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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 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!

Affirming Your Success

November 29, 2019 by  
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In my post last week, I quoted Richard Paul Evans’ book, The 5 Lessons a Millionaire Taught Me, and, of course, the very first lesson is simply “Decide to Be Wealthy”. In other words, make a commitment, set goals, and then, of course, act on those goals. To do this, you need the right mindset, one that is consistently and firmly placed in your head.

If you are smart, and have done even a little bit of homework, you know that things like fancy, expensive cars are not important and, in fact, will slow you down as surely as the value of that fancy car will drop in value. Your money needs to be put into assets that go up in value. Working hard on creating a great, big image of wealth is not the road you want, or should, take. Remember your goal is to BE wealthy not just to look wealthy.

Even if you are in terrible financial shape right now, it’s never too late to set big, financial goals and go to work on them. Once you make the decision to become wealthy, those little things called affirmations or self-talk can be a huge help. I know from experience that making a list of affirmations that I then repeat to myself on a regular basis gave a big boost to my mental attitude and lead me to actions that made me millions of dollars.

Chellie Campbell, a great writer of books and articles, has some great affirmations. I will share with you 14 out of a list of 50 super affirmations that help her and her many readers. I encourage you to take a look at this list and repeat them over and over in your mind and out loud too. It’s amazing how just saying stuff like this to yourself, even though they may not yet have happened, can bring about changes that do end up happening.

  1. People love to give me money!
  2. I am rich and wonderful.
  3. I am now earning a great big income doing what satisfies me.
  4. Something wonderful is happening to me today–I can feel it.
  5. All my bills are paid up in full and I still have all this money.
  6. My affirmations work for me, whether I believe they will or not. (This is for the skeptics among you.)
  7. A lot more money is coming into my life. I deserve it and will use it for my good and others.
  8. All my clients praise me and pay me!
  9. I am a money magnet!
  10. Money comes to me easily and effortlessly, waking and sleeping.
  11. I am now highly pleasing to myself in other people’s presence.
  12. I walk, talk, look, act, think, and am rich!
  13. I am a winner–I win often and I win big!
  14. I now receive large sums of money just for being me!

Wow. That is quite an amazing list of affirmations. Obviously, they are not all happening right now, but studies have shown that repeating affirmations to oneself can bring about many changes that eventually make things happen just like the affirmations that were repeated.

So, when you really decide to be wealthy, and mean it to your core, then repeating affirmations like these will not sound or seem out of the question or ridiculous. I had and have my favorite affirmations over the years and my first couple were:

  • I will save at least 10 to 15% of my gross income for later investments
  • I will be a millionaire by age 30 (Oops I missed that one. I became a millionaire at age 31.)

Go ahead and make your own list of affirmations and try and keep repeating that list over and over and I think you might be surprised, like I was, how greatly they help us to reach our goals.

Our Changes in Fortune

November 3, 2019 by  
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Wow and double wow! I never expected the huge and heartfelt response I received after my closing comment on my last week’s blog, asking people to send their best wishes and love to little 2-year-old Kate who had just been diagnosed with leukemia. So, at minimum I want to take time right now to give a HUGE THANKS to all you beautiful, wonderful people who cared enough to take time to send your heartfelt wishes to little Kate and her family. That means so much to me, her parents, the rest of the family, and to little Kate and her twin sister Ellie. I’m thinking that Kate and her twin sister could feel the love and the caring that was sent to them. I sure could!

We all know that life has its big bumps, surprises, and setbacks. And, yes, it also has many wonderful, fun, exciting, and pleasurable moments as well. It behooves all of us to constantly remember to live in the great “right now” moment. I’ve written a lot about this previously and most people know they should try to live more in the “now moments” and not spend too much time worrying about the future or beating themselves up for the past mistakes and or bad decisions. But, if you are like me, you have to keep reminding yourself to think more in the “now”. That kind of thinking can be very critical for our mental and emotional health and our great enjoyment of life. Meditation can help with this. Meditation works because, if you do it right, you truly are living in the moment!

Knowing all this and preaching it to others, I still wake up worrying about what I need to get done in the immediate or not too distant future as well as fretting a bit over what I missed out on doing yesterday. I have noticed, however, if I take time to write down my next day’s plans and actions the night before I go to sleep, I usually wake up much more likely to just get out of bed and get going on my to do list. My mind seems to be so much clearer and my thoughts are much more positive in the “now moment”.  Of course, we all need to think about the future and make plans, much of which is very fun and exciting like when planning a trip to Disneyland with the kids, or a vacation to Europe, etc. It’s the same with the past – we enjoy taking time (but not too often) to relive our great experiences and the really memorable moments in our life.

Talking about great moments in time… did you read about the older lady in Paris that recently discovered that one of the paintings she had hanging on her walls — one that she wasn’t even particularly wild about — was very, very rare? She sold it for a shocking $26 million dollars. I sure hope she’s not like so many jackpot and lottery winners that have never had a ton of money. So many of them have lost everything years later, making the news again because, not knowing how to handle tons of money, they spent it all and/or were scammed out of it. Whether fortune smiles on us or we have a ton of bad luck thrown at us, we need to learn how to handle our changes in fortune. I want to talk a bit next week about the smarter ways to handle money when good fortune comes your way.

 

Compound Gratitude

October 20, 2019 by  
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Receiving thanks and appreciation from people you have helped can be such a huge reward and is such a great feeling!  Last week I wrote about super successful Scott Keller who was donating 10 million dollars to a University. Scott has thanked me over the years for sharing some of what I’ve learned about financial formulas, motivation and inspiration.

When I was writing my blog about the great feeling of helping others, it brought quickly to my mind and heart the many, many times I’ve received some huge “thank you’s” and credit from Craig D. Horton of Medford, Oregon. It started many years ago, shortly after I wrote my first book and has continued over the years. So, I sent an email to Craig after thinking about him and his generous and great appreciation for the help I gave him as he pursued his fortune. Here are some of the words he wrote back to me.

“Thanks Mark for this continuous journey of excellence as well as persistence. Your mentorship to myself and my wife Jane means a lot personally to our family.” He went on to say, “In my early investing days, I was partners with someone who subscribed to ‘The Financial Freedom Report’, which was an investor magazine for real estate people that Mark O. Haroldsen published … I read each monthly issue and devoured the content, especially the Subscriber Success Story. I subsequently read the following Mark O. Haroldsen books: How to Wake Up the Financial Genius Inside You; Goals, Guts, and Greatness; The Best Real Estate Deal I Ever Did. All are excellent books that every real estate investor should read.”

Wow, those words of thanks to me were worth more than money!  After reading that, I realized that I needed to send him my latest book, How to Ignite Your Passion for Living too!

He went on to say, “The major influence on my life of the written work and seminar experiences from Mark O. Haroldsen has been the concept of compound persistence. That principle simply says if you think long term with good goals, good support, and a good plan you will succeed as long as you always stay persistent. This has been my experience from the teachings of Mark and his team in over 40 plus years of investing. I have seen this principle also work with other investors as well.”

He and his wife Jane own a property management company, Medford Better Housing Association. Craig also told me how many rental houses he owns as well as a nice size apartment building. And then he closes the email with, “Your ‘Financial Freedom Report’, Compound Persistence Principle Guy … Craig D. Horton.”

I’ll close this blog by saying this: THANK YOU, THANK YOU, AND DOUBLE THANKS, TO YOU CRAIG D. HORTON FOR LIFTING MY SPIRITS, MY BRAIN, AND MY LIFE!

The Thank You High

October 13, 2019 by  
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It never ceases to amaze me the super, wonderful, and fulfilling feeling I get from helping others. I’m sure you know what I’m talking about and, no doubt, you have received that great brain stimulation and wonderful high when someone gives you sincere thanks and compliments for helping them. I also get lots of little kicks every time I give kids a lucky – as I call them – $2 dollar bill. When their little faces light up, you’d think I gave them a thousand-dollar bill. Most of the time the parents don’t even need to tell them to give thanks to the old guy that gave them the $2 dollar bill.

A few days ago, I was shocked to read that Utah’s Scott and Karen Keller had donated 10 million dollars to Utah Valley University for a new business building which will be named after Scott Keller. I was super impressed because I knew Scott years ago and coached him on financial matters. And here is the Big Brain Booster (let’s call it the BBB) – he has always given me tons of credit for his huge financial success.

Here’s what he wrote me in an email: “Mark, I was able to make this contribution [due to] the things you helped [me with] to launch my career. Thank you very much again, and again, and again” I immediately thanked him for giving me so much credit and he wrote right back saying, “Dear Mark, I make no apology for those that have helped or inspired me along the way. I always want to give credit where credit is due. It’s the team, the ‘we’ NOT the ‘I’.” Then that clever little guy Scott made me laugh when he added, “Now hang on cowboy, just don’t be asking for a cut. 🙂 Thank you very much.   All the Best, Scott C. Keller.

Like I said, to me there’s nothing like the great satisfaction of helping others and their great gratitude and feedback gives me a high that is so much greater than money. Hey, I’m not saying that making tons of money isn’t satisfying but the thanks and sincere appreciation are so wonderful and last forever.

Ok, I know it’s kind of selfish, giving and helping others since we get such great feelings and satisfaction from it, but hey, isn’t that kind of a good selfishness?  I have received so much positive feedback and thanks-you’s I just want to give more and more.

There is a great guy from Oregon who has sent me many, many thanks over the years as well. I must tell you a bit more about good ole Craig D. Horton in my next post.

 

Turning Bad Habits Around

October 6, 2019 by  
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Last week I wrote about the great power of setting big goals and how they stimulate and motivate the brain and the body to go after your big dreams. In his great book, The Power of Habit, Charles Duhigg talks about how important it is to set big goals and little steps for those goals so as to help you form habits that greatly increase your chances of success. Our habits are so critically important to what we do with our lives and how we end up. Yes, there are lots of good habits and lots of bad habits. The good news is that those bad habits that drag us down and might destroy our lives can be changed, even though it does take work and special plans.

One of the keys to breaking bad habits is what he refers to as the “small win”. As he says, “Small wins are exactly what they sound like, and are part of how keystone habits create widespread changes. A huge body of research has shown that small wins have enormous power, an influence disproportionate to the accomplishment of the victories themselves.”

“Small wins are a steady application of a small advantage,” one Cornell professor wrote in 1984. “Once a small win has been accomplished, forces are set in motion that favor another small win. Small wins fuel transformative changes by leveraging time advantages into pattern that convince people that bigger achievements are within reach.”

Hmm. I’d call that the formation of a habit, and that is a very good thing. Okay, but how then do we change a bad habit?

Charles Duhigg gives very good and well tested advice to change a habit. For example, keep an index card or journal and make note of the impulses. If, after a few days, you see a lot of notes, take time to come up with an alternative habit or routine to use every time you feel those negative impulses.

The author has told patients that if, for example, they eat too much and their eating impulse wins most of the time, they should substitute a new desired habit like taking a 3- or 5-minute walk or spending a few minutes on the internet. He talks about one patient that had a life-long habit of biting her fingernails. They came up with a new habit which was to have her simply sit on her hands till the urge left. More than three dozen of his students who were smokers overcame that habit by choosing a new routine or habit every time they had the urge to smoke, like chewing a piece of Nicorette, or doing a quick series of push-ups, or simply taking a few minutes to stretch and relax.

He goes on to say, “It seems ridiculously simple, but once you’re aware of how your habit works, once you recognize the cues and rewards, you’re halfway to changing it … Today, habit reversal therapy is used to treat verbal and physical tics, depression, smoking, gambling problems, anxiety, bedwetting, procrastination, obsessive-compulsive disorders, and other behavioral problems.”

So, come up with a new habit to replace an old and unwanted habit – it really works!

 

Should We Really Set Huge Goals?

September 29, 2019 by  
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Is there any great advantage of setting very BIG goals?

Well, yes, there really is a good reason to set very big goals, as long as they are realistic. Setting huge goals excites the mind and actually can stimulate the brain enough to create extra energy. But if you do set big, big goals be sure to break them down into smaller steps and be sure to WRITE down both the big goals and the smaller steps with time frames for each.

While working on this blog, I saw that Holly Richardson, a regular contributor to our daily newspaper The Salt Lake Tribune, happened to put out a very interesting and helpful article on goal setting entitled, “Autumn is the perfect time to set new goals”. In it she writes “We’ve all heard the stats: The average New Year resolution setter makes it about mid-way through January before they’ve given up on the ‘resolutions.’ Maybe the reason is those resolutions are the ones people feel they ‘should’ make, not the ones they really want to make.”

Vancouver based educator Mehrnaz Bassiri, drawing on the work of organizational theorist Carl Weick during her, “To Achieve Success, Start Detecting Your Small Wins” TEDx talk, explained that, “Small wins have a transformational power. Once a small win has been accomplished, forces are set in motion to favor another small win and another small win until the combination of these small wins lead to larger and greater accomplishments.”

Small wins really do add up and keep you motivated and excited about those big, huge goals. That has certainly worked for me.  I vividly remember when I was 27 years old setting, what was a huge goal for me at the time, to have a net worth of one million dollars by the time I was 30 years old. Believe me, a million bucks back then was a ton of money especially since I was only making about $30,000 a year. That huge goal gave me so much energy. It kept me excited and working hard.

I was one year late in hitting that goal, but it inspired me and motivated me to set some much bigger multi-million dollar goals which I was very fortunate to accomplish as well. And yes, I did set lots of little time driven goals along the way to each big goal, writing them down complete with dates to have them accomplished. Plus, as I hit those numbers, I made a record of my successes in my personal journal.

Holly Richardson gives one more bit of very good advice: “Pick one or two people to share these goals with and who will cheer you along the way and get going!”

Next week I want to share with you some very good stuff I’m reading and learning from. I am reading a super great book by Charles Duhigg called The Power of HABIT. You’re going to really like the wonderful advice that can change and lift your life to a much higher level.

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