by Nate Truman

1151706_boy_sucking_fingers“All our talents increase in the using, and every faculty, both good and bad, strengthens by exercise.”

ANNE BRONTE, 1820-1849



If you are not in the place where you think you should be, stop and think about what you have practiced. If you are in great physical shape, I know it is because of your eating and exercising practices. If your relationships are strong, loving and trusting, I know what you practiced when you were interacting with others. If your finances are all in order, you have little or no debt, and you have a plan for future adventures and expenses, I know the kinds of habits you practice. There is one little problem with practice though, the opposite is true as well.

Your daily time is limited, and each choice you make on how to spend each moment, sends you on a specific set of outcomes. A nap or some exercise? Spending 2 hours scanning the internet or 2 hours interacting with your loved ones? “Zoning out” to the radio on your drive home, or listening to a recorded motivational or educational book? It is the small consistent decisions that will, over time, send you on a whole new life path.

You know that if you want progress, you have to take action. Also, if you take massive action in one area, the other areas of your life have to be put on hold for a while. But just as a crash starvation diet does help you lose a few pounds fast, we all know it’s temporary. It’s the consistent healthy eating combined with regular exercise that is the real answer to staying in good over all shape.

Take a look at how you are spending your days, hour by hour. If you want to move in a new and better direction in one area of your life, identify a habit that is not helping you achieve your goals, and decide today to replace it with a better habit. Do NOT decide to workout for 4 hours, or run 30 miles. Go for a short walk. You have to break the mental habit, and that will take 3-6 weeks of regularly doing something new.

Choose only one habit to replace. I say “replace” not break, or stop, because with nothing to replace it, you will be back doing your old habit in a short time. You will have to consciously tell yourself “no, I am not doing that old habit, I am now doing this” for a few weeks. Each time you sucessfully do the new action, try and think of all the reasons why the new habit is what you want to do, and all of the positive things that will happen because you are taking action.
At some point you will just do the new habit, because it feels “right.”  You will just pull on your running shorts, or not even think to open your video game or turn on the TV, because you like the new you better, the one that is improving, instead of ignoring. Once you have successfully replaced the old habit, you can concentrate on intensifying and improving it.

If most of your life is about being a mom and serving your family’s needs, or keeping up with a demanding job, (or both!) don’t beat yourself up about the areas of your life that are not 100% how you want them. Fitness takes time and money, family takes time and money, survival takes time and money. There are seasons of our lives that shift the focus of our priorities. But no matter your situation, I am sure you can find a few small bad habits that are working against your true desires and direction, and then choose to actively shift them to a better alternative. Knowing you are taking a small step in the right direction will leave you in a much better place than guilt or self flaggilation ever will.
For long time success of reforming your life in all areas, slow and steady really does win the race!

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by Nate Truman

Don’t be fooled by the calendar. There are only as many days in the year as you make use of. One man gets only a week’s value out of a year while another man gets a full year’s value out of a week.
Charles Richards

We are all different, but the one great equalizer is time. From the richest to the poorest, we all get the same “infinite now” to use how we choose. In today’s internet world, however, there are more requests for our time than ever before. I have always had a “to-do” list handy for many years. On this list are the items I want to get done, and I can choose which ones to work on. Some are urgent, some important, but they are MY goals.

Slowly over the last few years, my list started becoming my inbox in my email account. Now, many of the emails DID have something to do with items that I had on my list, but many were forwarded chain mails, funny photos, internet hoax warnings that just asked for my brain power for “just a second or so!” I would open it, scan it, decide if it was worth any more time, delete it or if I thought it warranted a response, I would quickly hit “reply” and send a short answer.

I felt like I had accomplished something! I had dealt with an item, and crossed it off my list. There was only one problem: that email was never MY goal, it wasn’t on MY list, and I achieved nothing other than keeping a server busy, and wasting some of my life.

Add to that a MySpace or Facebook account, Twitter, my lotto winnings in Nigeria, and people with a lot of time on their hands forwarding on funny pictures of cats, and suddenly I was spending every free moment of my day trying to delete or cross off another email. I worked all day, never stopped typing or responding, and at the end of the day I had no real progress towards my goals. I did feel like I had put in a good days work, but when reviewing all that had been done; I had made little or no progress on my action items.

So here is my short list of ways to control the EMAIL MONSTER and get back to your goals:

1. Unsubscribe from everything! Just as you would not subscribe to 20 magazines that would pile up in your mail box, unless you have one or two info emails that you actually get info you use in your life or business on a regular basis, they are out.

2. If it says Fw.fw.fw.fw.fw.fwd at the top, delete it.

3. If it is a good friend that you want to stay in contact with, you can reply, but ask a specific question, to start a conversation.
“LOL” may be polite, but you are not closer friends because of that communication. Tell them you always will have time for them, just not junk mail.

4. Don’t open your email account when you sit down at work! This is the KEY, but I know it’s hard to do! Those emails are waiting for responses RIGHT NOW!
It’s OK. Take the first hour of your computer day, for your goals, your to-do items, your creative time. You may find you want two hours tomorrow!

5. Don’t fall into the trap of yo-yo emails! If you must deal with something, deal with it once, and if you don’t want to hear about it, don’t ask a question in your reply!
Otherwise, it will come right back to your “in box” tomorrow.

6. Choose ONE social networking site, and don’t allow yourself to spend key early time there, and limit it to 30 minutes. Even better, join, find your friends, and only respond to set up a time when you will actually see each other. Best? Just don’t.

7. Print out a large print version of YOUR to-do goals and tape them to the side of the computer. Work off of that list.

8. DELETED! As Strong Bad the cartoon would say, delete any emails you can after dealing with them. For the emails with info you may need later, put them in a folder and name it “info.” Do this sparingly, otherwise when you go looking for it, you have to spend too much time digging for it.

9. Don’t be part of the problem! If you are the one forwarding cute animal photos, or chain mails, that means you have nothing to say to the other person other than the real life “Hey.” If you just want to reach out and touch someone, take the time to write a short personal email. We have all seen the cute cats in the fishbowl.

10. Stay on target, by not opening more windows. If the amount of time wasted clicking from one link to another were added up, I think we would all be astounded by the amount of lost time and potential. Don’t follow the “shinny foil ball” of the pretty advertisement or tagline. Even one about “10 WAYS TO CONTROL THE EMAIL MONSTER!”
(Well, maybe that one!)

You have the same amount of time each day as the greatest people currently on Earth have, but I know they are creating, and doing. Remember, no one will say at your funeral, “his inbox in his email account was nearly empty!” Start today to put into action these few steps, and you can tame the EMAIL MONSTER. Who knows, you may be able to start skipping days, or weeks without checking! If you just freaked out a bit at that thought, you really need to start doing a few of these!

Now, email this to twenty friends in the next five minutes, and great things will happen to you! If you don’t your computer will crash. Just kidding. No really, do it.

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by Nate Truman

“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.”  Anne Frank


A personal mission statement gives you clarity of purpose.  Most corporations have them, but unless they are the written down vision of a single person who started the company, they often become politically correct mumbo jumbo and that’s not what I am talking about here. You are going to create a short, clear sentence that defines who you are and who you want to be in the future.

To start you off, here are some short, clear examples of corporate statements.

3M – “To solve unsolved problems innovatively”
Mary Kay Cosmetics – “To give unlimited opportunity to women.”
Merck  – “To preserve and improve human life.”
Wal-Mart – “To give ordinary folk the chance to buy the same thing as rich people.”
Walt Disney – “To make people happy.”


Your mission should answer the following questions: Why are you here? What impact do you want to make when you get up every day?


You should also ponder your vision of your future, when composing your statement.  Where do you want to be in the future? 5 years, 10 years? Where do you see yourself at that time?  What changes can you see being made after years of your focus in a new direction?


The last item to include in your thinking is your values.  They are your rule book, so to make sure you don’t trample your core beliefs in your effort to move toward your vision, also keep those in front of you as you form your personal mission statement.


Then connect all three as a single message.  If you can make it as short as possible, it will be easier to keep in your head to redirect you when you wander off track during your day.   Don’t get stuck trying to write the “perfect” mission statement, it will change over your life’s journey. 

I think you will find that spending just a few minutes on creating a “slogan” for your life, you will gain a new clarity of purpose that you didn’t have before.   If you have a favorite quote that resonates with all of these elements, use it as your personal statement, or change it so it calls you to action.

  I have personalized a quote from Gandhi that keeps me more focused:

“I must be the change I want to see in the world.”

It calls me to action, it holds me accountable, and it applies in every aspect of my life.  Feel free to use it for yourself!  The quote from Anne Frank at the beginning has also been useful to me over the years.  It too keeps me focused on the positive change I can dedicate myself too and that I can start right now.   

Currently my personal mission statements are the following:

Today I have been given the gift of life; I will open it, enjoy it, and treasure it.

The longer one is “Spend each infinite now as best I can to leave the world a better, happier, love filled place.”

Enjoy the process of defining your personal mission statement.  Once you refine it so that each time you read it, it has the effect of correcting your life’s heading with renewed vigor, you will have found your “magic” words to keep you living out your dream life.


by Nate Truman


1208834_earth_2“The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark.”

Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni


If you want to take command of your one and only time here on Earth, the most important step is to have a set of clear, written goals.  I have read over many sets of other people’s goals, and 95% of them are standard wants and desires for items or situations that most people would agree could be a goal of theirs.  Financial security, weight loss or increased fitness, career success, bigger and better homes, cars, and so on.   Personal improvement goals and security or luxury goals do point you in a direction of action that will have you end up in a better situation than when you started.   


However, if you get out your list of written goals, and look at the long range goals, do they excite you into action?  Does the thought of eating small portions of egg whites and working out 3 hours a day to get to your “perfect” body fat percentage in 6 months bring a grin of anticipation to your face?  Or how about denying yourself any fun spending for 20 years so you can retire at some early age to then be able to do nothing all day and gloat about it to those still working?


Don’t get me wrong, I am all for implementing self discipline to achieve personal goals like these.  But how many people have had the above goals on their lists, only to give them lip service, or occasional effort?  Why is that?  The answer is simple, it’s because the goals are self oriented, and ultimately not compelling.


Now if you had a “world changing goal” at the top of these same goals, it changes everything.   It is all about whom you are doing them for, and why, that will create constant an enthusiastic  action.


Let’s suppose that you have a motivation to change a wrong in this world, or create a solution to a problem or situation that would literally change lives if you achieved it, even partially?   What if you needed the stamina that only a healthy body could give you, to be able to pursue that goal?  What if you managed to contribute so much at your job, or create something, that the money would flow to you, allowing you to retire from your daily job, so you could devote all of your waking hours to helping even more? 


From what I have read about Michelangelo, he was tireless, and always had more projects he wanted to achieve than he had time to do.  Bill Gates was tireless in dominating the computer world and the internet until that became too small of a goal for him, and now he’s tackling world problems.

 Bill Gates solving problems on a world scale

As far as I know, neither Michelangelo, nor Bill Gates is known for their rock hard abs.  Bill does have a pretty big house, but it wasn’t his long term goal.  It was a result of solving problems, and creating new ideas.  Michelangelo had money problems at times in his life, but relaxing in a big comfortable home was not his drive.   He worked tirelessly to release as much of the art and imagination that was in his soul as he could each day.   


I think Bill Gates is happier now, than when he was at the top of his game in the competitive world of computers.  Instead of his top goal of trying to dominate markets, his newer world changing goals are solving problems that help others.  He has always been driven to solve problems, but now his end goal, his driving force is motivated not by winning, or having the most money and stock, but by helping millions around the world live a healthier, more prosperous life. 


 When your over riding goal changes from looking good, and having things to impress others, to staying fit and using your things to help others, true happiness is achieved.   Abs and a mansion for you, or millions of healthy, better educated children because you lived?  Which of these goals would motivate you more?   In the end, which end result is truly more impressive?


I know, we don’t all have the talent of Michelangelo, or the resources of Mr. Gates.  But what if you modified your long term goals in your area of influence, to help one student? Support one great teacher with supplies, or started a movement to solve a problem in your town? Once you focus on how your contribution can help elevate and improve other people’s lives, you will change your part of the world, and leave a legacy that will bring you happiness. 

A world goal will outlive you, in ways you can not even dream of.  So write out your true inner motivation for each goal on your list.  Next, cross off a few that are only motivated by self centered desires.  Lastly, create your first world changing goal right now, and take the first small step of action before the day is over.  The universe only has one “you” to do the good that only you are in position to do. 

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