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This New Year’s First Step

December 9, 2017 by  
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Have you started asking yourself, “What are my new year’s resolutions going to be?” Hopefully you have begun to put a list together that is detailed, clear, and measurable. If you have started, that’s fantastic. But if not, when do you start on it? Without a start date and a few actionable steps planned out, what chance do you have of your objectives, goals and dreams for 2018 becoming real in the new year?

My first suggestion to you, and to myself, is that we make our start date … TODAY! That’s right, start now, even if the list you begin today is very short. That is at least a start. There is no reason that you can’t take that first baby step today.

If you haven’t clearly defined your goals, go ahead and write down you rough thoughts. You can refine and add to the list later. But right now, take time to write down a schedule as to when you are going to add to your list of resolutions and when you will write down your specific plan for the steps you will begin to take in the new year.

You really don’t need to know all the details of every step you’ll need to take to reach your dreams at this moment. Much of what you’ll need to do will become more obvious as you begin working on your plan. The important thing is that you keep moving forward.

I like to set goals in the main areas of my life that I feel are most important. They go like this:

No. 1. Improve all my family relationships and plan lots of family get togethers as well as some exotic vacations in order to expand and deepen my social relationships.

No. 2. work on and improve my financial position, both in income and assets.

No. 3. Reach out and help others through my writing and donations.

No. 4.  Take care of my health by eating all the right foods. I can eat salads instead of steak, take the best vitamins and supplements, go out daily walking or running, work out with weights, and playing tennis.  (This is a big focus of mine and it gets bigger every year as I age.)

Whatever objectives, goals and dreams you want to realize in 2018, don’t just talk about them. Start writing them down and then take action, even if you just take baby step at first. All those little steps add up to big dreams!

 

A Goal for Novel Experiences

December 2, 2017 by  
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We now are fast approaching the end of another year and I think it’s a really good idea to start right now making plans, setting goals, and writing down a list of what your New Year’s resolutions are going to be.  If you have followed my blog in the past, you know I like to push myself and others to get out and try new and various experiences.  Every time I travel to Paris, London, the Far East, or any foreign country, it amazes me how much energy and motivation it gives me. I meet and get to know so many different people as well as becoming immersed in their culture and I get so inspired by those new sights and experiences.

Now, you don’t have to travel to Europe or the Far East to find novel experiences but entrenching yourself in different cultures is an ideal way to jump-start your spirit, your mind, and your passion for life and living.  Even starting right where you live, there are probably some cultural areas, shops, events, and plenty of new people that you have had no exposure to and may even be a little fearful of, because of the lack of familiarity. But forcing yourself to walk into that strange place or spend a day at a new and unusual event expands your horizons as well as your mind. You might even find some new interest that you just fall in love with.

So, I challenge you to set some travel goals for the new year, be it a place that is very near or very far away, just find some places that you may at first be hesitant to venture into. Go in with an open mind and actively look for new experiences, talk to new people, and make an effort to understand and appreciate cultural differences. You never know what you’ll find or whom you will meet.

Then I invite you to come back home and share your new ventures with your friends and family. See if you can’t inspire them to go on their own adventures. In the meantime, if you find this little reminder just the thing to kickstart new adventures for yourself, you can also pass this on to your friends and family by sending them a link to my blog or to the sign up to get these little ideas by email.

P.S. I just saw a special airfare promotion for a round trip flight to Paris from Salt Lake City for just over $500 dollars. So even going overseas doesn’t have to be too expensive. And a bed and breakfast over there can be real cheap! Just decide you want to do it and start looking for great fares from your area.

Energizing Goals for 2018

November 25, 2017 by  
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Now that we’ve gotten through Thanksgiving, how about some helpful hints and ideas that will motivate you to have a super 2018?

Think about these 12 suggestions as you gear up to set goals and make resolutions for the coming year. It’s not too early to begin setting some great new goals for 2018. Whether it’s for work or play, family or friends, we all need more energy. I find that to be especially true for me as I am almost 74 years old. So here you are … 12 ideas to get you going each day.

12 Proven Ways to Boost Your Energy:

1. Set exciting goals that will put your big dreams into action. Be sure to add a time frame and an exciting game plan to those goals.

2. Create a daily “to do” list. Look at it or take time to think about it in the morning to add extra energy to your day. I find that if I make that list the night before and then look at it first thing in the morning that it works wonders for my enthusiasm for the day.

3. Eat more nutritious foods. Especially at this time of year, it’s critical to pay attention to what goes into the pie hole.

4. Drink green tea to overcome a mid-morning slump.

5. Get plenty of exposure to natural light. Taking a walk outside always seems to boost my energy and I do that virtually every day.

6. Ease your stress by simplifying your life and mainly, or exclusively, pursue your life’s priority items. Delegate the rest.

7. Heal yourself by being grateful and loving and by letting go of all anger.

8. Think positive thoughts to stimulate those good neurotransmitters called endorphin’s.

9. Play and exercise hard to release more endorphin’s and dopamine.

10. Get more sleep.

11. Do yoga. A few minutes of yoga stretching will give you a good morning boost.

12. Listen to your favorite music. For some people it may be something with a heart pounding beat and to others it may be inspirational symphonic music.

I sure hope you give all of these hints a good college try, plus here’s one more bonus thought … hang out with positive, upbeat people who are energetic and are making good things happen.  And along those lines, read good, upbeat, positive and energizing stuff like I aim to give you on this blog. Just check out my prior posts and sign up to get this by email at ignitemylifenow.com

 

Avoiding Those Holidays Traps

November 18, 2017 by  
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Next week is Thanksgiving. Soon after that there’s Christmas and then New Years. It’s that dreaded holiday time when we are faced with many temptations that make it hard to stick to our goals, especially healthy diets. It doesn’t take much to regain that hard-won weight loss or bring your health down and it can be infinitely harder to get back to where you want to be.

So, for the next few weeks I thought I’d focus on healthy eating in this time of endless traps. Staying healthy is important for you to keep up your energy and motivation which you need to accomplish all the great things you have planned.

Although you don’t want to let a bit too much pumpkin pie spoil things for you, staying healthy during the holidays doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy yourself. In fact, you should go out there and celebrate with gusto. Just be discerning about what and how much you eat or drink. To do so, just follow a few simple rules:

  • Go ahead and enjoy a small cupcake or one sugar cookie during festivities but stop at that. It’s not the sweets that are the problem as much as eating too many of them.
  • Eat slowly and savor the occasional treat you do have. Eating slowly will delay having to fight the temptation to have seconds and, hopefully, when you are done with it, you will feel satisfied enough not to feel.
  • Keep healthy snacks close at hand. Grab some apple slices or crunchy veggies when you have the overwhelming temptation to gobble up a whole plate of cookies.
  • Don’t fall into the “I’ve already been bad so it won’t matter if I keep eating too much of the wrong stuff” mentality and overindulge. Likewise, don’t brush off unhealthy eating by telling yourself you’ll do better after the holidays. Let yourself have the occasional treat then get back to your healthy diet.
  • At parties, stay active to keep your metabolism up and your mind off the food. Dance, participate in all the games, wander the room, and mingle.
  • Keep away from the food tables at parties. Move conversations to foodless corners of the place.
  • Keep your eye on the big picture. Review your goals and what you want out of your life daily so it’s at the forefront of your mind when the cookies get passed around the office.

You can also read more about the importance of health and great things you can do to improve it in Chapter Ten of my book, How To Ignite Your Passion for Living.

I’ll be talking about more helpful ideas for this time of year so to ensure you get my posts, sign up on this page here. If you find these posts really helpful, you might share this blog with your friends and family who can also sign up on the page I linked.

A Million Dollar Feeling

November 12, 2017 by  
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As we are quickly approaching the holiday season of celebration and of giving I couldn’t help but remember when, several years ago, just before Christmas, I was at Walmart and a single mom, who looked down on her luck, was in line just in front of me.  She was holding a few items as the clerk added up the bill. She kept asking what the total was as she anxiously clutched onto other items saying she only had $40.  As she paid for her purchases, I reached over and pushed the items she was leaving behind over to my pile and said to the clerk, “I want to buy these items for my new friend.”

I bought them and handed them to her and, wow, … she, very emotionally, thanked me over and over again.  And so did the clerk! I walked out of the store feeling on top of the world. You’d think I had given her a thousand dollars but in reality, it was only a $7.49 gift. On the other hand, it felt like I’d gotten a million dollars in satisfaction and warm feelings.

Another one of my favorite things to do is to give kids a $2-dollar bill and tell them it’s for good luck. Usually when the parent of the kid thanks me, I say, “Hey, I’m an investor and the $2 investment just gave me a thousand-dollar smile, and I think that is a super return on my investment!” And it is absolutely true!

That day at Walmart, that woman I helped wished me a “Merry Christmas” multiple times as she took her 7-year-old daughter by the hand who, of course, had a $2 bill in her other hand. From time to time, I’ve done the same thing I did at Walmart in grocery stores and at gas stations. Like the lady at Walmart, the look in these people’s eyes let me know that this small thing truly made a difference for them, not because of the dollar amount but because a complete stranger cared enough to help.

What I did was certainly not unique, as I know of many people that help strangers and know the great feeling both parties receive. But I thought, as we approach the giving season, that I would suggest to my readers, whether you’ve done this kind of thing or not, to give it a try this season. If you haven’t done this before, you might be very surprised at the great feeling that it gives you and as well as the stranger that received your gift. Try it and I promise you will love it!

 

I’ve been getting such great comments and feedback on my blogs since I began emailing it in addition to posting it at www.ignitemylifenow.com

 

A List of Positives Actions

November 4, 2017 by  
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I know I have been going on about lists the last few posts and I hope you are up for one more. I just find that lists really help me focus on the qualities I want to see in myself, helping me to move closer to achieving super success.

We all have great wants and desires. Without them we’d have virtually no motivation to do anything. But there are a lot of hidden land mines that lie in our path just waiting for us to step on them and explode our dreams, desires, and goals. We all know that frustrated desires can lead us to search out bad or negative ways to boost or otherwise change our mood—-by using drugs and/or alcohol, binge eating, or even going on a shopping spree. These all work well to increase dopamine and serotonin—those mood-altering chemicals in our brain—giving us a high and one that can be addictive.

The problem is these activities can too easily and too quickly become detrimental to our health, our finances, and our relationships. But what if you could increase these mood-altering chemicals with something positive and productive, gaining a natural high and moving towards your goals at the same time?

Listing positive activities can really help you do this. Here are mine. You can use these as a start or as examples for your own list. Then when you feel yourself turning towards those old negative and harmful options, chose something from your positive list instead. Do this diligently for at least a week and take note of how much better you feel about yourself and your life. I bet you’ll not only enjoy the activities you’ve used as positive substitutes for the old harmful ways, but you will be much happier.

Mark’s List of Positive Actions

  1. Work out: Just 6 or 12 minutes on the stair master, doing sit-ups and push-ups or using weights.
  2. Get a tennis game going.
  3. Write out my bests thoughts for the days.
  4. Read a good book.
  5. Listen to favorite music (create a custom playlist online).
  6. Arrange a get together with family and friends.
  7. Get a massage.
  8. Hike or bike in the mountains or just take a walk in the neighborhood.
  9. Take 5 to 10 minutes to meditation
  10. Do 5 to 10 minutes of simple yoga

Now … what goes on your list?

**If you like what you’ve read in this blog please send it on to people you know and love who you think will find this helpful. There is nothing in the world that brings greater satisfaction than helping other people. Don’t you agree? Get this through email by subscribing here: http://ignitemylifenow.com/email-subscribe/

Inspiring Words from the Past

October 28, 2017 by  
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I came across this from a blog I wrote 9 years ago and I really loved being reminded of these quotes from great people of the past. They always seem to inspire and motivate me to be a better person. I’ve also found that if I read each one out loud it makes a bigger impression on me. Try it for yourself!

  • The way to gain a good reputation, is to endeavor to be what you desire to appear. ~Socrates
  • The fact is, that to do anything in the world worth doing, we must not stand back shivering and thinking of the cold and danger, but jump in and scramble through as well as we can. ~Robert Cushing
  • The searching-out and thorough investigation of truth ought to be the primary study of man. ~Cicero
  • The only journey is the journey within. ~Rainer Maria Rilke
  • Know thyself means this, that you get acquainted with what you know, and what you can do. ~Menander
  • Yes, know thyself: in great concerns or small,
    Be this thy care, for this, my friend, is all.
    ~Juvenal
  • Collect as precious pearls the words of the wise and virtuous. ~Abdel-Kadar
  • If we do not plant knowledge when young, it will give us no shade when we are old. ~Lord Chesterfield
  • If you have an hour, will you not improve that hour, instead of idling it away? ~Lord Chesterfield
  • Follow your honest convictions, and stay strong. ~William Thackeray
  • He that will not reflect is a ruined man. ~Asian Proverb
  • Every day do something that will inch you closer to a better tomorrow. ~Doug Firebaugh

Now lastly there is this quote from a guy who is not quite as famous as Socrates or Cicero but I think it’s pretty good and it’s help me in so many ways.

“Set big goals for your life but remember it’s critical to write them down and put a deadline date on each goal because the human mind (your brain) will not let you stop acting on and moving toward the goal that you set for yourself”.  Mark O Haroldsen

P.S. If my blogs are at all helpful to you and you would like to share these ideas with your friends, kids, grandkids, etc., send them this link to get these posts by email: http://ignitemylifenow.com/email-subscribe/

 

Your Own Affirmation List

October 21, 2017 by  
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In last week’s post, I challenged you to come up with some affirmations and positive self-talk. What did you come up with?

Never forget that the human brain can be programmed and you can teach it just about anything you want to–repeat those affirmations to yourself over and over again and your brain will believe it. It can and will improve your life and move you toward any goal you have set for yourself. It’s just like what science has discovered about forcing a smile on your face to make you feel better—the brain doesn’t realize it’s a fake smile and so releases the same feel good chemicals, serotonin and dopamine, as if it were a genuine smile.

If you are still working on coming up with more affirmations and positive self-talk, here are a few of mine that I try to repeat each one ten times every day, many times when I’m taking a shower, bath or sitting in my hot tub.

  1. I am feeling more upbeat and positive.
  2. I am happy and healthy.
  3. I live in the great right now moment.
  4. I set big goals but am satisfied with baby steps.
  5. I forgive myself for mistakes I make.
  6. I love my wife, I love my life.
  7. I feel calm and collected even in stressful situations.
  8. I am making a difference in the world for the better.
  9. I love people and I listen to others.
  10. I am strong and worthy.
  11. I eat a healthy diet.
  12. I love to exercise.
  13. I appreciate other people.

By the way, before I play a tennis game I do some self-talk as well. For example, I repeat over and over in my head, “I have a very power forehand. I have a very accurate backhand. I am fast and flexible. I have a very accurate and fast serve.” It always seems to help my game. I am convinced this self-talk was a key to helping me win 4 gold medals in singles tennis at the Huntsman World Senior games.

So, go ahead and give it a try in whatever aspect of your life you’d like to improve. I am convinced that if you take time to make up your own list of daily self-talk comments that you will be so glad and satisfied that you did and it will improve your life and those around you.

Do you find this information inspiring? You can get these every week in your email so you don’t miss one, by going to the top of my website page here: http://ignitemylifenow.com Search through the recent posts and archives sections on the blog page to find more super helpful thoughts and ideas.

 

Serendipitous Affirmations

October 14, 2017 by  
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While unpacking my jammed-up suitcase in Paris, I was quite surprised to see a very small booklet that had been in my suitcase from a previous trip. The booklet was written by my very good friend and wonderful mentor, Paul J. Meyer, entitled Self-Talk Self-Affirmation Self-Suggestion, co-authored by John P. Gardner.  I glanced through the booklet and was a bit surprised by some fantastic quotes and great advice for super success as well as building yourself into exactly what you want to be and do in life.

Then I remembered that Paul Meyer used to teach a great reading lesson.  He said, in reading self-help type books or ones that are truly life inspiring and life changing, that “instead of reading hundreds, just read the ones that truly touch you and motivate you to be all that you can be.” He followed that with this key part that I have learned to be so true: “Keep re-reading the best books over and over again since all of us humans tend to forget so much.” And while you’re at it, I would strongly advise you to underline and write in the margins those principals and motivational directions that speak to you and help you become a better you.

So, when that hit me in the face I started reading that great little booklet again, even though I had read it many times before and, yep, I read some things that I had forgot all about or at least I had stopped doing or thinking about as I should have been.  Let me give you a few of his affirmations that struck me and hope they strike you and help you as well, even though you may have read or heard them many times before. So here are a few of those lines, starting with Paul Meyer’s definition of affirmations

To quote Meyer, an affirmation is “a declaration or statement about yourself, in the first person (I…) in the present tense (I am) specific, and about what you want to be, to do, to have, etc.”  We have learned through scientific study that you can actually trick the brain into believing what you say, especially if you say it over and over again.

French physician Dr. Émile Coué used to tell his patients they would improve faster if they said, over and over again, “Every day, in every way, I’m getting better and better.”  By the way, those that followed his instruction found that his method worked in spite of the ridicule of others.

” A man’s life is what his thoughts make of it,” Marcus Aurelius said.

Buddha said, “All that we are is the result of what we have thought.”

I would encourage you to think hard about a self-talk statement that would improve your life and be a great benefit to yourself, your family and the world. If you need some help, just refer back to some of the great self-help books you have read in your life. Or you can search my blog posts for more ideas for affirmations and positive self-talk.

Are you finding this information helpful? Sign up to get these posts by email by going to the top of the blog’s post page. If you are not reading this on the blog page, then go to http://ignitemylifenow.com/blog/ to sign up and also have a look through the recent posts and archives sections you’ll find on the right-hand side. There’s even a search button on the top to help you find the subjects you’re most interested in reading. I hope you find more super helpful things in my past posts as well.

Traveling for Ideas

October 7, 2017 by  
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Traveling can be so great for the body and the mind.  We are overseas right now. A couple days ago we took the Eurostar from London to Paris. The 200 mile an hour ride was wonderful–smooth, quiet and, when we weren’t in the tunnel that goes under the English Channel, very scenic. I really enjoy that train. But I think the most interesting thing about travel, especially to foreign countries, is seeing and experiencing different cultures and all the fascinating people.  It’s so mind expanding and invigorating!

I’ve certainly learned that no matter what the sex, skin color, or nationality a person is, most humans are wonderful, honest, and kind people. We are all much more alike than different. Another huge plus you get with travel is learning about new ideas, new products and new types of services. If you have even a little bit of entrepreneurship in your bones maybe you can introduce one of those ideas, products or services to your home city or state and maybe end up making a small or even large fortune.

Many years ago, my wife Kimberly noticed those wire spikes they were using in Europe to keep birds away from buildings and places that were being inundated by a lot of bird droppings.  Those wire spikes were a simple little invention that was unheard of in the USA at that time.  If we had been the first ones to copy that simple invention in the US, as someone did not long after that, it no doubt would have added a few extra millions to our net worth.  Oh well. At that point in my life, I was much more interested in playing tennis.

So, if you are looking for good ideas to duplicate, do some more traveling and have a ton of fun meeting kind and interesting people. Take some time to really observe and look for new ideas and products, items that maybe you could be the first to introduce to your hometown and country. With such ideas, you just might cash in big time!

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