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Archive for January 2019

Quick Thought   Leave a comment

I’ve posted before about goal setting and checking your course every now and again.  It’s important to know where you are, where you want to be, and if you’re on the right path to get there.  Being on the right path, though, isn’t enough.

Will Rogers famously said “Even if you’re on the right track you’ll get run over if you just sit there.”  And that’s a very important message.

Think about this.  Perhaps you’ve wanted to lose weight and you’ve heard about the ketogenic diet.  So you get a curiosity about you on the topic and start looking online for information.  You find a blog or two about the ketogenic diet and you scroll through the posts and check out all the progress pics.  It certainly seems like the real deal.

You start following people on YouTube and Instagram that are living a ketogenic lifestyle.  From them you learn about their journey and what they’re doing daily to meet the goals of being keto.  You look back to past posts and videos and you’re amazed at how far they’ve come.  Clearly you can lose a lot of weight on the ketogenic diet.

But you’re a nuts and bolts kinda person so you download a few books on the ketogenic diet to your Kindle and get to reading.  Some of the books are broad and give sweeping advice, others are more narrow and scientific.  Altogether they have given you a complete understanding of how the diet works.  You understand ketosis like a pro.  You can develop ketogenic meal plans in your sleep.

Over the last month of information consumption you’ve become a storehouse of ketogenic knowledge.  I could ask you questions about gluconeogenesis and you could tell me for a guy my weight what level of protein to stay below to avoid it.  I could ask you the difference between ketosis and ketoacidosis and you could expound on that for an hour.  I’m at the store and want to buy something new, but I’m not sure if it’s keto friendly.  One text to you and now I do.  You’re clearly on the ketogenic track.

But you look down at your belly and you realize you haven’t even lost an ounce.  Why?  You’ve been so busy learning you haven’t been doing.  Having knowledge about a subject is great, but putting it into practice is better.  You need to take the first step and begin walking the path.

This applies to anything you might learn or think about.  Got goals?  Well if you aren’t taking steps to achieve them you’ve actually only Got dreams.  Want a calmer mind?  Sitting around thinking about a calmer mind pretty much is the opposite of what you’re after.  Thought about learning a new language?  Downloading Babel+ won’t get you any closer to that if you never open the app.

Don’t just find the path, walk it.  Don’t wonder how your life could be, live it.  To quote the great philosopher, “Do or do not, there is no try.”.  Take that first step down the right track today and you just got one step closer to the life you want to live.  Have a great day.  Peace.

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Weekly Weigh In   Leave a comment

I didn’t forget this weeks weigh in I just decided I’m going to try a new format.  I usually just typed it in but that just seems so clinical and cold.  So I’m going to start doing a video talking with you about my progress for the week.  I might still do an occassional progress pics update here as well.  The nice thing about the videos is you’ll see me in motion from week to week and how much better I’m doing.  I’ll try to get them done Monday night after work since I weigh in Monday morning when I get up.  If not Monday night I should have it done on Tuesday moving forward as it’s a day off for me.  So here’s this weeks progress video.  Peace.

New Vlog Up On YouTube.   Leave a comment

What happens if you’ve been trying to lose weight on the ketogenic diet but nothing is happening?  Keto isn’t working for you.  This vlog covers reasons why this could be happening and what to do about them.  If you like the content please leave a like on my YouTube channel.  It helps with my chances of being seen in search results which helps others find my videos.  And I’m trying to reach out and help as many people as possible.  Subscribe and click the notification bell if you’d like to be notified immediately when I post.  Leave a comment here or there letting me know how I did.  If you have an agreement, or even a disagreement, I’d love to hear it.  Suggestions on how to improve the vlog are definitely welcome.  I hope you’re having a great day, which leads to a great week, and then a great life.  Peace.

Quick Thought   4 comments

As I drive to and from work I like to make use of the alone time to get some thinking done.  It varies from drive to drive, but often I like considering ideas for my blog or vlog.  This morning I was considering such an idea when a funny and reassuring incident happened.  Almost like the Universe gave me a little wink.

I was thinking about focus and how it affects vision.  I remembered when I was considering what car I would get when I had moved down to Washington State from Alaska.  I had left my 98 GMC Sonoma up there and needed a new vehicle.  As I was going to have to drive 60 miles each way to work the Toyota Prius was at the top of my list because of the mileage it got.

Even though I didn’t recall seeing that many Prius before I decided to get one I was seeing them all of the time when I did.  It was so weird.  I mentioned it to a coworker who offered a plausible explanation.  The number of Prius hadn’t changed, I was just noticing them more because I was focused on the Prius as a car to own.

I was remembering that this morning as a blog post idea.  I thought about how I could explain it and decided that a thought experiment would be a good idea.  What you’d do is focus on a car you’d buy right now if you had to get a new car.  It just needed to be one in your price range that you could buy in the area.  So nothing exotic like a Ferrari or anything.  Then a funny thought popped into my head.  I live in northern Alabama now and the people around here love their big cars.  So in my head I jokingly told myself that you’d need to rule out a Smart Fortwo as well because you’d never find one here.  And no sooner had I thought this, a red and black Smart Fortwo drove by.

I might have overlooked it had I not been thinking about it.  So it reassured me of the importance of focus.  It also reminded me a bit about a way I was told to test the Law of Attraction.  And that was to picture something unusual coming into your life.  Something odd that could only be explained by the LOA.  The example that was used was a blue apple.  And shortly thereafter the person received a plastic, blue apple.  An item you aren’t likely to come across arrived in their life in close proximity to wishing for it.

It was the same thing for the Smart Fortwo.  Now keep in mind that I don’t recall ever seeing one between today and when I arrived here in July 2017.  It’s certainly not a common car around here so to drive past one right after thinking that funny thought would be an amazingly huge coincidence if that’s all it was.

But I’m more inclined to think that the Universe was having a little fun with me.  Giving me a little nudge and a wink, if you will.  The message was a reminder that you attract what you focus on, even the unlikely.  So I enjoyed a little chuckle as I drove the rest of the way to work.

The signs and messages are out there if you just stay focused on them and are ready to receive.  Stay open and inviting this week, friends.  Have a great day.  Peace.

Quick Thought   Leave a comment

The human brain is often compared to a computer.  But that isn’t really a perfect analogy.  In a computer you can input the data once and the computer will always remember it, even if you don’t access it for a week, or a month, or a year.  The brain is more of a “use it or lose it” kind of operation.  Also, a computer is a static device.  The parts it has in the configuration they are in will be the same today as tomorrow no matter what input you place in it.  The brain grows according to focus.  And it connects like with like.

So the more time you spend dwelling on a particular thought or emotion the more you solidify it in your mind.  You also grow that area of your brain.  And those areas will reach out and make connections to other areas that are similar or that you associate the emotion with.

The more time you spend on one input the less you spend on another.  So if you spend more time focusing on good and happy thoughts that build and nurture, you have less time to spend thinking negative thoughts that tear your down and harm you.  This builds the happy areas of your brain, connects you better with that happiness, and also over time causes the negative areas to fade away and lose power.

An easy way to do this is to devote a little bit of time in the morning and night to reading a list of positive affirmations.  You can use a list that you create so it’s personalized to you, or you can use a list you’ve downloaded from the internet.  If you use Google images to search for “positive affirmation list” you’ll come up with plenty of options.  Just find the ones that speak to you or you feel a pull towards.

As soon after you wake up in the morning as you can, take the list out and just read through it 3-5 times, depending on how long the list is and how much time you can devote to the practice.  At the end of the day, preferably right before you go to sleep, read the list 3-5 times again.  If you want to have a separate list for morning and evening that works too.  Also, if you have down time during the day, or just feel you need a pick me up, go ahead and read the list again for as long as time permits.

It’s just that simple.  It takes a short amount of time out of your day.  Over time the practice reinforces the happy parts of your brain, making you naturally happier.  And it becomes a positive feedback loop.  So even when you’re not reading your list your thoughts will tend to be happier.  And over time the negativity will fade away.

So before you go to bed tonight make, or download, a list and check it twice (or 3-5 times).  Program your brain daily and the connection between yourself and happiness will literally become thicker and thicker until there is only room for happiness in your mind.  Have a great day.  Peace.

 

When Life Hands You Donuts, And You’re Keto.   Leave a comment

Today at work we were treated to a lunch of deli sandwiches, chips, cookies, and donuts.  Not exactly the healthiest fare.  And most certainly not keto.  It’s easy to look at the spread and think “well I can’t participate in this” and avoid the break room entirely.  But you can always make the best of any situation.

How could I participate in this decidedly non-keto meal?  Well there were actually a few options.  It just required my being attentive.  The first option was the deli sandwiches.  They were either turkey, chicken, or ham served on a ciabatta bun with romaine lettuce, tomato, and cheese.  The sauces were on the side so you could add them to taste.  All I had to do was remove the ciabata bun and the rest of the sandwich was keto.  Was it as filling as eating the whole sandwich?  No, but then again one of the nice things about the keto diet is not feeling hungry so I don’t eat as much anyway.  Each deli sandwich came with a pickle, which is also keto, and not everyone likes pickles.  So I was able to get a couple extra spears that way.

The donuts, which were from the beginning of the day as a “breakfast” food were also served with coffee.  The donuts were obviously a no go but black coffee is not only allowed on the keto diet, it’s actually helpful.  The water volume helps with satiety and the caffeine in the coffee helps rev up the metabolism.

So I was able to partake, I just needed to focus on the few good things I could have, and not focus on the wide spread of things I shouldn’t have.  I just picked the best options for me from all the available ones so that I could enjoy the provided meal with the crew.

And that brings up the last option I had for making the best of the situation.  Let’s assume none of the food would work for me.  Maybe the sandwiches were made with a sugary dressing.  Or it was all just cookies and donuts.  I still had a final option available and that was just grab a cup of coffee and hang out with the gang anyway.  I’ve fasted for just over two days before so certainly I can make it through one lunch hour.  And the point of the meal was to socialize while eating.  Even if I couldn’t eat I didn’t have to deny myself the opportunity to socialize.  Especially since the socializing was the best part.

And that’s how we should view all situations presented to us in life.  Don’t focus on what we’re denied.  Focus on what works or is good for us.  Like going to the store and the only parking spots are on the far end of the lot.  Don’t focus on how it sucks you’re so far from the building, focus on how you’re getting in extra steps unexpectedly which is good for your health.  When you go into the store to buy some food and your favorite brand is out of stock don’t focus on the lack.  Focus on the opportunity to try something new.  Then you get into your car and start driving home and the roads blocked due to an accident.  Don’t focus on the hold up.  Focus on how you’re getting a few extra minutes to meditate you didn’t realize you’d get.  Focus on how you get to try a different way home tonight.  Or better yet focus on how lucky you are that you go there after the accident and not during.

Regardless of the situations you find yourself in this week, make the best of them.  You always have a choice of viewing things in a positive way, or a negative one.  And being positive just feels so much better.  So give it a try.  Find your silver lining and make it a great day anyway.  Peace and happiness.

Your Invisible Council   Leave a comment

This isn’t my idea.  Far from it.  This idea was put forward in a book 33 years before I was even born.  That book was “Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill.  If you haven’t read it I highly recommend it.

In the book’s chapter “The Sixth Sense” he described his “Invisible Council.”  This was a council inside his mind composed of the nine men he respected most and felt had qualities he wished to instill in himself.  Those men were Abraham Lincoln, Andrew Carnegie, Luther Burbank, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Thomas Paine, Charles Darwin, Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, and Napoleon Bonaparte.

To save time, if you wish to know why he picked them I’ll just refer you back to the book.  What’s important for this discussion is how he made use of his council.  Right before going to bed he would, using his imagination, call a meeting of the council.  There he could seek the advice of these men on any issue that came to mind.  Or even guidance on what mental paths he should be following.  Also, by distinctly visualizing each member of the Invisible Council in his mind he began integrating the traits he admired of each man into his being as well.

He created these precise visualizations of each man by researching each of them in his spare time to gain as clear a mental picture of them as he could.  In fact, as he points out in the book, he did such a good job of recreating these men in his mind at one point he spooked himself into temporarily stopping the process out of concern for how “real” it was getting for him.

What could you do if you had access to your own Invisible Council?  What questions or issues in your life could you tackle with the help of the people you respect the most?  The best way to answer those questions is to form your own Invisible Council.  So how do you go about doing that?

First, you have to pick your mentors.  This can be as easy as it can be hard.  It’s easy in the fact that we all have a number of people that we admire or have a certain degree of hero-worship for.  People we’d gladly trade places with.  It becomes hard when you try narrowing it down to a handful you can start with.  Hill had 9 members originally and only as he became more proficient with the technique did he start adding dozens more.

A good starting point for picking your council is to first decide which qualities in your life you are most interested in building up or enhancing.  Say you’re trying to get into better shape.  Who do you admire most from a fitness perspective?  Maybe it’s Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.  Or Tom Brady.  If you’re looking to get more buff it could be a classic bodybuilder like Arnold Schwarzenegger or Frank Zane.  If being more creative is your focus you could pick Michelangelo, or Bob Ross.  Who you pick is up to you, I’d just limit your initial council to 5-10 people who embody the qualities you’re looking to develop in yourself.

Here’s a fun point to consider.  When picking his council Hill used real people he greatly admired.  The thing is, this is your imagination so you can pick anyone you want.  They can be living or dead.  Male or female.  They can even be real or fictional.  As an example when I first started my council I was looking to have a more ordered and logical mind.   For my council I picked Seneca and Marcus Aurelius who were both real.  I added Sherlock Holmes, Spock (as Leonard Nimoy from the original series), and Temperance Brennan (from the Kathy Reichs book series and TV show “Bones”), who are all fictional.

After you’ve formed your council, visualize it in action.  The idea isn’t to just think “What Would Jesus Do?” and just go with whatever thought comes to mind.  The idea is to visualize actually interacting with these people.  Close your mind and picture it as clearly in your head as you can.  Don’t worry if it’s not perfect at first or your visualization seems lacking.  It will get better as you go.

Where you visualize the meeting is up to you.  It could be a dinner together at a big table.  It could be in a special council chamber you’ve created in your mind.  It could be a secret garden you all hang out in.  Just pick what seems most natural to you.  One key point on this is that you’re the head of this council, so pick a setting where you feel you can direct the meeting.

The specifics of how you conduct the meeting are up to you as well.  Whether it’s a friendly discussion, or more of a think tank, is a matter of personal preference.  Just always keep in mind that you’re running the meeting.  I personally like to call the meeting to order and throw out the topic of the night, whatever it is, and open the table for discussion by saying “Thoughts?”

Like Hill, this works best the better you study and learn the members of your council.  The more you understand them the more real they become and the better the answers they give.  So for me that means reading the writings of Seneca and Marcus, the books of Doyle and Reichs, and watching the live action portrayals of Spock and Dr. Brennan.  Hill mentioned that he got to know his council members so well that they actually started to take on specific behaviours and mannerisms.  That’s the quality you should aim for in your visualizations.

The last step is to listen.  Don’t worry about where the information is coming from.  It isn’t as important as the information itself.  In his book Hill stated he felt the information came from the sixth sense (hence the title of the chapter).  Maybe it does, maybe it doesn’t.  It could be that you’re just using the council members in your mind to flesh out your thoughts in a creative way.  Nothing supernatural about it.  Wherever the information comes from, though, listen to it.  Dwell on it.  Toss it around in your head.

At the end of the meeting, though, remember it’s your council.  They are providing the information to use as you see fit.  This is all for your benefit.  Like most things, the more you do it the better you’ll get at it.  The better you get at it the better it will benefit you.  It’ll benefit you with great information, better visualization skills, and greater creativity.

So decide today what you’re wanting to improve about yourself.  Staff your council with the best minds (no more than 10 to start).  Then call your first meeting to order and let the personal growth begin.  You have many a great conversation ahead of you.  Enjoy your meeting, and have a great day.