Anyone that knows me knows that I’m a huge believer in setting goals. Of course that’s the major them of my book How to Ignite Your Passion for Living. Goal setting grabbed my attention in a very big way even back when I was in high school.
As a pole vaulter then and in college my goals were in feet and inches. As soon as I reached a certain height, I would set a new goal a few inches higher–from 10 feet 6 inches to 10 feet 9 inches then 11 feet. After a ton or work, trying over and over again, I finally was consistently clearing 12 feet and eventually I peaked out at 14 feet 1 inch. Back then, in 1962, the world record was just over 16 feet, so I wasn’t doing too badly. But, no, I didn’t set the world record. Still setting those goals kept me completely engaged and excited about life. Such physical, self-competitive goals aren’t the only goals that can do that for you. Just about any goal will do that for you if it’s something you really want.
To get that jazzed feeling every day, be sure to constantly set goals for yourself. It will keep you passionate about your life and living and of course there is a Big Bonus in that you end up accomplishing so many things. So my message this week is push yourself to set more goals, and tough goals, in all parts of your life –physical, mental, family, charitable and, yes, don’t forget financial goals. I promise you as you do this you will enjoy each hour and each day more.
By the way, as you may already know, it helps to tell people that are close to you (as long as they are positive people) what goals you have set for yourself because when you know they are watching, you are more likely to stick with them and they also can act as a cheer leader for you. I myself have been sharing with you my goal of working out every day until I turned 70 and just knowing I told you about that makes even more dedicated. I just can’t let you down.
So you know. I am still on track with that goal which is 46 weeks from now. I was sick one day last week and hurt my back on another day but I still got a work out in. Yes it hurt physically but, wow, I sure got a huge mental boost from sticking with my goal! That’s 83 out of 84 days that I have kept up my work outs. Pretty good! Now, what goal do you have?
Last week I told you about my goal to work out every single day and do that at least until my 70th birthday which is now 347 days. (I’m pretty sure when I hit 70 I won’t stop then either!) So far so good–I haven’t missed a day in the last 45 days! I sure could have used the fact that I hurt my back one day as an excuse to skip a day but I didn’t. I was in a lot of pain then but I sure felt terrific when I finished. I mean, physically I was totally beat and in a world of hurt but mentally, I felt like a champion. And, wow … that felt great!
One big discovery I made with my “every single day” workout goal was that we are more likely to succeed at it because unlike a goal to work out 4 or 5 days a week, an “every single day” goal doesn’t tempt you to skip today’s workout. You can’t say “Oh, I’ll feel better tomorrow and I can still get in my 4 or 5 days this week.” The thing is, if you do procrastinate you may well find yourself skipping and pushing your work out until you run out of days in the week and miss your target. With an “every single day” goal you know procrastination or skipping days is simply not an option.
If this simple goal hasn’t motivated you to start your own health and work out program by now, then I think I need to tempt you by giving you a list of huge benefits or as I call these lists in my book “How To Ignite Your Passion For Living”, B-RAM. B-RAM stands for Benefits, Reasons, and Motivations. These are the things that will keep you chasing your goal if your keep them in the forefront of your mind. (See Chapter 7 entitled “The Sure Fire Way to Stick with Every Goal” on page 71 for more on how to benefit from B-RAM.)
Here are 7 huge benefits of setting unshakable fitness goals as given by Dr. Daniel G. Amen in his book “Use Your Brain to Change Your Age”. Print out this B-RAM (adding more reasons to it if you like) and post it somewhere to keep reminding yourself how wonderful this goal will be for you:
1. Those with pep in their step stay younger.
2. Aerobics will help you keep more brain tissue.
3. Balance exercises help you age gracefully.
4. Active seniors look years younger than their couch potato friends.
5. Resistance exercises keep you stronger to live longer.
6. The greater your muscle strength, the less risk of Alzheimer’s.
7. Those who exercise slow down their biological clock.
By the way Dr. Amen documents the evidence behind each of these 7 benefits starting on page 123 under the heading of “Exercise and Longevity”. He introduces this section by saying “New research seems to be popping up every day proving that exercise will not only increase how long you live but also the quality of life in those years.”
What else do you need to get you up and working on fitness? If you haven’t started, why not start RIGHT NOW! Take five minutes and briskly walk, dance, stretch, lift a few weights … and think about how you’ll do this every day so you can get all these great benefits, starting right now!
On Feb 21st of this year my son David, sent me an email with a link (see below) to a YouTube lecture by a Dr. Robert Lustig. Without a doubt this video has dramatically changed my physical and mental being! It honestly has lifted my life 2 or 3 levels … and my life was pretty damn good already. Watch it as soon as you can and see if you agree that his words have such tremendous value.
By now if you’ve read even a few of my blogs you know I am big on setting goals and strongly believe that goal setting and your journey toward those goals is a huge key to a happy, fulfilling and super productive life. Dr. Lustig’s video lecture gives you a pretty straight-forward goal that, initially, you might think is just a health goal but it’s more than that. I’m tempted to summarize what he says but then you won’t really get the impact of the presentation or you might think “I’ve heard all that before.” Trust me, you haven’t heard all this. I’ll just say it’s well worth every minute of your time to watch and learn and follow.
By following, I mean for you to set some health goals based on what he is saying. I certainly have done that and WOW what a superb and uplifting change it has made in both my physical and mental life—if you don’t believe me just ask my wife! So get yourself a nice cup of tea and sit down to listen. Then change your life. Now!
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 strong 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 just how powerful it can be.
For Christmas my son David gave me a book called “The Power of Habit” by Charles Duhigg and WOW what a great book. Duhigg relies on scientific studies to dissect what it takes to form a new habit or dump a habit that you don’t like. In future blogs I want to talk more about “The Power of Habit” but for now I want to address one simple but profound Scottish study that is Duhigg addresses.
In this study a psychologist recruited 60 patients that just had hip or knee replacement surgery. Having personally experienced double hip replacement in the same surgery I know just how painful this kind of surgery can be. Most people don’t want to even move afterward, let alone start walking even though their rehabilitation requires it. This psychologist gave each patient a booklet after their surgeries that detailed their rehab schedule, and in the back were 13 additional pages –one for each week–with blank spaces and 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 walk this week, write down where and when you are going to walk.”
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 and a lesson that I’ve preached to myself and others for years is we greatly improve our chance of success many times over if we simply write our goals down! Financial goals, physical goals, family and social goals … it works on all of them. I would also add that you shouldn’t forget to put down the date by which you want to accomplish those goals.
You can read more about goal setting and how written goals can help you in my book “How to Ignite Your Passion for Living” which is on sale right now on my website.
Last week I promised that I would show you an almost fool proof path to your own financial fortune. I said that I would lay out a step by step formula that you could follow, so that’s what I am going to do now.
First a few comments about timing as it is very important that you understand how your timing can impact your success. In Malcolm Gladwell’s book Outliers he talks about research done on young hockey players and how the timing of their birth dates made all the difference as to who went on to play at a professional level. This might sound a bit odd but if you read the book you’ll see why their birth dates were so important to their success. The timing issue is about being at the right place at the right time but it’s not just about luck. Right now the timing for someone who wants to make a fortune in the USA is near perfect but it won’t matter one bit if you don’t take advantage of it.
So let’s talk about step number 1, that first step you need to take on your way to building a fortune.
Step 1: Work on accumulating some beginning capital.
Okay, you may rightfully be thinking “Easier said than done!” But it’s not about easy; it’s about what is possible. Just about anyone can do this and there is more than one way to get the job done.
The slow but sure way is to consistently set aside at least 10% of your income. 20% is even better if you can do it. That’s the way I started and yes it took years before I had enough capital to begin to get started on amassing my fortune. However, if you want to jump start you growth of capital there is a way to dramatically speed up the process. It’s called “Partners Capital”.
In my book How to Wake Up the Financial Genius Inside You I tell the story of a guy that now has over a half a billion dollars of income producing property and he did it quickly because he did it primarily with “Partners Capital”. When he was in college he came across my book, followed the formulas I had outlined in it but also added the “Partners Capital” thing to the mix. With this combination he passed my success level by a huge margin, which of course makes me very proud.
If you choose to go the “partner” path there is a way to do it that can bring in not just one or two partners but multiple partners to join you. This is really is part of step number two which we will get to next week. But as part of your first step, I suggest you read my updated book now called The Next Step to Waking up the Financial Genius Inside You. I very much want you to succeed so I am giving the first 50 people who email me a free copy of the book. Just cover the $5 cost of shipping to show you are serious about amassing your fortune and I’ll get the book right out to you. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to get started.
I ran across this quote on the net recently …
Something about this statement sticks with me. With my recent health scare I’ve been thinking a lot about my goals. I don’t usually set easy goals but I do usually set goals that fit with who I am at the time. However, I have been thinking more about who I want to be and what I want to change in my life so when thinking of my challenging goals, I need to focus on not what my present self wants but what the future version of me should do.
The thing is, sticking with what is easy – with what we know is comfortable and safe – isn’t usually very fulfilling. Challenging yourself to be, and do more, than you think you can is not only exciting but gives every day a unique and motivating reason to get up in the morning. If you stick with it. taking on the challenge will make you change and grow until you become the person you need to be to accomplish that goal.
How much do you push yourself? You are never so far down the road that you shouldn’t keep trying to make yourself better. Keep challenging yourself with big goals!
A couple weeks ago we drove to the annual Stein Eriksen “Trollhaugen Tennis Tournament” in Montana. Before I went I worked my buns off. Okay … some of what I had to do might not fit your definition of work since a lot of it was using the tennis ball machine to work on and improve my backhand and forehand but I also did cram in a bunch of office work. In that time I wrote up a complicated contract, worked on a refinance of my Kauai house and made an offer on 3 new Family Dollar stores. All that office work and the tennis workouts were crammed into two days which made it a couple of frenzied days but it also make the tennis tournament all the more rewarding–even though I didn’t win. It was a ‘break’ that was all the more prized because of that hard work, just as I’ve been saying the last couple weeks.
Going to this tournament is actually not so much about the tennis as it is about the wonderful friends and great conversations. I mention this event on page 134 of my book “How to Ignite Your Passion for Living“. There is even a picture of the Eriksen’s and us in the book. Most of the people we see at the tournament are friends we only see once a year but still those once a year friends have become very close and dear to us over the last 15 years that we’ve been going.
Stein Eriksen (the 1952 Olympic ski gold medalist and world cup champ) along with his wonderful wife Francoise and son Bjorn are an inspiration to me. They have such an incredible ability to surround themselves with many very dynamic, successful, kind and gentle friends. I just hope over the rest of my life I can come even close to doing the same thing that the Eriksen’s have done.
There are few loftier goals, in my opinion and experience, that a person could set for themselves than to have many great, successful and kind people as friends. Surrounding yourself with these types of people is inspiring, motivating and so very fulfilling. You can never have too many so I say let’s go out and work on increasing our circle of very special people.
“I love people and I listen”
I must admit I am not a very good listener. The quote above is a positive affirmation that has been helping me change this in myself. But what really helped me become a more aware listener and more empathic to others was helping my wife as she recovered from her difficult trachea surgery.
The thing is she couldn’t talk for almost a month. In the hospital she had her chin sewed down to her chest so as not to damage the repair of her trachea. Then after her 10 days in the hospital she was on mandatory voice rest for another 2 plus weeks. She had a pad and would write down her thoughts and comments but of course that is very slow and cumbersome and I could see that growing frustration each day. I found myself trying to figure out what she was thinking since I knew she didn’t want or have the energy to write everything down, so I constantly found myself trying to see the world from her eyes.
Even though my wife wasn’t speaking, this need to pay closer attention made me a more aware listener and because she couldn’t write out every word she wanted to speak she had to be more particular about the words she chose. Because of this our communication became more valuable and we paid closer attention to what the other person had to say .
After this experience I couldn’t help but think about how this might help people who are having relationship problems. I think that if one or both people agreed to not speak a word for, let’s say, a few days or even a week and the only way they could communicate was by writing their thoughts and comments down, I believe it would be incredibly good therapy and help people solve a lot of problems. Why not give it a shot if you are having any struggles with someone. They don’t have to agree to the no talking rules because this experiment can be carried out by just one person. Do it and see if you don’t become a better communicator.
I am sure, like me, you know some people who seem to have an endless supply of willpower and others that don’t seem to have a single once of it. Most of us are somewhere in the middle. And of course what we hope to find is “the secret” or a “formula” that will give us what we need. You might not believe this but researchers have uncovered a kind of secret that can be used by just about everyone that will amp up a person’s willpower. And it’s already, literally, there in your head.
First let me tell you about the “white bear” experiment. A number of years ago a professor at Trinity University in Texas instructed a number of students to NOT think about white bears for 5 minutes. Well they tried but they couldn’t do it. In fact the harder they tried the more that white bear thought would pop into their minds. Kelly McGonigal PhD, in her book The Willpower Instinct says, “The effect was strongest when people were already stressed out, tired or distracted.” Daniel Wegner, the professor that conducted the experiment, dubbed “this effect” as the “ironic rebound”. You push a thought away and it just boomerangs back.
Now what the heck does this have to do with a “breakthrough” to increase your willpower? Well, Kelly McGonigal goes on to explain in her book that “thought suppression” doesn’t work because of how our brains are wired but we can work around it. You’ll want to read her book to get the details about this but what I can tell you right now is a little about how to work with what your brain does. What you do is accept that bad or wrong thought which will give you great power to lead your brain to where you want it to be and very likely change or direct your behavior into something more positive and constructive. Here are just a few of Kelly’s suggestions that you can try yourself when you need more self-discipline or willpower.
1—Notice when are thinking about your temptation or feeling a craving.
2—Accept the thought or feeling without trying to immediately distract yourself or argue with it. Remind yourself of the white-bear rebound effect.
3—Step back by realizing that thoughts and feelings aren’t always under your control, but you can choose whether to act on them.
4—Remember your goal. Remind yourself of whatever your commitment is and what it means to you.
**If you like what you’ve read in this blog please send it on to people you know and love, to people who you think this message and information may be very helpful. There is nothing in the world that brings greater satisfaction than helping other people. Don’t you agree?
My son David gave me a great book for my 68th birthday. It’s called “The Willpower Instinct” by Kelly McGonigal, PH.D. with the sub title of “How Self-Control works, Why it Matters, and What You Can Do to Get More of It”. Wow that is an attention grabbing title!
Yes I know I have done a ton of preaching about the “key” or “secret” of reaching your goals–that being my concept of “B-RAM”. I discuss it at length on pages 71 through 81 of my book “How to Ignite Your Passion for Living“. But Kelly’s book ads a whole new dimension to our understanding of how the brain works and how you can program it for your own success.
Kelly discusses the advantages we gain from things like self-awareness, meditation and even 5 or 10 minutes of exercise and backs it all up with science. The ability to set great goals in your life and reach them more consistently can be gained through these methods. Your brain can even be physically changed by what you send though it. And it doesn’t matter what those goals are—anything from losing weight, to overcoming an addiction to being a better parent or making a ton of money.
Most of us think the only way our brains change is by deteriorating as we get older. But Kelly points out that over the last decade, neuroscientists have discovered that the brain stays remarkably responsive to experience. Ask your brain to do math every day, and it gets better at math. Ask your brain to worry, and it gets better at worrying. Ask your brain to concentrate, and it gets better at concentrating. “There is growing scientific evidence that you can train your brain to get better at self-control,” Kelly says.
Next week I will give you more hints and steps that you and I can take to build more will power and self-control so as to bolster our goal setting abilities.
If you like what you’ve read in this blog please send it on to people you know and love, to people who you think this message and information may be very helpful. There is nothing in the world that brings greater satisfaction than helping other people. Don’t you agree?