changing habits http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/10380/all en-US Up Before the Roosters: Becoming an Early Riser http://www.wisebread.com/up-before-the-roosters-becoming-an-early-riser <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/up-before-the-roosters-becoming-an-early-riser" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/141560560_261d57628f_z.jpg" alt="drinking coffee" title="drinking coffee" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>One of the goals I contemplate for myself on a near weekly basis is rising earlier every day. As a person who works from home and knows what damage slumps can do to motivation and productivity, I&rsquo;ve wanted to create a better way to do things. The few times I&rsquo;ve found myself up before the sun turned out to be very good days where I truly felt accomplished.</p> <p>But saying I&rsquo;ll wake up earlier when I go to bed at night only leads to my snoozing through several alarms the next morning. Surely many people experience the same defeat. But I am still motivated to try and <a target="_blank" href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/7-mindsets-holding-you-back-and-how-to-overcome-them">change my undisciplined ways</a>, and I was happy to discover that waking up earlier actually has many benefits. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-naturally-reset-your-sleep-cycle-overnight">How to Naturally Reset Your Sleep&nbsp;Cycle in&nbsp;One Night</a>)</p> <h2>Advantages of an Early Wake Up Call</h2> <p>As a writer with a family, a lot of my evenings are filled with constant interruptions that leave me frustrated and unproductive. At one time I was a night person who preferred to sleep all day, but the older I get, the earlier I find myself dropping into bed exhausted. Getting up earlier in the day has distinct benefits and can change the direction of your entire day.</p> <p><strong>Less-Stressful Start</strong></p> <p>Consider how many days you wake up in a rush, trying to get everyone out the door and <a target="_blank" href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-have-a-better-day-at-work">getting yourself to work on time</a>, which leaves you irritated and exhausted before lunch. By getting up earlier, you give yourself the pleasure of a more relaxed start. You can grab some time alone to fully wake up and get a grip on your day before rushing into life with everyone else.</p> <p><strong>More Productivity</strong></p> <p>In line with having more time for you, early risers also tend to be more productive. Even with just 30 extra minutes a day, a lot can be done. The dishwasher can be loaded, laundry folded, dinner ingredients prepared.</p> <p><strong>More Reliability</strong></p> <p>My grandmother used to say certain people in the family would be late to their own funerals because they were habitually late for everything else. By rising earlier, you can be more accomplished before leaving home and arrive at your destination without the rush. You may see better opportunities at work and become known as a reliable, dependable person rather than a harried, stressed-out mess.</p> <p><strong>Better Health</strong></p> <p>Waking up earlier allows you to finally have the time to eat a healthy breakfast and fuel your body for the day. Giving your body time to wake up and digest your food properly is necessary for good health. The chugging-coffee-shoving-a-bagel-down-your-throat breakfast you&rsquo;re used to can become a thing of the past.</p> <h2>5 Ways to Roll Out of Bed Earlier</h2> <p>You <em>can</em> make it happen. Here's what to do.</p> <p><strong>1. Start Incrementally</strong></p> <p>If you want to wake an hour earlier than you usually do moving forward, don&rsquo;t try to do it all at once. Start with just five minutes and build up from there. When you go to bed each night, think about what you can accomplish in that first 5-10 minutes. It will get easier to reach your hour-earlier goal within a few weeks, and eventually it will become a habit.</p> <p><strong>2. Adopt a Bedtime Routine</strong></p> <p>You may find it hard to wake up earlier because you find it so hard to go to bed at night. You&rsquo;ll need to start cutting out the distractions in the hour leading up to bedtime, including television and caffeine. Try reading a book before bed rather than watching cable or sitting with a to-do list for the next day. By <a target="_blank" href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-effective-sleep-tips-you-havent-tried-yet">implementing a bedtime routine</a> in your life to ensure you get enough sleep, you will find it easier to rise earlier.</p> <p><strong>3. Don&rsquo;t Snooze</strong></p> <p>Most people put their alarms conveniently right next to their beds at night, making it too easy to slam the snooze button every five minutes. Try moving your clock to a table on the other side of the room. Or get a more annoying alarm clock that doesn&rsquo;t have a snooze option.</p> <p><strong>4. Prepare the Night Before</strong></p> <p>Even with extra time in the morning, it can make you crazy to face a thousand things to do each time you wake up. Start preparing the night before for an easier morning. Have your clothing selected, your lunch packed, and your car keys in a safe location. This way you can get up with your coffee and quiet time to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-wake-up-fast-and-attack-the-day">look forward to each day</a>.</p> <p><strong>5. Reward Yourself</strong></p> <p>While the extra time in the day can be rewarding enough, don&rsquo;t forget to pat yourself on the back for achieving your goal. Pick a morning or two a week that is all for you. Rather than getting household chores done, use your early morning time to dive into that book you&rsquo;ve wanted to read, take a long soak in the tub, or watch your favorite show on the DVR without interruption. It will give you something to look forward to each week and remind you of your success.</p> <p>Much of adopting a new way of life is mind over matter. Continue to realize the positives your changes are bringing about and find the motivation to keep moving forward with positive changes in your life.</p> <p><em>Did you switch from being a night owl to an early riser? How did you do it?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tisha-tolar">Tisha Tolar</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/up-before-the-roosters-becoming-an-early-riser">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-15"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-benefits-of-changing-your-routine">The Benefits of Changing Your Routine</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-keep-your-new-years-resolutions">5 Ways to Keep Your New Year&#039;s Resolutions</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-less-creativity-can-make-you-more-creative">How Less Creativity Can Make You More Creative</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-self-improvement-apps-to-make-you-smarter-stronger-and-happier">10 Self-Improvement Apps to Make You Smarter, Stronger, and Happier</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/feeling-stuck-100-ways-to-change-your-life">Feeling Stuck? 100 Ways to Change Your Life</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Development changing habits early riser routines sleep habits Tue, 15 Jan 2013 11:24:33 +0000 Tisha Tolar 961754 at http://www.wisebread.com The Two Biggest Mistakes People Make When Starting to Live Frugally http://www.wisebread.com/the-two-biggest-mistakes-people-make-when-starting-to-live-frugally <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-two-biggest-mistakes-people-make-when-starting-to-live-frugally" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/4179361946_f264d4bcf1_z.jpg" alt="facepalm" title="facepalm" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>&quot;I've turned over a new leaf in life!&quot; You exclaim from the highest mountain about your newly adopted frugal lifestyle. You've seen the light &mdash; possibly through dire financial necessity &mdash; and you understand that with a few lifestyle changes, you can live frugally with relatively no pain and <em>lots </em>to gain.</p> <p>Living frugally, after all, is <em>en vogue</em>. Brown-bagging is in, sushi is out. Home-brewed coffee in, Starbucks out. Curling up with a good book in, rounds of drinks at the bar out. Macrame Christmas presents are in, shopping at the mall is out. You're full of frugal lifestyle ideas and are excited about getting on this bandwagon. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-frugal-changes-you-can-make-today">25 Frugal Changes You Can Make Today</a>)</p> <h3>Making the Investment to Be Frugal</h3> <p>So you head to the grocery store in preparation for your new frugal lifestyle. Your previously empty fridge will be stocked to the hilt with inspirational ingredients that will fuel your new frugal gourmet life, and you're determined to create works of culinary mastery that will serve up nutritious dinners yielding leftover lunches you'll be excited about the next day.</p> <p>You look forward to bragging to your co-workers about the awesome lunch you'll be toting. They might even become so envious, you'll start cooking up big batches of your soon-to-be-famous dishes and selling them for an extra few bucks on the side. Now <em>that's how you make frugal cool, baby!</em></p> <p>You reel yourself in. For now you just need to learn to cook something good and stock your fridge. But since you had an empty fridge to begin with, this is a frugal investment.</p> <p>Next in your shopping mission to live frugally, you stop at the bookstore. Books provide hours and hours of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/47-cheap-fun-things-to-do-this-weekend" title="47 Cheap, Fun Things to Do This Weekend">entertainment</a>, so even though they may cost the same as going to a movie, they last so much longer, and you can enjoy them over and over again.</p> <p>&quot;Wow &mdash; it's been a while since I've read anything,&quot; you think as you browse the bookstore. You're inspired by so many books, you can't seem to choose. So you don't. You buy the lot.</p> <p>The last stop on your frugal shopping spree is Starbucks. If you're going to start bringing coffee from home in the mornings, you need a nice travel mug to tote it in &mdash; and some nice beans to get you started. (Wait a minute &mdash; that's a pretty nice French press coffee maker there. The coffee will taste much better from that, and you're much more likely to be excited about your daily coffee if it's really high quality. This is most certainly a frugal investment worth making &mdash; something that will be paid off with a few weeks of no lattes, anyway).</p> <p>So in the name of getting ready to start living frugally, you've made a hefty investment. But it's all worthwhile, right?</p> <h3>Off and Running...</h3> <p>Now you're ready for your new frugal life. You cook a terrific meal that's so good, you entertain the idea of hosting frugal dinner parties and showing other people how to do it. This is easy! You can't believe you didn't start this whole frugal lifestyle thing earlier.</p> <p>After dinner you curl up to your new book and fall asleep in a state of frugal bliss.</p> <p>The next day your <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-quick-cheap-lunch-ideas" title="25 Quick, Cheap Lunch Ideas">frugal lunch</a> is delicious, and you don't even mind eating it in the company of your coworkers who have ordered their standard sushi lunch. You love sushi too, but frugal <em>tastes </em>better.</p> <p>You think of all the other ways you can live frugally. Inspired by your initial success, you're ready to take your life to frugal extremes.</p> <h3>...But Too&nbsp;Fast?</h3> <p>Maybe you last a week of living with your new frugal choices. Maybe longer. But at some point you wonder how long you need to live like this before you're allowed to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-little-luxuries-that-go-a-long-way" title="8 Little Luxuries That Go a Long Way">splurge</a>. You've been so good &mdash; cooking meals at home (it's a lot of work!), brewing your own coffee (which isn't nearly as good as Starbucks), brown-bagging your lunches (which are good, but not sushi), and staying inside reading your books (which are getting a little bit boring).</p> <p>You haven't even reached a break-even point of your &quot;frugal investment,&quot; and you're wondering when you can splurge. The sense of deprivation is starting to kick in. Frugal may be cool, but it's definitely not <em>happening</em>.</p> <h3>The Two Biggest Mistakes People Make When Starting to Live Frugally</h3> <p>The above examples of adopting a frugal lifestyle are, of course, exaggerated and slightly parodied. Although there are people out there who fit this profile to a &quot;T,&quot; there are also many more who make choices about becoming frugal that don't cost as much money. Either way, these examples demonstrate two major mistakes people often make:</p> <h4>Mistake 1: Spending Too Much Money to Be Frugal</h4> <p>Although in some cases you need to spend a little money to save a lot of money, generally, this is not part of the frugal mentality you need to adopt. Beware of shopping sprees in the name of adopting new frugal habits; until you know the habit is maintainable, it's not worth spending the money. (Besides, there's usually a more moderate or creative approach to the task that costs less.)</p> <h4>Mistake 2: Doing Everything at Once</h4> <p>Turning your life upside down overnight in the name of starting to live frugally is a recipe for disaster. Living frugally isn't about sacrificing everything and depriving yourself; it's about making balanced choices that allow you to live large on a small budget. By swinging from one extreme to another, your ability to strike a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-frugal-balance-staying-away-from-financial-extremes" title="Staying Away from Financial Extremes">frugal medium</a> &mdash; one that is actually a maintainable lifestyle &mdash; is remote.</p> <p>Deprivation is not frugal. Although adopting new frugal habits might require some initial compromises, miring yourself in deprivation in the name of living frugally only invites a financial rebellion before you've even made any headway.</p> <h3>How to Really Start Living Frugally</h3> <p>Instead of turning your life upside down in the name of becoming frugal, here are some suggestions for how to start living frugally:</p> <ul> <li>Ease into new frugal habits in a way that's comfortable, not shocking. If you're going to start brown-bagging lunches, for example, and you're used to eating out every day, then start with leftover lunches three days a week. This still gives you a lunch out two days per week to look forward to &mdash; and you're still saving money overall.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Adopt frugal lifestyle ideas one at a time, and incorporate them into the framework of your life. It takes 21 days of doing something to make it a habit, so allow yourself this time to weave new frugal habits into your routines. After bringing lunches to work becomes comfortable to maintain, shake up your coffee ritual by only treating yourself to Starbucks on Mondays and Fridays. Let this habit sink in, then tackle another area of your life.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Instead of always adopting new frugal habits, try deepening a habit you've started. Leftover lunches going well? Then try cutting down lunches out to one day per week. Liking your home-brewed coffee? Maybe Starbucks can wait for Saturday mornings only. Or maybe Starbucks can become a thing of your past altogether.&nbsp;&nbsp;</li> </ul> <h3>Staying Motivated</h3> <p>If you want to start to live frugally, you'll best get there slowly and methodically &mdash; as unglamorous as it sounds. But in this slow-and-steady approach, it's easy to lose sight of the ball. Remember that you decided to start living frugally for a reason, and that reason is attached to a goal. If you stick to living frugally in a manageable way and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-first-step-to-budgeting">track your progress</a>, you'll <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/goal-setting-getting-out-of-debt-once-and-for-all">reach those goals</a> &mdash; and then some.</p> <p>Your frugal lifestyle is just that &mdash; a lifestyle, not a passing fancy.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/nora-dunn">Nora Dunn</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-two-biggest-mistakes-people-make-when-starting-to-live-frugally">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-baking-soda-took-my-bathroom-from-yuck-to-yes">How Baking Soda Took My Bathroom from “Yuck” to Yes!</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/51-uses-for-coca-cola-the-ultimate-list">51 Uses for Coca-Cola – the Ultimate List</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/22-reasons-to-write-a-letter">22 Reasons to Write a Letter</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/almost-2000-uses-for-a-can-of-wd-40-1">Almost 2000 uses for a can of WD-40</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/21-disposable-products-you-can-reuse">21 Disposable Products You Can Reuse</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Life Hacks beginning frugality changing habits lifestyle changes Thu, 10 Nov 2011 10:36:30 +0000 Nora Dunn 774840 at http://www.wisebread.com The Limits to Just Not Buying http://www.wisebread.com/the-limits-to-just-not-buying <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-limits-to-just-not-buying" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/piggy-bank-yearns-for-the-far-shore-cr.jpg" alt="Piggy Bank Yearns for a Distant Shore" title="Piggy Bank Yearns for a Distant Shore" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>My first reaction to financial stress has always been to just stop buying stuff. Obviously, some expenses can't be eliminated, but a lot of expenses are discretionary &mdash; on a temporary basis you can eliminate whole categories. Do not miss that very important key word, temporary. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/emergency-belt-tightening">Emergency Belt-Tightening</a>)</p> <p>My initial model for this came from my parents. Whenever money got a little tight when I was a kid, my dad would quit spending money. Since my mom bought the groceries and paid the bills, the result was that our fixed expenses continued to be paid while discretionary expenses dropped to zero. I only had limited insight into the household finances, but I could see that the strategy worked. The necessities were covered; the luxuries got deferred.</p> <p>When I grew up, I didn't stick with the gender role division, but the general strategy remained intact. In my case, money has been a little tight now for going on four years &mdash; ever since my former employer closed the site where I'd been working, and I became a full-time writer. My wife and I made modest changes to our fixed expenses &mdash; dropping our landline, swapping out the last of our incandescent bulbs. But our big economization was a huge drop in discretionary spending &mdash; we quit buying stuff.</p> <p>Our entertainment budget was cut to a single line item (Netflix). Our grocery spending shifted toward the low-cost end. We just about quit buying clothes or shoes or books or CDs. During the transition we did some traveling, but that too has fallen by the wayside. We even started buying cheap booze (although not <em>only</em> cheap booze).</p> <p>The result was just about what you'd expect &mdash; a sharp and sustained drop in our cost of living. And it was made without a big drop in our standard of living. We didn't buy much in the way of new clothes, but we had plenty of clothes. We got books from the library. We ate out less, but we cooked great meals at home. We do know the line between <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-line-between-frugal-and-crazy">frugal and crazy</a>.</p> <p>This drop in our cost of living was <em>sustained;</em> it wasn't <em>permanent</em>. As we approach four years of this, we've started to reach some limits. Our car, which has given us 21 years of trouble-free operation, is showing signs that it won't last forever. I've had to replace two computers. One pair of shoes has worn out, and I can see that two or three other pairs aren't going to last much longer.</p> <p>So, I offer this as a data point. I'm sure the results would be very different for families with children. But in our experience, as a household with two adults, the length of time that we could go on a buying fast turns out to be three or four years. And it's a genuine three or four years &mdash; we don't have a huge backlog of necessary expenses that have been on hold and are now becoming urgent.</p> <p>That's not forever, but it's a really long time. There are limits to just not buying stuff, but it's still a solid way to improve your household finances. Some expenses can't eliminated, but a lot of expenses are discretionary. On a temporary basis, you can eliminate whole categories.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/philip-brewer">Philip Brewer</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-limits-to-just-not-buying">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/oprah-asks-a-great-question-what-can-you-live-without">Oprah Asks A Great Question; What Can You Live Without?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-is-how-americans-spent-their-money-in-the-1950s">This Is How Americans Spent Their Money in the 1950s</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/47-simple-ways-to-waste-money">47 Simple Ways To Waste Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/lower-your-credit-card-interest-rate-and-reduce-your-phone-bill-immediately-and-easily">Lower Your Credit Card Interest Rate and Reduce Your Phone Bill, Immediately and Easily</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-little-luxuries-that-go-a-long-way">8 Little Luxuries That Go a Long Way</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Lifestyle Shopping balanced spending changing habits discretionary spending Wed, 27 Apr 2011 10:36:25 +0000 Philip Brewer 531647 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Ways to Keep Your New Year's Resolutions http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-keep-your-new-years-resolutions <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-ways-to-keep-your-new-years-resolutions" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/wisebreadnewyearsresolution.jpg" alt="Jogging on beach" title="Jogging on beach" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The American philosopher and psychologist William James said &ldquo;Man can alter his life by altering his thinking.&rdquo; Since thinking or deciding is the first step in launching a new behavior, I began wondering what the primary methods of success are as we all run headlong in our New Year&rsquo;s resolutions and new habits. What does it take to make that new habit stick past January 1? What are the key principles in transforming our lives to make conscious new habits become unconscious routines? Below are five key steps that can give you a running chance at achieving those New Year&rsquo;s resolutions and making them work all year long:</p> <h3>1. Make Them Realistic and Measurable</h3> <p>I will never weigh 140 pounds again (the 80s are over), but I would love to be 155 pounds. I could realistically achieve this goal in a year or less if I put my mind to it and held myself accountable. Maybe getting down to a size five isn&rsquo;t realistic for your body type and history. Would you be satisfied if you lost 15 pounds? Avoid generalizations like &quot;get in shape&quot; and define exactly what that means for you. New behaviors thrive under realistic, achievable goal-setting. Pace your goals and build upon your incremental success. Measure your progress and, as I discuss in step five, chart your achievements.</p> <h3>2. Do One at a Time</h3> <p>Don&rsquo;t muddy the waters trying to change ten things at once. Loading your proverbial plate with a bunch of stringent to-do's will only overwhelm you and ensure that by February 15 you&rsquo;ll just have an annoying list of empty goals posted to your fridge. Separate your goals into primary and secondary categories &mdash; which ones are most important to you and which ones can wait awhile?</p> <h3>3. Use the 30-Day Method</h3> <p>Experts agree that focusing on one new habit every 30 days is the best approach and offers the best chance of success. Give yourself 30 days to erode the groove of your old habit and set a new single habit in motion. Then move on to the next habit and apply the same principle &mdash; by year&rsquo;s end, you have 12 new positive ways you&rsquo;ve changed your life, one (sane) month at a time.</p> <h3>4. Go Public</h3> <p>Pride is a big motivator &mdash; going public with your plan to engage in a new habit and letting those close to you hold you accountable can reinforce positive behavior and keep you on track. Let your kids know you&rsquo;ve decided to replace that hour of late-night TV with an hour of reading on the treadmill. When 10:00 p.m. rolls around, their expectations and encouragement might be the extra nudge you need. Go public with your success too &mdash; celebrate your incremental victories don&rsquo;t be afraid to toot your own horn.</p> <h3>5. Write Them Down and Chart Your Success</h3> <p>From checkbook registers to grocery lists, we document everything. But when it comes to new habits, we miraculously avoid putting pen to paper. Don&rsquo;t be vague &mdash; put things down in black and white. Document your goal, and chart every day how you&rsquo;ve succeeded or failed to meet it. Charting is an essential step in taking a behavior out of the abstract realm and making it a reality. Once you&rsquo;ve adopted the new habit and it has become part of your natural routine, you can dispense with that chart and move on to the next habit you want to tackle.</p> <p>Whether you&rsquo;re setting a new resolution in motion on January 1 or June 12, these principles can help you avoid the pitfalls that turn so many treadmills into coat racks and leave so many positive ideas waiting in the wings. The structure that you create around your new habit will help support you during those &quot;ugh moments&quot; we all have when we begin to fight inertia and start moving forward. Happy new year &mdash; and happy new resolutions.&nbsp;</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kentin-waits">Kentin Waits</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-keep-your-new-years-resolutions">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-self-discipline-tricks-i-learned-from-the-marathon">4 Self-Discipline Tricks I Learned From the Marathon</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/eliminate-failed-new-years-resolutions-with-3-simple-steps">Eliminate Failed New Year&#039;s Resolutions with 3 Simple Steps</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-easy-ways-to-have-energy-after-work">7 Easy Ways to Have Energy After Work</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/get-it-done-how-to-measure-your-goals">Get It Done: How to Measure Your Goals</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/have-a-great-day-every-day-5-things-to-do-in-the-morning">Have a Great Day, Every Day: 5 Things to Do in the Morning</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Development achieving goals changing habits exercise new year's resolutions Tue, 21 Dec 2010 13:00:11 +0000 Kentin Waits 401200 at http://www.wisebread.com Big changes or small changes? http://www.wisebread.com/big-changes-or-small-changes <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/big-changes-or-small-changes" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/chicago-with-cloud-gate_0.jpg" alt="Chicago with cloud gate" title="Chicago with cloud gate" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>There are two ways to make a major change in your life. One is to make a series of small changes--this month you might brown-bag your lunch one day a week; next month you might go for a short walk every day. The other is to make all your changes at once--cook all your own meals, exercise daily, and turn your hobby into a business. Either way can produce permanent changes for the better.</p> <p>There are a lot of advocates for the strategy of making small changes one at a time. Practice one good habit regularly, and soon enough it will be a comfortable part of your life. A year's worth of such improvements can bring you to a very different place than where you started. All it takes is a willingness to try, persistence, and a little patience.</p> <p>I think, though, that the strategy of making big changes has its place. I see it as being appropriate when big changes are urgently needed, and especially when big changes are inevitable.</p> <h2>Piggyback on inevitable change</h2> <p>Sometimes your life is simply going to change--you're going away to school, you're changing jobs, you're moving, you're getting married or divorced, your child is being born or going away to college. Times like these, many things about your life are going to change anyway--why not be strategic about it?</p> <p>When you have to make a whole new schedule anyway, you have a natural opportunity to make big changes. Such a thing is always stressful, and the natural response to stress is to seek comfort and familiarity. Use that to your benefit.</p> <p>Take a few minutes to think about the things that give you comfort and pleasure--and then think of which of those things are good for you. Make a list of comforts that are healthy and cheap--phone calls with old friends, long walks in the evening, visiting the library, reading the Sunday paper.</p> <p>Then, when you make a new schedule to suit your new circumstances, go ahead and make an ideal schedule--include all the stuff you know you <strong>should</strong> do and leave out all the stuff that you know you <strong>shouldn't</strong> do--but be sure to include an abundance of things from your list of comforts.&nbsp; (The birth of a new baby or starting a new job might seem to leave little or no time for simple comforts, but you can almost surely make time for some by <em>leaving out the things you want to quit doing</em>.)</p> <p>Will it work? Maybe not. Maybe it won't work at all, and you'll have to go the slow route, taking small steps. But if you try the experiment when your schedule is all up in the air anyway, I think it's at least safe--you're not likely to end up further from where you want to be than you started. You're not even likely to lose any time that might have been spent adding one small habit--it's probably silly to try to make one more small change when you're already in the midst of major changes.</p> <p>If you're not in the midst of major changes, it's more of an open question--because then you <strong>are</strong> losing time that might be spent making small changes. It could still work--people make big changes in their life all the time, even if many try and fail. If you want to make big changes, and if you've never tried--or haven't tried in a long time--it may be an experiment worth trying.</p> <p>If not, small changes are another way to get where you're going. Not even a slow way, necessarily. Small changes can add up fast.<br /> &nbsp;</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/philip-brewer">Philip Brewer</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/big-changes-or-small-changes">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/welcome-to-the-real-world-my-best-advice-for-new-graduates">Welcome to the Real World - My Best Advice for New Graduates</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/having-a-baby-nine-financial-considerations-for-new-parents">Having a baby? Nine financial considerations for new parents</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-nervous-tics-you-need-to-stop-right-now">6 Nervous Tics You Need to Stop Right Now</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-dumb-little-things-you-need-to-stop-saying-today">9 Dumb Little Things You Need to Stop Saying Today</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-break-bad-habits">How to Break Bad Habits</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> General Tips change your life changes changing habits habits life Sat, 04 Jul 2009 19:27:53 +0000 Philip Brewer 3351 at http://www.wisebread.com Focus Focus Fo....What Was I Saying? http://www.wisebread.com/focus-focus-fowhat-was-i-saying <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/focus-focus-fowhat-was-i-saying" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/bang head here.gif" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="249" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p> <meta http-equiv="CONTENT-TYPE" content="text/html; charset=utf-8" /><br /> <title></title><br /> <meta name="GENERATOR" content="OpenOffice.org 3.0 (Win32)" /></p> <style type="text/css"> <!-- @page { margin: 0.79in } P { margin-bottom: 0.08in } --><!-- @page { margin: 0.79in } P { margin-bottom: 0.08in } --> </style></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">We as a nation are looking at finances in a way we might not have ever done in the past. Having to analyze our bills, pay close attention to our usual spending <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-personal-finance-tips-you-dont-always-hear-about">habits,</a> and learn the hard lessons of frugality and good credit scores in a short period of time can wear just about anyone down. It is never easy starting over and in many cases, we as consumers are having to &ldquo;start over&rdquo; in some aspects. With the crazy economy and unfortunate job loss tallies, we are often overwhelmed with the amount of life lessons we need to relearn. We essentially have to figure out how to live life again and that can be stressful.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">When life gets overwhelming, we need to focus on things one at a time. Unfortunately for many of us, we live chaotic schedules and find we must often multitask to keep feeling accomplished. This multitasking may seem affective but will eventually take its toll. It is difficult to think that we actually need to slow down and re-prioritize our lives but that is exactly what we need to do in order to take stock of our lives, review our personal financial health, and keep our own health in check. With so many of &ldquo;average&rdquo; Americans on stress medication and blood pressure pills, it is more than apparent we as a society need to slow down. Slowing down on a national level isn't likely anytime soon but you can learn to start these pacing habits at home for the good of you and your family.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"><strong>Here are some tips to help you learn how to pace yourself. Most of these tips can be easily inserted into your daily life right now and give long-lasting effects. </strong></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"><em><strong>Prioritize</strong></em> &ndash; Okay, so you've got a lot going on in your life each day but do your really know what is going on? Taking the time to prioritize your life each day can help you actually see all the things your feel responsible for accomplishing. Putting your to-do's in ink may help you realize your to-do list is entirely too long. Look at the things that encompass basic needs: food, shelter, clothing. Prioritze from there. Make sure you are paying the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-check-if-your-mortgage-statement-is-correct">mortgage</a> and utilities, have something to make for dinner, and your family has clean clothes. After that, prioritize what is left over in the order of importance. Then look over your list and see what really isn't that important but still causes you stress. Having a list in ink also help you feel accomplished each time you check off another item.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"><em><strong>Delegate</strong></em> &ndash; If you have seemingly a million things going on each day, the chances are great that all these tasks are not yours alone. Unless you get paid to do all of these tasks for others because it is how you make your living, you are liking picking up the slack for family and friends. Instead of stressing yourself out on behalf of others, start handing out to-do lists to others. Face it, those who burden you with things to do don't feel much guilt so neither should you. Make mini to-do lists for kids and your spouse. It may be initially hard to let go some control but if you want to live a more stress free life, you'll learn early on that you can't do everything and will respect everyone else's efforts.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"><em><strong>Unwind</strong></em> &ndash; People who work all day, even through lunch times and other supposed periods of rest, are not doing themselves much good by not stopping for deserved break from time to time. If you go, go, go and don't stop to unwind, your body may be the thing that ultimately slows you down. Take time each day to eat at least one decent meal while not on the run and at the end of each evening, turn off the distractions (tv's, phones, music) and just focus on your breathing for at least 10 minutes before going to bed.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"><em><strong>Just Say No</strong></em> &ndash; If you are a &ldquo;yes&rdquo; person, it is likely that you find it hard to say &ldquo;no&rdquo; and even more likely that most people already know you will say yes so they come to you for help. While there is nothing wrong with helping others, there is only so much you can do. If you are feeling stressed and overwhelmed and someone asks you to do something, don't be afraid to decline. Simply explain that you have a lot on your plate at the moment and that you will be more than happy to help in the future if need be. If you are upfront and honest, most people will be more than understanding. Those that aren't will eventually get over it. It's up to you to protect your health, your time, and your life in general.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"><em><strong>Press Stop</strong></em> &ndash; If you find that you are just entirely too stressed out about certain tasks you usually complete, such as paying bills or balancing your checkbook, just press the stop button and formulate a plan to find someone else to tackle the task. Have your spouse take over the bill paying or grocery shopping on a permanent basis if you just can't do it any longer. Stop signing your kids up for every extra-curricular activity at school and spend some old-fashioned quality time with the family instead of chauffeuring them around town all week.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Only you will know when you are at your breaking point and there is no point in getting yourself out of whack when you really do not have to be. If you allow yourself to change your thinking and you are really committed to making strides to reduce your stress and the chaos of your day, than you can incorporate <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/organized-tips-on-getting-through-tough-times">healthier habits</a> into your life right now. It is all a process but one that might be worth a try.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tisha-tolar">Tisha Tolar</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/focus-focus-fowhat-was-i-saying">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-5"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-keep-anxiety-from-ruining-your-budget">5 Ways to Keep Anxiety From Ruining Your Budget</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-84-frugal-ways-to-eliminate-stress">Flashback Friday: 84 Frugal Ways to Eliminate Stress</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-38-ways-to-get-more-sleep-tonight">Flashback Friday: 38 Ways to Get More Sleep Tonight</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-deal-when-your-spouse-is-suffering-from-burnout">How to Deal When Your Spouse is Suffering From Burnout</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-to-turn-your-stress-into-money">8 Ways to Turn Your Stress Into Money</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Lifestyle anxiety changing habits delegating prioritizing relaxation stress Tue, 03 Feb 2009 04:13:32 +0000 Tisha Tolar 2806 at http://www.wisebread.com