Friday, August 31, 2018

The Daily: August 31, 2018

Day two of this daily writing effort. It brings to mind the motivational power of streaks. How long can we do something? How many days can we do the same activity? What is the reward for going on long streaks?

Many groups use streaks to reward and motivate. My daughter told me about Snapchat and their streak philosophy; obviously, they want to increase user involvement with their platform, to create addiction to the chatting, even if it is not always meaningful communication.


My favorite health/fitness website, SparkPeople, uses streaks for motivation in many different ways. You can earn points for simply logging in, earn points for entering the foods you eat, the fitness activities you are perform, etc. During my best fitness (2008-2009), I ran a nice streak of daily log ins and daily journaling of nutrition and fitness. When I let go of that discipline is when I began to slide into unhealthy habits.

Recently, I started using an app called "Zero" to keep track of intermittent fasting. I am doing the 13 hour program and I am beginning to see results. For more than a year I have been stuck at a very unhealthy weight; finally I am beginning to see some weight lose and I am thrilled. Part of the success comes from portion control and part from the fasting hours.


I have been using the Bedtime feature of the Clock app that comes with the iPhone as a good reminder of when to go to bed so that I can wake up at 4:30 for my morning routine (which includes jogging and other exercises). As long as I go to bed when I am supposed to (or close to it) then I am up and going in time to get everything done. If I don't, then the morning routine suffers.


I am on my 36th day of daily meditation. That is a nice streak of 10-15 minute daily meditations. I use an app called "Breathe" to help with my morning meditations. I recently discovered "Oak" and began using it for my evening (before bedtime) meditations. Each app has its benefits.

As a follow-up to yesterday, here is some amazing advise from Wayne Dyer:

It's your choice: you can be a host to God or a hostage to your ego.


I signed up yesterday for the EveryDollar app/service promoted by Dave Ramsey. I will start the process this evening and keep you posted.


In the news yesterday: the Washington Post reports that American citizens from border states are being denied U.S. passports. In the news today: "Thousands of Vietnamese, including offspring of U.S. troops, could be deported under tough Trump policy". The anti-immigrant wave from this So-called President cannot be denied, and it is biased, not to mention heartless. It could also be very costly: Trump's Immigration Proposals Could Cost Social Security Up to $2.4 Trillion. Anyway you look at it, this is not the best approach to immigration issues.


All we have to do everyday to improve our life:

Thursday, August 30, 2018

The Daily: August 30, 2018

It is hard to believe that just over a year ago I tried to do this daily posting and could not keep it up. Life seems to get too busy and it takes an enormous amount of discipline to write even a little everyday. But here I am, once more, because there are so many things we can share with each other. So here we go!


For several years I have been dealing with a number of health issues. Last year I finally went to a doctor to get a physical. From conventional medicine's viewpoint, my two main issues are high blood pressure and pre-diabetes. With some medication, careful nutrition, regular exercise, and managed rest/sleep, I am beginning to turn the corner on these conditions. I will share more on this later.


My thought for today: if we want to achieve our greatest goals, we must pay attention to our rituals. A small change in the things we do routinely can have a great impact on the rest of our life. Tony Robbins tells the story of advise he received from a golf pro (see video); he was told that a small change in how a gold ball is hit by the club makes a huge impact on its trajectory and where the ball ends up. Making a small change in our rituals and routines can have a tremendous impact on our life months and years down the road. It is important to remember that we act on "triggers"; for example, we get up and routinely do certain things, usually in a specific order. What if we changed one of those things? Here is an example. Let's say we wake up, hit the snooze button four times (about 36 minutes have gone by), then go to the bathroom, etc. What if we do not hit the snooze button and instead we get up, splash water on our face, and then do some gentle exercises for 20 minutes? How much would that small change impact our health in one year? Ten years? I think it would be huge!

Here is a funny video (warning: profanity used liberally and effectively in the video) on how to change our morning routine:


A friend of mine just watched her life shatter through domestic violence. During long conversations I reminded her of the two most important words we can keep using to settle ourselves for whatever we are facing: I AM.

We need nothing else but those two words. I AM. If we repeat them over and over to ourselves we can center on the fact that we exist and that is an amazing miracle in and of itself.

What we put after "I AM" can be huge in our mindset, our health, and our success. How often we hear people say "I am a smoker," or "I am a failure," or "I am no good at …" (and there are many variations on this: I suck at … , I cannot do math/cooking/skating/etc.).

But what if we used better additives to "I AM"? I am alive! I am successful! I am love! I am safe! I am strong! The impact would be significant in the energy we attract into our daily life.


Saving is one of the most important skills one can master for solid financial success. Here is a good MSN article on saving for the future.

My trick: my paycheck is deposited automatically to my credit union account. I then distribute money to various saving accounts based on goals and needs. For example, I know I need to save $300 each year for car taxes. I get 26 paychecks per year, so that comes to $11.54 per paycheck. I do the same for all recurring and expected expenses: car maintenance, home owner association fees, etc. However, my first payment goes to build and grow my emergency fund. Having an emergency fund is critical to prepare you for the ups and downs of life.

For more tips on financial success, I suggest visiting the Dave Ramsey website. Pay special attention to his Seven Baby Steps advice. Please note: I am not a Christian and Dave Ramsey is, and many of his teachings are based on Biblical references; so be it, to each its own. The truth is, his methodology works whether you are a Christian, a Buddhist or an Atheist. Most importantly, you need not buy or attend his full course to benefit from his knowledge; everything you need is right there in his website. It is simple, but not easy. You will need to stick with it to make it work, and work it will.


Oh my, where to start. I guess it is best to start by saying that this Fake President is a total disgrace to the nation. <sigh> That is not even a good start. I am at a loss for words on how bad #45 is. He cannot talk rationally, he cannot write rationally, he cannot think rationally. He has not grasp on facts, not even the simple, basic variety of facts. You don't believe me? Check the facts! He lives in a fantasy world in which he is Emperor; when things do not go the way he wants them to go, then heads roll and he unleashes his venom on the world. He cannot tell the truth; there is evidence that he is incapable of telling the truth. He may be a stereotypical pathological liar. He tells lies upon lies upon lies. <sigh> This is a sad situation, and our country (if not the world) is in danger while this person is in office. But the most dangerous thing is for us to remain quiet, to label his actions as "acceptable" because they are coming from an unconventional President. If we take nothing else from Sen. John McCain's life, let's take this: we must stand for the truth, and we must stand up to someone that wants to be a dictator disguised as an "unconventional politician."


Excellent video on cooking eggs in interesting and delicious ways! Enjoy!


UPS could not deliver a package in Asheville, NC; the reason: bear in driveway.