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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.

Age is Not a Number

July 10, 2022 by  
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Last week I had said I’d planned to add to the list of things you can do to reset yourself and slow your aging. But life got a bit complicated, and I have to postpone creating that list until next week. But here is an update to a post I did some 8 years ago that addresses some of these same things.

On January 8th of 2014, I launched what I called my “90 Day Super Quest”. That quest was an ambitious goal to get myself into the best possible physical and mental shape of my entire life and I was starting that exactly 90 days before I turned 70!

Just one week into my super quest, I was right on schedule with my workouts which included tennis, weightlifting, sit-ups, push-ups, and stretching. I had also worked on the mental side of my quest by keeping up with reading, writing, making new friends, and spending lots of time with old friends and family. However, I noticed a problem right around the one-week mark. It was that old demon—that negative inner self-talk. I had become way too focused on the fact that I was getting older, with that number 70 dominating the chatterbox inside my head, and not in a positive way.

But then I just happened to pick up a book that I’ve read and written about many times, and it flipped open to page 55 where the word “aging” jumped out at me. The book was Susan Jeffers’ Feel the Fear and Beyond, her follow-up book to Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway. And, wow, does she have some great thoughts about aging and what your inner voice should NOT be saying about the subject, such as:

“I am getting older now. Aging is horrible. I wish my body was young again. Look at those wrinkles. Who could love a face that’s old? I hate it. Pretty soon, no one will want to be around me. When I was young, I could dance all night. Now I don’t have the energy. Why do people have to age? I wish I could be young forever.”

Then she goes on to discuss what we should be saying to ourselves:

“I love aging. My children are grown and now I’m free to do the things I put off doing. I’m glad I joined the gym. I don’t think I’ve ever been in such great shape. I’m going to learn all I can about keeping myself in the best of health. I have so much to look forward to. I learn and grow every day of my life. I wouldn’t want to go back one day. Why would I want to go back?”

Reading that, I realized that I needed to get rid of that number 70 that had become so set in my head. Instead, I started asking myself the question that I used to ask so often, something we all should probably ask ourselves whenever we think about aging: “How old would I say I am if I didn’t know?”.

Back then, when I asked myself this question, I could honestly say I felt 44. And for the rest of my 90 Day Super Quest, I thought to myself that, when I was done with this, I would be in the best physical and mental shape of my life as a 45-year-old! That outlook helped me push through the challenge and to this day, with some reminders here and there, I steer my mental chatter toward the positive and try to stay focused on the age I think I am, not just some number that has more to do with the calendar than what great things I have in my life.

Reset for Aging

July 3, 2022 by  
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I’ve been thinking a lot about this thing they call aging recently, especially since I am moving in on that big number 80. 

Last year my son gave me a book on my birthday called Successful Aging by Daniel J. Levitin that I’ve really enjoyed. Then the other day I came across two other aging articles. One was in the March issue of the AARP Bulletin titled, “The Answer to Age Related Weight Gain” and the other was titled “100 Ways to Live to 100” found on the website HuffPost, which I had read before. Combined, they really got me thinking.  

Since I have only 11 years before I hit 90 and, even worse, just 21 years until I come up on 100, I really studied those ideas and instructions that I thought would help me make the most of my life as well as those that would help me live the longest. It’s given me a lot of great things to focus on. 

I will never forget that French lady Jeanne Calmet who lived an active 122 years and 164 days, living on her own until 110. Or the Russian woman, Nanu Shaova, who lived to a record 127 years. These ladies prove that a long, meaningful life is possible. 

A new book, The Whole Body Reset by AARP, Stephen Perrine, and Heidi Skolnik, has a lot of great advice about how to preserve muscle at age 50 and above, such as…

  • Eat at least 30 grams of protein at every meal
  • Eat colorful fruits and vegetables
  • Try strength training

That’s just a few of the great suggestions in this book that have to do with successful aging and living a better life. 

And here are just a few of the “100 Ways to Live to 100″ from that HuffPost article I came across again recently: 

1. Find a purpose for life

2. Walk a lot

3. Be happy

4. Do unto others 

5. Practice yoga

6. Be optimistic

7, Go meatless

8. Eat your fiber

9. Make healthy changes in your life starting today

10. Don’t dread getting older

There’s a lot of food for thought here. I’ll add to that list next week as well, but in the meantime, work with some of these suggestions. You can never start too early to improve your chances of a long, meaningful life. 

Focus on Flexibility

April 24, 2022 by  
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I’ve always been impressed by people who are very, very flexible, probably because I’m not flexible at all! I did a little research and discovered that some flexibility is inherited. I know I’m not one of those people. Even as a kid, I was quite stiff and, to this day, I still have a hard time touching my toes. My wife, on the other hand, is super flexible and, yes, I am always asking her to pick up things that I have dropped, and she helps me put on my socks every morning.

The good news is, I can work on that. It helps that I have constant reminders, much of them from myself, because anything I write about—especially self-improvement stuff—helps me big time. When I wrote about how important it is to have a routine, I noticed that I began setting more routines for myself. It is so interesting to me that when I preach or advise people, I see that I start doing more of whatever I’ve been preaching about. So, let’s talk about flexibility so that I can help you, and myself, improve.

Even though I was a good pole vaulter in my younger years and even played basketball for my high school and a little in college, that wasn’t enough to gain a ton of flexibility. But not too long ago, I decided I needed to do something about my lack of flexibility. I got a book called The Genius of Flexibility by Bob Cooley and, wow, that was a great move on my part.

The author gives excellent advice on what to stretch, how to do it, and how often. One of his big points is that when you stretch, you should use your muscles to resist a bit to the stretch you are doing. That never occurred to me and, I think, that might be news for a lot of people.

This book has lots of pictures showing how to stretch different parts of your body with resistance stretching. This kind of stretching is so much more beneficial for the body than standard methods. Quoting from his great book, Cooley says, “Anyone who has ever tried Resistance Stretching continues… they NEVER stop. They continue not only because they see immediate improvements in their flexibility but also because as time goes on, they discover the other benefits that come from feeling, looking, and behaving like the person they were intended to be!”

If you are interested in becoming more flexible, I would highly recommend Cooley’s book, The Genius of Flexibility. Even if you don’t think you need it now, you want to be careful not to lose your flexibility as you get older. It happens to almost everyone, but there are things, like this book, that can help you maintain your flexibility as your age.

Keys to a Fit Brain

April 3, 2022 by  
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The human brain really is a very powerful instrument and is used for the most wonderful things, but it also can be very harmful, depending on what you put in it.   

For instance, we can read books that help move us towards our goals in life or that comfort us. Alternately, we could read garbage online that skews what we think or discourages us from even trying to make our dreams a reality. We can choose to be friends with very smart people, allowing us to learn from them and grow from that knowledge. Or we can surround ourselves with people that are vindictive, derogatory, or pessimistic. Which do you think would help your brain and improve your life? That’s easy to figure out.

But even if we read great books and keep the best and most positive people around us, we also need to keep our brains fit and ready to take in all that good stuff that helps us greatly improve our lives. Here’s a few ideas that might be just what you need to keep your brain in great shape.

1. Think about thinking. This is sometimes called metacognition, and it makes you aware of how you learn so you can improve your learning and problem-solving skills.

2. Read books about improving the brain. Just search my blog under the keyword “brain” for my many recommendations.

3. Associate with intelligent people so that you are constantly learning.

4. Look into food and supplements that can help the brain, like gingko biloba or DHEA. Be sure to read up on dosage and side effects as even natural supplements can be dangerous in certain situations. For instance, gingko is a blood thinner which could be a problem if you take a blood thinning medication. Other good supplements include B-complex vitamins, vitamins C, D, and E, magnesium, choline, zinc, and omega-3 fatty acids.

5. Meditate. It can help improve your concentration and memory, reduce stress and anxiety and help preserve your brain function as you age.

6. Exercise. Blood flow to the brain is a huge brain helper and exercise increases that blood flow. Running can be great, but if you don’t like running, walking is also tremendously helpful.

Speaking of walking, I have a daily 20,000 step goal and I almost always hit that thanks to the Fit Bit I keep in my pocket. I challenge you to set some walking goals to make you feel better, help your brain and most likely increase your life expectancy! That, along with the stuff listed above, will keep your brain fit and healthy for years to come, if not for the rest of your life!

Give Yourself a Boost

February 27, 2022 by  
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What do you do when you don’t seem to have the energy to do the things you need to do, much less the things you want to do?

Whether it’s for work or play, family or friends, there are times when we all could use a little more energy, especially as we age. So, here is a list of 12 proven ways to boost your energy:

1. Set exciting goals that will put your BIG dreams into action. Be sure to add a timeframe and an exciting game plan to those goals.

2. A daily “to do” list, looked over in the morning, adds extra energy to your day because you can jump from task to task, knowing what you need to do.

3. Eat more nutritious whole foods. Junk food that is high in sugar and fats can leave you feeling sluggish.

4. Drink green tea (rather than fully caffeinated coffee) to overcome a mid-morning slump. It’s a gentler energy boost, plus it has all those great antioxidants.

5. Get plenty of exposure to natural light.

6. Ease your stress by simplifying your life, putting your energy and focus into your life’s priorities. Delegate the rest as much as possible.

7. Heal yourself by being grateful and loving and letting go of anger.

8. Think positive thoughts to stimulate those good neurotransmitters called endorphins.

9. Play and exercise hard to release more endorphins and dopamine.

10. Get plenty of sleep.

11. A few minutes of yoga stretching is great for a morning or midday boost.

12. Listen to your favorite music. It might be music with a heart pounding beat or inspirational symphonic music. It doesn’t matter as long as it lifts your energy and mood.

Did you find any new ideas on that list? Try them out this week! Even if they’re all familiar, commit to trying one or two that you don’t do already and see how well it helps your energy.

The Mutual Benefits of Writing

January 23, 2022 by  
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Life can be so very interesting and exciting. It’s amazing to me that such a great source of excitement and energy, as well as fascinating discoveries for my brain, comes from just writing. I’ve found, over the years that I’ve been writing, that my words can affect me as much as they can affect any reader.

Whether it’s a book or my weekly blog, and especially if I’m writing about a subject that I’m not very good at or one that I’m not actively doing, I often find that the writing gets me thinking about it, and I begin changing and improving myself. So, not only do I write about it, writing about it makes me do it as well. I’ve said this many times over the years — whenever I preach or write to others, I am also talking to myself!

Whether it’s reading more, exercising, getting more social, or, actually, pretty much anything, I do more of the helpful things I write about after I write about it. I guess the process of writing about a behavior or habit makes an impression on my brain and that little nudge can make a big, big difference in my life. What the brain is reminded of can really make a huge difference in the lives of so many of us humans, including both good and bad things.

I don’t think most of us fully realize the great power of the brain and how we can direct it to help us accomplish almost anything we want to do in our lives. When we spend time writing about a particular subject, our brains take the hint and push us to do more about it. That is one huge benefit we can get from writing. Whether we write it in a letter to someone or in a journal or diary (or, for me, writing in my weekly blog), we usually come to understand and retain that information as well as having a chance to learn a lot about ourselves.

Wow, having now written about all the good stuff writing can do for me, I’ve decided to do a lot more of it. How about you?

Narrow Your Focus

January 9, 2022 by  
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I know I’ve been talking a lot lately about acting on your goals, but there are smart ways to go about that and not so useful ways. So, this week, I wanted to talk about a really important part of taking action that makes the action you take not only more productive but makes it far more likely that you’ll achieve those goals. What I want to talk about is summed up really well in this quote:

Nothing can add more power to your life than concentrating all of your energies on a limited set of targets. — Nido Qubein

How true. Trying to work on all of your goals at once requires that you split your time and resources among them. That makes it far less likely that you’ll accomplish what you’re after, or at least not to the extent that you might have hoped. But what if you spend all your time and resources on just one goal?

For example, maybe you’d like to be a great at a bunch of sports like tennis, baseball, hockey, and football. Can you imagine trying to work out, learn, practice, and play all four of those sports at the same time? You might be able to do it, but you wouldn’t be great at any one of them. Now, if you picked just one sport and put all your energy and practice time into improving your skills and stamina in it, don’t you think you’d be very good, if not great, at it in a fairly short span of time?

If you have set multiple goals this year, take a step back and choose just one or two to work on for now. Pick the most important or the most urgent. If you choose two, try to pick ones that are in two very different areas of your life. For instance, you can work on jumpstarting a new career while aiming to do some sort of exercise every day. With those goals, you won’t be trying to focus on more than one objective during any one part of your day.

I’m not saying you need to put aside or forget your other goals. You can always work a little here and there on them, preparing for the time when you can give them the focus needed to work on them productively. You just need to keep in mind that you should concentrate on a “limited set of targets” so you have enough energy and enthusiasm to take the action needed and be super successful!

Stimulating Passion

December 5, 2021 by  
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Most every human being loves their passion. There are so many ways to go after and build such passions. Some of these come easily and automatically, such as when we were young and everything was new. Those new things made our passions rise. That first day of school, seeing old friends and new, could be a quick and huge hit on the passion button.

In my book How to Ignite Your Passion for Living, I make the point that, from my experience, passion can start to fade a bit as we age. But, thankfully, passion can be manufactured. All you need to do is put something together in an unusual, better, or at least new-to-you way.

One of the keys to manufacturing passion is to set difficult objectives and work towards them. I clearly remember when I was 27 years old, and I set a goal to make a net worth for myself of $1 MILLION by the time I hit age 30. What a huge turn on that was for me. It raised my passion level big time. I was one year late in hitting that goal, but having that huge and exciting goal really kept me and my passion going.

From about age 25, your brain produces less and less dopamine and serotonin, the hormones that help you feel good and fan the flames of passion. Although a child’s body is awash in these hormones, we need to work on stimulating our system to produce more of these hormones as we age. We can do this by eating the right foods, exercising, and, most importantly, setting the right goals that keep us going after them.

Renewing your passions can really show you what you and your brain can do. It can give you a ton of energy as well as raising the quality of your personal and business life.

One of my biggest passions is travelling. I’m talking about everything from huge international travel, like going around the world on my honeymoon, to just driving through a neighborhood that I’ve never visited. I’ve been to 94 countries and still feel my passion rising just planning a trip to a new place, even if it’s a small country or an old neighborhood.

Passion for living comes and goes. Our big challenge then is to figure out what our passion is, what turns our lights on and gets us excited. When we figure that out, we can do it more and more. And it’s always a good idea to write down our passions and the goals that keep them going so it will stick in your brain, pushing you to do it and to keep doing it.

Mindful Health

October 3, 2021 by  
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Most of us have some health-related goal or area of improvement that we are working on, or hope to work on, very soon. But how do you know you will be successful? One way is to keep yourself mentally and physically aware while exercising and eating by using a “living in the now” approach. You can get you through a strenuous workout as well as help you eat right, all while increasing your enjoyment of these activities by simply being present and more aware of what you are doing.

For most of us, getting through an exercise routine is a struggle, but if you are completely attentive to your movements instead of thinking about how you can’t keep up an exercise routine, or how much nicer it would feel to be lounging on the couch, you aren’t as likely to quit in the middle of it. Just keep focused on the feeling of your muscles moving and listen to your breath as you control your inhaling and exhaling. This is a primary concept behind yoga and its distressing effects. Soon enough, you will have completed your routine or finished that 30-minute run and are feeling great.

When it comes to food, it’s all about being mindful of what you eat, how much, and the way you eat. For instance, when you reach in the fridge for something, consciously decide what will contribute to a well-balanced intake for the day and choose your best options, not just what looks tasty. Also, stop eating directly out of the box or bag. Instead, set a small portion on a plate or a bowl that you can sit down with as you savor every bite.

Eat in a place with no TV or computer or anything else to distract you. Taste your food, becoming aware of every flavor and texture, and chew it completely. This will make eating even more enjoyable. Slowing down your intake of food will also allow your stomach time to tell the brain it’s getting full. This way, you’re more likely to eat less. Additionally, thorough chewing will help your digestion by having food well broken down before it hits your stomach.

“Living in the now” will help you by not only increasing your appreciation of the sensations of exercising and eating, but will also help you attain your goals for a better, healthier life. You’ll feel great because of your accomplishments, along with gaining the long lasting and compounding effects of the bliss that comes with being consistently happy in the moment.

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