Three More Buried Secrets

July 31, 2015 by  
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A secret is some bit of knowledge that is kept from someone or many someones. Last week I spotlighted those truly terrible secrets … the ones we hid from ourselves! When you are trying to accomplish something that is challenging or simply hard to stick to, you need every tool you can get your hands on. But so often, we have been given these tools and then hide them away. Why is that?

Well, if you read last week’s post, you now know (or have been reminded!) what some of the most important ‘secrets’ are to accomplishing both small and large goals. But wait … there’s more! Let’s take a look at some of the other great ‘secret’ tools you have available to you to make your dreams happen!

No. 5: Establish a routine and keep with it until your routine has truly become a hard and fast ‘habit’!

This is a big one. Form the right habits and you can change your life forever.  You know as well as I do that this is true whether the habit is a good one or a bad one.  Scientist have determined that it takes anywhere between 21 and 66 days to form a solid habit, depending on the person. You and I must stick with the routines that are leading us toward our goals long enough that they become rock solid routines.  If we do that, we’ll see that sticking to our plans and reaching our goals will become easier and easier.

No. 6:  Break down those big goals into what I like to call ‘bite-sized’ steps.  For most of us, and I know for me, if I don’t break it down into small goals or bite sized tasks, those big goals can break me down. Why? Because those big, long term goals can overwhelm the mind and shut a person down. It’s easier to do the small stuff and they eventually add up to something big!

No. 7: Set up a reward system for yourself. That is, when you hit your goal and maybe even along the way as you take those bite sized steps or reach intermediate points or milestones of success, take time to celebrate your victory. You can reward yourself with a special night out on the town or a huge getaway vacation to an exotic place. Whatever it is, make it super special and something that you will always remember.

That is a long list of ‘secrets’ you can use to help you reach your goals. But one last thought–If you don’t hit your goal or you miss a deadline, don’t be too hard on yourself.  Remember, some of the most successful people on the planet had many, many failures as they pursued their big goals.  It really is okay to fail–almost everybody does at some point or another. The thing is, failure can lead to even greater successes, so if you fail and fall down be sure to get right back up, reload and reset and keep going!


Big Buried Secrets

July 24, 2015 by  
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Ok … so do you want some sure-fire ways to help you set big goals (and/or small goals) and be able to stick with them until you succeed? Well, they are out there just waiting for you. I’m going call these methods ‘secrets’ although as you read some of these you may say ‘Hey, I already know that one!’ so for you it’s really not a secret.  Right?  Well, you may be right and it may not be something new to you but if you are not doing it, then maybe it really should be labelled a ‘secret’. A secret you are keeping from yourself.

For example, you probably have heard the first two secrets I have for you. But do you do them?

No. 1: You must write your goal down! There is a kind of magic that happens in our brains when we make a printed record of specifically what we want to accomplish. It makes it more real to us and we feel obliged to follow through. Just because they’re written down.

No. 2: Be sure to put a deadline or time limit on your goal and write that down too.  Without a deadline, you can put off forever the tasks that will move you forward and then you’ll never get close to that goal. Knowing you have a deadline gives you a kind of mini-goal and something to aim for.

Does that sound familiar? Sound like great advice? Yes? Well … do you always employ them?

How about ‘secrets’ that some people might be aware of but don’t spend enough time doing?

No. 3: Take time to carefully visualize your goal with as much detail as you can imagine.  That visualization should also include an image in your mind of actually accomplishing your goal. Think about how you are going to feel when you arrive at your journey’s end. Run it though your brain numerous times until it feels real.

No. 4: Tell other people about what you have set out to do.  Ideally tell people who care about you and understand and appreciate what you’re aiming for. Ask these people to remind you, encourage you and cheer you on as you make progress towards your goals.

This fourth step can be a huge help.  Even if they don’t ask how you are doing or give words of encouragement every time they see you, your seeing them will often remind you that they know what you are shooting for and you certainly don’t want to disappoint them, not to mention failing yourself, of course.

So I am guessing that, for a lot of you, these tips aren’t new ideas but if you aren’t doing them, they might as well be deeply buried secrets. They are all simple to do, take very little effort, and can increase your ability to persevere and reach those goals, both big and small! So dig these back up and use them! It’s your own little gold mine you can use to pave your way to all kinds of success.

There is even more good news … those are not the only ‘secrets’ out there. Next week, I will talk about more tried and true secrets to making your goals a reality. Get yourself a head start by writing down, setting a deadline for, visualizing and telling others about your goal. Because the biggest secret is that you can’t get what you want without going for it!



The Power of Unchangeable Deadlines

July 18, 2015 by  
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Here I am sitting in the Los Angeles on the way to Kauai. I know poor us, right? But what a day! Got up early to bury a rattle snake, fix a broken sprinkler pipe, negotiate the multi-million dollar sale of a property that I’ve been wanting to sell off, pick up the paperwork, write emails to the office and others, do a last check on the swimming pool motor, double check to make sure we have enough gas to make it to the airport, get packed for our trip, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.  It was quite a morning but so much better than the day before with all the stress and worry about the tight schedule we had today.  But why had I been so stressed?

Well, it’s simple. Before we have a big day planned, whether it’s a trip, a big event or a similar massive change from what we usually do, most of us are filled with stress over the great unknown outcome of all we have to do. When we get going on all the tasks that need to be done, then the stress starts to go away because we are so involved with the ‘doing’.  What’s so amazing to me is that most of us humans can and do get so focused and determined to get these time sensitive and necessary jobs done that we can and do manage to get tons more done than on a normal day. We can amaze ourselves at the efficiency and effectiveness with which we get things done.

I am pretty sure you have, in the past, experienced the same thing as I did these last two days.  I’m so impressed how efficient I can become if I have absolute deadlines that I have to meet. You know, like an airline departure time that won’t wait for me.

I guess we can say that one of the great powers of goal setting is in its time limits. In this case, it’s time limits that are set by others, time frames that can’t and won’t be changed for us.  And that’s probably a good thing.  The problem we have when we set goals for ourselves, whether they are physical, family, health or wealth goals, is that we can cop out and change those goals along the way.  If we can somehow set those goals in real, immovable ways, kind of like an airline flight

Think about that and see if you can come up with a plan or a method that might create for you a deadline that you won’t think about changing or that really is absolutely unchangeable so you can’t even begin to think about not hitting your goal! What would do that for you?


The Magic of Nature and the Human Connection

July 10, 2015 by  
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I’ve been hiking up Millcreek Canyon ever since it turned so very hot here in Salt Lake City. It’s been 100 plus degrees on many days.  And let me tell you, the Millcreek Canyon hike is something to behold and as a big plus the trail I take has a wonderful canopy of trees blocking the sun for probably 80% of the hike. There is something magical about the great outdoors and for me it’s even more magical in the mountains or on the beach.  I don’t know what it is but I’m sure scientist have an explanation for what nature does to our brains that lifts and jump starts our spirits to a much higher level.  If you don’t believe me, the next time you are a bit down in the dumps, just take a walk outside, preferably in the mountains, on the beach, or at least out in the country side, and see if you don’t find your mood changed.

For me there is an extra boost to my mind, mood and spirit when I hike trails where others are hiking.  As I’ve talked about before, I love to drop $2 dollar bills on the trail when I see a father or mother hiking with small children–ideally in that 6 to 10 age range.  If you give a 3 year old a $2 dollar bill they don’t know what it is and usually drop it in a short time. They need to be old enough to understand what they’ve found.

My normal routine is to say to the parents as they are approaching, “Hey, have you taught your kids to pick up paper or litter when they see it on the ground?” and then I drop the money and keep walking and I hear the kids shouting out in delight and almost always the kids also scream out a big “Thank you!” Wow. Does that ever warm my heart! The kids love it but I think I love it more and get more out of it than they do.

I also love to meet people when I am out on my usual 2 or 3 hour hikes and that also lifts my spirits.  I have some standard lines that I use over and over because they usually work to start a short conversation or a quick exchange of pleasantries.  For instance, as I am approaching couples, whether young or old, with the guy in front and the gal behind, I say to the guy as I pass, “Hey, don’t look now but there is a beautiful lady following you.” That always brings big smiles and an exchange of upbeat comments.  They love it and so do I.

With these few words and small gestures, spirits are lifted. Plus it sometimes leads both parties to stop and have a short upbeat chat.  Yesterday I used one of my other standard lines when I’m on a particularly steep part of the hike and passing people.  I simply ask “Hey, how much further to the 7-11?” It usually brings a big laugh but yesterday it also lead to a conversation and a big coincidence.

After saying this to two ladies who laughed at my comment, I noted the younger woman had a French accent so I asked her where she was from. After telling me she lived a couple hundred kilometers north of Paris, I told her we love Paris and France and have a very, very good friend from Normandy by the name of Franchoise and she is married to the skiing legend Stein Eriksen. When I mentioned this, the older lady said “Hey, I know who you are, Mark Haroldsen, the author. And I know Franchoise. Her son plays tennis with my son.” So again that brief encounter lifted our spirits with a nice conversation and a fun coincidence and we all walked away with smiles on our faces.

The bottom line here is that I think all of us should get out in nature more and go out of our way to meet other human beings.  It’s a win-win and as I preach this to you, believe me, I am preaching it to myself to do more of that!




Thoughts of Napoleon

July 3, 2015 by  
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Last week I started telling you the great story of Bunker Bean who, when he began to believe that he had been Napoleon Bonaparte in his previous life, made dramatic changes in his thinking. It is an example of how our brains can help us make drastic changes in our behavior and in our lives. Good ole former super loser Bunker Bean started making huge changes in his behavior and it brought him huge rewards.

To begin with he decided he should learn more about this great man that he had been. The very next day, after he had finished his duties where he was working as an assembly line worker, Bunker went directly to the local library and checked out a book on Napoleon Bonaparte.  He took it home and stayed up late into the night reading it cover to cover.

The day after that he repeated the process and did the same the day after that and the day after that, until he had read every book in the library that told about Napoleon, the emperor of France.  The next morning Bunker looked more closely than ever at his situation on the assembly line. “Why,” he asked himself, “am I, the former Napoleon, in such a lowly position? Why, when I was a general, I had thousands of people at my command–and now I’m the least of the workers here.”  Bunker began to look around him to see what he could do to change his situation, to change his status, to rise above the other lowly workers at this plant.

The night before he had read about how Napoleon won all his battles in his tent, before ever taking the field. “By darn,” Bunker said to himself, “if that approach was good enough for me back then, it’s good enough for me now.”  So during the long and tedious hours on the production line, and in his spare moments in the evening, he put his mind to work, planning his battles there in his “tent”.  He soon had a game plan, an approach he was sure would work.  He had an approach that would improve his situation at his job, which would cause his superiors to notice him. He saw several specific changes that could be made in the assembly line that would speed up the process and thereby increase production.

But thinking up the ideas wasn’t enough. Bunker remembered reading that with Napoleon, “to think was to act!”  He went immediately to his supervisor and told him of his ideas and of the benefits they would bring.

The supervisor was skeptical. “It will never work,” he said.

“Just try them for a few days,” Bunker begged.

Finally the supervisor relented. Three weeks later the supervisor was given a raise and a promotion for his great cost-saving improvements.  When he was asked to recommend his replacement, without hesitation he suggested Bunker Bean.

Bunker Bean had begun his climb up the corporate ladder.  Within two years, to the absolute amazement of everyone, Bunker Bean was the president of the entire company–which was worth over $100 million.

Probably the man who was most stunned was Bunker’s old friend, the spiritualist medium.  But Bunker wasn’t surprised at all.  He knew that in a former life he had been Napoleon Bonaparte and therefore knew that he had the power buried within him to be and do whatever he wished.

Bottom line here is what we all can do in our own lives if we plant and keep the right thoughts in our brains and really believe in our dreams and goals.  We truly are or can be what we think we are.