What Is Authentic Manhood?

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Father’s Day is here! I have been blessed to have a father who showed me how an authentic man lives and honors God. Now, I am not saying he has been perfect, but he has been consistently authentic. I count it a blessing, a privilege, even an advantage to have been shown how a man who lives a life that honors God.

Unfortunately, many young men have not been shown how a man who lives an authentic, God-honoring life. I believe many of the problems in our modern society can be laid at the feet of men—men who have never really grown up. They seem stuck in adolescence.  Failed to launch!

Several years ago, our pastor Rick Thompson led several of the men in our church through a program called Men’s Fraternity. Pastor Robert Lewis developed this program. It gave me a great biblical foundation on how to raise my boys. I had a framework of ideas and principles, a set of rules. Most men like to know what the rules are.

You can ask my two sons today (they are grown men now) and they can give you the four rules of manhood. I used these rules when teaching them how a man should live. If they messed up, I could always bring it back to one of these rules.

These rules are not really in any order other than the most important rule is to look to God for your reward. We have a tendency to look for the wrong rewards. It really is in our nature to look in the wrong direction. But if we look to God for our rewards, it gives us a true north, an immoveable marker. We can never really get lost if we keep our sights on the Great Reward. He is the measure of our success.

We men have some other natural tendencies that are not good. One of them is to be passive. Our Great Grandfather Adam was the master of passivity! He stood around and did nothing when Mother Eve was being tempted. Passivity is our default position. We have to resist passivity! (Rule #2).

Being passive is where most men mess up. (At least I am speaking from personal experience.) After all, if I wait long enough, the problem might just go away on its own or someone else will take care of it. (It’s usually a woman taking care of the problem the man should be taking care of.)

Rule #3 is to accept responsibility. It really goes hand in glove with Rule #2. If we truly are accepting responsibility, we cannot live a passive life. Again, our Great Grandfather Adam showed us how to deflect responsibility: It was that woman’s fault that God gave him!

Usually my biggest problem of the day is found in my mirror. The crazy thing, the solution to my biggest problems is usually found in the same mirror.

The fourth rule is to lead courageously. I believe in the heart and soul of every man is the heart of a superhero. God made us in his image and gave us testosterone. Testosterone can sometimes make us a little edgy. It can make us risky, but it’s who we are. We should lead thoughtfully, prayerfully, but with great courage.

We are called not to a lukewarm life but to one full of challenges and adventures. God uses the problems in our lives to make us stronger. God must think some of us are pretty strong based off of the weight of our problems. It is through our problems and challenges we live out authentic manhood, honoring God.

Embrace the challenges that come your way. Celebrate the godly men in your life. Look to God for your reward. Reject being passive. Accept responsibility and lead courageously.

Wishing You an Amazing Life,

Dr. Curtis Brown


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Dr. Curtis Brown is a family care physician in Yukon, Oklahoma, specializing in nutrition and weight loss management. He is the author of The Caleb Journey.

The Connection between Diabetes and Alzheimer's

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Alzheimer’s disease has recently been in the news because of the lack of progress on new treatments. Many of the big pharmaceutical companies are abandoning their current research on finding new treatments for this incurable problem. The research has been trying to find a way to decrease the plaque that can build up in the brain. There’s a strong correlation to this amyloid plaque and worsening symptoms.

They have spent billions of dollars and hopeful studies to reduce plaque and improve outcomes. We still have no new medications and no really good treatments for this debilitating disease that reaches into most of our families.

There are a few medications on the market that can help slightly. They have been out for years and offer a little improvement with memory and other problems associated with dementia.

It seems like every day science is advancing and I am confident that one day we will have better options than we have now. For years now, we have known of the connection to diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease. Some doctors have referred to it as Type III dementia.

There is more and more research showing this connection to diabetes and insulin resistance. Recently, there have been studies suggesting that common medications we use to treat insulin-resistant diabetes may in fact help with dementia.

So I am hopeful that eventually our smart scientists and doctors will come up with better solutions. But for now, what should you do if you are concerned about Alzheimer’s?

I believe the current evidence strongly supports healthy eating and exercise! I have seen numerous patients who change their diets and start an easy exercise program and have slowed down the damage of this disease. Our bodies are fearfully and wonderfully made and will respond when we treat them well.

If you’re having bad results with your health, and you don’t eat well or exercise, why not try for a few days to eat clean and exercise a little? What do you have to lose but a couple of pounds?

Try my 10-Day Diet Challenge and see if you feel better in just 10 days. Most people report positive results. The average male will drop 6–8 pounds and the average lady will lose 4–6 pounds.

If you have diabetes or have a family history of diabetes, download my free manual and how to beat diabetes. I believe this information can also help slow down the development of Alzheimer’s in patients who are at risk.

 

I am amazed at how most people’s bodies will respond to healthy nutrition, exercise, and sleep. Most of people will spend more on taking care of their cars than they will spend on taking care of their bodies!

Take care of yourself. Splurge a little and pay for a gym membership or see your doctor for a check-up. Spend a little more money on buying good food. Invest some time in exercise. Read a good book. Your body will thank you for the investment!

Wishing You an Amazing Life,

Dr. Curtis Brown


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Dr. Curtis Brown is a family care physician in Yukon, Oklahoma, specializing in nutrition and weight loss management. He is the author of The Caleb Journey.

The Truth about Man Boobs

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I have recently encountered a number of patients complaining about having man boobs. It seems to be a growing problem (pardon the pun). I think everybody knows what we are talking about when we say man boobs.

Gynecomastia is the medical name that we commonly refer to as man boobs. But not all man boobs are created equal. Gynecomastia is a medical condition that causes the male breast to increase its fat deposition. It can cause some pain and otherwise discomfort. Many adolescent boys have some gynecomastia.

There is a difference between gynecomastia and just a fatty chest. Maybe we are talking semantics here, but many overweight guys have fatty chests and refer to this as man boobs.

Generally, gynecomastia occurs when there is an imbalance between the androgen hormones and estrogen. You read that right. Guys do have estrogen. When young boys are going through puberty, they have an increase in both estrogen and testosterone. If this gets out of balance a little, it can cause some breast development. It almost always goes away, but there are occasions when more help is needed.

There are many medications that can cause gynecomastia. Some of the more common ones are used for stomach acid reduction. Cimedidine and omeprazole are common medications used by millions that can cause gynecomastia. Many prostate medications can cause some problems as well. A simple search of the internet will reveal a long list of medications that are associated with gynecomastia.

Another common cause is testosterone “boosters.” One of the common ingredients for enhancing testosterone is DHEA. It’s a precursor to testosterone and estrogen. It can raise your testosterone, but it often raises your estrogen levels. Again, the higher your estrogen levels, the more your chances are for developing gynecomastia.

So, what is a guy with man boobs to do? First thing is to realize gynecomastia usually is benign and will often go away on its own. If you are taking some medications that might cause it, talk with your doctor about alternatives. If you are having pain or feel a hard lump, it’s best to get it checked out. If it’s simply lasting longer than you think it should, please get it checked out. I have ordered many mammograms for guys over the years and do occasionally run into some problems.

The best solution is to lose weight. The higher levels of fat in our bodies can often translate into higher levels of estrogen. High levels of estrogen are the root of the problem. It certainly would not hurt to do some bench presses and weight training, but it is weight loss itself that can really help. (People often wonder if doing sit-ups and other abdominal exercises will burn the belly fat off faster than other exercises. Unfortunately, we cannot pick and choose where are body mobilizes fat and stores it for energy.)

Be careful of any quick cures you read about on the web. There are many products that are reported to help, but I am skeptical. 

Wishing You an Amazing Life,

Dr. Curtis Brown

Is Money a Risk Factor for Poor Health?  

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If you read about your health on the internet, you will find all sorts of information that may or may not be helpful or correct. I often will find lists of things to do, to eat, or to avoid. It can be hard to sort through the information and make practical applications to your own situation.

I usually like those articles that list bullet points because I can scan them for relevance and then move on or dig deeper if desired. Today, I just have one bullet item. It is really more of a question or actually an observation.

1.     Is money, or the lack of money, a risk factor for poor health?

I have traveled to third-world countries where the average citizen lives in poverty and for the most part, the people are healthy. I have also seen affluent citizens in our country who are in poor health.  Obviously, the opposite situations can be observed as well. I have seen kids go to bed hungry and malnourished. I have seen others who can spend time and energy on good food, gym memberships, and advanced medical treatments and develop horrible health problems.

I think I am asking a deeper question. Money certainly gives options and can provide expensive medical care, doctors’ visits, immunizations, and medications—all of which should lead to better health.

Is there a connection, at least in our culture, to money and health? Is it possible that the way we handle our resources can predict our health to some degree? I’m not suggesting that if you are unhealthy it’s because you’re not a good steward of your money or vise versa.

I have the privilege of taking care of many Medicare patients. Many of them do very well from a health prospective and from a financial prospective. Unfortunately, I have several elderly patients who are living only on social security. Some of them are surviving (somehow) on only around $800 a month.

They are very limited to their abilities to purchase healthcare and supplies, such as medications and healthy foods. Most of them that come to my mind were hard-working, good people. They were and are productive citizens and bring great value to our culture. But they have limited resources.

There is a growing wave of Baby Boomers who will be retiring over the next 10–20 years. Many are poorly prepared for retirement. Many will need to continue in the labor force out of necessity, not desire.

My whole intent on this article is to simply sound a warning bell to those far from retirement (or to those who are close to retirement). You will probably need more money than you think to live comfortably. I want you to have an amazing life.

I am not a retirement specialist. So please talk to someone who is. I know many people who are totally prepared and will have an amazing life in retirement. But I also see currently many who are not prepared.

My encouragement to you is to get prepared! Give some thought to your retirement. Seek good council.

One of the major disciplines that will help you financially is also good discipline for your health: delayed gratification. Spend less than you make. This is the primary key to having financial resources later. Eat fewer calories than you burn. This is the primary way to lose weight. Delay gratification.

Know where your money is going. (Have a budget.) Know how many calories you eat a day. Check your bank account every now and then. Get a physical every now and then. There are so many similarities to the habits that create good financial health to good physical health.

Most of us have good intentions. We intend to do all sorts of things that are good for our families and good for us. The problem is we are usually going to start tomorrow. Tomorrow never comes.

“Where there is no vision, the people perish.”

Develop a plan, put some thought to your future, and start today!

Wishing You an Amazing Life,

Dr. Curtis Brown

Two Weeks on the Keto Diet: The Good and the Bad

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The ketogenic diet seems to be the latest thing in weight loss circles. There are many articles about the diet and many celebrities are promoting it as well. So I decided to try the ketogenic diet for a couple of weeks and wanted to write about my experience.

The ketogenic diet—or keto for short—is basically a low-carb, high-protein, and high-fat diet. To get into ketosis, you need to consume fewer than 50 grams of carbohydrates daily. The idea is to consume the majority of your calories from healthy fats (yes, there are such things) and protein. I recently penned a blog about the keto diet that goes into much more detail. Read “A Primer for the Ketogenic Diet.”

I have messed around with the keto diet for a few days at a time in the past but never really tried to sustain it for any length of time. Recently, I did the keto diet for two weeks and kept my carbohydrate intake down to under 50 grams a day and on several days fewer than 20 grams.

I found myself in ketosis (which is good) fairly quickly. The cool thing about ketosis is it tends to block your appetite. I didn’t get as hungry as I normally do. Overall, I dropped 2 lbs. a week for a 4-pound weight loss. Not to bad for two weeks. I also got to move my belt up another notch!

I did have a tough time with my workouts. I had trouble with energy. Our bodies will prefer to burn carbs as a primary source of energy, but when you are not consuming any carbs, our bodies turn to fats to burn energy. I was able to complete all of my workouts, but my intensity was down slightly. I think with time I could probably figure out a better way to fuel for workouts but did struggle for these two weeks.

I also had some trouble finding healthy fats to eat that were convenient. I do like avocadoes but after a while, I grew a little weary of eating them. Fortunately for me, my wife is an amazing cook and prepared some great ketogenic meals for me. I also consumed a lot of nuts. They are easy and convenient but do pack lots of calories. One of the good things about the keto diet is that it’s carnivore-friendly. You do want to watch your protein intake and not go overboard with it. (For me details about how much to eat, please read the previous blog mentioned above). I did probably eat too much beef jerky!

The interesting thing for me was my blood test results. I had previously tested my blood several months ago and then tested on the final day of my two weeks. My main personal go was to make sure I could get and keep my blood sugar down. My fasting blood sugar was well below 100 and my A1c was 5.4. (The A1c is an average of your blood sugar for 3 months.) The crazy thing for me was my total cholesterol. It went from being well below 200 to over 300! One positive thing about my lipid panel was my HDL (the good cholesterol). It went up really high as well. My ratio of good cholesterol to bad was okay.

My overall takeaway from my two-week experience was generally positive. I found the diet fairly easy to tolerate without getting too “hangry.” If I were to do it again and for a longer time, I would have to come up with some different snacks and meals. There are plenty of resources available for free on the Internet that gives you great recipes and other ideas for foods. I was disappointed in my total cholesterol number but hope to get it back to normal before long.

I hope this has been helpful for you and I would encourage you to try the ketogenic diet if you have any interest in it. It is especially good for getting your blood sugar down.

I am still a fan of my 10-Day Diet Challenge. It has worked the best for me over the years of just about anything I have done. Let me know about your experiences with your weight loss journey. I would love to hear from you about the keto diet or if you have done the 10-Day Diet Challenge.

Wishing You an Amazing Life,

Dr. Curtis Brown


Supplements: The Basics and the Best Ones

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Do you take supplements? Have you considered taking them, but you have too many unanswered questions?

Many doctors have varying opinions ranging from, “Must take always,” to “Never take any.” I believe somewhere in the middle is the correct path.

If you research the subject, you will find countless articles and opinions on the value of supplements. Almost anything anyone takes can have a placebo effect of up to 30 percent. I always make the argument that if you are taking a supplement and you feel better, it doesn’t matter if it’s a placebo effect or if it’s biologically effective. Better is good! (I guess the one caveat is that the supplement is doing no harm.)

One of the more critical things is to trust the source. So many of the supplements manufactured are unregulated. You may or may not be getting what you think you are. You will always want to verify the source as being reputable. For me, I always recommend Thorne Research products. They go above and beyond standard requirements for production and safety. I know there are other good manufacturers of supplements, but I have been working with them for several years and have had no issues or concerns.

Thorne only distributes their products through healthcare providers. They believe patients are at least receiving some guidance through their providers. I am an affiliate of Thorne. This means I get a rebate when someone purchases their products with my healthcare provider account. If you want to use their products, you will need to provide my HCP #: 1050950.

I suggest you visit their website even if you do not use their products. They have a tremendous library for education on most all things related to supplements.

The following are products I frequently recommend or take myself. I also provide a brief explanation of the reason to consider taking them. Please consult with your healthcare provider before starting anything. Also, be aware some of these might interfere with prescription medications. The following is simply a list and should not be viewed as a recommendation to any one individual. You can get on their site and learn more about each product than what is presented here.

·      Al’s Formula — a vitamin especially designed for men over 40.

·      Basic Nutrient III — a vitamin for men and post-menopausal women.

·      Basic Nutrient IV — a vitamin designed for women who are still having periods.

·      Children’s Basic Nutrient — simply an all-around MVI for kids.

·      Super EPA Pro — their best fish oil product.

·      Vit D-5000 —5,000 units of vitamin D3.

·      Whey Protein Isolate — a good protein supplement for smoothies. It has chocolate and vanilla flavors. (I prefer the chocolate in my smoothies, but the vanilla tastes okay as well.)

·      Fiber Mend — fiber supplement that can help keep your bowels regular.

·      Flora Mend — a probiotic. I almost always recommend patients take a probiotic if they are taking antibiotics for infections.

·      LipoCardia — expensive, but can help lower your total cholesterol and also supports muscle energy.

·      MethylGuard —a vitamin-B complex. (I take this one daily for energy.)

·      Meriva 500 — contains curcumin and is used for multiple reasons. I mainly think of it as an anti-inflammatory agent.

Thorne has hundreds of other products available and you can view them their website. They provide patient education in well-written monologues. Take a look at their products and research and compare with other brands.

Wishing You an Amazing Life,

Dr. Curtis Brown


A Primer for the Ketogenic Diet

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First Things First: What’s the Best Diet?

There are all sorts of diet plans easily available. Simply search the internet, and you will find hundreds of different types of diets—all claiming to be the best. It can be confusing to say the least. So which one is the best? Why are there so many different plans? How can so many experts disagree on the best plan?

One of the reasons there are so many different diet plans is because there are so many different people with different preferences, genetics, experiences, and tastes. Many plans are really healthy and good for you. Some are kind of crazy and should generally be avoided. But still, which one is the best one?

I am honestly not sure if there is a “best” one. The one that is best for you may not work for me.  So the best one for you is the one that works. It’s the one you can actually live on and is healthy for you.

This blog is about the ketogenic diet. It may not work for you. I know it can work for most people, but it may not fit your lifestyle or preferences.

Bye, Bye, Carbs!

The bottom line to weight loss is to use up more calories in your body than you put in. It’s as simple as that and as hard as that. Most of us cannot exercise enough to overcome bad eating habits (and we all have them). So any diet that accomplishes the net negative calorie intake should do the trick. However, not all calories are created equal. While it is true a hundred calories is a hundred calories no matter the source, our bodies are far more complicated than the simple math would imply.

It’s not hard to understand that a hundred calories from an apple is probably better for your body than a hundred calories from a candy bar. The food we eat contains far more than just calories. It actually communicates with our bodies in some wonderful ways.

One of the reasons I like the ketogenic diet is that it generally doesn’t make me as tired as some other diets I’ve tried. The idea behind the ketogenic diet is to limit your total carbohydrates to fewer than 50 grams a day and preferably around 20 grams of carbohydrates. Many of the foods I enjoy probably have 20 grams of carbs in each bite!

When we limit our carbs, our bodies have to turn to fat for energy. Generally, our bodies use glucose or sugar as its primary energy source. It’s easier to get the energy out of sugar as compared to protein or fats. When we don’t consume carbohydrates, our bodies will start to burn fat (a very good thing) for its energy needs.

When we start to burn fat instead of sugar, one of the byproducts of the fat metabolism is ketone formation. When we have ketosis, it tends to curb our appetites and we feel full longer.

Another positive benefit of the ketogenic diet is our insulin levels remain lower. Insulin is a pro-growth hormone. It makes us sluggish and tells our livers to store more fat. Insulin can also stimulate our appetites. High insulin levels lead to insulin resistant diabetes.

When we eat carbohydrates, our blood sugar immediately goes up. When blood sugar goes up, so do our insulin levels. High insulin levels are not good! When insulin levels increase, so do our appetites. That’s one of the reasons it’s hard to eat only one cookie or just one chip.

Eat the Fat

One of the problems with diets that are high in protein and low in carbs and fats is fatigue. It is amplified if you are exercising. The ketogenic diet allows for healthy fats. The fats give us energy and will help with exercise. It does take some adjusting. I find it hard to work out really hard when I am strictly on a ketogenic diet. It takes some time for my body to get used to it, but I can still get a pretty good workout in.

There are several lists of healthy fats on the web. In general, avocados, olive oil, nuts, and butter are good sources of healthy fats. Fish and other meats will also have healthy fats. Several sauces are considered acceptable on a ketogenic diet. I found this website to be very helpful with an overview of foods to eat and not eat: www.ruled.me/ketogenic-diet-food-list/. (I am not affiliated with them in anyway but do appreciate their work. They have some plans you can purchase that are more detailed. I have yet to get one but have thought about it.)

Break It Down

Ideally, on a ketogenic diet, you will get about 70–75% of your calories from fats and about 20–25% from protein. Try to limit the carbohydrates to about 5% of your total calorie intake.

Your calorie input will vary on your needs or desire. A general rule is to take whatever weight you want to weigh and add a zero to it. So if you want to weigh 150 pounds, simply add a zero and that equates to 1,500 calories. If you exercise, you can calculate how many calories you burned and add them back to your total for the day. If you burned about 300 calories working out, and your target weight is 150 pounds, then you should be able to eat about 1,800 calories that day.

One of the really tough things on a ketogenic diet is to control what you snack on. If you slip up and get too many carbohydrates, it will defeat the purpose of getting into ketosis. Healthy snacks you might consider would be walnuts, pecans, and pistachios. One of the sneaky secrets to watch out for is that each kernel of nut will have about 10 calories. The count can add up quickly.

Check Yourself

Don’t be surprised if you have increased urination during the first few days. Stored fat being burned for fuel will release a lot of water during metabolism. You will also want to be sure to drink plenty of water.

One of the benefits of a ketogenic diet is decrease in hunger. That is a major clue you are in ketosis. Ketosis will help suppress your appetite. Some people will purchase “keto” sticks for urine testing. It will allow you to know if you have ketones in your urine. Ideally, you will. If not, go back and look and see if you can find where the carbs sneaked in.

I hope this has been helpful information. Life is too short not to enjoy some birthday cake or some special food for a celebration, but I do believe most of us can improve our health with improving our diets. This is just another tool for you to use. Keep trying and eventually you will find a plan or combination of plans that fit you and your lifestyle.

Wishing You an Amazing Life,

Dr. Curtis Brown


 

 

Not Everything Is Possible

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I had just finished a workout at Gold’s Gym and was in the locker room. They have TVs playing music videos all the time. I know they are trying to reach a much younger demographic than a guy like me, but I still don’t care for the music. (Truth be told, there isn’t much music I like.)

The lead singer (if you call that singing!) was a young skinny kid no older than seventeen. I only caught part of the lyrics, the part that is sung over and over and over. “Anything is possible/You can become anything you want.”

I know that sounds good and I am probably guilty of telling my kids those exact words, but the problem is that it’s simply not true. I will never play for the Thunder or fly to the moon. I think that would be really cool if I could, but it is simply not possible. I may want it with all of my heart and feel like it is the right thing, but it’s not happening.

This world is a wonderful place full of opportunities and options, and being born in America is a real blessing. We can try to do just about anything we want (as long as it is legal!) and our work may or may not be rewarded. While the world is wonderful, it is also wild and ruthless. Cold hard facts often shatter dreams and ambitions.

This idea of being whatever you want to be has gotten a little crazy in my opinion. Gender dysphoria and transgender issues have become a normal part of our culture. Yet, I don’t care how much you want to change your gender, you are not going to change what you are at the very basic level of your DNA. I am sorry, but if you have two X chromosomes and want a Y chromosome, you are going to have to wait for a very long time. Gene splicing is a long way from being able to do that!

This is one of those times that the world, in its wisdom, says you can become whatever you feel or desire. Our feelings can often lead us to places we really do not want to be. We may “feel” a certain way, but reality is something completely different. If we are constantly making our decisions based on feelings and we ignore reality, dreams can be shattered.

You may be able to have cosmetic surgery and change your outward appearance to try to line up with your inner feelings; but in the end, it is all cosmetic. You are not changing the real you, the way you were created.

I admit I really do not understand someone who is struggling with gender issues. I do think at its core, though, it is a common struggle. I believe inwardly we all know we do not measure up, that we are not as good as we want to be. I honestly cannot even measure up to my own standards, much less the standards that God has given us in the scriptures.

I think everyone struggles with this idea of not being good enough, at least on some level.  I believe this struggle points us to the idea of needing help. Maybe gender dysphoria is a way of looking for that help?

I believe that help is found in Christ. Without His help, I am never going to measure up to His or even my standards!

I am so grateful I do not have to depend on my abilities, my goodness. If I had to depend on my work or goodness, I could never rest. I would always be searching. The good news is we can enter into His rest and we can depend upon His work and in Him, we are good enough!

Wishing You an Amazing Life,

Dr. Curtis Brown


Are You a Goal Setter?

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Wow! It is amazing how fast the years go by and here we are already at the end of another year. This was a really big year for my family. Two of my “kids” got married and a third one finished up his college education.

I am excited about next year and the opportunities it will bring. It is this time of the year I start to think about my goals for next year. I am sort of a nerd about this. I like to set goals in multiple areas of my life. I do not think I have ever hit 100% of them, but sometimes I get pretty close. I nailed about 75% this year and I actually feel really pretty good about it.

I break my goals down into four separate areas. There is often some overlap between the different areas, but usually a goal seems to fit better in one than the other. My four areas are spiritual, relational, work/finance, and personal/health.

I try to have 3–5 goals for each area and I write them down. Studies have shown simply writing down your goals improves your success tremendously.

I do think the secret to meeting the goals is to review them—often! I try to look at my goals once a week and strategize what my next steps are for the coming week. It usually only takes 5–10 minutes. I have found Fridays work best for me. I am not sure why, but it works for me.

Once a month, I try to take an afternoon off and really look at my goals and my progress. I also use the time to get some thinking done. As crazy as it may sound, I usually go to one of the public libraries and find a corner.  Oklahoma City has an amazing new library on the NW side. I stop at Starbucks for a cup of coffee, and then I am ready to go!

About midyear, I often adjust some of my goals. Life has a way of changing and I try to be realistic and flexible. Some goals are not always possible when life throws you a curve. One year, I had an injury and couldn’t get my miles in. I had to make some adjustments to my goals and my expectations. I do try to be realistic but not to let that be an excuse for not reaching a goal. I try to make my goals hard but not impossible.

Another thing I like to do is to come up with one or two BHAGs. BHAGs are Big, Hairy, Audacious, Goals that really move me out of my comfort zone. I try to come up with one BHAG for each of my four areas. One of the four becomes my primary goal of the year. It is usually the hardest, the one that stretches me the most. The crazy thing is, I almost always get my BHAG.

The New Year is coming. It is going to be filled with opportunities and challenges. I believe we can do some amazing things and even more so when we actually plan for an amazing life!

Wishing You an Amazing Life,

Dr. Curtis Brown


Giving: It Goes Both Ways

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I love this time of year. I love the cooler weather. (I can do without the ice!) I love getting to use my fireplace. I love the memories I have of being with my family around my fireplace during the Christmas season. I love the smells that come from our kitchen! There is so much to love about this time of year.

I think one of the things I love the most is giving gifts. I must confess my wife does most all of the work shopping for the gifts, but I enjoy watching others receive gifts. I really enjoy giving gifts anonymously. We have all heard it is better to give than to receive. Now, don’t get me wrong, I enjoying receiving too. But there is something else that happens when we give.

The root word in Hebrew for the word give is a palindrome. It’s spelled the same both ways: NaTaN. So, no matter which side of the give/receive equation you are on, the blessings just flow through. It goes both ways!

One of the spiritual truths about giving is that when we give something to someone or something, we are imparting some of our value to that person or thing. The more we give of our time or resources or even our love, the more value we are placing on that person or thing. The more we give, the more we value or love the object of our gift.

I think this is one of the main reasons God wants us to give of our “first fruits” not because He needs the gifts, but because we desperately need God to be in the center of our lives. By giving to Him, it helps us keep Him in the center of our hearts.

Here is a quick brain hack on dealing with people in your life you might find annoying. Yes, we all have them and if you don’t, you probably are that someone! But if you have someone in your life that is slightly tough to tolerate, try giving them small gifts. When they start to annoy you, just say a little prayer for them and ask God to bless them. With time, you will find your heart changing toward them. I dare you to try it for a couple of months and see what happens!

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas as we celebrate the greatest Gift of all!

Dr. Curtis Brown