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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!

 

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.

Great Health Can Help You to Great Wealth 

March 3, 2017 by  
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Let me throw out a big challenge to all my readers for this great year of 2017:

LET’S ALL MAKE 2017 THE HEALTHIEST AND MOST FULFILLING YEAR OF OUR LIVES AND BUILD SOME MORE WEALTH ALONG THE WAY!

Ok, just how are we going to do that? Is there an easy way or at least is there a simple way? There are some simple ways but, of course, it does take work. Last week I wrote and preached about the importance of staying busy, which keeps boredom at bay. However, keeping busy can also greatly improve your health and great health can, and does, make it easier to create more wealth.

So now if you and I want much better health, what are some of these simple ways we can get that job done?

As I’ve said many times before, one simple key is to keep moving! And, of course, the other obvious key is eating a very healthy diet. Of course, that sounds simple but we all know the temptations of good tasting food that is very bad for us. I find it very interesting to look and study the numbers of calories that we burn because to burn a lot of calories naturally helps keep our weight where it should be for good health. Movement obviously is better for the body and burns more calories than sitting or lying still, but even just standing burns more calories than sitting.

My very thin wife Kimberly figured this out long ago and I swear I rarely see her sitting–she always stands to work on her computer or to write a letter. Whatever she is doing, she is always vertical and on the move. More and more business people, including my sons, use stand up desks for all their office work every day. And, of course, walking versus sitting is even better for your calorie burning and overall health. Yes, jogging and running is even better but running has been shown to be better if you do it in moderation–so don’t run a marathon every day or every other day. That’s not good.

As I’ve said before, these are the reason that I love my Fitbit. It pushes me to compete with myself and walk and move more and more every day. Last week I did 155,000 steps! Ok, sorry … I’m bragging now. Here are some of the numbers for a 175-pound man. Calories burned totals listed are for 5 days at 8 hours a day.·

  • Sitting 5250 or 131 per hour·
  • Standing 7000 or 175 per hour (So you see why at work it’s a great idea to stand while working.)·
  • Walking 507 per hour·
  • Fast Walking 630 per hour·
  • Jogging 1225 per hour

The above numbers convinced me long ago to walk 3 to 4 hours a day which gives me around 20,000 steps a day. This has given me more energy and great health which in turn has helped me build more wealth along with keeping off the weight!

Although I’ve talked mostly about burning calories by moving and how that can help your health, never forget, when it comes to weight control, activity for calorie burning is important but it is not near as powerful as controlling how many calories go in the mouth.

Now how can great health lead to great wealth?

I think it is obvious, or at least for me it has been. Bottom line is that if you are not healthy and not feeling well, you most likely will not have the mental or physical energy and drive to work on building wealth for yourself. Virtually all my wealthy friends are very healthy, gaining energy and drive from their health, and have been that way most of their lives.

So, let’s all work hard and consistently build better health for ourselves. From that, we can gain more energy and drive to build our wealth to help ourselves and those around us.

On the Way to 100

January 13, 2017 by  
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It’s early January 2017 and I’m sitting on beautiful Shipwreck Beach in Kauai.  It’s the perfect temperature with a slight breeze and as I’m writing I’m also listening and watching kids, grand kids and adults laughing, playing and having an absolute blast!  To be in a place like this doesn’t take tons of money but it certainly helps, especially if you live a thousand or two thousand miles away from a warm beach.

I’ve talked quite a bit about new year’s resolutions and goals in the last few weeks, especially talking about that big financial goal or resolution you need to set for you self for 2017.  I must say, that no matter how important financial goals are, setting goals and resolutions for your health is just as important, or I should say much more important!  Look at the billions of dollars that Steve Jobs had, but all that money couldn’t buy his health or save him from the grim reaper.

I’m surely not saying that money can’t ever help your health. It really can by providing better doctors, hospitals, and the latest and greatest hi-tech procedures and medicine, but what you and I choose to do, day by day, can greatly increase our odds of having good health. We could even live to be 100 years old and arrive there in pretty good shape.

A  article from August of 2015, titled “100 Wonderful Ways to Live to 100”, quotes a book called The Longevity Project written by Howard S. Friedman and Leslie R. Martin.  In the article, it is explained that the authors’ research showed that “being conscientious was one of the best predictors of longevity. That’s because people who are conscientious may be more likely to abide by healthful behaviors, may be less prone to disease, and may find more success in relationships and in the workplace.”

In addition to that observation, I would like to share with you a few of the other article’s 100 ways to live to 100. Then maybe next week I’ll share a few more of the 100 wonderful ways and my thoughts on those. I should also add that almost all the 100 ways are backed up by good solid research. Here are a few easy one to keep in mind:

  • Don’t dread getting older…adults who developed positive attitudes about getting older live more than 7 years longer than those who had negative attitudes.
  • Find a life purpose.
  • Walk a lot.
  • Go meatless.
  • Try to keep your marriage friction-free.
  • Get your Mediterranean diet on.
  • Stop smoking.
  • Drink alcohol (but only in moderation).
  • Cut the sugar.
  • Drink your coffee-but only in moderation.
  • Join the 1 percent.

beach 1Yep, rich people live longer. It’s been proven in many studies!

Oops! I’ve got to stop for a few moments while I watch crazy, young, testosterone filled guys jump off the more than 100-foot-tall cliffs into the water. My son-in-law just did it and survived and went back and did it again. Ugh. It’s very scary.  Maybe I should add to the list of my rules for longevity and health not to take huge risks, like jumping off a cliff or out of a perfectly good airplane, even if I have 2 parachutes!

Ok, that’s all for this week. There will be a few more next week. In the meantime, let’s all go to work on these and set some hard and fast new year’s resolutions for our health and longevity.

 

The Easier Way to Reach Your Goals

November 12, 2016 by  
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Okay, first of all, there is no particularly ‘easy’ way to reach your goals but there are certainly easier ways and harder ways. Whether your goal is to make a million dollars, write a bestselling book or visit 100 different countries, the easier way to reach those goals includes a very simple thing … making lists. And I don’t mean in your head. I mean writing that list down. Why does writing out a list make reaching a goal easier? Because if you write it down it does some very good stuff inside your brain.

Chapter 7 in Henriette Klauser’s wonderful little book entitled Write It Down, MAKE IT HAPPEN tells the great story of her friend Sydne who turned her life around mainly from the single action of writing down her list of goals. Klauser says, “Writing a list gets it out of your head. Heads can be dark swamps, the conversations, the constant chatter, whatever you want to call it, keeps interfering. Writing a list gets it out of the swamp, onto paper. You can see a list in black and white and it’s real. When you reduce your goals to a list, it helps keep your focus.”

So, if you write your goals it basically changes things in your brain. She goes on to say that if your lists are very specific your brain will more likely help you reach those goals. “When you are vague and general, you are safe. Get to the essence of it; that’s when things happen. Nothing can happen when you’re generalized and safe–nothing changes.” When the writing of those lists put Sydne on the path of reaching virtually all her goals, her motto then became simply “Do it easy.”

The author’s advice is to “use listing as an opportunity to crystallize your intent–to learn what matters most to you.” She goes on to say, “Keep that list handy, and look at it regularly, especially if you lose heart or feel scared. Emblazon it in your mind. Repeat to yourself ‘This is what I want and it is waiting for me.’” Remember, keep your list very specific even for things such as buying a car. As the author says, “Don’t simply write ‘car’, write the type of car with make, model, and mileage.”

I must say that goal setting and writing down the specifics has changed my brain and improved my life in many and huge ways. When I was 27 years old I set the very specific goal to make a million dollars by the time I was 30 and yes I wrote it down and looked at that written goal on a regular basis. I went to work to find ways and means, along with great help from a couple of fantastic mentors, to hit my target. Oops I missed the goal, that is I missed the date by one year but reached it at age 31. Pretty much the same thing happened when I set the written goal to write a bestselling book. That book was How to Wake Up the Financial Genius Inside You which eventually sold over one million copies.

I am absolutely convinced that writing it down did in fact change my brain and made it all happen.  I know that it works and if you are not already writing your specific lists of goals down, I hope you start doing so right now.

 

 

Begin Early on Goals and New Year’s Resolutions

September 8, 2016 by  
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It sure seems like this year of 2016 is winding down at a very fast pace.  I swear, time speeds up as you get older. Time moved so slowly when I was a kid but now it seems to just fly by.  We have just 4 Fridays left of this year which means I have this and 3 more posts for you in 2016. So, for these few posts left, I’m going to suggest that we all start early working on our goals and New Year’s resolutions for 2017. Let’s not wait until the last day or two and rush through what we want to do, experience, and become in the new year.

Starting early gives us more time to really think through what we want and need in our lives and I’m convinced that we will make better choices and set realistic goals as a result.  For many people, the most difficult challenge with New Year’s resolutions is trying to figure out what they actually want.  Some New Year’s goals are easy, such as: “I would like to visit 2 new countries in this next year.”  That’s pretty easy and then you pick the countries and set the date.  But many categorizes or parts of our lives are a bit more complex.  Like personal development goals, family goals, and goals determining what we want to do with the rest of our life that will make a difference in the world.

My suggestion and challenge for this week is for us to really do some deep thinking and come up with a list of what we really want to do, become and experience in the year 2017.  And as most of us know, if we begin by writing down what we come up with, it makes the process easier.  Here are two great questions to ask yourself that may help you figure out what it is you really like and want to do and experience. These questions were derived from Marshall Goldsmith’s great book, Mojo … How to get it, How to Keep it, How to Get It Back If You Lose It.

Look back at the last few years and think though your previous goals—think about what you did and what you experienced then ask:

  1. How much long-term benefit or meaning did I experience from these activities?
  2. How much short-term satisfaction or happiness did I experience in these activities?

After answering these questions, Goldsmith suggests that you evaluate each activity or experience on a 1 to 10 scale, with 10 being the best.  You’ll then be able to see what was truly worthwhile to you. Doing this little drill can help in setting your goals for the next year, now that you know what has worked best for you in the past.

Ready? Let’s get to it!

 

Breaking Big Goals into Baby Steps

September 2, 2016 by  
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A couple weeks ago I suddenly realized that since I got a Fitbit and starting keeping track of my daily steps that my 4,000 steps a day had slowly risen to more than 20,000 steps a day. I had walked the equivalent of a third way around the world since I began with my goal of more movement and more exercise. My big goal now is to walk all the way around the world–or rather the equivalent of that.

I am a big believer in setting big goals, in just about every aspect of life. I’m talking about diet, weight control, fasting for health, and of course in financial matters. But how do you accomplish these huge goals? You take it just one baby step at a time. My January 7th blog was all about how after you set a big goal, it’s a very good idea to concentrate on taking baby steps so you are less likely to get discouraged and give up when you don’t think you are going to reach your goal.

For example, I read a study years ago that going without food for 24 hours every week or even every month is very good for your overall health, longevity and, of course, weight control. Knowing that, I started with baby steps by skipping a meal every few days and then slowly I took another baby step and skipped 2 meals in a day which lead me to go 24 hours with any food and only drinking water.

Those baby steps lead me to hit a big goal I set, one that seemed almost impossible when I set it. The big goal was to go a full week without food and believe it or not I did just that. The first and second day were the toughest but after that it wasn’t nearly as hard as I thought it would be! And wow did I ever feel fantastic toward the end and even after it was all over. I then felt that I could accomplish almost anything in entire the world!

That is just one example of how small steps can add up to something really big. Next week I will talk about how you can do this with your financial goals and the importance of sharing what you learn when you see how baby steps can work for you.

Powerful Daily Questions

July 29, 2016 by  
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In the last few posts, I’ve been talking about Marshall Goldsmith’s great advice that you can read about in his book Mojo. He reveals ways to greatly improve your odds of lifting your Mojo (your personal happiness and fulfillment in life) and increasing your chances of making greater progress toward your goals and what you want your life to be.

One of Goldsmith’s very effective methods was to ask his friend, Jim Moore, to pose a daily list of questions that Marshall had put together. These questions included want Marshall wanted to get done and how he wanted his life to be. Both men were amazed at how well that daily questioning worked. Even though they lived miles apart and Marshall does a lot of traveling, their commitment to this has them connecting on the phone and going through the process of asking those same questions about 85% of the time. The process has kept Marshall focused and moving forward.

So if you want to greatly increase your Mojo and reach your goals, write a list of what you want to get done and how you want your life to be and then find a good friend or a close relative to ask you those questions on a regular basis. Remember that it’s important to keep track of your progress as well so you can be inspired by your success and work on the areas that might need a boost.

Although you will want to come up with your own questions, I thought Marshall’s basic 6 questions might be helpful:

“Did I do my best today to …

  1. Be Happy?
  2. Find meaning?
  3. Build positive relationships?
  4. Be fully engaged?
  5. Set clear goals?
  6. Make progress toward goal achievement?

After this list, Marshall goes on to list questions he specifically needs for himself such as, “How many minutes did you spend writing?

Then there are some health questions such as,” How many sit-ups did you do?” To which he gets to answer with statements like “Today I did 200 sit-ups at once. Not bad for a 64-year-old guy.” You know that has to be encouraging!

As for work, it might be “With how many clients are you current on your follow-ups?”

Then there’s family and relationships. “Did you say or do something nice for your wife? How about your son or daughter?”

In the book he also asks himself, “Why does this process work so well?”  The answer is that it forced him and his friend Jim to “confront how we actually live our values every day. We either believe that something matters or we don’t.  If we believe it, we can put it on the list and do it! If we really don’t want to do it, we can face reality and quit kidding ourselves.”

The above is just a brief sample. Your list should be much longer but how long depends on what you want to get done in your life.

Marshall asked his wife, Lyda, a psychologist, if she thought this process would work as well with a computer-generated list of questions instead of sharing with another person.  She said, “No, it is a lot easier to blow-off a computer than another person.”

So the bottom line for you and me is to start making our list and then find a friend to help, the kind of friend that you trust and one that won’t criticize you when you fall short of your goals and ambitions. You can do likewise for your friend and together you can really build up your Mojo!

 

 

The Brain and Robot Tennis

March 4, 2016 by  
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Sometime ago I read a book about The Secret Lives of the Brain which was actually the subtitle of the great book entitled Incognito by David Eagleman. The part of the book that really grabbed my attention was what he said about the part of the brain that you can teach exactly how to hit a tennis ball almost perfectly every time without even thinking about it.

Being an avid tennis fan and sometimes tournament player myself, and with my own experience pretty much backing up and proving what he was saying, he had my undivided attention. Many times while playing, I’ve surprised myself when I am running full speed to get to a tennis ball coming at me at 65 or 75 miles an hour, then to arrive at the exact right spot and hit the ball back to the place I was aiming. Wow, I’m thinking … how did I ever do that?

Eagleman, a neuroscientist, makes the case that tennis shots are made almost entirely without using the conscious mind. Of course, to get to the point of great non-thinking tennis shots, anyone who wants to be that good needs to use the other part of the brain–the conscious part that is the part that thinks through what goals a person wants to achieve. So with the conscious brain a tennis champion wannabe sets the goals to fulfill their dream tennis performance.

The author of this book is not just talking about these two parts of the brain being used to be a great tennis player either. You can use both parts of the brain to become very good in many areas of our lives, whether it’s to become a great public speaker, great writer of books, making a fortune, or creating super health for yourself and others. It will work for whatever you really want to do and be.

But that’s just the first part, because after you use the conscious part of your mind to set your goals, you then need to practice and drill over and over again. If you do that for many, many hours over a good length of time you will begin to program your unconscious mind so eventually it will perform for you without your thinking about it. It will be automatic. It might take thousands of hours but studies have shown that anyone that spends 10,000 hours doing one thing they most likely will become one of the best in the world at that one thing.

Under the chapter subheading “The Robot that Won Wimbledon”, David Eagleman concludes that, “The competitors at Wimbledon are rapid, efficient machines that play tennis shockingly well. They can track a ball traveling ninety miles per hour, move toward it rapidly, and orient a small surface to intersect its trajectory. And these professional tennis players do almost none of this consciously. In exactly the same way that you read letters on a page or change lanes, they rely entirely on their unconscious machinery. They are, for all practical purposes, robots. Indeed, when Ilie Nastase lost the Wimbledon final in 1976, he sullenly said of his winning opponent, Bjorn Borg, ‘He’s a robot from outer space.’”

Today I would say the same thing about Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic. But remember folks these two parts of our brain can be used for many more things than tennis! Let’s all work on that.

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