brain to formulate the thoughts that got out coherent words that would be valuable to the reader.
And so, I ended up hiring a phenomenal writer to help me and we kind of co-wrote this book, The Miracle Equation, and I share that because, again, you just got to make the best with what you’ve got and I think that for all of us we can either make excuses like, “Well, I’ve got this challenge, so that’s why I’m not going to do this thing that I want to do. You know, I don’t have all the resources that I need or I’ve got limitations or whatever,” and human beings have proven time and time again that you can absolutely overcome any limitation for the most part that you can accomplish just about anything despite any odds that are stacked against you. And so, whatever for you is holding you back right now, whatever you’re using maybe as an excuse like, “Oh, I want my marriage to improve,” but the other person is they’re not on board or whatever it is for you around your goals, I want you to really stop and identify what’s something I really want to improve or accomplish or achieve in my life and what excuse am I letting hold me back? And what am I going to do or what can I do to overcome that excuse?
One example is I’m very much a solopreneur and I haven’t worked in a corporate environment. I very much worked from home and so recently, I was feeling really limited in terms of my knowledge around growing my business to the next level and the cognitive challenges that I’ve been dealing with had been feeding into that fear or insecurity and I finally went, “I just need to start reading books and become a business genius by learning these areas that I’m not necessarily proficient in.” So, anyway, I know that was kind of a ramble there to start out the episode today but again, the point is look at what is something you want. What is the goal in your life, in your world, personally, professionally, something important that you want to improve? Look at what is the limitation, self-imposed limitation or excuse that you’re allowing to hold you back. And what is an action that you can take? What’s something that you can do, a solution, to overcome that limitation? And move forward toward that goal or dream. So, that’s the opening to the podcast today. I’d love for you to even if you need to pause it and consider going through those three steps.
Hal: So, today I’m going to talk about The Miracle Evening and I’m often asked if I have an evening routine, “Hal, what’s your evening routine?” and I don’t have this big elaborate like, you know, a lot of people do have their evening routine, the Digital Sunset, and I’ve seen a lot of Miracle Morning practitioners where they do a like a miniature Miracle Morning. They go through and do either shortened version of the SAVERS or they do a few of the SAVERS or whatever and for me, I’ve never really had a big evening routine. It’s really just like spend some time with the family and put the kids to bed and then just kind of go to bed. I don’t do a whole lot or I have in the past and just recently, there’s a few things I’ve been doing that I want to share with you. This is a very unrefined Miracle Evening. This isn’t like I haven’t written the book on it yet but I want to share with you a few things I’ve been doing that have been really valuable and so hopefully you’ll find value in these as well. And what I’ve been doing for a couple months now and it’s been one of the most life-changing things I’ve ever done and then the other was just very recent like a few days ago that I am planning on starting or I started to do a few nights ago and then plan on continuing.
But here’s the first. The first is what I call manufacturing breakthroughs and we’ll probably do an entire episode on this where I go really in depth and I share with you all of the breakthroughs I’ve had because since I’ve been doing this for the last couple of months, it has been mind-blowing. I have had breakthroughs that have transformed my relationship with my kids, with my wife, my levels of happiness, my relationship with money. I mean, I’ve had these profound breakthroughs and I call this manufacturing breakthroughs because essentially in the evening, I’ve just been thinking and journaling like just literally taking time. It’s usually kind of right before bed where my mind is, I’m getting close to that alpha state and just really thinking about asking myself questions of on a scale of 1 to 10. I’ve been trying to be brutally honest with myself. I might have shared this a few weeks ago, I don’t remember, but I had a breakthrough where in that recent podcast you may have remembered in the email I put, my breakthrough was that I am a mediocre father and it wasn’t to be hard myself on myself but just to realize that compared to the best father that I could possibly be, there are areas, huge areas of improvement that was what I realized.
And so, I think that the way you manufacture breakthroughs at least what I’ve been doing is being a little bit more brutally honest with myself. I think that we often compare ourselves with others that are not as good as us like, well, I could be a lot worse and that was the example I gave on that podcast, right, is like if you only you do drugs like methamphetamine one day a week and you compare yourself to someone that does five days a week, well, then you can forget about yourself, right? Well, they go, “My friends, you know, they’re doing meth every night. I only do one day a week. I’m not nearly as bad.” We do that a lot where we justify mediocrity based on how we compare ourselves with other people and what I’ve been doing lately is just really asking myself just being really what you’d say brutally honest and doing that in every area of my life and asking these questions in the evening and then journaling about them in depth. So, I had a breakthrough around self-love recently when I realized breakthroughs I’ve had them in the past and sometimes they stick, sometimes they don’t.
Also, there are levels to breakthroughs like you might have a realization and it makes a slight change for you and then if you go deeper into that realization, you realize that, oh, there’s actually a lot more that I’m not even present to yet or aware of. Over time, those realizations and those breakthroughs can amplify and can evolve and become more profound. And what’s so important is that you schedule action around the breakthroughs. So, first and foremost, I write them down in an app that I use called Google Keep and Google Keep is an app, essentially for notes, but you can put pictures in it. And so, each breakthrough I label marriage breakthrough or parenting breakthrough and then I usually will put an image and then I’ll go in-depth on that and then those are my affirmations. I then go back and I read them and I update them and I revise them.
So, the first part of The Miracle Evening is every night before bed, choosing one area of your life and simply asking yourself on a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being perfect like optimal, how am I doing in this area? Where am I at on a scale of 1 to 10? What would the next level look like? What would a 10 look like? And this could literally be 5 or 10 minutes every evening. I encourage you to set a recurring reminder and this can be your manufacturing breakthroughs reminder. So, this is the first part of The Miracle Evening and like I said, I’m just touching on this today. I want to introduce the concept and invite and encourage you to give this a try but really just every night, just evaluating how you can take your life and the aspects of your life that are really important to you, your relationships, personal, professional, with your children, with your significant other, with your friends, how can you take your relationships to the next level? How can you take your health to the next level? That’s the one thing we all share in common is that next level exists for everybody. And so, was the next level for you in each area? And really be intentional about taking time to ask yourself questions that will lead to a breakthrough and then take that breakthrough and journal it, write it down, and then ideally, create some action around that breakthrough.
And I’ll tell you that one of the breakthroughs I had a few weeks ago and I think I mentioned this on the podcast but it was around my kids and I realized that I spend enough time with my kids to feel good about it which doesn’t sound, you know, when you say that in isolation that sounds like there’s nothing wrong with spending enough time with your kids and feel good about it. But what I realized is that I don’t want to spend just enough time to feel good, go check the box off, and go, “Hey, I played with my kids today so I’m a provider. I’m a working father, you know, so, hey, I not only got all my work done for the day. I also played with the kids or read them a story or something.” I realize that I don’t want to do just enough. I want to spend every waking moment that I am allowed to, that my work allows me to, that my kids allow me to, that our schedules allow us to. I want to spend every waking moment with them. You know, we hear it from parents that have grown kids, “Oh, the time goes so fast and you don’t realize how fast they go.” You hear it but I don’t think we get it and I got it through this manufactured breakthrough the other night where I was really honest with myself and I was looking at my kids while they were sleeping. I was just really thinking about the time and how limited it is.
Anyway, so I immediately, this is the point here to take the breakthrough and make it actionable and this is for you to do the same thing and that is that I immediately looked at my schedule and went, “How can I spend more time with them?” And every day I usually got off work at 5. It was a radical shift that I’m getting off work at 2 o’clock now almost every day. I mean, there are certain days where I might have an interview or something that I scheduled a long time ago but essentially, I’d say at least three out of five days for the last probably month, I get off work at 2 o’clock and I go pick up my kids. And that extra time has just been so valuable and I see the connection. This morning I took my son to his assembly and I stayed the entire assembly and we hugged and we kissed and goodbye and it was just really meaningful. So, if you don’t have kids you’re like, “Ah, I don’t even get this like what are you talking about?” But the point is the process of manufacturing breakthrough where you ask yourself these questions and just take one area of your life each night. I encourage you to take finances one night or business or happiness or these different areas and I’ve been doing this and these breakthroughs in all different areas around my happiness, around self-love.
I think I’m going to do an entire episode where I will like go through each and every breakthrough, but for now, I just want to encourage you to schedule time to do this where you manufacture these breakthroughs through simply intelligent reflection and then journaling about it so that you don’t forget it. If you need to record yourself, yeah, I’ve been doing that a lot too where if I feel like I should just, blah, just speak the breakthroughs in my head and I don’t want to take the time to write it out but I want to record it, I’ve done that as well. So, you can either journal your breakthrough so you don’t forget it and that journaling becomes an affirmation that you review to reinforce or remind you of the breakthrough. And then the third part is to ideally take that breakthrough and create some sort of recurring actionable behavior upgrade or change for you so that the breakthrough becomes tangible, measurable, real, implementable, actionable, not just an idea in your head. And then the other night I had another breakthrough around The Miracle Evening. The other night I spoke at an event put on by Elaine Pofeldt. She is the author of The One-Person, One-Million-Dollar Business. I think I got that right or maybe it’s backwards. The One-million, One-Person Dollar Business but a phenomenal book. Elaine Pofeldt, you can find it.
And she interviewed me for the book and then she reached out and asked if I would be on this panel that she hosted in Austin and I said, “Absolutely.” And so, I was on the panel I got there and I was in the back room and Tim Ferriss walked into the green room with the other panelists and he was there as kind of a surprise guest. I’m sure you know Tim Ferriss, but if you don’t, author of The 4-Hour Workweek, 4-Hour Chef, amongst of many other books that he’s written and runs one of the top podcasts in the world, The Tim Ferriss Show, and there was a weird online experience a few months back where he put a post up on Facebook that said, “Hey, I’m coming to Austin and I’m looking to interview,” it’s probably six months ago. It was a long time ago but he said, “I’m looking to interview people in Austin. If you know somebody that should be interviewed that I should interview, let me know.” And so, I went into the Miracle Morning Community Facebook group and I’ve always dreamed to be on Tim’s podcast for I think anybody that has a message to share, of course, because you’re sharing with all people through Tim’s community.
And so, I went into the Miracle Morning Community and I typed in I was like, “Hey, guys.” I put the link to Tim’s post and I said, “Hey, if you think I should share the Miracle Morning Community with Tim’s audience like, yeah, please go make a mention of that,” and hundreds of you listeners and members of The Miracle Morning Community went on a Tim’s post and were like, “You got to interview Hal Elrod and the Miracle Morning,” and just hundreds of people bombarded Tim and I heard through the grapevine, I don’t know, it’s kind of hearsay but I don’t think Tim liked it. I don’t know. It was hearsay but I heard that it looked kind of manufactured like somehow, I orchestrated this army of people to go on and bombard Tim’s post. I don’t know Tim personally, so I thought, “Man, that’s not a good first impression with Tim when we haven’t even met yet.” And so, anyway, when I saw him in the green room, I thought I introduce myself and I don’t want to make this awkward, but I’d love to just acknowledge that experience, that post, and apologize for any in case that might have been perceived in a negative way.
And so, we were all chatting as a group and I kind of he and I were off to the side and so I grabbed and pulled him aside and said, “Hey, Tim, I just wanted to acknowledge a few months back to this post,” that I just reminded him of what happened. He said he’d forgotten about it but he remembered and he appreciated that I apologized, acknowledged it, brought it up. And anyway, so that was kind of the first win of the evening early on and then the evening itself went really well. The panel went really well. The people were beautiful and brilliant and just really awesome entrepreneurs. I learned a lot from the other members of the panel and I got to speak and contribute and there are people in the audience that I waited afterwards for. I was there for an hour just greeting people and signing books and meeting people and was really a neat experience. And then also that night, a handful of my friends came out, some new friends, some old friends. Brianna Greenspan and Josh Eidenberg were there. Brianna is the co-creator of the Miracle Morning Art of Affirmations coloring book. Anyway, the point is I felt really supported. It was nice to see friends and fans of The Miracle Morning and this and that.
And here’s a point and this is actually the inspiration for what I’m calling The Miracle Evening today. Everything we’ve been talking about is actually culminating into what we’re about to go into and that is that I went home and I was doing my whole manufactured breakthrough process where I was like, “All right. What area of my life can I improve?” and that’s kind of how I usually start. That’s like the first question I’ll ask with manufacturing a breakthrough. I was like, “What area of my life is important that I want to improve?” And usually, I don’t have an exact answer. It’s usually like I just kind of start brainstorming, I go, “What about marriage?” I’m like, “Nah, I just had a breakthrough in my marriage.” I’m like, “What about…” and I just kind of like go to the buffet of different topics or areas of my life until one will like just stand out. I’ll go, “Oh, you know what, that’s an area I really need to improve,” and this then I’ll dive into that. I’ll go down that rabbit hole. Well, that night, I was actually first just thinking about how great the night was and I go, “What’s an area I need to improve?” and what hit me is I went, “Wait a minute, I need to celebrate tonight. I need to celebrate tonight, today, right, like I just came off this awesome experience where I got finally connected with Tim Ferriss in person. I had a bunch of my friends came out to support me. I had the honor of being invited to sit on this panel of these amazing people and share some knowledge and wisdom and experience in a way that could add value to the people in the audience and help them, you know, grow their businesses or on their entrepreneur journey and all this.”
And what I realized is that I don’t take time to celebrate and I think this is probably true for a lot of us, and I would imagine that you’re going to find some truth in this too. If you think about this, let’s look at this from another perspective. The quality of our life at any given moment is really just the quality of how present we are to the aspects of our life that make us feel good, in really simple terms. You may have heard me say this before, but the quality of our life I would say has very little to do with what’s going on around us and everything with what’s going on inside of us in that night an example of what was going on around me was this amazing evening, but if I didn’t take the time to reflect on that and to celebrate that which is what I ended up doing and what we’re going to go into this, then the quality of the experience although while I was having it, it was fun, if you’re not really present to it, if you don’t reflect on it, if you don’t recollect it, then that experience goes away very quick like the quality of that experience goes away very quickly.
And this is in the simplest form. You can just call this recollecting what you’re grateful for at the end of the day. The Five-Minute Journal is my favorite journaling practice. Although the funny part is, there’s a morning and an evening entry and I usually only do the morning entry. I don’t do the evening entry which I realized that night, “Oh, I’m missing out on a huge potential value that would amplify the quality of my life, my happiness,” and that is simply through taking time at the end of every day to go through my events of the day and to be extremely present. Like to amplify my level of presence to the highlights of my day. And I always take a picture of me and the kids doing something great or me and my wife. I take a highlight of part of the day, but that night I just really went through, I spent like maybe five or ten minutes and I recollected the events of the evening and there are three parts to what I’m calling The Miracle Evening and, again, this is very unrefined. I literally have just been thinking on this and doing this for a few days. It started with manufacturing breakthroughs. That’s why I shared that in the beginning because it was a manufactured breakthrough session the other night after I spoke at this event that led to this Miracle Evening.
There are three parts to The Miracle Evening so if you’re taking notes, you can write these down. It’s recollection, reflection, and celebration. So, those are the three components and again this is very unrefined but I’m actually really inspired by this because it’s been valuable just these last few nights, and I know you might be thinking, “Well, Hal, come on, you got to give more time before you share.” No, I like to share when it’s new, it’s exciting. You try it on for yourself but taking time every night for recollection so recollection is actually going through and recalling and kind of inventorying in writing the events of your day, the high points of your day, and these can be small. Like, this morning, for example, I helped get my kids ready for school. I woke them up and that to me, I just try to find the beauty in every moment, especially connecting with the people in your life that you love. And with my children this morning, I help them get ready for school. I drove my son to school and I asked him, I said, “Hey,” I said, “These assemblies,” because every Friday I go to my son’s assembly, I said, “These assemblies that we go to, I don’t get to sit with you. I have to stand in the back.” I said, “Is it really important to you because if it’s not a big deal that I’m there,” and he explained why it’s meaningful to him and like that’s all I needed. I was like, “Hey, if it means a lot to you, buddy, this means a lot to me and I’m so grateful that I can go to these assemblies and I can be there with you,” and I make sure that I hug him and I kiss him goodbye and all of that, you know.
Anyway, so the point is, when you’re recollecting, when you’re doing this Miracle Evening, it’s the little things to me that matter the most but they only matter based on your level of presence and appreciation of the events, the highlights, the experiences, the shared experiences with people that you love each day. And so, at the end of the day, doing the recollection is the first step and that’s just recalling the events of the day in writing, recalling the high points. The reflection is where you can really dive into that manufactured breakthrough and ask yourself it’s just asking pointed questions. What did I learn from this? How can I improve in this area? What about this is great? What about this do I want to repeat tomorrow? What do I want to do tomorrow that would even take this to the next level? So, it’s that intelligent reflection through questions. And then last but not least is celebration and that can be a meditation, by the way. That can be you closing your eyes and just imagining, picturing yourself with some of those high points that you recollected and picturing yourself with your child or working on your business or something you accomplished or being proud to yourself for going to the gym.
And by the way, self-love, and that’s a whole other topic but self-love is an important part I believe of the quality of our lives, how much are we actively loving ourselves. And again, that’s a topic that needs and requires an entire episode. In fact, that was actually the episode I did today as I was preparing today. I’m like because this self-love is something I’ve been really present to and it’s been a breakthrough, it’s been evolving over the last couple of years since I got cancer, realizing that I really needed to engage in self-love actively a lot more and I’ve been doing that. So, that’s, again, you know me. I’m ADHD. I’m all over the place so that’s another topic for another show.
But anyway, so that’s it. I want to recap the entire episode real quick by just leading you into some action and the action is schedule time for your Miracle Evening and your Miracle Evening involves three parts: recollection, reflection, and celebration, and during the reflection portion and really during any of these portions, consider about manufacturing breakthroughs. Consider that as you’re recollecting and as you’re reflecting, asking these questions on what am I doing great that I want to continue doing great? What could I be doing better and how can I improve in that area? What am I committed to doing and how can I schedule that to be actionable and recurring activity that will improve my life in this area? So, there you go, schedule time for Miracle Evening, recollection, reflection, and celebration, and during that process see if you can manufacture some breakthroughs, write those in your journal, write this in your affirmations so that you can turn those into life improvement. And that’s what that’s been for me over the last month or so since I started manufacturing these breakthroughs in the evening is my life, my quality of life, my quality of my relationships with my children, my relationship with my wife, and my relationship with myself have been radically amplified, radically improved in ways that it’s hard to put into words, how excited I am and how this has already improved my life immediately.
I mean, this breakthrough with my kids, the next day I got off work at 2 like it was within 24 hours that I immediately saw this breakthrough turn into a tangible really measurable improvement. So, I wish the same for you so you got your Miracle Morning down. Now, you’ve got your first introduction to the Miracle Evening and we’re on this journey together because the Miracle Evening is almost as new for me as it is for you. I’ve only been doing it for a month in the breakthrough realm and then in terms of the recollection, reflection, celebration that’s only been for the last few days and it’s already added value to my life and I hope it will for you too.
Hal: So, goal achievers, I love you, I appreciate you, I hope you enjoyed today’s episode of the Achieve Your Goals Podcast and for those that I’m going to see in San Diego at the Best Year Ever Blueprint Live Experience in a few weeks, I cannot wait to see you. And, by the way, if you did not check out the announcement, you know, we had Facebook live the other day, John Berghoff and I, you can go find that. It is pinned to the top of the Miracle Morning Community and that is where we talked about the announcement around doing Miracle Morning regional events. So, just a side note, if you didn’t see that, you want to know about that, and we’re going to be sending out an email in the next few weeks with a survey to find out where are the most amount of people that are wanting to attend a one-day regional Miracle Morning event and we’re going to decide here in 2019 where we’re going to put on our first, probably our first two or three Miracle Morning regional events and this is a way that we can serve the community around the world because, obviously, I can’t be at an event in Hong Kong, and then one in Korea, and then one in Paris, and then one in Los Angeles, and one in New York but we’ve got a team of facilitators that can make that happen. So, I’m really excited for that.
All right. I already tried to wrap up the episode once and I went off on a tangent. So, let me try again. Take two. Goal achievers, I love you, I appreciate you, I will talk to you next week. Make it a great week. I’ll talk to you soon.