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Commitment to Movement

January 19, 2018 by  
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Let me begin this week’s blog by quoting Harvard Medical School’s conclusion as to the 5 ways that exercise helps people live longer and better.

1. Exercise helps the heart raise up the good HDL cholesterol and lower the bad LDL.

2. It keeps your brain sharp. There are even studies that suggest exercise my help ward off Alzheimer and other forms of dementia.

3. Exercise lowers blood sugar levels.

4. It possibly lowers the risk of getting cancer.

5. As a person ages, bones begin thinning, but walking, running, and lifting weights stimulates the growth of new bone. It may even reverse knee problems!

Since, as you see here, movement is so important to our mental and physical health, we all should keep moving as much as we are able for as long as we can. One thing that totally encourages me is knowing that we don’t have to go running for great exercise. Just slow jogging or even just walking a lot is very beneficial.  And of course, getting outdoors to do those walks is great for the mind and mood.

I’ve recently began jumping on a mini trampoline and that has really helped my physical conditioning as well as helping my bone growth. I bought this mini trampoline on Amazon for just a little over $30. Things like this are a great investment and fun as well.

I think it is very important, not just to start doing these easy physical activities, but to set goals for them and break those goals down into bit size chunks. For example, with my walking and counting steps, after I set my goals for the week, I not only break it down by the day but I set my walking goal by the hour. Usually I set the goal to walk 2,000 steps by 9 am which only takes about 20 minutes and then I aim for another 2,000 steps each hour until I reach my daily goal of 20,000 steps. By breaking it down this way it is much easier to reach the goal. It’s the old “baby steps to reach giant achievements” deal.

So, if you want to live longer, stronger and feel better as you age I strongly suggest that you set goals for daily or weekly walking, jogging, lifting weights, stretching, push-ups, sit-ups, and maybe even bouncing on a mini trampoline.

Uh-oh … I just looked at my Fitbit and I’m only at 18,714 steps today and it’s almost 6pm. So I will say aloha for now.  On next week’s post I’ll be coming back around to that good ol’ money making and fortune keeping theme so keep up the exercise and we’ll work on financial health next week.

The Key for a Longer, Healthy Life

January 12, 2018 by  
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I thought I was in great shape and looked pretty darn good now at almost 74 years old. Then I went to my favorite Kauai tennis club last week and played tennis with this old friend, Ken, who looks like he is 55 or 60 years old and plays a great game of tennis. But would you believe this guy, who is in super great shape, out on the court with me, is 87 years old? You’d be shocked if you saw him and he is not slowing down at all.

Ken inspires me to keep moving and, yes, I set some more new year’s exercise resolutions including playing more tennis with Ken and many other friends. I think most people know that exercise–even moderate exercise–is good for your health. According to a one large study, 75 minutes of vigorous, or 150 minutes of moderate, exercise per week extends life by 3.4 years. That might not seem like a lot of extra years, but that’s just the average and you and I might be able to push that to 10 or 15 years like Ken has. Plus remember that most likely those extra years are going to be so much more enjoyable because your physical and mental health will be much better.

And hey, 150 minutes a week is only about 22 minutes a day and if you are anything like me, you can easily push yourself to do a little more than that each day if you have the proper motivation. As I mentioned in another post a while back, one of the best gifts my wife ever gave to me was a little simple “Fitbit” that counts all my steps among other things. The recommended goal is 10,000 steps a day. However, that little device has had me competing with myself to continuously increase my daily steps to the point that I now shoot for 20,000 steps a day. That is more than 3 hours of walking, but it is not hard to spread it out over my day and, I have to say, I love it.

By the way, if you want to increase the chances of reaching your exercise goals, it’s a very wise move to tell your spouse or a good friend about your goal and then encourage them to remind you and ask you how you are doing with those goals. They can basically act as your coach and prod you along but mostly, you know they know and so you will feel accountable to them.

There is another big health related benefit that comes with working out when you do it via a game such as tennis or golf. That benefit is the social interaction you get during and after the game. Keeping up an active social life is another proven life extending way to keep you healthy.

So, I do sincerely hope you will be motivated to set exercise goals and never forget the many benefits you’ll be receiving. Write those goals down and get someone to remind you and push you. Next week I’ll want to expand on this subject because we could all use a little extra push, even me!

 

 

Of Family, Friendship, and Love

December 23, 2017 by  
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I want to give you a HUGE Merry Christmas wish and thank you so very much for being you. I do sincerely appreciate the great opportunity you have given me to share my thoughts with you, my reader, and do honestly wish and hope that my ideas and advice helps your life and those around you. What would this world be if it wasn’t for great friends and family? At this time of year those people can, and should be, even more important to all of us.

What would your world and your life be like if you had a billion dollars but not a single friend or any family? I’m not saying money is not at all important but it’s almost completely worthless without people around you that you dearly love and that love you just as much.

So, at this very special time of year, let’s all go out of our way to give tons of love and appreciation to our family and loved ones and while we are at it, why not seek out more friends and push for deeper relationships with our current friends. Don’t you agree that it would be so worthwhile to do so? Okay … so, let’s all go out and do it!

P.S. In last week’s blog I said I’d write about how the right foods, vitamins, and exercise can boost your feel-good brain chemicals. And I will but I thought that could wait until after Christmas. So, we’ll see you next week.

A Passion for Your Goals

December 16, 2017 by  
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As we are quickly coming to the end of this year, and with the New Year just a couple weeks away, most of us are thinking not only about the holidays but all the shopping that we must do. I know most guys really don’t enjoy that part of the holidays but thank heaven for women! They do generally have a passion for shopping. But why are they so passionate about it while men aren’t? It really comes down to how we go about it. The people who like shopping aren’t just buying gifts, they are out to find the greatest stuff and to get the best bargains on them. It’s a challenge and an adventure. The rest of us just want to find something that will fill the bill and be done with it. So that’s the thing—when you have a passion for your particular goal and for how you reach it, it makes it much easier, and much more fun, to accomplish.

This is true for any goal, but not only do you need passion, you need the goal to be attainable or you may lose that passion. The thing is, if you set goals and objectives that are so big as to make it impossible to achieve, even by taking lots of baby steps, it can lead to a huge disappointment which can kill your passion. At that point, it can become very easy to beat yourself up and may eventually make you want to give up on goal setting itself. In other words, setting goals that are challenging but that you can achieve can help keep up your passion. Setting unattainable goals, on the other hand, can do major damage to your passion factor.

Passion is a very interesting feeling that is so very important in life and living but it can be an elusive pursuit. As people age, they have flashes of passion here and there and then they lose it and they don’t know why.  Unfortunately, there are physical reasons that passion starts to decline that make it hard to keep those fires going. From about age 25 or 30 your brain begins to produce less and less dopamine and serotonin–the hormones that make you feel good. A child’s body is awash in these hormones. There are things that stimulate and produce these hormones in young people that our aging bodies are missing.

The good news is, setting and reaching realistic goals can help the brain increase those important brain chemicals. Another helpful factor is eating the right foods and exercising, both of which will help restore those dopamine and serotonin levels. In the next week or two, I will talk more about what foods are best to eat that restore those 2 brain chemicals.

So, if you are like me, you will be thinking more and more about what next year will bring and what you want to accomplish in 2018.  Go big but with a touch of caution as you set your goals for the new year so that you’ll still have plenty of passion for each new dream you come up with.

 

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!

 

A Million Dollar Feeling

November 12, 2017 by  
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As we are quickly approaching the holiday season of celebration and of giving I couldn’t help but remember when, several years ago, just before Christmas, I was at Walmart and a single mom, who looked down on her luck, was in line just in front of me.  She was holding a few items as the clerk added up the bill. She kept asking what the total was as she anxiously clutched onto other items saying she only had $40.  As she paid for her purchases, I reached over and pushed the items she was leaving behind over to my pile and said to the clerk, “I want to buy these items for my new friend.”

I bought them and handed them to her and, wow, … she, very emotionally, thanked me over and over again.  And so did the clerk! I walked out of the store feeling on top of the world. You’d think I had given her a thousand dollars but in reality, it was only a $7.49 gift. On the other hand, it felt like I’d gotten a million dollars in satisfaction and warm feelings.

Another one of my favorite things to do is to give kids a $2-dollar bill and tell them it’s for good luck. Usually when the parent of the kid thanks me, I say, “Hey, I’m an investor and the $2 investment just gave me a thousand-dollar smile, and I think that is a super return on my investment!” And it is absolutely true!

That day at Walmart, that woman I helped wished me a “Merry Christmas” multiple times as she took her 7-year-old daughter by the hand who, of course, had a $2 bill in her other hand. From time to time, I’ve done the same thing I did at Walmart in grocery stores and at gas stations. Like the lady at Walmart, the look in these people’s eyes let me know that this small thing truly made a difference for them, not because of the dollar amount but because a complete stranger cared enough to help.

What I did was certainly not unique, as I know of many people that help strangers and know the great feeling both parties receive. But I thought, as we approach the giving season, that I would suggest to my readers, whether you’ve done this kind of thing or not, to give it a try this season. If you haven’t done this before, you might be very surprised at the great feeling that it gives you and as well as the stranger that received your gift. Try it and I promise you will love it!

 

I’ve been getting such great comments and feedback on my blogs since I began emailing it in addition to posting it at www.ignitemylifenow.com

 

A List of Positives Actions

November 4, 2017 by  
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I know I have been going on about lists the last few posts and I hope you are up for one more. I just find that lists really help me focus on the qualities I want to see in myself, helping me to move closer to achieving super success.

We all have great wants and desires. Without them we’d have virtually no motivation to do anything. But there are a lot of hidden land mines that lie in our path just waiting for us to step on them and explode our dreams, desires, and goals. We all know that frustrated desires can lead us to search out bad or negative ways to boost or otherwise change our mood—-by using drugs and/or alcohol, binge eating, or even going on a shopping spree. These all work well to increase dopamine and serotonin—those mood-altering chemicals in our brain—giving us a high and one that can be addictive.

The problem is these activities can too easily and too quickly become detrimental to our health, our finances, and our relationships. But what if you could increase these mood-altering chemicals with something positive and productive, gaining a natural high and moving towards your goals at the same time?

Listing positive activities can really help you do this. Here are mine. You can use these as a start or as examples for your own list. Then when you feel yourself turning towards those old negative and harmful options, chose something from your positive list instead. Do this diligently for at least a week and take note of how much better you feel about yourself and your life. I bet you’ll not only enjoy the activities you’ve used as positive substitutes for the old harmful ways, but you will be much happier.

Mark’s List of Positive Actions

  1. Work out: Just 6 or 12 minutes on the stair master, doing sit-ups and push-ups or using weights.
  2. Get a tennis game going.
  3. Write out my bests thoughts for the days.
  4. Read a good book.
  5. Listen to favorite music (create a custom playlist online).
  6. Arrange a get together with family and friends.
  7. Get a massage.
  8. Hike or bike in the mountains or just take a walk in the neighborhood.
  9. Take 5 to 10 minutes to meditation
  10. Do 5 to 10 minutes of simple yoga

Now … what goes on your list?

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Inspiring Words from the Past

October 28, 2017 by  
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I came across this from a blog I wrote 9 years ago and I really loved being reminded of these quotes from great people of the past. They always seem to inspire and motivate me to be a better person. I’ve also found that if I read each one out loud it makes a bigger impression on me. Try it for yourself!

  • The way to gain a good reputation, is to endeavor to be what you desire to appear. ~Socrates
  • The fact is, that to do anything in the world worth doing, we must not stand back shivering and thinking of the cold and danger, but jump in and scramble through as well as we can. ~Robert Cushing
  • The searching-out and thorough investigation of truth ought to be the primary study of man. ~Cicero
  • The only journey is the journey within. ~Rainer Maria Rilke
  • Know thyself means this, that you get acquainted with what you know, and what you can do. ~Menander
  • Yes, know thyself: in great concerns or small,
    Be this thy care, for this, my friend, is all.
    ~Juvenal
  • Collect as precious pearls the words of the wise and virtuous. ~Abdel-Kadar
  • If we do not plant knowledge when young, it will give us no shade when we are old. ~Lord Chesterfield
  • If you have an hour, will you not improve that hour, instead of idling it away? ~Lord Chesterfield
  • Follow your honest convictions, and stay strong. ~William Thackeray
  • He that will not reflect is a ruined man. ~Asian Proverb
  • Every day do something that will inch you closer to a better tomorrow. ~Doug Firebaugh

Now lastly there is this quote from a guy who is not quite as famous as Socrates or Cicero but I think it’s pretty good and it’s help me in so many ways.

“Set big goals for your life but remember it’s critical to write them down and put a deadline date on each goal because the human mind (your brain) will not let you stop acting on and moving toward the goal that you set for yourself”.  Mark O Haroldsen

P.S. If my blogs are at all helpful to you and you would like to share these ideas with your friends, kids, grandkids, etc., send them this link to get these posts by email: http://ignitemylifenow.com/email-subscribe/

 

Traveling for Ideas

October 7, 2017 by  
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Traveling can be so great for the body and the mind.  We are overseas right now. A couple days ago we took the Eurostar from London to Paris. The 200 mile an hour ride was wonderful–smooth, quiet and, when we weren’t in the tunnel that goes under the English Channel, very scenic. I really enjoy that train. But I think the most interesting thing about travel, especially to foreign countries, is seeing and experiencing different cultures and all the fascinating people.  It’s so mind expanding and invigorating!

I’ve certainly learned that no matter what the sex, skin color, or nationality a person is, most humans are wonderful, honest, and kind people. We are all much more alike than different. Another huge plus you get with travel is learning about new ideas, new products and new types of services. If you have even a little bit of entrepreneurship in your bones maybe you can introduce one of those ideas, products or services to your home city or state and maybe end up making a small or even large fortune.

Many years ago, my wife Kimberly noticed those wire spikes they were using in Europe to keep birds away from buildings and places that were being inundated by a lot of bird droppings.  Those wire spikes were a simple little invention that was unheard of in the USA at that time.  If we had been the first ones to copy that simple invention in the US, as someone did not long after that, it no doubt would have added a few extra millions to our net worth.  Oh well. At that point in my life, I was much more interested in playing tennis.

So, if you are looking for good ideas to duplicate, do some more traveling and have a ton of fun meeting kind and interesting people. Take some time to really observe and look for new ideas and products, items that maybe you could be the first to introduce to your hometown and country. With such ideas, you just might cash in big time!

Re-Challenging Yourself to Experience Something New

September 30, 2017 by  
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I just got off of an all-night flight to London and, wow, I can’t believe I slept the entire way. I had planned to write this week’s blog while inflight but that didn’t happen.  So later, with writing my blog on my mind, I left our hotel which is right across the river from the London Eye, that gigantic Ferris Wheel on the banks of the river Thames.

As I strolled around by the river and close to Buckingham Palace where they have the changing of the guards, I couldn’t help but feel excited and inspired by all that I observed. I realized then what my subject for the blog should be—new and inspiring experiences. But when I began writing it I remembered that back in 2010 I wrote a blog titled “Challenging you to Experience Something New”.

Being pretty tired after the long flight, I’ve decided I’m going to be a bit a lazy and simply reprint that old post.  Perhaps you didn’t see it back when or you are due a reminder. I know I get a lot out of reading my own past posts. So here ya go.

Challenging you to Experience Something New

If you’ve been reading along with my blog for a while, you’ve heard me go on about getting out and exposing yourself to new and varied experiences. Most recently I’ve been touring Europe and it just amazes me how energizing and motivating it is to be among different people, seeing new sights, and being exposed to diverse mind-sets. Being that I was reminded again of the importance of exposing yourself to novelty, I thought I’d emphasis it again here with a few more specific ideas.

Now you don’t have to travel to Europe to find novel experiences but entrenching yourself in different cultures is an ideal way to jump-start your spirit, your mind, and your passion. Even where you live, there are probably cultural areas, shops, events, etc. that you have no experience with and may even be a little fearful of because of the lack of familiarity. But forcing yourself to walk into that strange store or spend a day at an unusual event, or, even better, visit another country (Mexico or Canad, for instance … these places aren’t far) will expose you to unexpected ideas, people, and sensations and you may find something new that you love!

So, I challenge you to travel, be it near or far, to a place you may be hesitant to venture into. Go in with an open mind and actively look for new experiences, talk to new people, and make an effort to understand and appreciate cultural differences. You never know what you’ll find or whom you’ll meet.

–MOH, September 17, 2010

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