Do Your Body Right

Anyone who knows me knows I’m not the image of fitness. I see a lot of other people my age and younger who aren’t nearly as healthy as I am, but when it comes to body weight and the ability to move it around freely, I’ve got some work to do. I guess that can be said for a lot of us.

And something I’ve noticed over the years – every time I talk to my doctor about any of a variety of issues, the response always included “diet and exercise.” Blood sugar is getting a little high? Diet and exercise. Need to take off a few pounds? Diet and exercise. Blood pressure needs to come down? Diet and exercise. I’m starting to think there’s a conspiracy.

And if you read the label on any of the multitude of weight loss products, where they brag about how the pounds and inches will just melt away, there’s always an asterisk next to that comment. Scroll down to the bottom of the label, that line you can’t read without a magnifying glass. It says, “When combined with proper diet and exercise.” Well, duh!

I like working out in a gym, weightlifting and flexibility training. I even like yoga. My problem was always a matter of convenience. My gym has several locations in the area, but they’re all several miles from the house. And, you know, my horse doesn’t like traveling long distances, especially in the cold. That’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it.

But a few weeks ago, the YMCA opened a new location a half-mile from the house. Worse yet, it’s right on the way to work. And it’s open ALL DAY. I’m starting to think I’ve run out of viable excuses. So, a couple of days ago, I took the plunge and got us signed up. My wife and I both. As luck would have it, it’s right on the way to every store she visits. Now we both have to go.

I had my first workout the day we signed up. Whatever your goal, or your taste in exercise, they’ve got you covered. Well, everything you can do in public, anyway. And as I looked around at all the equipment and facilities, it occurred to me that there’s no way I’ll ever get it all done. So, you have to pick and choose. You have to find something that will help accomplish your goal.

And, I think that’s one of the most important parts of any exercise program. You have to start with a goal. What are you trying to accomplish? If it’s just weight loss, they’ve got a routine for that. If you want to strengthen and tone as you go, there are exercises for that. And if you just want to be able to grunt and throw around really heavy weights, well … there’s a gym down the street.

For most of us, knowing how to accomplish those goals is a challenge. If you just go into a gym and watch what everybody else is doing, you’re not working on your goals – you’re working on theirs. Exercise programs need to be tailored to your specific condition and your specific needs. Walking is good for everybody. But a treadmill is just a little too much impact for my lower back. At least now.

You could work with a trainer, even just long enough to figure out how to use certain machines correctly. But, be careful because trainers are like those leftovers in the back of your refrigerator … some are a lot better than others. There are lots of books you could read, or you can just surf the internet and get the information for free.

And, believe me, the internet is loaded with info. I was looking for specific exercises to help reduce the size of my … you know, mammaries. I think that’s the technical term. And you know how Google reads what you’ve typed so far and suggests some options? Well, when I typed in “Getting ride of mo …” the first thing that popped up was “Getting rid of moobs?” Seriously? Do they have a camera or something? Like nobody out there is trying to get rid of mosquitoes? Thanks!

The point is, do a little research. Talk to people, read, surf the internet, whatever it takes. Because the same machine one person uses to slim down will help another to bulk up. And it’s critical to do the exercises correctly. Form comes first, then you can work on being macho.

We all need to exercise. And, with very few exceptions, we all need to exercise a lot more than we do now. Start with a goal – know what you’re trying to accomplish, and why. Then take a little time to find out the best (and safest) ways to accomplish that goal. Start easy and build up. It’s not a race. And don’t try to keep up with the person next to you. Just keep up with yourself.

That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Believe, and You Can Achieve

Have you ever had something you wanted, something pretty much out of reach, and then that day comes when you believe it’s possible? Maybe it was a job you wanted that you never dared apply for. You’d read the qualifications, and it just seemed a bit unrealistic. But then that day comes when you take a leap of faith. You ace the interview and get the job. Or you get a step closer and they ask you to apply again next year.

Several times in my life, I was able to advance my career by taking that leap of faith. My mom always used to say, “If you say no to yourself, they don’t have to.” And I found that a lot of those job descriptions were a wish list – something dreamed up by a manager and polished up by a Human Resources recruiter with no real idea of what the job entails.

It’s like that with a lot of things in life. You see something you want, and you begin compiling your own list of qualifications. Halfway through, you decide there’s no way you’re even remotely qualified for this, so you give up and move on to something else. Or, worse yet, you just stay right where you are.

But if you took a little time to meet somebody who has already reached your goal and asked them a few simple questions, you may find some of those qualifications (roadblocks) you put in your way are really just speed bumps. And in some cases, they’re just lines on the road. After a while, you begin to realize maybe you can do this.

Why? Because you’ve done something remotely similar before, and that came out well. Maybe you made a few mistakes along the way, and maybe you failed completely. But you learned from that experience and know what you’d do differently this time. Success may not be guaranteed, but it’s a lot more likely than you thought.

Napoleon Hill said whatever the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve. Well, the “conceive” part is easy. You see something you want or come up with a brilliant idea for something you want to accomplish. The more you think about it and begin to visualize success, it becomes a dream. Let that dream become a burning desire, and you’re on your way.

But, that’s not enough. The second part of that equation is to believe. It’s not enough to want financial success, or even to visualize yourself enjoying the rewards. You have to believe you can actually achieve that goal. You have to see yourself going through all the steps required to get there. And you have to know that, regardless of any setbacks, you will succeed.

That can be tough if you don’t have any successes to look back upon. But you do. We all do. An infant sees you holding their bottle and begins to believe they can do it. Then they see you pick up toys, and that doesn’t look so hard. One day they realize they have the ability to move a few inches across the floor, so they crawl. And, based on all those successes, they decide maybe they can walk.

It’s all part of what I call the habit of success. When you’ve learned to play Chopsticks on the piano, it’s easier to believe you can learn the next song. After a while, you’re playing with both hands, and not even looking at the keys. Then, one day, you hear somebody playing the works of Beethoven and decide that’s your next goal. Why? Because you can.

The habit of success is all about building on those seemingly small wins. After a while, taking that next step or reaching for new heights is no big deal, because if you’ve learned one thing in life, it’s that you can succeed. You’ve proven it time after time. And that, my friends, is the basis of belief. Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve.

Believing in yourself is as simple as reflecting on all those wins in the past, both big and small. And it means understanding that, what may have seemed like a failure at the time was simply a learning experience that’s made you that much stronger today. Focus on that, and you’ll begin to realize there’s nothing you can’t accomplish.

That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Dream Big … Then Dream Bigger

Those of you who read my posts regularly know we’d planned to go to an RV show this past weekend. It was a safe outing, because I’m not in any position to buy an RV at the moment. But the day is coming, and we’re beginning to look around to see what’s out there.

A friend asked why we’re shopping if we’re not ready to buy. I told him it’s only called shopping if you can afford to buy something. When your bank account is a little shy, that’s called dream-building. But I think it’s an important part of setting goals, because unless you have a reason to accomplish those goals, why bother? Having a tangible reward at the end makes it worthwhile.

As we walked through row after row of everything from small trailers to luxury motor coaches, my wife asked why I was checking out the travel trailers when we’re after something with a driver’s seat. And the reason is simple – in looking through some of those other models, you may find one or two features that you never knew about and, now that you’ve seen it, you can’t live without it.

Isn’t that the way it goes? In a previous life, I was a car salesman. One of the first lessons I learned was to find out about my customer’s budget before I showed them something fully loaded because, once they’ve seen that, they’ll never be satisfied with anything less. And that’s okay, if their budget can stretch like a bungee cord. But more often than not, it just didn’t work out.

But when you’re dream-building, you shouldn’t constrain yourself to a specific budget. Sure, reality tells you where to draw the line, but if you’re not stretching things a little, you’re not trying hard enough. The purpose of dream-building is to let your imagination roam, and then once that dream is crystal clear and you commit to it, your brain will figure out how to make it happen.

Still, as we walked through the show, I was reminded of the time my youngest daughter was sifting through a toy catalog before Christmas, pen in hand. My dad laughed and said, “You must not know what you want if you need a catalog to make your list.” She shrugged and replied, “I’m not making a list – I’m crossing off everything I don’t want.” Now, that’s what I call dream-building!

Whether your dream is a new car, a tropical vacation, or a bigger home, you have to get out there and see what’s available. Some of that you can do from the comfort of your own home. Turn on the TV and check out some of the travel shows. Pick up a magazine. Go to the library and check out some books. There are all kinds of ways to feed your imagination.

And that’s important, because it’s our imagination that allows us to visualize something beyond our current reality. It’s what led the Wright brothers to invent the airplane. It’s what allowed a team of physicists to put a man on the moon. And it’s what allows ordinary people just like us to step beyond the constraints of life as we know it, and into the great beyond.

Most people don’t dream of an ordinary life. We all want something a little out of the ordinary. And that’s the way it should be, because it’s the desire for something better that drives us to be better. Whether that means practicing a musical instrument, learning a new skill, building (or rebuilding) a relationship, or starting a business, it’s that desire that gives us a reason to try.

It would be nice if we had the ability to just go out and achieve every one of our dreams tomorrow. To have enough talent, the right physique, the perfect skills, or enough money in the bank, would mean we could have just about anything we want. It would also mean we’d have nothing left to work toward. And that, my friends, would be a pretty sad existence.

Don’t just dream a little, dream big! Feed your imagination and let it soar. Envision something greater than you ever thought possible. If you start high, you can always come down a little. But if your dream begins with what you can do today, you can never expect anything more. So, aim high. You’re worth it.

That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Who’s Got Your Ear?

My wife and I celebrated our anniversary over the weekend – 39 years of building a life and raising a family together. I’d love to say it’s all been awesome, but there’s a reason we focus on the end result instead of all the twists and turns along the way. And in our case, the end result has been more than worth everything it took to get here.

Except we haven’t reached the end yet. I like to think we’re just over halfway there. Because every day will bring new challenges and new accomplishments. Some of those days will be better than others, and some will be downright heartbreaking. But without those challenges, the successes would hardly be worth celebrating. They’d just be another day.

Marriage is like a lot of things in life. It begins with a dream, something we want enough to work for it. We dress up a bit, break out our best manners, show a little extra affection, and laugh at jokes that really aren’t that funny. We overlook flaws. We give up some of our free time. And we do it all without hesitation, because that’s how we find out if this is something we really want.

Then, there comes a point where we commit. We’re no longer just going out and having a good time – now we’re building a relationship, seeing just how far it will go. The good times get better, but we occasionally have to work through some disagreements. Things that would have sent us packing in the early days, but now we’re in too deep to just give up.

Finally, we’re ready to make the ultimate commitment. Till death do us part. That’s when all those friends who were so happy to hang out with the two of you are full of advice, and it’s not always positive. They think they’re doing you a favor. Your eyes are obviously so clouded with fairy dust, you can no longer think for yourself. Been there?

Marriage is one of a few things in life well-intended family and friends will try to talk you out of. Tell people you’re about to quit your job and move to another state, and you’ll get some feedback. Tell them you’re starting a business, and they’ll give you all the reasons it’ll never work. Tell them you’re thinking about joining the clergy and they may do a full-blown intervention.

And make no mistake – these people truly think they have your best interests at heart. They’ve been there. Or they have a friend who’s been there. Or they read a book by somebody whose cousin has a friend whose neighbor has been there. And, in every case, it ended in disaster. Otherwise, they’d just sit there quietly and pat you on the back.

If you wanted advice on advancing to the upper management of your company, would you ask someone who’s been steadily climbing the corporate ladder, or the office gossip who gets their jollies watching somebody else take a fall? Would you listen to the person who’s doing what you hope to do, or the one who can only offer a laundry list of reasons you shouldn’t?

When I wanted to learn to drive, I went to somebody who not only knew how, but could actually do it without causing an accident. When I wanted advice on relationships, I talked to my mom. When I wanted to learn how to be a comedian, I talked to touring headliners. And, here’s the thing – those people are all willing to offer their advice as well. But sometimes you have to ask.

Successful people are just as eager to share their insight as those who tried and failed, or who never tried in the first place. They may not be as loud, and they may not be as insistent. They don’t have to be. They’re too busy working on their own goals to waste time on somebody who isn’t willing to listen and learn. But if follow their advice, they can save you a lot of heartache.

A lot of people tried to talk me out of getting married. Okay, in all honesty, a lot more tried to talk my wife out of it. I’m glad we didn’t listen to them. I’d like to think my daughters and grandchildren feel the same. It hasn’t all been pretty. But even the Mona Lisa started with a smear of dark paint.

No matter what it is you hope to accomplish, learn from those who have done it instead of those who haven’t. Nobody who’s ever succeeded at anything worthwhile will try to convince you it’s not worth the effort. They know the challenges you’ll face, and they know how to help you through them. But most of all, they know the reward is worth the effort. And deep down inside, so do you.

That’s it for now. Have an awesome day!

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Your ‘Wagon’ is Right Where You Parked It

Good morning, and happy Friday! I hope your day is starting off just right.

When I saw my surgeon a couple of weeks ago, he told me I can start exercising again. By that, I think he meant something other than lifting food to my mouth. I’ve always done pretty well with that. He told me to ease back into it, which is no problem at all. I’ve learned over the years that exercise isn’t something you just jump right into. Unless you like pain.

I went a couple of times, and already my lower back is making me pay for it. I didn’t do anything intense, but apparently what I did do was a little too much. You see, extra weight and back problems never play nicely together. You have to lose the weight to make your back feel better, but exercise kills your back. It’s the proverbial Catch-22.

So, I’ve resigned myself to the fact that, at least initially, I have to do exercises where my back is fully supported. And I’m pretty sure my recliner isn’t part of the solution. That means I have to find a way to sit comfortably while I make myself sweat. Maybe a chaise lounge chair on a sunny beach? It could work!

As luck would have it, they just built a brand-new YMCA a half-mile from home, so I went in the other night for a tour. It’s pretty impressive. Two gymnasiums, two pools (one for warm-water therapy), an overhead walking track, and a huge workout room with every type of exercise apparatus known to man. Some of them are even motorized. Now, that’s my kind of exercise!

But what struck me the most was how many people were there. The place was packed. There wasn’t a treadmill to be found, and I know those basketball teams had a lot more than five players on the court. My tour guide told me it’s like that in the early evening. She also said it’s a new facility, so everyone wants to be there. For now.

Finally, I asked her if she thinks a lot of that is what we call the “resolution crowd.” You know, people who make a New Year’s resolution to lose weight, and then hit the gym every day through January and the first week or two of February. After that, you never see most of them again. Kinda like the crowd in church on Easter Sunday. She replied, “Oh, yeah!”

Granted, nobody wants to go to the gym when it’s so packed you can’t move. But, on the other hand, I’d really like to think the majority of those people will stick with it. I used to go into the gym the first week of January, see all the new faces, and say a prayer that they’d keep coming. Maybe all that praying is why they stopped. Guess I should have kept it to myself.

And the important thing is, they made the effort. I have to believe people who start working toward a goal and fall off the wagon are at least able to remember why they started it in the first place, then dust themselves off and climb back on. I say that because I’m one of them. I’m great at starting projects. It’s just the follow-through that gives me trouble.

Still, with very few exceptions, we can always start again. We can get back to the gym or get back to that healthy diet. We can finish painting the basement or clean out the garage. We can write that book, build that business, or climb that mountain. Whatever it was we started and stopped (or never quite started in the first place), we can go back and finish it.

As long as we’re breathing, we’re never completely out of the game. Granted, there are things I can’t do at this age and physical condition that I wish I could do. But I can improve my physical condition to make some of them a little more possible. I may never run a marathon, but maybe someday I can walk one. Sometimes we have to tweak our goals, but we should never just let them die.

Exercise is like a lot of other things in life. When you haven’t been doing it for a long time, you need to ease back into it and find your sweet spot. Too much too fast can cause some serious problems. And, like exercise, you can ease your way back into anything else you’ve started and let slide. The goal is still there, and the path to success hasn’t really changed. You just need to get back on track.

You never truly fail until you stop trying. And, as I’ve always said, better late than never. If there’s something you want, no matter how many times you’ve tried before, keep on trying. You’ll get there.

That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Feed Your Dreams to Help Them Grow

Good morning! I hope your day is off to a great start.

We were talking yesterday about dreams and how, for too many of us, the ability to dream seems to fade as we grow older. I’m not sure if that’s because we’ve been kicked down a few times too many, or because we just don’t have much that excites us anymore. Either way, it’s something I hope never to experience. There’s just too much in life I still haven’t accomplished.

I’m the kind of person who can usually describe my dreams in pretty vivid detail. Not the kind I have while I’m asleep … those are usually gone by the time I get my first look at the clock. But in terms of goals and plans for the future, I have no problem with that. Those visions are crystal clear.

Still, we all need to feed our dreams from time to time. It’s not enough to see a motorhome drive down the road and say, “Someday!” I’m a proponent of putting up pictures where you’re sure to see them a few times a day, but pictures lack depth. Sometimes, you need to experience the real thing.

Well, as luck would have it, there’s an RV show in town this weekend and we’re headed over there for a little dream-building this Saturday. I doubt we’ll find the exact floorplan and options we want right there on the showroom floor, but that’s okay because the bank says I still have to wait a little longer before I get my own set of keys. But you know what? They’ll still let you look!

Now, I’ll admit a motorhome is a pretty lofty dream, at least for some people. That won’t stop me from owning one, but it’s a little more involved than buying a refrigerator or a new car. And I know there are people who wouldn’t even consider going to a show or a dealership until they have the money to close the deal. But that can take a long time. Dream-building makes it happen sooner.

A friend often tells the story of giving a presentation in Mexico to an audience that didn’t speak a word of English. As he was telling them to put a picture of their dream on the refrigerator, a woman in the back started jumping up and down and yelling in excitement. He asked the interpreter what she was saying, and he said, “She has a dream! She wants a refrigerator!”

There’s a certain humor in that, but also a certain level of humility. A refrigerator is usually no big deal, because very few of us have ever lived without one. Like too many other things, we generally take them for granted. As long as they’re working and keeping the food cold, we seldom give them a second thought. But for some people, that IS the dream.

The perceived extravagance of our dreams varies by our ability to attain them. Thirty years ago, I worked for a company that built world-class motor yachts. These boats were the very definition of opulence. The first boat I worked on, the captain was opening two boxes of double-stemmed Waterford crystal. The glassware in those two boxes cost $15,000. No special reason – just because.

Now, for people who can afford luxury like that, my dream of owning a motorhome is pretty frugal, especially since I’d have to drive it myself. And to the person living in a mansion, a mobile home isn’t all that impressive. But I remember a time when owning a double-wide was a dream that took us from one dealer to another, three years before we were actually able to buy one.

It’s all a matter of perspective. One man’s junk is another man’s treasure. But you can bet the person who’s completely happy with their current circumstances won’t be doing much of anything to make things better. It all has to start with a vision, a dream of something that’s worthy of a little effort.

When we keep our dreams in focus, our brain starts working with a sense of purpose. Instead of accepting those dreams as a passing vision, it tries to make them materialize. And nothing feeds that energy better than putting yourself in the middle of your dream, right there in the driver’s seat. The deeper you immerse yourself into that version of reality, the more likely you are to achieve it.

Our brains think in pictures, and that’s why it’s so important to have pictures of dreams where we’ll see them several times a day. But sometimes, we need to step beyond the two-dimensional world and truly experience the sights, sounds, and smells associated with our dreams. That’s when they become real.

So, feed those dreams. They may seem far off at the moment, but you’re getting closer every day.

That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reser

You’re Never Too Old to Dream

In 2017, 79-year-old Lucy Capers crossed the stage at the University of Maryland’s graduation to accept her diploma and degree of Bachelor of Science in Computer Studies. Let me say that again. She was just shy of 80 years old with 13 great-grandchildren and was graduating with people more than 50 years younger. When asked why, she simply said, “I always had a desire to know things.”

I love these stories. It’s worth turning on the news, just on the off-chance something like this will come up. Maybe that’s partly because I’m only 18 years from that age myself. It’s nice to know people can and do still get out there and chase their dreams, even when most others their age would be happy to kick back and coast through the final ride.

My grandson and I have always enjoyed a day at the local theme park. I still enjoy the thrill of a good rollercoaster, especially the ones that defy gravity with loops, corkscrews, and inversions. And as I stand in line for those rides with people who aren’t old enough to buy their own ice cream, it’s heartwarming to see people older than I am in the same line.

Now, I can’t say my doctor would be all that happy about seeing me in that line. That’s okay. He’s too wimpy to ride these things anyway. But there seems to be a misconception that, once we reach a certain age, we’re supposed to start acting like old people.

I’ve always tried to instill a spirit of youth and hope in my daughters and grandchildren, and I’m sure most of you do as well. I always told them they could accomplish anything they set their mind to and encouraged them to embrace their dreams. And let me tell you, kids can dream! It’s hard sometimes not to bring them back to “reality”, but it’s so important that we don’t.

So, at what point in life do we decide dreams are to be reeled in and it’s time to face the real world? For me, it began in high school. I had grand visions of life as a rock star, complete with a waterfront mansion and my own personal yacht. That’s when Dad started coaching my dreams a little and suggested maybe I should come up with a more realistic plan. Okay, his exact words were “get your head out of the clouds and find a real job,” but you get the idea.

And he didn’t mean to be negative. I didn’t mean to be negative as I gave my daughter some career advice when, at the age of 17, she informed me that she was looking for something “in management.” There are, after all, certain steps we have to take if we want to climb a particular ladder. You may skip one or two rungs along the way, but you can’t just jump right to the top.

And, even though I had to dash her dreams for the moment and tell her that being “third key” at the vitamin store just isn’t all that impressive on an executive resume, she eventually climbed that ladder and moved to the top of her career field. Because, like her dad, she never stopped dreaming. Her sister is the same. I guess the nut really doesn’t fall too far from the tree.

What made a 79-year-old think she could go to college and get a degree? The same thing that makes a toddler think they can climb the shelves of the refrigerator to reach the marshmallows. It’s an inner desire, a fire that just won’t be extinguished, and a brain that never learned the meaning of “impossible.”

What are your dreams? More importantly, which of your dreams have you pushed to the side over the years? You know, they never really die. Like an abandoned puppy, they sit there just waiting for the right person to come along and enjoy them for what they are, and what they can become.

Several months ago, a Michigan man found out the rock he’d picked up and had been using as a doorstop for the past 30 years was actually a meteorite worth $100,000. Wonder how many people kicked that rock out of the way before he came along?

You’re never too old to dream. And you’re never too old to act on those dreams. Give up on that whole concept of acting your age and accepting whatever life throws your way. And stop leaving your dreams on the side of the road because you picked up too much extra baggage along the way and something had to go.

Life will deal you enough disappointments without adding any more of your own. And the best way to work through those disappointments is to keep those dreams alive. If you have kids, you’ve probably told them “you can do anything you set your mind to.” Well, maybe it’s time to say it again. Only this time, stand in front of the mirror when you do it.

That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved