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Habits That Hinder

January 19, 2020 by  
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Wow, how stupid am I or, I guess I should say, what a habit driven man am I?  A few days ago, my wife and I drove our SUV to do a little shopping.  We spent maybe a half an hour at Walmart, walked back to the car, and were surprised to see, when I turned the key, that the car was already running! The SUV is the vehicle that my wife drives, while I have become totally used to driving my Tesla that doesn’t use a key and starts by putting your foot on the brake pedal. When you leave the car, you just walk away, with the electric engine stopping on its own and the car doors locking when you are a few yards away. So, my habit from driving the Tesla was so strong that when I drove our SUV, that habit took over and I didn’t even know it.

Most of the time, when we talk or read about habits, we are usually referring to bad habits.  One interesting and good thing to know, which sadly many people don’t, is that there are methods that can help you change your bad habits and develop good habits. It takes time and you need to consistently stick with the plan or method to make those changes but it can be done.

The most common bad habits make up quite a list. The following is not even close to a complete list of bad habits, but take a look and ask yourself if you suffer from any of these:

  1. Smoking
  2. Heavy alcohol drinking
  3. Watching too much TV
  4. Being on the computer or smart phone too much
  5. Spending too much time playing video games
  6. Eating unhealthy junk food
  7. Eating way too much food
  8. Consuming too much sugar
  9. Eating late night snacks
  10. Not allowing enough time for a full night sleep
  11. Complaining about almost everything
  12. Behavior that leaves you angry, worried or stressed
  13. Overspending your way into debt
  14. Being consistently late
  15. Being rude to others
  16. Road rage
  17. Driving too fast
  18. Losing your temper
  19. Lying
  20. Procrastinating
  21. Always bragging
  22. Being a know it all
  23. Letting fear stop you from doing something new
  24. Spending time with negative friends to bring you down
  25. Being pessimistic
  26. Always interrupting other people
  27. Swearing constantly
  28. Nail biting
  29. Picking your nose
  30. Slouching and poor posture

And, yes, that is just a very short list compared to some of the lists I have seen. So how many, if any, of these bad habits do you have and would like to get rid of? What causes bad habits in the first place and what can you do to drop a bad habit and take on good habits? I will address the answers to those questions in next week’s blog.

Keep Moving!

January 12, 2020 by  
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So, we are already nearly 2 weeks into the new year. Have you finished writing your New Year’s resolutions?  If not, it’s still not too late to begin. Hopefully you have a detailed, clear, and measurable set of goals by now. If you’ve got that, then fantastic! But, now, when do you start on your list? Without an actual start date and a few actionable steps planned out, what chance do you have of your dreams, goals, and resolutions becoming real. So, if you haven’t finished your list or have yet to start acting on it, I would say do it now!

As we begin this new year, I have a few bits of advice that I think are so very critical. For one, to live longer you must have a big picture of what you want to achieve and not just have a routine you work away at. Secondly, never stop working on your health!  Keep moving!

From Ilchi Lee’s great book, I’ve Decided to Live 120 Years, there are a couple great bits of advice that really stand out in my mind. He states that people who have a positive perspective on aging live, on average, 7.5 years longer than the average person. He also makes the point that to live longer you need to have a goal and a design for the time you have left.

He shares lots of statistics and information on a very critical part of living a long, long life which is to keep moving. No, you don’t have to run a ton. Long walks every day give the same great health benefits and longevity to your life. Even just 150 minutes a week of walking can add 2.4 years to your life and 3.4 years if you double those minutes.

Six years ago, on my 69th birthday, I really started to think much more seriously about my age and how much longer I might have to live. It was on that birthday that I decided to start moving more and came up with my plan for walking, walking, and more walking. A huge part of my decision to do lots of walking was the small but great birthday gift my wife Kimberly gave me – a Fitbit. You put it on your wrist or put it in your pocket and it counts every step you take.

I began by setting a goal of 5,000 steps a day and soon was going more than that, so I move the goal to 10,000 steps and later to 20,000 steps every day. I’ve stuck with it since that birthday and, wow, I feel so much better, plus my tennis game improved a ton and I’m am convinced that those steps are increasing my life span. It is such a simple and easy exercise routine that gives such great rewards.

In his book, Mr. Lee lists 7 common statements that he has heard over the years from people who walked a bunch.

  1. I didn’t realize the way you walk is so important.
  2. Walking is so fun and exciting.
  3. The heavy pain that was in my legs and feet has vanished and they are lighter now.
  4. I used to suffer from insomnia, but now I can get deep sleep.
  5. My complexion has improved and my body feels lighter.

6, I usually become anxious and tense, but I have much more peace of mind now.

  1. My body has more energy, my head is clearer, and my focus on work has increased.

Hippocrates agrees. He is quoted as saying, “Walking is man’s best medicine.” I love that quote.

So, let’s all keep moving and moving. Get a Fitbit and start keeping track of your progress. If you do, and if you are anything like me, you will find yourself competing more and more with yourself. As a result, you will feel better and your health will most likely be lifted up a notch, if not two!

 

 

The CRON Diet: The Fountain of Youth

January 5, 2020 by  
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Alright, last week I promised to write a bit about the diet that I truly believe will greatly extend your life as well as help you live better. Would you believe that you can get those huge benefits from just what you put in your mouth? It’s true. There is a diet that really improves your health and extends your life.

The diet I’m talking about is known as the CRON diet (Calorie Restriction, Optimum Nutrition). The idea is that you will keep your calorie intake down enough to keep lean while still giving your body all the supportive energizing nutrition to stay healthy.

Studies of this particular diet showed significant increases in longevity and health in laboratory mice. I certainly noticed it in myself when I changed my eating habits to follow a CRON diet. I’ve had more energy, lost weight, seen much better ease of movement, and I feel so much better. I really believe that this diet will extend my life by quite a few years. Who wouldn’t want all that?

This diet is not as difficult as it may sound at first. You don’t have to go hungry. You just need to make better food choices and watch your portions. Here are the basic guidelines.

  1. Focus on eating low calorie, high nutrition foods, such as fruits and veggies.
  2. Eat just a couple small servings of protein in the form of fish, lean meats, nuts, beans, soy, and egg white.
  3. Greatly reduce eating processed foods and sugary drinks.
  4. Cut back on high calorie, minimally nutritious fats except omega 3 fatty acids found in fish and flaxseed.
  5. Cut back on starches although it is okay to eat small portions of whole grains.
  6. Eat 4 or 5 small balanced meals throughout the day rather than 2 or 3 big meals.

Follow these guidelines and learn to eat well before you try to lose weight. Once you start eating more nutritious, lower calorie foods, you can start cutting back on total calories to reach your optimum weight. Lose weight slowly, at a rate of 1%-2% of your present weight per month. This gives your body time to adjust which is easier on you and makes it more likely that the weight will stay off.

Now, that’s not a very scary or difficult diet to follow, is it? There are no special foods or special preparations. There’s just your determination to be good to yourself. Go ahead and discuss this with your doctor and find out what a good target weight is for you and then go for it!

You might want to look over the calorie restriction website, www.crsociety.com to find a good book or two on this subject. I think if this gives you much better health and extends your life by quite a bit it’s certainly worth the effort!

Next week, I want to talk more about health and how critical it is to keep moving, especially as you get older. Keep running or jogging as long as you can and, if you really can’t run, at least walk. Walking can extend your life and raise your health to very high levels. Believe it or not, I walked approximately 3600 miles in the great year of 2019 and, wow, did it ever feel good. Now in 2020 I’ve set more walking goals along with those low-calorie goals. It’s going to be a good year!

The 120 Year Goal

December 29, 2019 by  
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It’s not too late to make some New Year’s resolutions, a.k.a. goals for 2020!  What are your New Year’s resolutions? Hopefully you have a detailed, clear, and measurable set of goals with timelines attached and, of course, written down.

With those in hand, my first suggestion is that you make your start date TODAY. That’s right – start right now. There is no good reason you can’t take those first, maybe very small but necessary steps, toward your goals for the new year. I think that the goal of great health is, or should be, on the top of most people’s list. It’s been proven that if you set a reasonable goal for great health, the odds are very high that you will achieve those health goals.

My son gave me a book entitled I’ve Decided to Live 120 Years by Ilchi Lee. The author makes a big point of how a decision or goal to live a very long life can push you toward looking and finding what you want to live for. The problem for most people, when they get to around the age of 75 or 80, is that they don’t have a specific purpose.

Mr. Lee says his choice to live to be 120 was not based on his family history or his current health. “My choice stemmed from my desire to be of service to the world and to take responsibility for the great dream that I’ve set for my life.” Lee has a big project in New Zealand called “Earth Village,” which is a “residential school and community where hundreds of people can experience a self-reliant, earth-friendly lifestyle in a place where humans and nature live in harmony”.

It’s so important, especially as we age, to have a project and an agenda that we can totally throw ourselves into. Without a goal, a plan, and a timeline agenda you really won’t be driven to do much at all, especially if you are 70 or 80 years old and retired. Before retirement you would likely have a work routine that pushes you out the door and off to work. But after you retire, you really don’t have much pushing you, so you have to set that up yourself if you want a life full of joy, happiness, and a great feeling of accomplishment.

So, what do you want to accomplish and how you can help others lift their dreams and goals for a better and longer life?

At this time of year, I certainly ask myself that as well as taking a hard look at what I had set out to do in the year that is just wrapping up. I take note of where I fell short and where I exceeded my dreams and goals.

One of the items at the top of my list last year that I’m, again, putting on this year’s list to is the goal of “Top Notch Health”.  If you decide to live to be 120, which is not common but certainly physically possible, you will most likely take a hard look at what the key to good health might be. You, no doubt, will discover that what you eat as well as keeping active and moving are at the top of the list to increase your chances of reaching your big goal.

In all my years of reading about health and longevity I have found and am convinced that the diet called “The CRON Diet”, is a huge key to success and has studies to show that it can extend your life and your health.  I will talk more about next week though!

Wishing you all a happy and healthy new year!

 

Be A Big Time List Maker and Lift Your Life

December 22, 2019 by  
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At this time of year, it’s good to make lists, not only shopping lists for Christmas, but to-do lists for items you will get done in the new year.

I’m pretty sure that you, like me, wonder and marvel at how very famous and successful people seem to get so much done in their lives and never seem to stop making more and bigger progress. In just 3 words, they are simply “super productive people”.  How in the world can they accomplish so much? After all, we have just 24 hours in a day and 168 hours in a week.

Well, I’ll tell you. One of the biggest factors to getting so much done is in the magic power of making, keeping and working off lists.

Take Richard Branson, the British billionaire, for example. He credits his lists of the things he wants to accomplish as the key to his getting so much done. He takes time to go down his list, checking each item as it completed. And, wow, today, his virgin Group of businesses owns about 200 plus different companies. Among these companies are business that specialize in air travel, retail, music, finance, cell phones, internet, hotels, and even a railroad. As you may remember, back in 1999, Branson attempted, and broke, world records in hot air balloon travel and in a transatlantic crossing in a small boat. There are many other celebs that give huge credit to list making – everybody from pop singer Madonna to Barack Obama to Bill Gates!

Why are lists so very powerful? There are many reasons. They allow you to prioritize what you really want to get done, keep you organized, and help you stay focused. For many people, and especially for me, actually writing my lists on paper helps me more clearly remember what are on my lists and pushes me to get stuff done. There is also great mental satisfaction in crossing off those items that I have accomplished. It’s an additional motivator.

There was a study done at the Dominica University in California which found that writing a list down increases the chances of completion of items on that list by 33%. I sure think that extra percentage is worth paying attention and making less a part of your life.

So, if you are not a list maker, I would encourage you to become one. It is a good idea to have big, overall, long-term lists and it’s also very important to break those lists into smaller daily and weekly lists. It is especially helpful for most people to write a daily list out the night before you hit the hay, because as soon as you wake up, you know what that to-do list is telling you to get done and you’ll stay focused and accomplish so much!

Only 380 Hours Till the New Year

December 15, 2019 by  
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So, do you think it’s too early to start on your list of New Year resolutions? I think it is very helpful and more productive to start thinking early about what you plan to do and accomplish in the new year. For me, if I write them down as I think of them, I’m so much more driven to follow through and carry out those resolutions.

So, no, I don’t believe, at all, that it’s too early to begin making your list. It’s only about 2 weeks before the new year comes in! Make you own list based on what you want out of your life in the next year and beyond but here are some ideas.

COMMON RESOLUTIONS

  • Save more money this year.
  • Work on better health, including exercise, diet, weight loss, and drinking lots of water.
  • Travel more! One of my favorites. I usually pick specific places too, places that are unique and exotic, in the USA and overseas.
  • Spend more time with family and friends.
  • Spend more time reading and writing.
  • Spend time to organize and do it regularly.
  • Work harder at living in the right now moments.
  • Donate and volunteer for a good cause.
  • Write to yourself and give self-compliments.
  • Set up new and good routines.
  • Meditate on a regular basis.
  • Look for, and make, new friends.
  • Work on having more gratitude for others and your life.
  • Do little acts of kindness on a regular basis.

I try to make resolutions that are realistic, and I usually put a time frame or limit on each goal. That way I am more likely to succeed. It’s always a good idea to take time to review last year’s resolutions and make note of the ones that you followed through on, and the ones you didn’t, and then analyze why you accomplished the successfully completed goals and why you didn’t succeed with others.

REASONS YOU MIGHT FALL SHORT ON RESOLUTIONS

  • Resolutions were way too big or unrealistic.
  • Too much thinking and not enough doing or follow through.
  • Lack of detailed planning and scheduling.
  • Not fully believing in yourself.
  • Feeling overwhelmed by how much you will have to do.
  • Failure to write down your resolutions.
  • Not ready for change.

I hope you agree with me that it’s not too early to start thinking about making note of what your new year’s resolutions are going to be. For me, just writing this blog has got me thinking quite hard about my own new year’s resolutions.

I’m going to repeat myself, but this is important and so very helpful… take time to review last year’s resolutions and try to understand why you succeeded on some and why you fell short on others. Consider what you may be able to do this year to make sure you will have a better success rate in the coming new year.

Sudden and Shocking

October 27, 2019 by  
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A few days ago, it was an absolutely shocking day for the Haroldsen and Whitcamp family.  All seemed to be going well with all my kids and grandkids. Everyone was happy and healthy but then I got a phone call from my son Marcus. “Dad, I have something very terrible I have to tell you,” he said and then he began trying to get the words out but emotion and tears were obviously getting in the way. Finally, he was able to tell me that one of his 2-year-old identical twins, Kate, was in the hospital and has been diagnosed with leukemia. I was stunned and speechless. Little Kate and her twin Ellie are very sweet, darling, and cuddly, and I couldn’t, in my wildest imagination, expect such a terrible thing happening to such a beautiful, innocent little girl. As I write this blog, she is undergoing chemotherapy, having bone marrow taken out of her little tiny bones for examination, and who knows what else is happening and the pain inside her little brain.

It’s so easy to think that your life is going to be what you planned on it being and, of course, much of it can be if you set goals, work at reaching those goals, and take care of yourself. But life can, and often does, toss us some tough curve balls and that can come on suddenly. Very quick changes and quick turns will hit most of us at some point in our lives.

Anyone who thinks that they have, or will have, a perfect life, and think it will always be that way, is totally deceiving themselves. No one on this planet has a perfect life. Oh yes, you can have a pretty darn good and comfortable life, but you never know what huge shock any one day can bring to you and your loved ones. At minimum, no one gets out of this life alive!

Not that all death is a tragedy. If you live to be 90 or 100 and then slip away, it’s sad for all those people that loved you but not a shocking tragedy like it is for a young person. I know a little bit about this having lost a 16-year-old daughter as well as having my dad pass away at 84. Everyone knows that when a person is 84, 90, or 100, life is about over, but we should also know that we can live on through our kids and grandkids and maybe even in another life.

The good news is that little darling Kate is doing well and the prognosis for curing her cancer of the blood is very good. It’s going to take years though–two years of chemotherapy, plus years more of tough stuff including procedures and tests. It’s going to be tough on her and her siblings as well as her parents and, yes, all of the extended family and many, many friends.

Let’s all send best wishes, good karma and great love to beautiful little Kate and her family.

Of Gratitude and Appreciation

August 16, 2019 by  
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A few days ago, after returning from California where I had a wonderful, belated 75th birthday celebration with all my kids and grandkids, I was walking out in front of the airport looking for an Uber driver when suddenly, a lady walked right in front of me, pulling a suitcase on wheels that tripped me and smashed me onto the concrete.

Next thing I knew, I woke up, flat on my back and was looking up at a policeman, a security guard, and about 8 or 10 other people staring down at me asking if I was alright. I finally answered and said that I thought I was okay. They asked if they should call the paramedics, but I said, “No, I think I’m okay.” However, I wasn’t.

Throughout the day, the pain in my left arm and rib cage kept getting worse. So, my wife, Kimberly, drove me to a medical clinic and the x-rays showed a broken rib and severely damaged left shoulder. And to add to my misery, a few days later I had terrible stomach problems with even more pain so that I could hardly get out of bed.

So, what’s the point of this story? Bad things like this can be, and many times are, good lessons that we need to learn from. What is learned, if anything, in cases like this?  It’s fascinating to me that it often takes bad stuff happening to us humans to pound into our brains that thing called gratitude as well as an appreciation for all the good times we have had with few problems — everything from our good health, to our family, friends, finances, and freedom that we have in this great country.

After this latest accident and minor health setback I came across a list that I wrote in my journal on June 27th, 2013. My list was entitled “What I Am Grateful For”. From time to time I read down that list, and it lifts my spirits and my appreciation of what I have, big time.

Here is my list. I hope you also have written or will decide to write your own “Gratitude and appreciation list”. I highly recommend it and be sure to review if from time to time. You will see that it can lift your mind, your spirts and your life to a higher level, especially when you need it most.

I AM SO VERY GRATEFUL FOR …

  • A wonderful, loving wife.
  • A wonderful life.
  • Great kids and grandkids.
  • My beautiful view from our house of the valley and mountains.
  • Super vacations and world travel.
  • Warm and helpful friends.
  • Financial stability.
  • Incredible health … most of the time.
  • A fairly clear-thinking brain.
  • Discovery of the power of “self affirmations”.
  • My super great mentors that helped me so much.
  • The deer and coyotes we’ve seen in our yard.
  • The moose I saw while hiking in the mountains.
  • My wonderful work staff.
  • My thoughts for writing my blog and the positive feedback I receive.
  • A very warm and comfortable bed.
  • Our beautiful Kauai home and time spent there in the winter.
  • A cuddling, warm wife.
  • The great Wimbledon tennis matches I’ve attended.
  • My ex-wife’s love of Kimberly and vice versa.

Again, I hope you go make your own list if you haven’t already. Having boundless gratitude and appreciation, even for the little things in life truly does enhance a person’s life. Do it. You won’t be sorry.

 

Money and Meditation

August 8, 2019 by  
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If you have been reading my blog for years, then you know that I started out mainly writing about money, money, money. I wrote about how to make it and how to invest it for the best returns. Over time, I have expanded my subjects to include physical and mental health because, as we all know, without good health, tons of money may not help you at all, or at least not much.

Our brains control our physical bodies much more than most people realize. Years ago, I found an explanation of why the brain can control so much of our lives in Time magazine. A professor at the University of Wisconsin, Richard Davidson, who Time magazine had honored as one of the “100 People Who Shape Our World”, was actually asked by the Dalai Lama to study the connection between the meditative state of mind of his Buddhist monks and their emotional and mental health.

Davidson first hooked 128 electrodes to the head of a French-born monk, Mathieu Ricard, and recorded an immediate increase in the gamma activity when the monk began to meditate. Later studies with a control group of students only lightly trained in meditation showed the monks produced gamma waves that were 30 times stronger than a control group. Wow, that is HUGE!

But what does all this mean? Simply put, this and other research unveils the real possibility that the brain, like the rest of the body, can be altered intentionally. Just as we build muscle through exercise, we can also build our mental capacities that can lead to better brain function and an increase in essential cognitive functions, including memory and perception. This all creates a more positive mental state–and that’s what in turn creates more productive gamma brain waves.

This discovery tells me that as I do more meditation, I will gain a better functioning brain which could help me be a much better investor. I do believe that by pumping my brain up through meditation, I can make better real estate deals and manage my money much better. How about you? Go ahead and try some meditation and see what it does to your brain.

One last comment. Or, I should say that I’m going to do a little bragging.  I’ve always been impressed by the Dalai Lama and many years ago I had the great privilege of escorting the Dalai Lama from his hotel room to a huge ball room and then I introduced him to the audience. I will never forget the great feeling and gratitude I received from doing that introduction and getting to know him even just a little bit.

Just Believe

July 19, 2019 by  
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To live a very long life is a very good thing, at least if you truly enjoy the years along the way. Time is such an interesting thing and it goes on and on, whether you and I are alive or not. I find it very interesting that the older I get the faster time seems to fly by. I’ll never forget when I was 15, counting down the days and months, wanting them to go faster so I could get my driver’s license. Do you remember those slow years when you were a kid, maybe waiting to get your license or counting down the days till Christmas?

In addition to filling our lives as much as we can with good stuff, we should also try to increase our lifespans. And there are ways to do that. Years ago, I read a book by an anthropologist, entitled How to Live to Be 100. In the book the author reported a study of the people who live in the southern Soviet Union the area of Georgia. These people have an average lifespan of over 100 years. How do they do it? The author pointed out that the Georgians diet is somewhat different than ours, but not radically different from other people who don’t live so long. Their level of activity is also not particularly unique. In the end the author concluded that these people lived long healthy lives because they expected to live long healthy lives!

But it doesn’t work just to think or hope you’ll have a long life –you have to expect it and really believe that it will happen. Personally, I would suspect that, with that kind of thinking, but in their they really did watch what they ate and spent their time wisely doing things that didn’t harm their bodies. The other thing that helped extend their lives was the way society there treated older people – with more respect and honor.

No matter how long we expect to live, we should plan to do as much with our time as we can. It is said that time is money, and indeed it is. With extra time you can make extra money. Time is also happiness, if it is well used. Time is also joy and contentment, peace and pleasure and love, but only if we use it wisely.

Many years ago, I drove through East Chicago Heights in Illinois, which is not the most desirable urban area. I was absolutely stunned to see the hundreds, if not thousands, of people who lined the street that warm summer night, doing nothing but just standing there. I learned later that this was a normal practice there. When we do nothing, however, we receive nothing in return.

I’m not suggesting that we not take time out to enjoy ourselves. Enjoyment and recreation are rewards we can give ourselves after we’ve worked hard and done a good job. The law of life says that hard work and struggle must precede the joy and fulfillment of accomplishment. And without that there is not a true enjoyment of life. When we are productive, it almost always lifts our spirits and contentment factor.

Okay, so I am going to work on my own brain, and I do plan on living a very, very long life. 100 years old doesn’t sound like that big of a number now, because I’m 75% of the way there already. How about you? Are you going to set a big number goal and really go after it? If you do, the one big thing you’ll have to then is to just really believe that you’re going to do it.

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