The Importance of Health and Fitness While Serving Your LDS Mission

As a Mormon Missionary, you are encouraged to share the gospel with your friends and neighbors. Your duty towards the church includes being sent out to LDS Missionaries all over the world on missionary work. This has always been the fundamental belief of the Church, which has the most active LDS Missionary programs than any other denomination. You may be assigned by the Church headquarters to serve your mission in any location across the globe, wherever government regulations permit. And because your assignment may last for two years, it is important that you take care of your health and remain fit throughout the mission.As you enter your service calling as a full time LDS Missionary, you need to talk to people on the street, walk from door to door, and go biking throughout the day. This explains better the need of regular physical exercises that are essential for your well being. Workout schedules are sure to keep you away from the hospital and the surgical knives. With the right preparation Mormon Missionaries, young and old alike, benefit from a regimen of exercise and healthy eating habits.Even if you are a young missionary, you cannot afford to put your health and fitness routine on the back burner. As an LDS Missionary, walking six miles every day and riding a bicycle 12 miles is what you are expected to do. If you aren’t fit, then blisters on your toes and ‘saddle sore’ from cycling are what you will encounter. This is most discouraging and you won’t be able to accomplish much missionary work in this condition.To keep yourself fit, you ought to establish a regular regimen of aerobic exercise. Include walking, jogging, and running to get your body used to the increased activity since your call to serve as a LDS Missionary involves a great deal of physical activity. It is recommended that you follow the routine of “Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise”.As per the Missionary Department, LDS Missionaries are required to have a BMI or body mass index not greater than 37. Staying well under this limit will keep you active throughout your mission service. Keep yourself well groomed at all times. Stick to a proper diet of protein and fiber, and drink plenty of water. Consumption of lean meat, vegetables, and fruit are highly recommended.There are some LDS Missionary Workout Programs designed to keep you totally fit. You can utilize the 30 minutes set by the leaders of the church to work on your muscle groups and experience a good cardio workout as well. You can perform several bodyweight exercises without the use of any equipment. The program includes 630 different workouts that cover each day of your mission. Follow these routines and will notice an improvement in your physical and emotional strength. What’s more is that it will encourage you to continue with your LDS mission and serve the Lord and His children.

10 Brain Health and Fitness New Year’s Resolutions – Train Your Brain

You have survived the 2007 shopping and eating season. Congratulations! Now it’s time to shift gears and focus on 2008…whether you write down some New Year resolutions or contemplate some things that you want to let go of from last year and set intentions and goals for this year – as is a friend’s tradition on the winter solstice.To summarize the key findings of the last 20 years of neuroscience research on how to “exercise our brains”, there are three things that we can strive for: novelty, variety and challenge. If we do these three things, we will build new connections in our brains, be mindful and pay attention to our environment, improve cognitive abilities such as pattern-recognition, and in general contribute to our lifelong brain health.With these three principles of brain health in mind – novelty, variety and challenge – let me suggest a few potential New Years resolutions, perhaps some unexpected, that will help you make 2008 a year of Brain Health and Fitness:1. 2008 Primaries and Elections: If you haven’t yet done so, register to vote – active participation is good for your brain health. But, before rushing out to vote, take some time to think through the criteria you want to set up to evaluate who deserves your vote. Don’t let politicians and their spin doctors set your agenda. Ask yourself, what matters most to me? What type of President do I think we need? Why? I personally find it quite intriguing that no candidate so far is resurrecting the “It is the economy, stupid” mantra, and proposing solid plans to get our economy back on track.2. Next time out shopping: Don’t let advertisers treat you as if you were Pavlov’s Dog – remember the dog that was trained to salivate automatically every time a bell rang. There is a whole industry out there trying to make you buy stuff on impulse. Notice your reactions to a movie trailer or a TV ad Resist. Be the true “Decider”. For bonus points, once you learn to identify and manage your own buying impulses, try explaining this to your kids…3. Reading habits: If you usually read non-fiction, try something new this season. Pick up a good fiction book. Or vice versa. For bonus points, subscribe to or simply read a new magazine, perhaps one that your partner craves? It will help you understand another perspective.4. Learn about the Brain: Pick up one of the books in the Science section in your bookstore. In the unlikely scenario that you read as many brain-related books as I do, pick up some Russian poetry book and let’s discuss this instead.5. At work: Find, or create, an intellectually and socially stimulating new job for yourself at your current workplace or a new one. Engaging work has been shown to contribute to lifelong cognitive performance. At the very least, go out of your way to make whatever job you have more stimulating: try talking to a new colleague or client everyday and learn a new thing about them. You will not remember everything, but surely more than if you don’t even try.6. Gratitude vs. the Subprime mess: With increasing coverage of economic woes, the subprime mess, recession risk, the falling dollar and a ballooning deficit, it is easy to lose perspective and become depressed. Which doesn’t help anyone, much less our brains. To put things in perspective, it pays off to devote some time to keep a Gratitude Journal and simply scribble a few notes a day. For bonus points: do this while you are watching TV news and share your notes with your partner.7. Cultivate your Critical-thinking abilities: Ask yourself, “Where is the evidence?” at least once a day – see points 1&2 above. Don’t just believe this article. Even if it had been endorsed by 20 Harvard Medical School researchers and doctors, nothing substitutes your own brain in action. And the more you practice, the more you refine your judgment.8. Participate in creating a better environment. Our planet, our families, our communities, our schools, all can benefit from our help. What project do you care enough to commit some of your time to in 2008? If you have school age kids, have you considered joining the school board?.9. Computer-based programs: With the growing number of “brain training” products, you may be thinking of giving one a try, either for you or for a loved one. As mentioned in point number 2 above, it makes sense to do some research before making a purchase.10. Where to start? OK, now you have read many suggestions, resolve to keep at least one of them…which one will you choose?.Enjoy a Happy and Fruitful 2008, for you and your loved ones!Copyright (c) 2007 SharpBrains

Diversifying Revenue Needed for Institutions of Higher Education

Diversifying RevenueToday, institutions of higher education are being encouraged and challenged to think creatively about expanding and developing new revenue sources to support the their short-term and long-term goals. Moody’s Investors Services has outlined in its published reports how every traditional revenue stream for colleges and universities is facing some sort of pressure.Unfortunately, the pressure on all revenue streams and sources is the result of macro-level economic, technological and public opinion shifts, and these changes are largely beyond the control of institutions.The Moody analysts have cautioned that revenue streams will never flow as robustly as they did before 2008. It’s been stated the change will require a fundamental shift in how colleges and universities operate; one that will require more strategic thinking.In their studies, Moody’s notes that colleges and universities will have to rely on strategic leaders that are willing to address these challenges through better use of technology to cut costs, create efficiency in their operations, demonstrate value, reach out to new markets, and prioritize its programs. However, in doing so, many of these efforts may create disputes with faculty members or other institutional constituents, unless they are able to get the collective buy-in that has been the staple of higher education governance. But with goals being established and the evolution taking place as part of the process, hopefully, there will be a more widespread understanding on all sides.Major revenue constraints can be attributed to larger changes in the economic landscape, including lower household incomes, changes and fluctuations in the economic and federal government picture, declines in the number of high school graduates, the emergence of new technologies, and a growing interest in getting the most out of a college education – particularly as it pertains to employment after graduation. A stable fiscal picture and outlook would require improved pricing power, a sustained and truly measured decrease in the unemployment rate, improvements in the housing market, and several years of consistent stock market returns.The traditional higher education model has been disrupted by the ability of massive open online courses, particularly by the legitimization of online education and other technological innovations. In many ways, this has signaled a fundamental shift in strategy by industry leaders to embrace these technological changes that threaten to destabilize the residential college and university’s business model over the long run.There are other related challenges facing higher education: the growing profile of student debt, which has topped $1 trillion nationally, and default rates, and pressure on politicians and accreditation agencies to ensure the value of degrees. In addition, an alarm continues to sound over a potential student loan bubble and the diminishing affordability of higher education.One way for colleges and universities to get students, and their parents, to pay for higher tuition is by demonstrating that the outcomes – including their campus experience, postgraduate employment, graduate school enrollment, and long-term success and happiness – are well worth the tuition and future job pay. Students and their parents want to know, “What am I getting for my investment?” As a result, recruiters have a tougher job “selling” a traditional education with the cost of education continuing to escalate.But the on campus education and living and learning experience are the “door openers.” As I like to say, “We are a product of our environment.” Making the right friends, building relationships with influential professors, administrators, parents and relatives of friends, and fraternity brothers or sorority sisters all get added into the equation of the student’s environment. In retrospect, students may forget or never use half of what they learn, but the connections and friends they make and the experiences they have while in college are priceless.Over 1/3 of the colleges and universities in the nation are experiencing some sort of financial crisis. Many have gone from operating full operating budgets to a comfortable black to a severely red. And cash reserves have dropped, as well as endowments.Without a doubt, the university must find new revenue sources. Attracting more out-of-state and international students is one additional source of revenue for these institutions.We must never lose sight of the fact of the importance of investing in higher education. Educating the young is of primary importance. Devising ways to maximize time and money, such as integrating class projects and research that might result in publication is another alternative to consider.Allowing and/or expanding commercialism on the campus may provide added sources of revenue. Examples could include allowing corporate naming rights to athletic facilities or increased advertising signage inside arenas and stadiums. This may seem drastic and some may even say, “You have to pick your poison” in being creative to increase your revenue streams.Attempting to reduce the university’s “discount rate,” the percentage of the total tuition bill for the entire student body that the university waives to grant financial aid to its students is one possibility. But that can be risky business. Any move to reduce the discount rate potentially upsets an exceedingly delicate balance. Looking to attract families that are able and willing to pay full or near full tuition, while simultaneously making the school accessible to less wealthy students, and hitting the right mark, granting merit aid to lure high-potential students who might later benefit the school and broader community, may be one possibility to work in achieving a better balance among the many factors that feed enrollment. Additionally, stepping-up the fundraising efforts to offset any potential rising discount rate may also be helpful.Another factor to think about is the amount of construction the institution may be having on campus, especially during campus tours, to determine the effect, it may or has caused in any dips in the recruiting process. Even though construction on campus is a sign of growth and improvement, in the short-term it is not always the most attractive thing for students to see and hear on campus, or experience during a campus tour with their parents.Institutions of higher education must also anticipate any approaching demographic shifts. They may have to grapple with an economic and social environment in which more families bargain for the best deals among different schools. If this is the case, the institutions should consider making their best offers up-front first and try to avoid drawn-out negotiations.Students are creating more choices for themselves and they have more access to more choices. The internet makes it easier for students to research and apply to more schools.Some of the private institutions have held back from the tuition-hiking trend, and some have even cut tuition costs in an effort to attract more students. Other schools have taken more unconventional measures, such as freezing tuition, offering three-year degree programs, or giving students four-year graduation guarantees. They are doing this with the goal of increasing enrollment levels that will more than offset the reductions being made, thereby providing more overall revenue without sacrificing the student’s education.But also since the economic downturn, private colleges and universities across the nation have redoubled efforts to cut their operating costs, improve their efficiency, and enhance their affordability in order to stay within reach of families from all backgrounds. You cannot lose sight of that. Making it work has to be done on both ends; cutting costs and increasing revenues.Other strategies that could be considered to increase the enrollment and revenue streams at institutions of higher education could include the following:
Segmenting search to target upper profile students with different messages;
Increasing scholarship levels (while still maintaining net revenue needs);
Targeting out-of-state students or students outside of traditional markets;
Targeting high school honors programs;
Holding a scholarship recognition day;
Stressing off-campus opportunities such as internships and study abroad;
Promoting graduate school placements and outcomes; and
Developing high profile academic majors, pre-professional programs, or new majors and programs to support enrollment growth.
Additional considerations for increasing revenue streams might include:
Review the individual educational programs in-place and revenues provided by each and coverage of direct costs and determine what changes should be made, if any;
Acceleration of the 4 year degree programs into 3 to 3 ½ year programs to save on tuition and utilize it as a marketing tool for recruiting, but do so without short changing the student’s education;
Providing an automatic 2-year graduate scholarship at the university for students who enroll in a 4 year undergrad program and meet and maintain a defined GPA level and other pre-defined standards and goals of the university. Use as a tool for marketing and recruitment;
Having a full-time grant application aid/seeker for the university searching for state and federal funds, as well as working with faculty and staff to develop research projects for funding and using as educational programs for the students;
Establishing joint and cooperative programs with other universities in the US and abroad for recruiting;
Consider an overall re-evaluation of the recruiting process for identifying and “going after” potential students, thereby expanding the horizons and outreach;
Obtaining more exposure on a “national and multi-state” level;
Determine if any new programs should be added, programs dropped, or enhanced and/or expanded;
Develop tools for “presenting a plan” and a “comprehensively designed package” for financing and paying the cost for education;
Reaching-out to alumni and friends for enhanced ways to provide for contributions to the university through annuities, insurance, and other charitable giving techniques and products; and
Developing relationships with corporate sponsors for grants and contributions and placements for graduating students.
ConclusionFor the suggestions mentioned about possible new revenue source considerations to support the institution’s short-term and long-term goals, it will be important to develop predictive financial modeling tools for testing the proposed changes and outcomes to the enrollment levels and the projected effects on the revenue streams and the overall bottom line.In doing all of this we must never lose sight of the fact that education prepares graduates to lead lives of achievement, contribution and meaning. And, as I like to say, “The Students will become a Product of their Environment.”