Weekly Ramblings – Rituals

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Hi all!

Sorry, I’ve been away for a while. I took a trip to visit with my brother in Phoenix and got to hang out with my sister for a few days. When I’m with family I spend time with them and avoid online activities for the most part, including this blog, to really enjoy my time with my friends and family without distraction.

I’ve made a few adjustments to my life this year that have proven to be tremendous. I’d like to share these with you. The first change was my journaling practice. Toward the end of last year, I had a gratitude journal, a dream journal, the 5-minute journal, and the Bestself journal. Journaling is awesome, but all of these separate journals became too complex and started eating away at the benefit of journaling itself. So, when things get too complex I simplify. I now have one journal, a simple, 6-dollar journal by Amazon that I use for everything. I use it for my gratitude 3 (morning and evening) where I write down three things I’m grateful for. I do an affirmation exercise writing out what “I AM” fifteen times. I also locate and write down a meaningful quote each day.

The second change was the calendar system I was using. I used to use the Bestself calendar and Google calendar. Again, this was too complex, duplicating my efforts, and causing me to update two different calendars. The solution: Simplify. I now only use Google Calendar to track my important appointments and events that I will attend.

The third change was social media. I was predominantly on LinkedIn, Google+, Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, and Twitter. Well, a week ago, I discovered my Twitter account had been hacked. I decided to dump all of my social media to save myself time, lower my stress levels, and just simplify my life. I’ll tell you something. I don’t miss this at all. My phone is actually a phone again. When I spend time with someone I spend time with them. I am not constantly checking my phone for the next update on one of these huge “time bandits” to see if someone liked one of my postings. I may revive Facebook at some point, but for now, social media is gone and I’m not going back in the near future.

The fourth change was in my workout routines. I love the gym. I love to exercise. I love the feeling of satisfaction you get when you complete your workout routine. I adjusted my workout routine to a 7-day schedule and work one body part per day. Back, Chest, Legs, Shoulders, Arms and forearms, and abs and lower back. Day 7 is a day off with cardio only. Right now I only do the strength training for each body part, but will slowly integrate cardio into these workouts as I begin this routine in earnest. I normally workout in my home during the months of December and January because of the bad weather we get in Michigan and because I don’t like to deal with the big crowds in the gym at the first of the year. By late February early March, the New Year’s resolution crowds are gone and the gym is a great haven for health and stress relief.

The last change is my pursuit of publishing a book. I’m currently in a Master’s degree program pursuing a degree in Education, with an emphasis in Special Education. I’ve discovered that it is just too much work to work on a book and try to negotiate a Master’s degree simultaneously. The solution: Simplify. I will finish the degree, then pick up my book writing afterward.

Now that you know all of the changes I’ve made, let’s take a look at my priorities this year. First, I always seek improvement in 4 areas of life. These areas are physical, intellectual, spiritual, and social.

Intellectual -I learn something new every day (I do this by my schooling and free courses I find online). Right now I’m taking a free course on the Constitution offered by Hillsdale College, located right here in my state of Michigan. I also read a lot of blog articles and other articles recommended by the app Pocket.

Physical – I eat right, get plenty of sleep, exercise daily, and use beneficial supplements, the primary one being a good multivitamin. I currently take Opti-men by ON (Optimal Nutrition). I have memberships at two gyms. Planet Fitness so I can go to the gym wherever I find myself; the second is Cutting Edge gym for my weight training.

Spiritual – I journal my dreams, my gratitude, and reflect on my day. I read my bible daily, and pray twice daily (am when I rise and pm before I go to bed). I try to contribute to others by doing a random act of kindness with no expectation of reward. (paying it forward at the drive-through, paying for someone’s groceries, being friendly to people, picking up a mess when I find it, or volunteer at a local food kitchen or something along these lines.

Social – When I spend time with friends and family, my phone is away or off. Since I dumped social media, my phone is rarely a distraction and I can really focus and pay attention to the people I am with. I’m still amazed at all of the people on their phones in a restaurant or other public place when they are with their loved ones. When people are gopping at their phones, it’s like their company isn’t even there. I also took note of all of the social media leaders out there who refuse to let their kids get on social media (big ah-ha for me). If the creators of all of these social media engines refuse to let their kids participate, how good is it for you and me?

So, simplification and minimalism are the watchwords for this year.

I hope some of these ideas help you. The key to all of this is simplicity. Look for the BIG things you can do daily that will contribute the most to you. Look for areas you are doing the same thing two or more times using different things, reexamine your social media, reexamine your priorities, and reset your schedule and rituals. You’ll find you’ll achieve more, you’ll feel better, and you will accomplish a lot more. Most importantly, the important people in your life will take a priority over your phone.

Take care of yourself.

Until next time…

Dave

 

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Weekly Ramblings – Journaling

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This week was a weird week for weather in Michigan. We initially had a lot of snow, but then the temperatures warmed, and it has been raining for two days. Some call it the “Lake effect”, but I think it’s just plain crazy.

So, this was another week of in-home exercise. For those of you who have already fallen “off the wagon” for exercise, since New Year’s, you may want to try this. Take anything you really enjoy. For me it’s playing video games, particularly Call of Duty. In between sessions, I work out. You could do the same. Let’s say you’re into Netflix, Amazon Video, or Hulu. Watch an episode and then do some exercises. Watch another episode and do some more exercises.

Typically, my in-home full body workout looks like this:

Kettlebell curls, triceps kickbacks or triceps extensions, kettlebell front raises, lateral raises and shoulder presses. For chest, I do pushups (wide, close, and elevated), for back I do kettlebell rows. For legs I do standing calf presses, wall sits and bodyweight squats. You could also do lunges, but due to some nerve damage in my left leg, they are a little too difficult for me.

This week I wanted to talk about journaling. I’ve discussed this before in previous articles but wanted to emphasize how terrific the practice is. I use the Best Journal for my planning and goal setting, the 5-minute planner (digital version), a dream journal, and a daily diary that I fill out at night. This may seem a little over the top, but it works for me.

Journaling allows me to “brain dump” and examine my upcoming week. It also forces me to make choices. What are my goals for the next 90 days? The Best Journal has you set up three goals with intermittent steps every 90 days. It really works for me. The 5-minute journal allows me to write down some daily affirmations, express gratitude and has a great little quote and weekly challenge that I find fun. My daily reflections are in a plain white paper journal from Amazon for about 6 bucks. I date each page and write about anything that happened for the day. I developed this habit after going through my late grandmother’s journals. She listed down everything in her journal, from poetry she wrote herself to some of the bad things that happened to her and how she dealt with it.

I also do what is called a 15x exercise where I write down all the things I want to focus on. You could say I want to be: Healthy, wealthy, grateful, loved, and content. This could be your list. I use different ones, but the key is writing down each thing you want to become down 15 times. I have just started this, so I’ll keep you posted on how it works out.

Exercise and journaling are two of my cornerstone habits. They keep my body healthy and my mind clear. I hope each of you is having a terrific 2018. I look forward to hearing from you.

Until next week!

Dave

Daily Ramblings – Happy Martin Luther King Day!

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“We are not makers of history. We are made by history. Martin Luther King, Jr.”

Today is Martin Luther King, Jr.’s day. It marks this day to celebrate the work of MLK during his lifetime—to get our government to do the right thing—offer the freedom to people of all color. Today is a testament to his work.

The idea of America is a unique one. Our form of government is like no other. This “grand experiment” began with many challenges, the first of which required a constitution. If you’ve ever read the Federalist papers, you’ll see the challenges our young nation faced at its beginning.

Slavery existed when our nation formed. It was an abhorrent practice, but one that was accepted across the globe as “normal”. Nations benefited by free labor and the slaves suffered horribly in our country and others.

Today, slavery is non-existent in most of the free world. America took a long time to rid itself of the inequalities that plagued many of color for centuries. Are we there yet? Well, sort of. I think many people have more opportunity today than they did when voting, college, and other “white” privileges were off-limits to these people. Being relegated to the back of a bus, a drinking fountain, a certain part of a restaurant, or even a job are all realities of a very dark past.

America changed. It adapted. It altered the way people are treated. America didn’t volunteer to do this. It was forced by individuals like MLK, JFK, Lyndon Johnson, and many others. The change was not easy, however. It required new laws, debate, argument, protest, and all the rest.

As our society evolves from one generation to the next, we are seeing that there are even more changes required to truly offer a non-discriminatory and inclusive society to all Americans. The changes required will cause even more new laws, debate, argument, and protest. Will we get there? Yes. America always has. We will get there because as our society evolves, the changes will come. They will come through a new Martin Luther King, Jr., a new JFK, a new Lyndon Johnson, a new Malcolm X, or a new Cesar Chavez. They will come because this is America, and this is what we do.

Social change forces change. It always does; it always has. For those that do not want to change, the revolution of ideas that will come forth will be a hard pill to swallow. This is not unlike the changes the country had to accept when schools were desegregated, new populations of people were granted the right to vote, the right to own property, and many other rights that are on the books today.

Is America perfect? No. But its founders were brilliant men that were knowledgeable enough to realize that our country would evolve, both to the world and to the needs of its citizenry. Subsequently, these men constructed the Constitution to allow for these unforeseen changes. The Constitution could be amended, and so it has.

Martin Luther King, Jr. served as a catalyst for change in this country, along with many others throughout our history. They fought against the odds but stuck with their principles. They were right, and the country would have to change. This is what heroes are made of. Heroes like MLK are once in a generation, but they are there. Some kid in high school will grow up to be the trailblazer for the changes our society will seek.

America is not perfect, but it is the one place in this world that people want to come to. They come here for better living conditions. They come here to provide a better life for their family. They come here because it is a safe place to raise their kids.

Until next week…

Dave

Daily Ramblings – Daily Quote – Workout Diary – Updates

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Happy Tuesday!!

I’m going to reduce my posting to one time per week for quotes and my workout diary. My Ted Talks will continue weekly as well. I’m reducing my blogging time to produce better quality work for you. I am also reducing my blogging time as I begin focusing on my first book.

I’ll be quite busy with the writing there and I don’t want to exhaust myself by trying to post daily here and working on my book. I’ll keep you posted on my progress and will be offering a bargain on my book to all of my readers here. I’ll update my blog with that once everything is done.

I’ll be conducting a lot of research and trying to find a publisher in the meantime.

Thanks all for your understanding and keep reading!!

Until next time…

Dave

Daily Ramblings – Daily Quote

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Surprise!

There is no quote today. Nonetheless, I wanted to discuss passing along our best to others. It is an important practice and one that will help you feel better, particularly if you are in the dumps.

When you are bummed out, pissed off, or just in a bad mood–get out and do something for someone else. I don’t care if it’s your neighbor, your kid, your husband or wife, or a total stranger. Get out there and do something nice.

I’m serious. Doing a kind thing for someone else, even if it’s a smile to a young child in the grocery store, will work wonders for your mood. Be extra nice. Go out of your way to do something nice for someone. You’ll be amazed at the results.

I read somewhere that this works because as soon as we start thinking about someone else’s day or situation, we stop thinking about ourselves and our problems. I know–this is just a psychological game. Who cares? It works.

That’s it for today folks!

Until next time…

Dave

Daily Ramblings – Workout Diary

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Today, I had a dentist appointment. No workout. My teeth are sore from a deep cleaning and I have one more next week.

Take a break when you need to. Don’t workout sick (I don’t). Dental appointments are my excuse because I’m a big baby when it comes to teeth cleanings. The Dentist had to hit me 4 times with Novacaine to numb me out.

Great hygienist, but baby for a patient.

See you tomorrow!!

Dave

 

Daily Ramblings – Workout Diary

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Today, I’m going to try a new approach for my “day off” from the gym. These days off are not devoid of exercise, just focus on things I can do at home. We have an Elliptical, an exercise bike, and there’s a whole bunch of body-weight exercises you can do, not to mention shoveling the driveway, taking a walk, raking leaves, mowing the lawn and all of the chores that get your heart pumping.

Today, I’m going to try an experiment. I like to watch Netflix and I’m a gamer. Yes, that’s right. I’m a gamer. I like playing first-person shooters, like Wolfenstein, Call of Duty, and the like. But, this can all be very unhealthy, particularly when you sit in a chair for hours on end without really doing anything, but drink water and chew on a snack.

So, today, I’m going to exercise in and around the Netflix episodes and games I play. The goal being a full-body workout by night’s end. I’ll tell you tomorrow how it worked out.

Enjoy the rest of your Sunday!!

Dave

Daily Ramblings – Daily Quote – Charles Kettering – 100 things

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“Believe and act as if it were impossible to fail.” – Charles Kettering

When you’re setting goals have you ever experienced self-doubt? “You can’t do that, it’s too hard, it’ll take too long, you don’t have enough money, you’re not capable” and any other number of self-talk that undermines your ability to accomplish something. Try this exercise:

Sit down for 1 hour and write down 100 things you’d like to do before you pass away. Imagine that you can do all of them without thinking about any issues about how you’ll accomplish them. Just write down 100 things. These things could be traveling somewhere you want to, doing something you haven’t done before, or any number of things. Just brainstorm 100 ideas that you can add to your bucket list.

Once you do this, you’ll feel invigorated. You’ll feel powerful. Try this out!

Many of the things our heroes have done started this way. They had an idea and didn’t worry about how they were going to do it. They just wrote it down. Then, after it sat on their list for a few days, they started thinking about how they would do it.

We can do the same things guys like Edison, Kennedy, Ford, Wrigley, or Einstein did. We can do the same things Earhart, Roosevelt, Keller, or Curie did. We can do the same things that Gandhi, Sadat, Mandela, or Churchill did. They wrote down their ideas about things they’d like to do, some of them out of necessity, others out of pure desire and dreaming.

Why not give it a shot? You could surprise yourself. Just take away the self-doubt and create a list of things you’d like to do, without any judgment or evaluation. Just write down your list of 100 things you’d like to do before you die. Then, pick out one or two you’d like to start working on. They can be a trip, writing a book, learning a new language, anything. Just write them down. Look at them later to see what really captures your imagination, what really engages you. That’s the thing you want to get started on.

I hope all of you are having a great Sunday!!

Until next time…

Dave

Daily Ramblings – Workout Diary

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Hello there!!

Today was another weightlifting day. Again, the same as the previous three days. 20 reps for each body part. You could even call what I’m doing a circuit. I start with legs, move to chest, back, shoulders, arms, abdomen, and calves. The only rest I give myself is the time it takes to move from one machine to the next. This is all about my plan on getting used to going to the gym and getting some consistent exercise.

Consistency is really the key to achieving results in the gym. You have to keep going and keep executing your workouts to get any benefit. Sporadic lifting or doing a day here or a day there can actually be more harmful than helpful to your physique.

Some days your workouts will be awesome; on other days they will absolutely suck. The workouts that suck are mostly caused by a lack of focus or motivation. It’s hard work and sometimes we just don’t want to go. But, if you go and knock out the workout consistently, your good workouts will outweigh the bad ones. You’ll slowly build the habit of consistent exercise, build up your self-esteem, and help your body adapt to the stressors you put it through.

If you don’t feel like going to the gym–go. If you’re too tired to go to the gym–go. If you’re bored of your workout routine–go. You get the point. The key is to show up and get it done. The more you go, the more results you’ll see, and the more you’ll want to go. It is a self-supporting cycle of improvement that will take place for you. You just have to go do it.

See you tomorrow!

Dave