change your life http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/11079/all en-US Change Your Life With a 30 Day Challenge http://www.wisebread.com/change-your-life-with-a-30-day-challenge <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/change-your-life-with-a-30-day-challenge" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/exercise-4709104-small.jpg" alt="exercise" title="exercise" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Recently, a friend said that caffeine was a drug because of its addictive elements. I didn't buy his argument, but I accepted the challenge to cut caffeine out of my diet for 30 days. The experiment went well, and I learned that I could apply the 30 day challenge to other areas of my life. (See also: <a target="_blank" href="http://www.wisebread.com/big-changes-or-small-changes">Big Changes or Small Changes</a>)</p> <p>A 30 day challenge is simply a goal to make one lifestyle adjustment and stick to it for 30 days.</p> <p>I'm currently almost at the end of another 30 day challenge not to watch any television before going to bed, and it's going pretty well. If I hadn't set a 30 day challenge, I guess that I would have quit a week or two into the challenge. So why was I able to stick it out through the whole 30 days?</p> <h3>The Challenge Builds Self-Esteem and Momentum of Discipline</h3> <p>Each 30 day challenge you complete will convince you that you can actually make the necessary lifestyle changes.</p> <h3>You Can Experiment With Different Lifestyle Improvements</h3> <p>You may never consider becoming a vegetarian forever because that's a bigger commitment than you're willing to make. However, you might be willing to try it out with only a 30 day commitment.</p> <h3>30 Days Is Long Enough to Create a New Habit</h3> <p>...if that's what you're trying to do. But it's also short enough to make you feel as though your goal is within reach. What do you do when your drive and self-control starts to wear down? Usually, we look far ahead in the future and realize that we can't see ourselves keeping up, so we decide to cut our losses. On the other hand, a 30 day challenge helps us to be able to see the light at the end of the tunnel.</p> <h3>You Focus on Only One Change</h3> <p>Too often, when we consider lifestyle changes, we pile on the goals. We decide that we're going to improve our eating habits, exercise habits, spiritual habits, and financial habits all at the same time. 30 day challenges allow you to intensely focus on the most pressing areas of life change needed.</p> <h3>They're a Cost-Effective Way to Establish a New Habit</h3> <p>Instead of buying a yearlong gym membership, you might make it a 30 day challenge to go to the gym each day. After the 30 day challenge, if you're still doing it and think you'll continue to do it, then you can buy an annual subscription.</p> <h3>15 30-Day Challenges to Consider</h3> <p>In all likelihood, you have a few behaviors you'd like to change or habits you'd like to develop with a 30 day challenge. But just in case you don't, here are 15 to consider, beginning with the two I've just accomplished.</p> <ol> <li><a target="_blank" href="http://www.wisebread.com/stop-being-a-slave-to-starbucks-how-to-quit-caffeine">No caffeine</a></li> <li>No TV</li> <li>No sugar</li> <li>Talk to someone at the grocery store every time you visit</li> <li>Go vegan or vegetarian</li> <li>Morning prayer, meditation, or devotional</li> <li>Avoid using your credit card</li> <li>No spending aside from necessary purchases like groceries</li> <li>Write every day</li> <li>Exercise every day</li> <li>Eat an apple a day</li> <li>Drink only water and cut out all other beverages</li> <li><a target="_blank" href="http://www.wisebread.com/22-reasons-to-write-a-letter">Write a letter</a> of appreciation each day to a loved one</li> <li><a target="_blank" href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-book-ive-ever-read-about-making-changes-stick">Read a book a week</a></li> <li>Complete a hobby or lingering task</li> </ol> <p>We all know we need to grow and improve in certain areas. By setting a 30 day challenge, we're much more likely to change than if we set multiple long term goals. Try it, and let us know how it works for you.</p> <p><em>Have you ever tried a 30 day challenge? How did it go? What would you like to challenge yourself to do for 30 days?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/craig-ford">Craig Ford</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/change-your-life-with-a-30-day-challenge">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/20-habits-you-must-start-right-now-and-be-a-better-person">20 Habits You Must Start Right Now and Be a Better Person</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/20-habits-you-must-kick-right-now-and-be-a-better-person">20 Habits You Must Kick Right Now and Be a Better Person</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/kill-boredom-with-these-34-fun-and-productive-projects">Kill Boredom With These 34 Fun and Productive Projects</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/25-ways-to-be-a-better-person-today">25 Ways to Be a Better Person 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> Personal Development 30 day challenge change your life habits self improvement Thu, 02 May 2013 10:36:35 +0000 Craig Ford 973694 at http://www.wisebread.com No Money for a Week? Here’s What to Do. http://www.wisebread.com/no-money-for-a-week-here-s-what-to-do <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/no-money-for-a-week-here-s-what-to-do" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/2450891473_0bae641976_z.jpg" alt="sad face" title="sad face" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>We&rsquo;ve all been there &mdash; broke as a joke with nary a loose coin under the couch cushions. Whether it&rsquo;s self-imposed or just money mismanagement, it sucks, but it&rsquo;s not the end of the world. So if you find yourself in such a situation, don&rsquo;t panic. You&rsquo;ll get through it with these been-there-done-that tips from yours truly. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/emergency-belt-tightening">Emergency&nbsp;Belt-Tightening</a>)</p> <h2>1. Cancel Your Plans</h2> <p>If you don&rsquo;t have a dime to your name but dinner and drinks scheduled with friends, it&rsquo;s time to make that tough call. You just can&rsquo;t afford to indulge. Same goes for any other activities/plans you have on your calendar that require cash. Sacrifices must be made, and unfortunately, these are on the chopping block. This is only temporary, though &mdash; don&rsquo;t beat yourself up about it. There&rsquo;s always next week.</p> <h2>2. Raid Your Pantry&nbsp;</h2> <p>No more eating out or ordering in. Those luxuries cost money, and you don&rsquo;t have any. Instead, this is a great time to eat some of that food sitting in your pantry that you&rsquo;ve purchased over the past weeks and months that&rsquo;s collecting dust. So you&rsquo;re not stuck eating ramen all week (although that&rsquo;s <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ramen-recipes-to-write-home-about">probably not a bad idea</a>) out of laziness, make a list of the ingredients in your fridge and pantry to create a meal plan for the week that will provide cost-effective variety and nutrition.</p> <h2>3. Find Things to Sell</h2> <p>Desperate times call for desperate measures. Everybody has something they can sell. Go through your things and decide what has value and what you can part with. If the situation isn&rsquo;t serious, stick to some of the junk you have lying around &mdash; no need to jump the gun. If you&rsquo;re in a real bind, however, it might be time to think about unloading some of those higher-end items &mdash; like your video-game console, for instance &mdash; for an influx of quick cash. Some of you probably rolled your eyes in that &quot;yeah, right&quot; kinda way, but would you rather stay fed or play &quot;Halo 4&quot;? After about four days of living on no money, the answer should be clear.</p> <h2>4. Look for Side Work</h2> <p>Since you can&rsquo;t have fun with your friends shutting down the bar or shopping till you drop this week, use this time to make honest money to help you get back on track. There are usually small side jobs listed on Craigslist that you can look into, but when I was in college and needed a financial boost I called the Bank of Grandma, which &quot;hired&quot; me to do odd jobs like yard work or cleaning kitchen cabinets. They might be tedious jobs, sure, but they pay &mdash; and because it&rsquo;s grandma, they sometimes pay a lot more than they&rsquo;re worth.</p> <h2>5. Hide the Credit Cards</h2> <p>It&rsquo;s tempting to whip out the plastic when you&rsquo;re in a pinch, but it&rsquo;s completely counterintuitive to fixing the predicament you&rsquo;re in. Charging your way through this tough time will only increase your debt and add to your low morale. To avoid temptation, remove the cards from your wallet and lock them in safe. If you think you still can&rsquo;t resist, cut up the cards (you shouldn&rsquo;t have them at all if you&rsquo;re completely broke) or give them to someone you trust for safekeeping.&nbsp;</p> <h2>6. Put the Car Away</h2> <p>Gas isn&rsquo;t cheap, so it&rsquo;s in your best interest to put the car in park for a week and find another mode of transportation. Walking and biking are great, but if you have to go further than your feet will allow, look into public transportation. If public transportation isn&rsquo;t available where you are, lean on a friend or coworker. Ask your coworker if you can carpool with him or her with the promise that you&rsquo;ll return the favor next week, and reach out to a friend if you have a doctor&rsquo;s appointment or something equally important. Just don&rsquo;t push it. Don&rsquo;t take advantage of your friends&rsquo; goodwill to go somewhere you really have no business going in your situation. That&rsquo;s a good way to tick off that helping hand.</p> <h2>7. Call for Backup</h2> <p>You don&rsquo;t want to do it, but sometimes you have to. If there&rsquo;s anybody in this world who will almost always bail your broke butt out, it&rsquo;s mom and dad. If you&rsquo;re really hurtin&rsquo;, maybe it&rsquo;s not a bad time to get on your knees and beg for some dough. Yeah, your pride will take a hit, but at least you won&rsquo;t have to eat ketchup sandwiches for the rest of the week. Start the conversation with a compliment and a hug for mom. That&rsquo;s half the battle already won.</p> <h2>8. Reevaluate Your Priorities</h2> <p>If you have absolutely no money for an entire week, there&rsquo;s something wrong with your money management and spending habits &mdash; especially if you&rsquo;re employed. This week should be spent reflecting on your financial mistakes, how you got yourself into this situation, and thinking of ways to change it. Whether that&rsquo;s getting a better job, cutting out the excess recreation in your life, or reducing your budget by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cutting-the-cable-cord-has-more-than-financial-benefits">shutting off the cable</a>, changes must be made if you want to start moving in the right direction.</p> <h2>9. Make a Positive Change</h2> <p>Reevaluating your priorities is the first step. Implementing your new plans for financial health is the next. Don&rsquo;t just think about what you should do &mdash; act. Pound the pavement to get a better job or a side job. Reach out to contacts who might have an opportunity for you. Use this past week as a blueprint for how you can cut back but still live reasonably well. If at the end of this week you haven&rsquo;t put in place a plan that will positively change your future, you haven&rsquo;t been broke long enough. You can expect to be broke a lot more often, too. It&rsquo;s time to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/feeling-stuck-100-ways-to-change-your-life">make big life decisions</a>, and that starts today.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/no-money-for-a-week-here-s-what-to-do">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/6-ways-to-resist-a-splurge">6 Ways to Resist a Splurge</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/financial-emergencies-how-to-weather-the-storm">Financial Emergencies: How to Weather the Storm</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/8-ways-to-stop-spending-today">8 Ways to Stop Spending — Today</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/these-8-everyday-buys-will-be-cheaper-this-summer">These 8 Everyday Buys Will Be Cheaper This Summer</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/the-real-reason-we-still-spend-to-impress">The Real Reason We Still Spend to Impress</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting broke change your life emergency plan Tue, 27 Nov 2012 11:24:30 +0000 Mikey Rox 955695 at http://www.wisebread.com In a Rut? 6 Tips for Getting Out http://www.wisebread.com/in-a-rut-6-tips-for-getting-out <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/in-a-rut-6-tips-for-getting-out" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/7104203797_9e6dc5afb4_z_0.jpg" alt="stressed man" title="stressed man" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>&ldquo;Habit is necessary; it is the habit of having habits, of turning a trail into a rut, that must be incessantly fought against if one is to remain alive.&rdquo;</p> <p>That&rsquo;s a quote by Edith Wharton, and I can only guess that she wasn&rsquo;t one to travel the proverbial beaten path for long. In 1921, she became the first woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for literature, despite struggling with debilitating depression &mdash; and writing as one of the most astute critics of her own social class.&nbsp;</p> <p>I often take inspiration from other people (like Wharton) who&rsquo;ve overcome huge obstacles and bravely picked their way across uncharted territory. But sometimes, my admiration leaves me wishing that I was like that person, rather than beating out a path of my own choosing. In other words, I get stuck in a rut. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-benefits-of-changing-your-routine">The Benefits of Changing Your Routine</a>)</p> <p>Fortunately, I&rsquo;ve been in and out of enough of them that I&rsquo;m pretty confident that you don&rsquo;t have to stay in one forever. So, whether you&rsquo;re feeling stale at work, in a relationship, at the gym or in a creative passion, here are some tips to get up and out of that rut and move on to something better.</p> <h2>Find Out If It's Physical</h2> <p>If you work at a desk like I do, you might have noticed how easy it is to forget all about your body. Mine often languishes away, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-exercises-to-do-at-work-that-dont-make-you-look-silly">slumped in my office chair</a>, while my brain and typing fingers do all the work. But whenever I try to clock in when I&rsquo;m feeling under the weather, I&rsquo;m reminded of just how important my overall health is to my ability to apply myself to my work. If I&rsquo;m sick, I struggle to read, to write, to concentrate &mdash; even to think. The day quickly devolves into a litany of mistakes punctuated by bouts of staring off into space. I can only imagine that my body has sent all its resources to fight off some tiny microbial invader, leaving my brain wholly understaffed.</p> <p>What I&rsquo;m getting at is that if you feel like you&rsquo;ve fallen into a rut &mdash; especially if it applies to several areas in your life &mdash; consider visiting your doctor to see if the problem&rsquo;s physical. Sometimes mental and emotional fatigue stem from illness rather than a lack of enthusiasm.</p> <h2>Take Small Steps</h2> <p>I am an impatient person. When I don&rsquo;t like the way something is, I want it to be different. Like, right now. Unfortunately, life often doesn&rsquo;t work like that, and the best I can do is chip away at a problem and effect change little by little. When you&rsquo;re in a rut, it&rsquo;s only natural to want to grab the edge and heave yourself out in one swift, determined motion. In reality, you&rsquo;ll probably have to work at it a little bit at a time. At least that&rsquo;s been the case for me.</p> <h2>Invest in Your Passions</h2> <p>A recent Global Workforce Study by HR consultant Towers Watson found that a full 65% of U.S. workers aren&rsquo;t engaged in their work. Because work is where we spend much of our time, an inability to find energy and enthusiasm for it suggests many of us have fallen into a big rut. But even if you&rsquo;re stuck in a job you hate, it&rsquo;s important to fill your life with as many things that you love as possible.</p> <p>A new type of psychology called positive psychology backs me up on this. It looks at how and why people enjoy their lives, and what makes them feel those lives have meaning. Hobbies, interests, and engagement feature prominently here. I think that&rsquo;s reason enough to not only ensure that our lives include the things we love, but that they revolve around them as much as possible.</p> <h2>Try Something New</h2> <p>When I feel like I&rsquo;m stuck, I like to travel somewhere I&rsquo;ve never been before. There&rsquo;s something about waking up in a new place that makes the whole day seem like one big possibility, rather than just a routine. <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-new-things-to-do-today">Experiencing something new</a> &mdash; whether it&rsquo;s a recipe, a sport or a friend &mdash; is great way to put some adventure into even the most mundane day. After all, you never know what&rsquo;s going to happen, and you might just stumble into something you&rsquo;ve never noticed, thought of, or experienced before. Plus, life&rsquo;s too short to be bored.</p> <h2>Look Inside</h2> <p>I&rsquo;ve been stuck in a rut before. In some cases, I had a problem I had to deal with; more often, the problem was me. It&rsquo;s only natural to blame other people when you&rsquo;re somewhere you don&rsquo;t want to be, whether it&rsquo;s a job, a relationship, or a just a bad habit. But you know what all those things have in common? You have the power to change them. So if you feel like you&rsquo;re in a rut, consider getting out of it on your own already.</p> <h2>Recognize Progress</h2> <p>Sometimes you can&rsquo;t change your circumstances (at least not right away), but changing your mind is still making progress. Sure, you might be stuck in a rut you can&rsquo;t get out of just now, whether for financial, practical, or emotional circumstances, but at least you know you&rsquo;re stuck. Now you can <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/feeling-stuck-100-ways-to-change-your-life">make a plan to get yourself out</a>. That may not feel like much, but what happens on the inside is what drives real change.</p> <p>I&rsquo;ve been stuck in a rut before &mdash; sometimes for far too long. But if even the people I admire most in the world can admit to getting stuck, well, maybe it has its purpose. After all, if you don&rsquo;t find yourself in a place you don&rsquo;t like, you&rsquo;ll never have the motivation to seek out something even better.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tara-struyk">Tara Struyk</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/in-a-rut-6-tips-for-getting-out">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/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/change-your-life-with-a-30-day-challenge">Change Your Life With a 30 Day Challenge</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/change-your-life-with-storytelling">Change Your Life with Storytelling</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/abandon-losing-strategies">Abandon Losing Strategies</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 change your life get out of a rut how to get motivated Fri, 09 Nov 2012 10:37:01 +0000 Tara Struyk 955137 at http://www.wisebread.com The Benefits of Changing Your Routine http://www.wisebread.com/the-benefits-of-changing-your-routine <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-benefits-of-changing-your-routine" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/3082680492_2d117e8e1e_z.jpg" alt="riding bike" title="riding bike" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>For the past two years, I&rsquo;ve been in a rut.</p> <p>I haven&rsquo;t had the motivation to exercise, or eat well, or push myself harder to achieve my goals.</p> <p>Eventually, that sad routine put me in a place where I was very unhappy with myself, so recently I decided I needed to get out of the funk.</p> <p>It wasn&rsquo;t easy to make conscious decisions to cut back on drinking, wake up earlier, hit the gym several times a week (and actually work out), and eat healthier &mdash; but I did it. Changing my routine was the answer to having better days and being happier overall.</p> <p>If you&rsquo;re in a similar situation &mdash; where you just can&rsquo;t seem to get it together &mdash; consider these benefits that I&rsquo;ve experienced that will hopefully motivate you to make a change, too. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/but-i-dont-want-to-secrets-to-self-motivation">But I Don't Want to! Secrets to Self-Motivation</a>)</p> <h2>Increased Energy</h2> <p>A simple change like altering my diet to include healthier foods and eliminating the pizza and burgers has made a big difference. I wake up earlier without feeling run down. In fact, I felt so energetic this morning that I went for a mile and a half run at 7 a.m., which is totally out of character. I&rsquo;m noticing that I have more stamina to make it through the workday too, whereas before I would experience fatigue in the late afternoons, especially if my lunch was heavy.</p> <h2>Increased Productivity</h2> <p>Because of the level of increased energy I have, I&rsquo;m more motivated during the day and really getting things done. I&rsquo;m completing projects ahead of time instead of waiting until the last minute, which leads to more time that I can spend cultivating new clients for my small business. Another benefit to increased productivity is that I can relax easier at night because I don&rsquo;t have a million things on my mind that I should have done but didn&rsquo;t.</p> <h2>Increased Creativity</h2> <p>When I&rsquo;m in a slump, my head is not where it needs to be &mdash; and that&rsquo;s detrimental to my creative profession. But the increased productivity and energy have a direct correlation to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-less-creativity-can-make-you-more-creative">increased creativity</a>. My mind is more open now because I&rsquo;m not thinking about being sad and concentrating on the shoulda-coulda-wouldas of my life. Rather, I&rsquo;m changing my routine so that the positive aspects of my life &mdash; along with my creativity &mdash; can flourish.</p> <h2>Feelings of Happiness</h2> <p>I&rsquo;m a longtime sufferer of depression, for which I take medication. The meds help, of course, but I also took some time recently to think about the reasons why I feel depressed. Is it because of situations that happen to me or because of situations I created? After a bit of soul searching, I realized that I&rsquo;m unhappy about several things over which I have ultimate control &mdash; like my weight, for instance. I&rsquo;ve always been a thin guy, but I&rsquo;ve put on some pounds over the past few years. I stopped going to events to which I was invited, and many times I refuse to take photos because I feel fat. That&rsquo;s not the person I want to be. I want to be that happy, outgoing guy that I once was. After identifying one of the reasons that contributed to my feelings of worthlessness, I put the plan in motion to change. As a result I&rsquo;m increasingly happier because I&rsquo;m taking steps toward self-improvement I can be proud of.</p> <h2>Enjoying New Experiences</h2> <p>When I was in the same old routine of working from home and living like a shut-in, I missed out on a lot of activities and events. As I just mentioned, I didn&rsquo;t want to go out because I didn&rsquo;t feel good about myself. But now that I&rsquo;m starting to feel better about myself because I changed my routine, I&rsquo;m participating in more activities and meeting new people, all of which are pleasurable.</p> <h2>Being More Enjoyable to Be Around</h2> <p>If I didn&rsquo;t want to be around myself before I changed my routine, I&rsquo;m sure nobody else did either. Who wants to hang out with someone who&rsquo;s depressed and whining about things that they can totally change? Definitely not me. So it stands to reason that when I&rsquo;m in a pleasant mood, the people around me will enjoy my company much more.</p> <h2>How and What to Change</h2> <p>Changing your routine doesn&rsquo;t have to include the changes that I&rsquo;m making. Mine are rather serious lifestyle decisions, but if all you need is a small change, by all means, do it your way. There are lots of changes you can make &mdash; taking another route to work, altering your reading habits, switching the time of day you go to the gym, establishing <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/from-5-to-30-date-ideas-for-every-budget">date nights</a> to enhance your relationship &mdash; the list is endless, really. The most important part of changing your routine is that it somehow makes your life better so you can reap at least a few of the benefits I&rsquo;ve listed.</p> <p><em>Your turn. I&rsquo;d love to hear about recent changes you&rsquo;ve made to your routine and the benefits you&rsquo;ve experienced. Let me know in the comments below.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-benefits-of-changing-your-routine">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-to-stick-to-personal-deadlines">How to Stick to Personal Deadlines</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/but-i-dont-want-to-secrets-to-self-motivation">But I Don&#039;t Want To! Secrets to Self-Motivation</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/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-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-improve-your-decision-making-skills">10 Ways to Improve Your Decision-Making Skills</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/7-easy-ways-to-have-energy-after-work">7 Easy Ways to Have Energy After Work</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Development Productivity change your life routines self-motivation Mon, 16 Jul 2012 10:36:09 +0000 Mikey Rox 941459 at http://www.wisebread.com Abandon Losing Strategies http://www.wisebread.com/abandon-losing-strategies <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/abandon-losing-strategies" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/chess_game.jpg" alt="Guys playing chess" title="Guys playing chess" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="148" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Popular culture praises persistence. We go so far as to invent words like &quot;sticktoitiveness&quot; and repeat aphorisms like &quot;try, try again&quot; and &quot;who dares, wins&quot; and &quot;never give up, never give in.&quot; (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/not-the-sort-of-person-who">Not the Sort of Person Who&hellip;</a>)</p> <p>The fact is, giving up is often the right strategy. If you're spending more than you earn, the sooner you give up, the less of a hole you'll be in. If you're living in a house you can't afford, the sooner you give up, the sooner you'll be able to put your finances right. If you're working at a dead-end job in a declining field, the sooner you give up, the sooner you'll be able to make the changes to put yourself on a path to success.</p> <p>I wrote a four-part series on getting by without a job (it starts here: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/getting-by-without-a-job-part-1-losing-a-job">Part 1 &mdash; Losing a Job</a>) that walks you through the specific moves you need to make when your income collapses. It's all about preserving what cash you have, cutting expenses, finding ways to bring in some money, and getting what you need to survive without money.</p> <p>That doesn't mean it's going to be easy, and not only because popular culture is so opposed to &quot;giving up.&quot;</p> <h2>Obstacles to Giving Up</h2> <p>The two biggest obstacles I see are self-image and the design snowball effect.</p> <p><strong>Self-Image</strong></p> <p>I've read many accounts of people whose income collapsed, but who took no action to cut expenses. They simply rode their life into the ground, even when they could see disaster looming ahead. When you ask them why they didn't take the sort of drastic action that could have averted total collapse, the answer almost always has to do with their self-image: they're not the sort of people who take in borders, have a roommate, move in with their brother-in-law, send their kids to public school, do manual labor, etc.</p> <p>If you're not the sort of person who does those things, then you can't do them &mdash; even when they're the solution to your problem.</p> <p><strong>Design Snowball Effect</strong></p> <p>Everybody's lifestyle has critical dependencies on a few early decisions. I call this a &quot;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/designing-your-life">design snowball</a>,&quot; because of the way a few small decisions produce a vast avalanche of consequences. An example I've talked about in the past is the decision to own a car, which locks in thousands of dollars a year of expenses, but enables a much wider range of employment and housing options. Abandoning that decision requires that you change everything else. The decision to own a house is another one, if for no other reason than that abandoning that one will require you to abandon most the stuff that used to fit into that house, but that won't fit into wherever you end up living. (I have some personal experience with that one.)</p> <h2>How to&nbsp;Abandon&nbsp;Losing Strategies</h2> <p>Whichever obstacle is keeping you from abandoning your losing strategies, I have two ideas that might help.</p> <p>The first is to suggest that you look at your life as an adventure. Whatever the losses in abandoning a losing strategy (and they may be huge), big changes also mean big opportunities. When you're confronting the avalanche of changes the design snowball can produce, be sure to include on the list all the things about your life that you <em>want</em> to change &mdash; because this is probably the best chance you'll ever have to escape a boring career or a bad boss or an oppressive neighborhood or acquaintances who drag you down.</p> <p>The other is a purely tactical idea, drawn from a post I wrote long ago &mdash; set aside part of your emergency fund as untouchable . . . until you make drastic changes. (The post was <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-second-emergency-fund-you-never-spend">A Second Emergency Fund You Never Spend</a>.) The idea is that a few thousand dollars isn't going to make much difference <em>now</em>, if you've got a losing strategy. But a few thousand dollars will make a huge difference later. When you're looking for a tiny apartment to replace your big house, you're going to need a damage deposit. Money that wouldn't even pay the registration on your car will buy you a perfectly adequate bicycle. (Heck, money that would pay the insurance on your car will buy you a perfectly adequate motorcycle.)</p> <p>Make a plan up front that you'll never spend down the last of your emergency fund (or use up your retirement savings, or go into debt), just to stave off collapse for a few more weeks. Abandon losing strategies. Abandon them ruthlessly.</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/abandon-losing-strategies">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/5-ways-good-manners-make-you-wealthier">5 Ways Good Manners Make You Wealthier</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/how-to-embrace-failure-keep-going-and-win">How to Embrace Failure, Keep Going, and Win</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/20-money-mistakes-everyone-makes-but-no-one-talks-about">20 Money Mistakes Everyone Makes But No One Talks About</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/21-ways-to-make-a-big-financial-change">21 Ways to Make a Big Financial Change</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/10-types-of-friends-who-are-costing-you-money">10 Types of Friends Who Are Costing You Money</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Personal Development change your life failure financial disasters Fri, 09 Dec 2011 11:24:46 +0000 Philip Brewer 819654 at http://www.wisebread.com Change Your Life with Storytelling http://www.wisebread.com/change-your-life-with-storytelling <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/change-your-life-with-storytelling" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/courtyard-laptop-2_1.jpg" alt="Laptop on a picnic table in the courtyard" title="Courtyard Laptop" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="162" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The most powerful tool that marketers use to sell you things is one that you can snatch from their grasp and turn to your own use: Telling stories.</p> <p>I first discovered this tool back in the 1980s in the catalogs of Banana Republic and J. Peterman. Those catalogs, instead of describing the products they sold, described the <em>sort of person</em> who bought the item. As a marketing strategy, it was a great success: The catalogs would describe each item as the sort of thing that exciting, sophisticated people used in their thrilling adventures &mdash; and people bought it.</p> <p>The same technique is available to you. Tell your own stories.</p> <h3>Flip the Technique</h3> <p>At the most basic level, you can use stories as a magic shield against this sort of marketing: Spot the story in the advertising and <em>tell yourself a more accurate story</em>. There was a time when I wanted the sleek, powerful sports cars I saw in ads, but I learned to counter their appeal by telling myself the true story &mdash; the story of the hopelessly debt-ridden wage-slave who took out a six-year loan to buy a car that burns fuel faster than he can earn the money to pay for it.</p> <p>All the story-telling tools that the marketers use are available for your own use.</p> <p>One in particular that I've seized upon is the technique of suggesting that some item is multi-purpose. A catalog might claim that its blazer could go from the boardroom to a private jet to the writer's bar at the Raffles hotel, or that a dress is just as perfect for an embassy party as it was for one in an off-campus house. Now I put all my potential purchases to the same test: If I can't use it everywhere, maybe I should keep looking until I find one that's a bit more versatile. I've avoided spending a lot of money by just waiting for something a little more perfect to come along. (And I've also bought very useful items when I've stumbled upon things that met my very high standards.)</p> <p>But these basic techniques &mdash; telling counter-stories and repurposing the marketer's stories &mdash; are just the beginning. The real power comes from crafting a larger story.</p> <h3>Understanding the Power of Storytelling</h3> <p>Everyone knows the power of the transient want &mdash; the allure of the thing that's so shiny you must have it, even if you know perfectly well that you don't need it or that there'll be a better, cheaper one next year.</p> <p>It's possible to control such wants with sheer willpower &mdash; most frugal people do. But telling stories is far more powerful. Telling stories lets you <em>change what you want</em>.</p> <p>After all, that's exactly what those catalog companies were doing. When they sold a messenger bag by telling a story about how it was designed for military couriers and then had been discovered by war correspondents, they weren't marketing to people who had already decided that they wanted a new messenger bag. They were marketing to people who wanted to be more adventurous, and somehow created in them the sense that this bag would make them more the person they wanted to be.</p> <p>That's the power of telling a story. But marketers have no monopoly on stories. Think what you can do if you tell your own.</p> <h3>Craft Your Own Story</h3> <p>Does your life differ from the life you want? Part of the work of getting from where you are to where you want to be is making real changes. But that's not the place to start.</p> <p>Start by imagining the life you want. Imagine it in some detail. (Some might call this daydreaming.)</p> <p>Don't get off course by imagining someone else's life &mdash; the life you'd want if your parents were billionaires, or the life you'd want if you won the lottery. Imagine your life <em>if you were the sort of person you want to be</em>.</p> <p>Now tell the story. How would that person get from where you are now to where that person would want to be?</p> <p>In my case, I wanted to be a writer. I put aside imagined lives in which I lived in a big house, drove a fast car, and owned all the latest fancy tech gadgets &mdash; which would have been possible, if I'd wanted to go on being a software engineer &mdash; and instead imagined a life where I did exactly what I wanted to do: Jump out of bed every day so I could spend a few hours writing.</p> <p>Telling myself that story was a key step in making it happen. It didn't just give me a reason to save money instead of buying something; it changed me from the sort of person who bought those things into the sort of person who didn't buy those things &mdash; because he was a writer.</p> <p>Tell yourself the story of who you want to be; that's how you become that person. Don't leave that power in the hands of the marketers.</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/change-your-life-with-storytelling">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/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/20-great-frugal-skills-and-how-to-get-them">20 Great Frugal Skills — and How to Get Them</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/in-a-rut-6-tips-for-getting-out">In a Rut? 6 Tips for Getting Out</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/change-your-life-with-a-30-day-challenge">Change Your Life With a 30 Day Challenge</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/abandon-losing-strategies">Abandon Losing Strategies</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Development advertising change your life writing Tue, 09 Nov 2010 13:00:06 +0000 Philip Brewer 287255 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-6"> <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/how-to-break-bad-habits">How to Break Bad Habits</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/20-habits-you-must-start-right-now-and-be-a-better-person">20 Habits You Must Start Right Now and Be a Better Person</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/9-dumb-little-things-you-need-to-stop-saying-today">9 Dumb Little Things You Need to Stop Saying Today</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