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A New Goal, a New Habit, a New Year

January 3, 2021 by  
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Since we’ve just started a new year, I must say something about renewing and re-dedicating ourselves to our life goals. And there is one super powerful and time proven aid I would strongly suggest you use to increase your odds of hitting your goals. It’s something I talk about in my book, How to Ignite Your Passion for Living, but I have another source to show you how powerful it can be.

Years ago, my son David gave me a book called The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg and, wow, what a great book I found it to be. I have re-read it many times. Duhigg relies on scientific studies to dissect what it takes to form a new habit or dump a habit that you don’t like but he also discusses this aid to reaching your goals that I want to share with you.

In the book, he talks about a Scottish study by a psychologist who recruited 60 patients that just had hip or knee replacement surgery. Having personally experienced a double hip replacement, I know just how painful this kind of surgery can be. Most people don’t even want to move afterward, let alone start walking as their rehabilitation requires.

After their surgeries, this psychologist gave each patient a booklet that detailed their rehab schedule and, in the back, there were 13 additional pages, one for each week, with blank spaces and these instructions:

“My goals for this week are _________________________. Write down exactly what you are going to do. For example, if you are going to go for a long walk or hike this week, write down where and when you are going to do it.”

Patients were asked to fill in each of those pages with specific plans. After their rehabilitation period, the psychologist compared the recovery results of those that filled out the pages and those that did not. Duhigg notes that, “It seems absurd to think that giving people a few pieces of blank paper might make a difference in how quickly they recover from surgery.”

But it did! Those patients that wrote down their goals recovered much faster than those who didn’t write down a thing.

The great lesson here, a lesson that I’ve preached to myself and others for years, is that we greatly improve our chance of success many times over if we simply write our goals down! And I mean all our goals: financial, physical, family, social etc. I also suggest that you put down the dates and/or times by which you want to accomplish your goals.

This isn’t only for long-term goals. I’ve found it extremely useful to write down my next day’s goals the night before as well. It’s far more likely that I will get those tasks done if they are written out and ready for me when I awake.

So, if you don’t already have the habit of writing down what you are going to do, this would be a great time to start. As a matter fact, write down this one now – that you are going to always write down your plans and goals! That’s a perfect start towards accomplishing your goals in this new year.

 

The Neglected Key to a Long Life

October 25, 2020 by  
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I started to re-read the book entitled I’ve Decided to Live 120 YEARS: The Ancient Secret to Longevity, Vitality, and Transformation written by Ilchi Lee. I’ve written about this book in a previous blog post but I didn’t mention an incredible statistic I learned about in these pages.

It turns out, you can do this very simple thing that, on average, can lengthen your life by 7.5 years. That conclusion was reached based on data from 143 studies with a total of 300,000 participants. In that previous post, I mostly talked about how a long and healthy life is primarily about eating nutritious foods and staying physically active but there’s a bit more you can do.

So, during my second read of the book, what really jumped out at me was something that I’ve not been doing much of since I retired. I’m kind of surprised that I’ve ignored this critical part of living a long life and I have suffered because of it.

What is it that I’ve ignored that could have possibly lengthened my life by 7.5 years? It’s this thing called a social life! Having and keeping a good strong and active social life does things to the brain including sending signals to various body parts that keep it healthy and helps you live longer.

When I retired, I let my social life slide down big time! I stopped going to the office and so I stopped seeing my coworkers, clients, partners and business associates. I also moved into a big house on the mountain side with no neighbors, so that made it even worse. And this COVID-19 has certainly not helped in the least. In addition, there’s no kids here at home anymore. It’s just me and the wife in our big, empty nest.

Lee says in his book, “The isolation of the elderly doesn’t only cause loneliness, it has been shown to have a negative impact on physical and mental health, increasing conditions like chronic disease, high blood pressure, depression, cognitive decline, and dementia”. In addition, he notes, “Having people around us with whom we can communicate on a heart-to-heart level may also reduce the effects of stress.”

We all want to be happy but things can quickly change when we suddenly retire–Lee goes on to say “People, especially as they get older, are experiencing deeper and more frequent forms of unhappiness in many spheres of life: chronic illnesses, alienation or disruption of personal relationships, weakening of economic power. Suddenly facing their social roles greatly reduced during retirement, people are likely to find their self-esteem withering away.”

Most of that has hit me hard so I’m here to tell you that, whether you are retired yet or not, it’s a good time to start making a list of plans and actions that you are going to take on when that day arrives and be sure an active social life is on there. Personally, I’m bound and determined to catch up and do just that!

In Lee’s book he also talks about another thing that can lengthen and make your life more pleasant and happy and it’s something that I’ve talked a lot about over the years – having a good strong purpose and hopes and dreams. I will talk more about those issues in my next week’s post.

Rediscovering Passion

September 20, 2020 by  
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Passion for life is a very important thing and as we get older, unfortunately, many of us lose our passion for life. I’m sure you have noticed that little kids seem to have the most passion for life. For a kid, most things are new to them and, as we all know, novelty is what they thrive on.

In our later years, we’ve seen so much and done so much that most things are not new to us. That makes it easy to lose our passion. You may feel that you have lost some of your passion and you ask yourself, “Why don’t I have passion for my life now?” or “Why don’t I know what I want in life?” Those two questions are particularly bothersome if you once had great passion for the things you did and then, as you got older, you lost some of that passion.

If that has not happened to you, maybe someone you know and care about has hit that wall. Far too many people give up on life. They fear striking out in aggressive, new directions. They fear risk. They fear the possibility of failure and losing what they have.

With some new insight and some very directed work, that passion for living can come screaming back for you or someone you love that you want to help. It’s all about continuing to turn what you really want, what you dream of, into specific goals and then transforming them step-by-step into reality – your reality!

A good way to start is to write it all down. First, ask yourself specific questions, like the ones I list below. Write down the thoughts that each of these questions stimulate. Don’t just think about them.

  1. Do I want to substantially raise my level of contentment and fulfillment?
  2. Do I want to become a better person?
  3. Do I want to be known as a person of accomplishment?
  4. Do I want to be in great physical and mental shape with ideal health my entire life?
  5. Do I want to live a very long, active life?
  6. Do I want to make a fortune – a million dollars, or $10 million, or even $100 million? (Think of all the good you could do with that much money!)
  7. Do I want the choices and possibilities in my life that making my own fortune could give me?
  8. Do I want to leave the world a better place than I found it?
  9. Do I want to help others as I help myself?
  10. Do I want to travel and experience the entire world and its cultures?

Again, be sure to write down your honest responses to the self-searching questions above. It’s a good idea for you to develop some of your own life questions and answer those too!

In fact, add two last questions for yourself:

  1. What do you have a true passion for in your life?
  2. What part of your life or past life, including your childhood, got you so excited that you totally lost track of time?

Our Short Lives Needs Big Passion

September 13, 2020 by  
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I just asked a printer to print a couple thousand copies of my book, How to Ignite Your Passion for Living, since I ran out of copies to sell or give away. I was reading a bit of what I wrote many years ago and I was surprised to realize that the words in that book were reigniting my passion, so I wanted to share some of those words with you.

Let me start with Chapter 2 which is entitled, “Short Life needs BIG Passion”.

  • Life really is too darn short to live without passion.
  • Time squandered is wasted–gone forever!
  • Don’t be like those who, later in life, realize that they missed out on so many opportunities. I believe most people, when looking back at their lives, are in more pain over the things they didn’t do than over things they failed at while trying to do them.
  • We receive long-lasting benefit, and yes, even deep satisfaction from working hard and giving something worthwhile our all.
  • There are many who think the way to achieve satisfaction in life is by going after pleasure. They think that more and more pleasure will put more contentment in their lives. So sorry. It doesn’t work that way.
  • There’s a huge difference between deep, enduring satisfaction and fleeting pleasure; between passion and a good time. At a gut level you already know this. The pursuit of pleasure for its own sake leads to misery.
  • It’s also not easy to always remain at a high level of satisfaction and contentment with an effervescent passion for life. There are plenty of setbacks. Even, at times, huge fists of adversity may pound us in the face.
  • Setbacks and adversity often reveal to us the great lessons of life if we would just learn from them.
  • I’ve certainly had my share of setbacks, even tragedies. I wouldn’t choose to be faced with these tragedies but I must say that, since they did happen, they served as huge life lessons and wake-up calls that I don’t think I could have learned any other way.

Give these words some thought, set big goals, and go after them with all your energy and heart. You won’t be sorry!

 

And if you would like a copy of How to Ignite Your Passion for Living, you can get it here on my website.

 

 

Creating Your Own Novelty

September 6, 2020 by  
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I’ve written before on this great thing called “novelty” and how it can excite our brains big time. In today’s COVID world we may feel like we are totally locked down, but I’d say it’s time to use our brains and think our way out of and beyond the lock down. Now, how do we do that?

Well, there is one thing that could help you now while giving you a great experience later. How about taking lots of time to research and plan a big novel trip or vacation, so when the pandemic is over, you are ready to take that great trip! I mean, if we are smart and use our brains, we could plan lots of novel things and maybe even carry some of them out right now. Like, hey, how about writing a book? And while you’re at it, draft a plan for selling that book online or to bookstores. In other words, create your own novelty.

Have you ever noticed how children and young people are always trying something new, pushing themselves, eager for adventure while older people seem to be content to do the same things they always have done and in the same old way? That’s really just a generalization as I know many older people, myself included, that still continuously seek out new and challenging experiences. However, there is a sense of complacency that is easy to fall into as we get older or as the obligations of our life wear us down.

As physical energy wanes so does our ambition and, next thing we know, our brains turn off and we are just living on autopilot. It’s at that point that making any change in our lives gets very, very difficult. The thinking is our brains don’t wear out the same way as the rest of our body. Normally, the brain is still willing and able to do its job – learning, solving problems, and amassing knowledge even when we physically feel worn out. But when faced with a lot of stress or just dull repetitious experience the brain deteriorates.

To keep your brain in top shape, give it the novelty it craves. Educating yourself through books, television shows such as those found on PBS and the History channel, and quality information on the internet will certainly help, but remember, your brain is a multi-sensory organ. Keep that great word and concept of novelty in your mind and pursue it always. Feed it. Don’t let COVID trap you.

We all can still get out of the house and experience new sights, smells, sounds, flavors, and textures. New experiences will boost both your physical and mental energies and motivate you to do even more. In fact, if you have lots of time on your hands, go and create a bucket list of that stuff you always wanted to do before you kick the bucket. Yes, just like Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson did in that movie The Bucket List. I sure know that having my own bucket list motivates me especially in these COVID times.

Ok, you and I know what to do. Now so let’s go and do it!

Duplicating Success

August 30, 2020 by  
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As I mentioned last week, I love a good success story and have often tried to get to know these big successful people. In a few cases, they even offered to be my mentor. I really believe that the mentoring was one of the most important contributors to my financial success.

I’m also a huge believer in seeing what other super successful people do and then going out and doing the same thing. I did it with my first book after seeing what Joe Karbo, author of The Lazy Man’s Way to Riches, did to sell his books. I got to know him and then did the same things he did, selling 2 million copies of my first book.

And a long time ago, I read of a guy that converted his apartment units into condos, selling them to existing tenants or new buyers. I took that idea and converted 70 plus apartment units I had in Pennsylvania to condos, quickly selling out to most of the renters who were already in them and, wow, did I make a quick profit of over $7 million! Did that surprise me and please me? Oh yeah… big time!

I also looked to other people when I started fixing up houses. Realizing that the decorating part wasn’t really my thing, I picked other people’s brains to get the ideas I needed. Picking people’s brains is pretty easy since people like to talk about themselves and what they do for a living. I would simply take designers, architects and other professionals to lunch and get ideas for the cost of a meal. I would also look at other nicely fixed up houses. I have gone so far as to exactly copy the look of a neighboring house I was fixing up because I wasn’t sure what to do with it. That little bit of copying got that house sold super-fast!

It’s amazing when I travel to new and different countries too. I see a lot of ways people in other countries are being successful and not just when it comes to making money. For instance, in Europe, people eat much smaller portions, have tiny refrigerators because they buy food fresh so often, and they take time to relax when they eat. We could learn a lot from the way they eat over there that would be healthier for us all.

All of these things are something that anyone can copy and, yes, that means you! Keep your eyes and mind open and you might just see things you can duplicate to make a better life for yourself and maybe even make a fortune.

Inspired by Success

August 23, 2020 by  
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I absolutely love reading about super successful people and many times I go out of my way to actually meet them and get to know them. Just paying attention to other success stories can teach you a lot and help you find your own big successes. Here is an old story of success but one we can learn from all these years later.

Wallace A. Wright Jr. is an excellent example of what leverage can do to help a person have super financial success. He had a dream of converting an old, beat-up bus barn in Salt Lake City into a collection of quaint shops and galleries based on San Francisco’s famous Ghirardelli Square.

It all started back in 1973 when Wallace, an Air national Guard pilot, was in a jet fighter streaking across the West. He’d led a formation of three F86 jets on a training flight to San Francisco. There, he saw, for the first time, the celebrated Ghirardelli Square–a chocolate factory turned into a potpourri of quaint shops and galleries. That’s when he thought, “Wow. Now that’s what I’d like to see in Salt Lake City someday.”

Mr. Wright had the ambition and the dream, but he needed the big, long lever known as “other people’s money”. It took some time, and he had his difficulties, but he eventually found that lever and less than a decade later, a 10-acre plot, once the home of slumbering streetcars, became Trolley Square. Back in its day, his development, Trolley Square was Salt Lake City’s biggest man-made attraction.

Trolley Square is now a vibrant, shopping-entertainment complex. Some of the 30 retail shops are anchored, at seemingly improbable angles, beneath the steel girders and glass skylight of the old car barn roofs. Wrought ironwork abounds. So do ornate staircases, woodwork, and stained glass, much of it salvaged from doomed mansions before they crumbled under the wrecker’s bulldozer. I’ve been there many times and it truly is impressive. I even had the privilege of meeting and getting to know Wallace.

I think this story is incredible and shows all of us how powerful the brain, and a determined spirit, can be. We should all note that he made his fortune by just being very observant of other people’s success and pushing himself to actually go out and do it. We all should be looking out for things that show great success and put our minds and bodies to work to do something similar.

Appreciating Great Health

August 9, 2020 by  
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Most of us humans don’t really think a lot about good health when we are totally healthy. It’s so easy to take our good health for granted when we are feeling great. But when something bad happens and we become very sick, then we sure look back at those healthy days and want to be back there again.

This brain of mine certainly has me looking back before my fall and my big, bad concussion. It’s been about a month now and I still have dizzy spells and vertigo plus my memory has been damaged. I’ve been doing better each day although it did suddenly get worse recently. However, the trend is that I am getting better in the long run.

Man, oh, man … talk about big changes in a few seconds. My life is so different now. It’s not just that I miss playing that tennis that I love so much, but I’m also not supposed to watch movies, TV, or even look at the computer screen (which I’m doing now, of course!) but I bought some special blue light glasses that help protect me. And, until yesterday, I was not even driving my car.

I started thinking about a book I wrote in 2006 where in one chapter entitled “An Umbrella Goal for Life,” I talked about how important health was in our lives. Many people think that more exercise is the most important key to living a long life. Quoting from my own book I wrote, “If you had to choose calorie restriction versus a lot of exercise to attain a longer and healthier life, animal studies prove beyond a doubt that eating less calories, and calories that are nutrient packed, will lengthen your life and cut disease by a huge factor compared to exercise alone. So, the plan is do both but especially watch my intake of calories. When I recover from this darn concussion, I am going to watch my diet more carefully and exercise more because I want to live a very long life which is more important than so many other things to me.

Next week, I want to give you a list of items you can do that will help you stay healthy and live a very long time.

Boosting Your Daily Energy

July 5, 2020 by  
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In these times of staying at home and there being a lack of social life we need ways to boost our energy. So, here’s 12 proven ways to boost your energy that have worked for me. Hope they help you a bit too!

  1. Set exciting goals that will put your big dreams into action and be sure to add a timeframe and an exciting game plan to those goals.
  2. A daily “to do” list, looked at or thought about in the morning adds extra energy to your day.
  3. Eat more nutritious foods.
  4. Drink green tea to overcome a mid-morning slump.
  5. Get plenty of exposure to natural light.
  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 letting go of all anger.
  8. Think positive thoughts to stimulate those good neurotransmitters called endorphins.
  9. Play and exercise hard to release more endorphins and dopamine.
  10. Get more sleep.
  11. A few minutes of yoga stretching will give you a morning boost, along with your favorite cup of java or tea.
  12. Listening to your favorite music. For some people it may be music with a heart pounding beat while for others it may be inspirational symphonic music.

Whether it’s for work or play, family or friends, we all need more energy, especially as we age. So, try a few of these above and add to the list with your own energy boosting actions.

Pushing Out the Negative

June 28, 2020 by  
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This darn pandemic is certainly creating a lot of problems, challenges, and tons of stress. For me, it’s not just the boredom, although I do miss my social life, but rather it’s the stress that has been getting to me. It has done some strange things to my sleep.

Of course, some of it is due to my age, as most of us have more trouble sleeping as we get older. On some nights, I am only able to sleep for 2 or 3 hours. Ugh! But other nights are normal. So, a couple days ago I spotted a book by Sasha Stephens titled The Effortless Sleep Method. The book is beginning to be of great help, mostly because of my change in thinking.

One section of the book jumped out at me – “The Two Negative Principles of the Mind”. Stephens said, “It is strange but true that most human beings tend to focus chronically on what they do not want. It can be difficult to spot this tendency in yourself, especially if you do not consider yourself to be a particularly negative person. But just try observing yourself for a few days. See how much of your thinking time is spent focused on what is wrong with your life. Then notice how little time you spend even noticing the good things, let alone celebrating them.” Sasha goes on to say, “If, for example, they had one bad night’s sleep along with three or four good ones, most insomniacs would focus on the one bad night. Not only does this give an inaccurate and exaggerated picture of the problem, it can actually worsen it.”

As I write this, I have just realized that by my talking to my wife about my terrible sleep and now writing about it, what I am doing could make my sleep problems worse because I am emphasizing the negative. So, I guess I will take that risk and maybe what I am writing can help others, not just with sleep problems but addressing other challenges and changing your thinking so you spend more time on the positive stuff.

I find that to spend more time on the positive things of my life and to ignore the negative, it helps to write down specific goals that I want to reach. It makes is much easier to keep my brain thinking on the positive side.  Let me give you a list of questions that I have asked myself over the years. They help me come up with specifics which helps me be more positive.

  • Do I want to substantially raise my level of contentment and fulfillment?
  • Do I want to become a better person?
  • Do I want to be known as a person of great accomplishment?
  • Do I want to be in great physical and mental shape with ideal health my entire life?
  • Do I want to live a very long, active life?
  • Do I want to make a fortune – a million dollars, $10 million, or even 100 million dollars? (Just think of the great good you could do with that money.)
  • Do I want the greater choices and possibilities in my life that making my own fortune would give me?
  • Do I want to leave the world a better place than I found it?
  • Do I want to be a big help to others as I help myself?
  • Do I want to travel and experience the entire world and its cultures? (I will continue this one when the pandemic has let up–I’ve already visited 92 different countries!)

May I strongly suggest that you make up your own list. I think if you do you will be pleased with how it helps your life.

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