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Finding Joy in the Journey

August 14, 2022 by  
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I don’t really like the saying, “No pain, no gain.” It’s not that I don’t believe the struggle can be worthwhile—the struggle is what makes most gains so very fulfilling—but the idea that in order for us to reach a goal it must be painful seems, to me, to say that enjoying yourself means you’re goofing off and not trying hard enough. Our society glamorizes the painful struggle in popular media and, although it makes great drama, it does not give us a realistic view of how we could, or should, live our lives and achieve our goals.

Chances are you will spend many hours and days, if not weeks, months, or years, working towards the big goals in your life. So, the question becomes, why would you choose to spend so much of your life suffering to reach a future goal? The path you walk to achieve your goal should have some level of enjoyment in it. It might not be a constant joy, but joy should be a consistent enough part of it to keep you going.

For instance, if you are flipping houses to build your wealth but hate every minute you spend searching for the right property, fixing it up, and talking to buyers, why do it? If what you really enjoy is entertaining people, you can work towards amassing wealth by going big in the entertainment world. It might take longer or be harder to build wealth that way (but then again, it might not) but no matter how long it takes or what trials you go through, you will probably enjoy getting your name out and searching for those big gigs. When you’re spending so much time and energy on something that it becomes what your life is about, you really ought to enjoy it!

Our society tends to focus too much on the end goal itself, even to the point of drilling into us that happiness is something that we reach in the future, or even in the next life. But happiness can, and should, be yours now. You can find great enjoyment and satisfaction in pushing yourself and being challenged in almost anything—it’s really up to you and how you look at a situation. But it’s also wise to find something that keeps your interest and makes you jump out of bed every morning, excited to get back into the life you’ve made for yourself.

So, save your “no pain, no gain” moments for those little jobs we must do to continue doing what we love. Like those few hours you need to prepare your taxes correctly or those last few reps at the gym. But don’t let it be about large chunks of your life and what you do every day. Be happy now. Enjoy the whole of your life including the journeys you take, not just what your life will be when you reach your goals.

Small Steps to Your Better Self

August 7, 2022 by  
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Do you ever wish you could just better yourself as a person? Do you feel overly pessimistic, especially judgmental, or too self-involved? If you aren’t happy with who you are, you can improve this just as you can improve your financial situation, health, or skills. Although it is less common to hear that someone’s goal is to be a nicer, more positive person, it isn’t any less important or admirable. In fact, it might be one of the most important goals you can have.

If you’ve read my book, you know about the power of the ‘Bite Size’ approach to reaching your goal. If you haven’t read it, you can get your copy here, then go to Chapter 6 on page 57 for the story of how this method kept a man alive and helped him rescue himself when everything was against his survival.

Becoming a nicer, more positive person may not sound as monumental a goal as keeping oneself alive in dire circumstances, but the approach that will get you there is not really any different. The most important thing to remember is to take it one small step at a time. That’s where the Bite Size approach comes in.

You became who you are over a long period of time, and you were affected and changed by many small influences and experiences. It makes sense that your road to changing your attitude towards others and how you live your life will likewise take many small gestures and encouraging encounters.

You can begin by taking note of the things you do that make up the behavior you want to change. Then take on just one of those little things and focus on eliminating or transforming it into something positive for others and yourself.

If something so simple as taking one bite size step at a time can be so powerful as to save a man’s life, it can certainly help you to improve the person you are and better your life and the lives of those around you. It just takes that first small step. What will be your first small step to becoming a better person than you are even now?

Good Mood is in Your Food

July 31, 2022 by  
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Depression. it’s something none of us humans like but, at certain stages of life and under various circumstances, many of us have been hit by the big, bad D word.

In 2020, there were about just under 15 million cases of major depression in the United States. Not surprisingly, when Covid it, there was a 25% increase in depression cases. It’s also interesting to note that more people get depressed on Sunday than any other day of the week. Perhaps it’s because, both during pandemic restrictions and on Sundays, we have less structure in our lives. During those times, we may have gone without goals or plans and, certainly during the pandemic lockdown, routines were often thrown out the window.

Certainly, having a set routine and goals for the day can help a lot with depression, but there are several other methods for avoiding or getting rid of depression if you get hit with it. There is even one surprisingly simple way to reduce the likelihood of depression. Would you believe that simple thing is the foods that you eat?

I’ve read a lot about this and, from what I’ve found, I have been able to create a list of some of the most helpful foods for getting you out of a depressed state of mind. Here are some that I focus on:

  • Nuts, especially almonds
  • Fresh strawberries
  • Yogurt
  • Whole grain bread
  • Celery
  • Bananas
  • Beans
  • Peanut butter
  • Ginger tea
  • Foods rich in vitamin B, C, D, E, and zinc such as avocado, peas, spinach

There are certain vitamins and supplements that help a lot as well:

  • B vitamins, especially B12 and Folate
  • Vitamin C, D, E
  • Ginkgo biloba extract
  • St. John’s wort
  • DHEA
  • 5 HTP
  • Turmeric
  • Folic acid
  • DHA
  • Folic acid
  • L-tyrosine
  • Magnesium

You also want to drink lots of water and drink very little or no alcohol.

I eat and take most of the above and it has helped me big time. There are a lot more foods and supplements that help reduce or eliminate depression though. So, if you are struggling, or someone close to you needs help in that part of their life, look up options on the internet and, most importantly, talk to your doctor about changes to your diet and supplement regimen.

Although diet is very important, don’t forget those other simple things you can do to get out, and stay out, of those depressive moods. Set agendas and routines for yourself, get outside, and try new things such as walking through new neighborhoods, meeting new people, or planning a vacation or weekend getaway to some place you’ve never been and know very little about.

Remember, the mind craves unique places, novel experiences, new friends, and interesting new people, and when we are not getting those things, increases our chances of falling into a depression. So, push yourself to find those new places and people as well as switching up your diet to support a healthy and positive mood.

Contentment is in the Right Now

July 24, 2022 by  
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There are so many things in our lives that we view as priorities — many, many things. There are obvious ones like getting an education, finding a good job, staying in good health, and taking care of the ones you love, including parents, siblings, your spouse, kids, grandkids, and friends. And you want to be sure you have time and energy to pursue the things you love in life as well.

All those things are so important and critical to a good life and even a great life. But many of those items can be thrown off track if we lack contentment and satisfaction. And, I think, there’s one big thing that gives us great contentment — living in the “right now”.

Of course, it can be very difficult, if not impossible, for us to always “live in the now”. Our busy lives distract us, causing us to worry and contemplate what’s coming next. But, I think, our greatest contentment and satisfaction comes from living in the now, so it’s important to make that a priority, too. Luckily, there are easy ways to help us spend more of our mind time living in those right now moments.

  • On a regular basis, ask yourself, “Am I at ease at this moment and living in the now?”
  • Visit the future but don’t stay there. Keep coming back to the right now.
  • Visit the past but don’t bring back any regret or guilt.
  • Make a habit of monitoring your mental and emotional state through self-observation.
  • When you are stressed, stop, pause, take a big deep breath and count in your mind. That’s right. Just count numbers. You can start at 1 and count to 500 or start at 100 or 500 and work backwards. Then refocus on living in the now.
  • Buddha said, “The root of suffering is found in our constant wanting and craving…” so let’s all work at reducing our wanting and craving so aren’t as anxious and can be more present.

Of course, living in the now should be a priority, but you also want to prioritize those things that require planning. The question is, how do you stay in the moment while planning, dreaming, goal setting, and doing all those things that help you get what you want out of life?

Well, you can go ahead and set future plans, dreams and goals, but once they are determined, write them down. That way, when you don’t need them, you can physically set them aside until you want to work on them or need reminders to keep focused. So, as you see, it’s not that you can’t think about the past or the future, but rather that you need to be aware of how much you do think about things that are not part of the moment you are living right now.

Awareness of what your mind is doing is a big part of living in the right now moment. When you are aware of what your mind is doing, you can steer it back to the right now after you give yourself the time to plan future things or momentarily ponder the past. Once you have, try to become totally absorbed in what you are doing, thinking, or being right now and enjoy the contentment that comes with it.

100 Ways to 100 Years

July 17, 2022 by  
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On my July 2nd post, I said I would continue with an additional list on the theme of aging and what you can do to live a longer heather life but I wasn’t able to do that the following week, so I still owe you, my good readers, that list.

In that previous blog, I wrote about some basic things a person can do to reset the whole body, which included eating extra protein and colorful fruits as well as getting in some strength training. That’s a good place to start and pretty easy to do, but now I’d like to share with you more ideas from the article “100 Wonderful Ways to LIVE TO 100”.

Living to 100 is a great goal and it can be done. No, it’s not easy, but don’t you agree that it’s probably worth the effort? Your kids and grandkids and great grand kids would certainly like you to do it.

Here’s a few more suggestions from that article:

1. Find a reason to laugh and smile a lot.

2. Try a little responsible “retail therapy”.

3. Don’t forget about yourself. Fitness guru, Jack LaLanne, who passed away at the age of 95 in 2011, knew the importance of looking after yourself. “This is where I take care of the most important person in my life, me”.

4. Try to have a friction free marriage.

5. Put the pedal to the metal – be a super cyclist.

6. Stop smoking.

7. Get fishy. Consume lots of omega-3 fatty acids.

8. Get busy and stay busy.

9. Get enough sleep.

10. Run, but not too much.

11. Wash your hands.

12. Buddy up at the office.

13. Grow from trauma.

14. Smile a lot.

15. Hit the gym.

16. Turn off the TV.

17. Cut the sugar.

The bottom line is, never forget how very important you are and take care of yourself, especially when it comes to self-talk—keep that positive for a long, happy life.

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