Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Happiness, Health, and, Prosperity in 2015....

Today's Post:  Tuesday, 12-30-2014

1. Everyone says, or most people say,  Happy New Year!

So, why not begin to do things that test as making people happy from now to the end of 2015?

Surprisingly, there ARE 3 ways to do become much happier!

a)  Make prudent choices that avoid things that would make you unhappy or very unhappy.

*Always wear your seat belt. 

*Never text while driving. 

Be extremely careful using your cell phone while driving.  And do it only if you can pay attention to your driving and talk on the phone at the same time.

(Texting takes your eyes off the road too long to make that reliably possible.  That’s why to avoid it.)

*And, either don’t drink or drink only AFTER you get home or arrange things to get you home if you drink before you go home. 

This goes double on New Year’s eve! 
The ideal thing to do is stay home or go someplace you can spend the night.  Not only can you then drink a bit extra and be safe,
you will stay safe from the people who drank AND drove on New Year’s eve.

b)  Make having close and loving relationships with people a priority. And do things with them, that you’ll remember later.

“Did you hear about the 75-year long study that researchers at Harvard University conducted to unearth the keys to living a happy and meaningful life?    

After following the lives of several hundred people since 1938….”

“One of the most important findings of the study is that relationships are what really matter in life. 

You can have all of the money, success and power in the world, but without close, loving relationships, you’ll most likely never experience true happiness.”

c)   Focus on the things you did that worked, the things you enjoyed, the things that went well, and the ways in which you are fortunate. 

(When you notice you are spending time thinking on the bad things, STOP. 

Then think of at least ONE good thing ----- something that DID go well today or might go well tomorrow.)

Earl Nightengale made a fortune and a career once he found that
   people become what they focus on every day. 

And, he taught the implication of that too.  If you continue to focus on good things and making good things happen, even if they are not happening yet, they will.  And, if you do the opposite, good things you could have had will never appear!

Here’s the same lesson from the Harvard study:

“….No matter how bleak your childhood was or how difficult the circumstances you may find yourself in now, it’s never too late to turn things around. 

The researchers found that the key is to change what you choose to focus on. 

If you focus on what’s not working in your life, you’ll notice more and more of what it is that you don’t want - and life will continue to look dimmer and dimmer.

But, if you switch your focus to love - to where it’s present in your life and to how you can cultivate more of it with others - you can go from being the saddest person you know to being the happiest and most fulfilled very, very quickly.”

This combines the power of the positive focus with the most happiness producing events and effects you get from doing it!

2.  Be Healthy in 2015

Pick a few, repeat few, things to upgrade in the first part of 2015.  You can always add more later. 

Even ONE easy upgrade you actually begin to do and keep doing will do more for you than ten great ones none of which ever happens!

So, on the list below, write down only the ones you might consider doing.  Then list them from the easiest to hardest for you and the ones that get the results most important to you.

Pick at least one easy one and one that gets the results you want most.

Do the easiest one right away. Then in a few weeks, add the most important one.

Here’s the reason why:

People who make a certain to be easy health upgrade and maintain it for a few months, are empowered to do more over time.

And, THEY ACTUALLY make the upgrade!

     People who set a huge goal for the year usually make no changes at all in practice!

(I should know, because when I set such goals, they never, ever happened!)

Here are some high-return, easy to do & easy to begin, health upgrades to try.

*What is the easiest high payoff health upgrade?

People who eat even ONE serving a day of an organic fruit and drink no fruit juice get half or more of the health benefits of a person who does an athlete’s exercise routine or who eats nine servings a day of organic vegetables!

Pick 3 kinds of fruit that you actually like and can buy in organic form -- either frozen or fresh.

Pick one to start with and eat it on the same day each week for a few weeks.

Once you do that, adding the other two kinds or eating your favorite kind of fruit two or three days a week is then easy to do.

This is least fattening, even for sugary fruits, if you do it at breakfast.

It’s super easy to do and tastes good too!

Doing this is so heart protective and so extremely preventive of both kinds of stroke, it’s worth a thousand dollars a month to do in avoided medical care costs and disability costs you never will need! 

I think no one should ever leave elementary school without learning it!

*Do you live by yourself?  Do you drink soft drinks? 

If yes to both, both regular and diet soft drinks are so fattening and harmful to your health, consider tossing out any in your home or giving them away if you are too frugal to waste them and never buying another either at a restaurant or a store, has such huge potential, it’s worth doing.

If you’ve read our posts, you have seen the reasons these drinks are fatteners and heart attack starters.  Then set up and learn to enjoy chilled water and several kinds of tea or coffee instead.

The key to making this an easy change, is that if you know you’ll be less fat and why to avoid both kinds of soft drinks, focusing on those facts every time you are tempted to do otherwise for a few weeks will make this a surprisingly doable and massively positive upgrade.

It’s the most effective and massive health upgrade you can literally do in just a few days!

People have lost over 25 pounds a year from just doing this one thing AND with no added effort.

 (Important note:  studies find diet soft drinks also fatten and have health harmful effects.)

And, eliminating soft drinks is comparably heart protective as the fat loss effects and takes very little effort once they never come in your home!

*Eating six to nine servings of vegetables a day has incredibly powerful health benefits. 

But it’s quite challenging to do if you haven’t already done it.

Here’s two ways to make it so easy, you CAN get closer to that and even get there eventually.

Pick one health supporting and organic vegetable you can actually buy.  Buy some and eat ONE serving of it once a week for a few months until it’s easy to do. Then keep doing it by habit.

Or, buy the quiet and low profile, shorter and slightly fatter new Vitamix, and make a drink once a week with three health supporting and organic vegetables you can actually buy.  Do this once a week for a few months until it’s easy to do.

(Notice that the quiet and low profile new Vitamix is a “force multiplier” for eating the optimum level of vegetables because it almost triples how many a day are doable by most people!)

But also know that people who add even one vegetable once a week not only wind up eating far more vegetables a week than they were, taking even that one easy action is also a “force multiplier” and has often empowered people to remake their entire ability to make effective health upgrades in their lives!

*What is the one force multiplier health upgrade that has the most carry over to your whole life?

Whether or not you do it in a way that also cuts your body fat, it’s beginning regular exercise on ONE day a week for a few weeks!

The biggest benefits are huge and happen within the first few weeks!  People literally feel better about themselves and become empowered to do other things to protect their health. 

Starting even a bit of regular exercise makes doing more health protective things as much as ten times easier.

This effect was found and proven over 50 years ago!  Astonishingly few people have heard of this effect.

People who start with just ONE very easy exercise on one day each week often become regular exercisers.  And, it’s so easy anyone can start it.

The easiest to begin and keep doing is an exercise you can do safely at home first thing in the morning.

Pick ONE exercise and a number of repetitions or times that is very easy to do. 

Then schedule which day of the week will work best and treat that as you would going to work or going to bed or eating as something you will do short of a life threatening emergency.

What if you do an exercise for 3 repetitions or for 15 seconds and it’s clear you can easily do five times that much?  This time, stop at 3 to 5 or 15 to 20 seconds.  Then celebrate somehow.
It’s critical that the first time is THAT easy.

Next week do 7 and then 8 and then 9 and then 10 in the following weeks or do 30 seconds, then 35 seconds etc until you get to 60 seconds.  Then do two 35 second sets etc.

The 3 key concepts are:

First  -- Make your start extremely easy. 

 Second-- Build up gradually each week which does the double of making injury much less likely and which will make you much stronger and fit as you keep gradually improving.

Building up to being stronger or more fit by starting at an extremely easy level and then gradually increasing until you are strong and fit is proven to work.

Third-- With cardio or faster heart rate and breathing exercises, to get fit fastest and to stay safe once you are doing it at all begin to do the amount you do faster until you get slightly out of breath.  Then stop and rest until you recover.  Once you can do one set like this you can build up to several sets. 

BUT it’s imperative that you rest completely or slow way down once you get out of breath. 

Forcing yourself to keep going at a really fast pace you haven’t built up to is hazardous and like some people shoveling snow without short breaks when they get out of breath you can give yourself a heart attack.

Paradoxically, you can work just that hard or even harder but WITH the short recovery breaks and stay quite safe!

If you picked this as one to do or begin in 2015, decide if you will do strength training like pushups or squats, or such as walking fast for brief times or marching in place inside your home. Then decide which day a week you will always do it every week.

Or  if you decide to do strength training on one day a week and vigorous cardio on one day a week. Pick which day each week for strength training and which day for cardio.

3.  Do a few things to become more prosperous in 2015.

This area is more complex and challenging than exercise or eating upgrades or even than happiness upgrades. 

But there are some things that work, some of which you can do.

Here are a few of them.

a)  Spend less overall with more to show for it.

 One writer said to buy twice as good and half as many.  He spoke of clothes noting that higher quality clothes look better and last longer.

In some places in the United States for clothes, you can buy twice as good for a fifth as much!  Thrift stores often get nearly new clothes from well to do donors.  Then they sell them for a quarter or a fifth as much as the price new.

Get them cleaned and treat them well and you can be well dressed for less than most people spend.

If you have space for larger amounts, stores like WalMart and Smart & Final and Costco sell major brands for less.

A similar thought is in a new book on how to eliminate clutter by Marie Kondo called, “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” which is available on Amazon.

Her basic method is instead of focusing on whether or not to toss something out, you focus on finding the things you actually love to have and bring you satisfaction or joy.

Then her clients find that tossing most of the rest is easy.

Buy her book and try her method.

The carry over is that when you shop, you ask her question BEFORE you buy.  That way you have more to spend on things that really please you. And, you’ll bring less stuff home you’ll throw out later.

You’ll spend less and have more things you actually enjoy having.

b)  Do you make enough to pay your bills on time? 

First, if not, making more will help if there is a doable and safe way that fits your values to do so.

That one is tough and books have been written on it.  But people do it. 

If you do, to the extent it’s safe in your current location, avoid moving to more expensive or larger living space. 

Do your best to spend no more than you do now for most things.

Then whether you can do it now with no increase in income or you can do it because you increased your income but not your expenses, pay yourself first some definite percentage of your income each month.

At first, put it into savings.  Then once you have a month’s expenses in savings, buy small CD’s or money market funds until you have five more months of current expenses in those.

Note that paying down credit cards where you have a balance of more than 25 to 30% of your credit limit also increases your emergency funds and pays far better interest than CD’s.

Then put an equal amount to your savings into investments that may or may not go up but which are unlikely to go down.

Loan pools like the Lending Club and Prosper pay a higher return on money you give them to loan than stock dividends on strong companies that pay dividends. 

But if you invest about half in these loans and half in strong stocks that pay dividends, the stocks will tend to be worth more and pay more over time, and you’ll have an income from your investments that you can invest further after the taxes are paid.

Third, once you do those things, investments that may be more risky but which have a high but likely potential to go up make sense.

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