Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Know Your Vision

"Where there is no vision, the people perish." - Proverbs 29:18

What is your vision? Do you want to improve your practice or business? What about becoming debt-free or improving your health? You need to develop a clear plan and put steps in place to carry that plan out.

It's not enough to simply have an idea in your head. If you really want to bring it to fruition, you must write it down and develop a time line to make it happen.

If you want to improve your business, how will you do it? Will you focus on a marketing aspect? What will you do? When will you launch it ?

Focus on the long-term when planning and then pull out the short-term things that you really need to do right now.

Monday, April 28, 2008

What to Wear to Lose Weight

The University of Michigan is reporting that you can lose extra weight, just by wearing a pedometer. They reviewed 9 studies on pedometers, walking, and weight loss, and found that those who wore pedometers lost about 1 pound every five weeks. While that doesn’t sound like a lot, every little bit helps.

This is especially important because most people tend to gain a few pounds every year. By wearing a pedometer, you are not only avoiding those pounds gained, but you are also losing a few in the process.

When you wear a pedometer you become more aware of how sedentary you are and are more likely to push yourself for a few more steps. Your goal should be 10,000 steps per day. You can get pedometers very inexpensively. They don't have to be fancy to do the job.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Could you be doing Better?

It struck me today during the radio show that the people that really will make some changes in their lives are the ones that don’t just sit and think about it (dreamers). The ones that will take their ideas and plans and do them (doers) are the people that are going to be winning in life when you see them again 5 years from now.

What information do you have that you’re not acting on? If you’re short of information, try reading some free articles, check out a book from the library or talk with a friend or family member that seems to be doing well.

Take just 2 or 3 of their ideas and see if they’ll work in your life as well.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Get Your Kids Involved!

I love the idea of getting your kids involved in making dinners. I don't have kids myself, but I can remember that growing up, my favorite meals were the ones my mom would ask me to help with. Specifically, I can remember making spaghetti and, of course my favorite, pizza.

If you ask for your kids' help with making a meal (whether it's breakfast, lunch, or dinner) they will be much more likely to eat it. This is a great way to get picky eaters to enjoy a meal with you and to hopefully sneak in some veggies.

Some ideas for things kids can help with include pizza, taco bars, loaded baked potatoes, salads, or a pasta dish where they can add the vegetables they like. Have everything cut up for them ahead of time and let them decide what they want to do. The ideas are endless - get creative!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Protect Your Head

Warm weather seems like it is finally here to stay, and with that comes outdoor activities that you can now enjoy on a much more frequent basis. It is the perfect time of year for one of my favorite activities, bike riding. This means that it is also a good time for a reminder about wearing a bike helmet. Wearing a bike helmet can reduce injury by up to 88%, and reduces injury to the face by 65%. You should have no excuse not to wear one.

While wearing a bike helmet seems like an easy way to prevent serious injury, only about 38% of adult bike riders and 50% of kids under the age of 16 regularly wear a helmet. Common excuses that kids give are that they do not feel cool wearing one, their friends are not wearing one, or their parents are not good role models. If you have a child who rides a bike they should have a helmet on at all times. Parents who ride bikes should set a good example by always wearing a helmet themselves.

If you are not a parent but you ride a bike, you should never leave your driveway without a helmet. Bike helmets now weigh about half a pound and have plenty of openings to allow air to circulate through, which means they are more comfortable than ever. Some riders use the excuse that they will not be riding on busy streets, thus do not need a helmet. However, cars are involved in only about 10% of bike-related injuries

There are not many good excuses for riding without a helmet. Even those concerned about the cost should not be because you can typically buy a helmet for around $20. That is a small price to pay to protect your health.

There are a few things to keep in mind if you plan to buy a new helmet. First, helmets must fit snugly. Next, the helmet should be level. Make sure it is not tilted forward or backward on your head. It should sit low on your forehead with the front of it just above your eyebrows. The chin strap should be tight enough to allow only two fingers underneath when it is snapped. Test it out by moving it around your head, from front to back and side to side. If the fit is comfortable and the skin moves with the helmet, you have a proper fit.

Most stores will allow you to try on various helmets and a sales person can help you make sure that you choose the right one. Keep in mind that buying and wearing a helmet is an easy step to possibly saving your life.

Words of Wisdom Before You Die?

If you knew you had one last talk to give, what would
it be? Carnegie Mellon University hosts lecturers' from
around the world each year. The premise is, if you had
one last lecture to give, what would it be? For Randy
Pausch, it was very literal. He has pancreatic cancer
and his doctors told him he only has 6 months left to

His last lecture focused on many things, but really on
how you should live your life if you want to achieve your
dreams and goals. There is a surprise ending and I will
not ruin that for you here. You can watch the entire
76 minute talk
or the condensed
on Oprah (only 10 minutes long).

You need to make time to watch this video. You will not
be disappointed in the long version.

What would you talk about if you had one more talk to
give? Have you lived a good life? Was it free of stress?
Have you remained healthy? Have you reached your goals
and have many of your dreams come true?

Did you use your unique gifts and talents to enrich the
lives of others and make this world a better place, or
did you wander through life while putting your time in
at a job you hated, only to pay your bills?

Maybe it is time to step back from it all and put everything
in perspective. Take a fresh look at your life and what
you want to accomplish. Put forth a plan of action to
make it happen. It is time to get off the sidelines and

My Lunch Costs me $18.40

I started thinking about this recently as gas prices have been on the rise yet again. I am fortunate that my office is just 4 miles from my home, so most days I drive back for lunch. I get to connect with my wife and my two children while they are still home for a few more years.

Recently I got to thinking about how much it costs me each time to drive that same route twice per day and if it was really worth it. My car averages a decent 30 miles per gallon (mpg), so at the national average of $3.48 per gallon, a 4 mile trip costs me $.46 or $.92 round trip; and I only live 4 miles away! If I drive home 5 days per week (20 days per month) then it costs me $18.40 each month for lunch.

Of course there are trade-offs here, the first being that I cannot put a price on the extra time I get to spend with my family each day. Also, how much would it cost if I were to visit a restaurant each day? That would certainly be more than if I brought my lunch to work with me.

A recent poll by ABC News showed the average worker commutes 16 miles one-way. At the current average fuel economy for a new car of 20 mpg, the round-trip cost just to drive to and from work each day is $5.57. Monthly it would cost $111.40 just to drive once each day to and from work. If you were to drive home for lunch as well, your gas bill will double to $222.80!

As American, do we ever think about this? Experience has shown that many people do not. With the ever increasing cost of fuel, it is time we start to realize the impact our activities have on our budgets. Visiting the grocery store on the way home from work can save an extra trip. So can carpooling or asking the neighbors to pick up something for us while they’re out and vice versa.

None of these ideas are convenient, but if you really want to save some money, we must stop acting like the consumers we are and begin doing things that other countries have been doing for years.

Could you walk or ride your bike to the store? Could you use a reel mower to cut the grass? Do you need a minivan (worse fuel consumption) for you and one child? Begin by starting small and watch the savings really add up in your budget!

Here is the formula to determine how much your trip costs you:

(Miles driven)(Price per gallon of fuel) / (Avg. mpg) = cost of your trip

Example: (4 miles) ($3.48) / (30 mpg) = $.46

What does your trip cost you? Leave your comment below...

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Everyone Needs a Multivitamin

My doctor has been telling me to take a multivitamin for the past two years. I’m ashamed to say that I’ve been putting off doing so because I feel like I eat pretty healthy and I was very overwhelmed by all the choices. After talking to a colleague who is a registered dietitian I found out that it’s generally recommended that everyone take a multi-vitamin, regardless of their eating habits. Why is this? Because it’s nearly impossible to eat perfect every single day in order to get all of the nutrients that your body needs.

So I tasked myself with finally taking the time to determine which multivitamin was right for me. The first thing I discovered was that multivitamins at a health store are not necessarily superior to those at your local drug store, such as CVS or Walgreens. The next step is to determine which multivitamin is right for you. You can easily narrow down your choices by choosing a vitamin that is gender and age appropriate.

The bottom line is that taking a multivitamin daily will help ensure optimum nutrition. Always speak to your doctor or a dietitian before starting a new supplement. And don’t be afraid to ask them questions. If you’re confused about exactly what you should be looking for, ask them for specific recommendations.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

My worst fear

I really have to narrow it down to just one? Yes, you do.

With all of the fears floating around in our heads, we spend a tremendous amount of time worrying about things that have a very small likelihood of ever occurring.

Is your biggest fear include losing your job, not being able to pay all of your bills this month, not looking your best on the beach this summer or even that you won't live up to someone's expectations?

Break your biggest fear down into pieces and evaluate why it's hanging over your head. Once you do that, address your fear and don't let it control you. You will eliminate the majority of stress in your life with this simple exercise... today!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Don't Give Up

Having a hard time reaching your goals, or even getting close? Don't give up!

The next big break may be just around the corner. If you give up now, all your hard work is wasted.

Your goal may be to become debt-free, everything but your home or including your home in 3 years. Three years may seem like a long time, but I guarantee it will pass if you choose to address your problems or not. Focus on the future and not your past.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Is Overweight Becoming Normal?

It seems to me that we have become a society that has gotten so used to being overweight that what was once considered fat is now seen as normal. In Shape magazine's May 2008 issue readers were polled on the question "Should overweight travelers be required to buy an extra airplane seat?" One of the responses that made the magazine's "no" cut said, "Plane seats are too narrow even for the average person. They need to be made bigger so that all passengers can feel comfortable."

When I read this, I just happened to be on a plane, so I took a look around me at the other passengers to see if the "average" person looked comfortable. I must say that those who appeared to be a healthy weight looked quite comfortable in their seats. Perhaps what the reader referred to as "average" didn't mean "healthy."

We now know that more of the U.S. population is overweight or obese than are a normal weight. Do we look around and see overweight as normal because that's how so many people look? Are we slowly accepting that those who are 20, 30 or even 40 pounds overweight are healthy?

It's up to us to take responsibility for our weight rather than rely on how others look to influence our thought patterns. You cannot judge a normal weight by looking at others to help make your decision. Stop letting the actions and appearances of others influence the way you live your life.

How do you Find the Time?

I get asked this question all the time. Between hosting a radio show, working with personal and business coaching clients, writing articles, books and reports, and teaching classes and tele-seminars; how do I find the time?

I have done many things to “find” more time, but truthfully, I really did not find it. It has always been there and it always will be there. Using your time effectively is what matters in the long run.

No matter who we are, where we live, or countless other factors and circumstances that are a part of each of our lives, we all have the same amount of time. There is not a week that goes by that has more or less than 168 hours in it. This one commodity really is the same for everyone.

While it might seem like I work 24 hours a day and sacrifice time with my family that is simply not true. In fact, I schedule at least 1 day per week in my calendar that is completely free of work. Most Tuesdays I am able attend our oldest daughter’s dance class, and many times I am home for lunch, and almost always home for dinner.

When we were pregnant with our first daughter I did not miss a single doctor appointment with my wife. Now on number three, I have missed a few, but I schedule them on my calendar in advance and work around them. They are too important for me to miss.

By no means am I superhuman. I cannot accomplish everything I set out to do, but I do set my goals high. If I do not reach them, I come in pretty darn close; close enough to be happy with my achievement.

So while we all have 168 hours per week, the most important factor is in how you use them. While many people are watching their average of 28 hours of TV each week (according to Nielsen research, 2006, US statistics), I am reading, learning, growing and doing something I love.

Living my own life is more important and exciting to me than trying to figure out who got kicked off the island or won American Idol. In fact, I have never seen either of those shows all the way through even one episode.

Now I am not saying TV is bad. I believe there is some great programming in place on certain channels, but I do not let it play a big role in my life.

The first lesson for “finding more time” in your week: Throw a brick through your TV. Talk to your spouse, have a family game night, go for a walk, talk to God (when is the last time you two spoke?). Take the time now to improve the parts of your life or business that need improvement. We all have the same amount of time. What are you doing with yours?

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Health Mistakes Parents Make

Newsweek recently reported the top six mistakes parents make when it comes to their children. I thought these were interesting.

  1. Letting kids eat in front of the television of computer screen. When you do other activities while eating, the brain is too distracted to know when the stomach is full and it leads to overeating. Sit down with your kids at the table for every meal.
  2. Too much screen time. When kids are allowed to play video games or watch tv for too long, it becomes harder for their bodies to adapt to being active. The recommendation from the American Academy of Pediatrics is no tv for kids under 2 and 1-2 hours per day for those older than 2.
  3. Avoiding new foods. Most kids won’t try new things if they don’t look appealing. Rather than giving them a new item and telling them they have to eat the entire thing, have them try at least one bite. Chances are, you’ll find at least one thing they’re willing to eat.
  4. Stocking the cupboard with junk. Experts aren’t saying that kids shouldn’t have any junk food at all, but they’re much more likely to consume it when they open up the cupboards and it’s right there. Try having healthier snacks on hand and saving the junk food for special circumstances.
  5. Prepackaged meals. Not every parent has the time to make their child’s lunch each day, but buying prepackaged meals opens the doors for much higher sodium and fat content. Make a plan at the beginning of each week for what you can prepare for your kids. This will save time the night before, or the morning of, when you’re much more likely to give them something prepackaged.
  6. Negative role models. Parents shouldn’t tell their kids to be active and then sit on the couch watching tv themselves. If you tell your kids to play outside, make sure that you are out there with them for at least some time. Also try to model good eating habits. Your habits should reflect the lifestyle you want them to have.

Monday, April 7, 2008


I walked into the kitchen at work this morning to drop off my lunch and sitting on the counter was a white chocolate lemon raspberry cake with a note that said, “help yourself.” I looked at the cake, thought about taking a piece, and then decided it wasn’t worth it (who eats cake at 8:00 in the morning, anyway?). Don’t get me wrong, the cake looked pretty tempting with the white chocolate shavings on top and whole, fresh raspberries. I was proud of myself for saying no.

Many times we’re confronted with things out of the blue and just because we don’t take enough time to think about our options, we indulge. This can happen with anything in your life; food temptations, impulse buying, or lack of productiveness because something better comes up. People who do not take the time to think about the consequences of their actions are the ones who end up regretting their decisions and then complaining later about the need to make changes in their lives.

We should challenge ourselves to think about every single decision we make throughout the day and then notice how many we change our minds on when we really give it some thought. I could have indulged in the cake if I made an impulse decision, but I know I would have regretted it. Instead, I ate healthy the rest of the day, went for a walk around lunchtime, and now I’m not feeling like I have to go to the gym or on a diet later because of one bad decision.

There is always room for little indulgences, the key is to choose those wisely and not to say yes every time.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Kids and Whole Grains

The health benefits of whole grain foods are just as important for children as they are for adults. Getting children used to whole grain foods early in their lives will establish healthy eating habits that will hopefully last forever. If you have children in your life, aim for at least 2 to 3 servings of whole grain foods each day. Here are some easy ways to incorporate whole grains into even the pickiest eaters' diets.

Serve kids whole grain cereal, but be sure to look for varieties that are low in sugar and fat. Examples include Cheerios, Wheat Chex, Quaker Essentials Crunchy Corn Bran, Shredded Wheat, and Original Total Whole Grain. If they’re not into cereal, try a slice of whole grain bread.

Get rid of your white bread and use whole grain instead. Look for the words “whole grain” or “100% whole wheat” on the package. The color of the bread does not determine its level of healthiness. Wraps are an easy way to change things up and also come in whole grain varieties. Another option is whole grain pitas.

Try whole grain crackers with cheese, whole grain pretzels, or popcorn.

When making pasta, use whole grain rather than regular. If your kids aren’t used to the whole grain and aren’t fond of it, start by mixing in ¼ whole grain pasta with regular. Gradually, increase the amount of whole grain pasta. Or try using brown rice rather than white.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

When things don't go your way

What do you do when things don't go your way? Do you pout, stomp your feet and complain? I do to a certain extent.

Once I cool down I try to mentally spin my situation around to make it positive. Remember when Jonah and the whale? Jonah was swallowed by a whale and spent 3 days and 3 nights in it's belly.

I don't know about you, but I'd certainly feel down about my luck if I found myself in the belly of a whale. The fact remains however that God could have easily let Jonah drown far out at sea.

Instead, the whale eventually spits him out at shore, thus saving his life!

What negative situation in your life can you make positive? I hear from many people who have lost jobs only to admit months later that it was the best thing that could have happened to them.

Turn your negative into a positive. Live each day in the present instead of the past. When you do, you'll find there is much more to life than what fits into your neat little plans.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Things You Never Thought Of

We're bombarded with health tips all day long. Don't eat too much fat, exercise more, drink red wine, coffee is good for you, coffee is bad for you; you get the point. Men's Health provided a list of 12 health tips, many of which are usually never mentioned. I thought it would be helpful to share some of the ones that you don't normally think of.

Avoid spray cleaners
Using household spray cleaners just once a week increases your risk of an asthma attack by 76 percent, say Spanish researchers. Use wipes instead.

Steam your broccoli
Italian researchers recently discovered that steaming broccoli increases its concentration of glucosinolates (compounds found to fight cancer) by 30 percent. Boiling actually lowers the levels.

Stretch it out
Genes in your body linked to heart disease, diabetes, and obesity can be "turned on" if you sit for hours on end, reports a study in Diabetes. Hit the "off" button by taking hourly laps during TV, book, and Web sessions.

Lean back
Parking your torso at a 90-degree angle strains your spine, say Scottish and Canadian researchers. Instead, give your chair the La-Z-Boy treatment and recline the seat back slightly. The ideal angle is 45 degrees off vertical.

Pop in your lenses post-shower
Soaping up while wearing your contacts can expose your eyes to infection-causing waterborne microbes, say
University of Illinois at Chicago researchers.

Lose the lint
Taking 2 seconds to empty the lint trap in your clothes dryer can prevent you from being one of the 315 dryer-fire victims each year in the United States.