bad habits en-US 20 Habits You Must Start Right Now and Be a Better Person <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/20-habits-you-must-start-right-now-and-be-a-better-person" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="woman drinking water" title="woman drinking water" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>&quot;I'm gonna make a change, it's gonna feel real good!&quot;</p> <p>No song gets me in as good a mood as Michael Jackson's <a href="">Man in the Mirror</a>. This tune not only packs a motivational punch, but also drives home the point that true change in this world starts with you. (See also: <a href="">20 Habits You Must Kick Right Now to Be a Better Person</a>)</p> <p>So, crank up this MJ classic, start practicing these 20 habits and make that change.</p> <h2>Health</h2> <h3>1. Drink 8 Glasses of Water Every Day</h3> <p>You lose plenty of water every day, so to stay on top shape you need to take enough fluids. The eight glasses of water could actually be more or fewer, as long as you reach your daily two-liter goal. If you need some motivation, here is some &quot;water&quot; for thought. (See also: <a href="">8 Reasons to Drink More Water</a>)</p> <ul> <li>Adequate hydration prevents risks of chronic kidney disease.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>The more water in your belly, the fewer snacks you will crave.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><a href="">Drinking about 17 ounces of water</a> about two hours before exercise improves your performance.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Water helps you <a href="">manage constipation</a>.</li> </ul> <h3>2. Walk 10,000 Steps Every Day</h3> <p>Several health organizations, including the <a href="">American Heart Association</a>, recommend walking 10,000 steps a day. Walking is one of the simplest ways to keep your weight in check. Buy a simple pedometer for less than $10 on Amazon or score a free one from most health insurance carriers and start accumulating steps by:</p> <ul> <li>Skipping lunch at your work desk and leaving the office to eat outside.</li> <li>Having more <a href="">walking meetings</a>.</li> <li>Taking the stairs.</li> </ul> <h3>3. Pick Up a TV Fitness Game</h3> <p>Instead of doing shots every time that your favorite TV character says his catchphrase, start doing squats, pushups, or planks. By turning your favorite TV shows into mini workout sessions you increase the chances of sticking to the &quot;program&quot; (get it?). On top of your favorite shows, you can also watch some high adrenaline shows, such as <a href="">American Ninja Warrior</a> and <a href="">Boundless</a>, for inspiration.</p> <h3>4. Make Light of Your Problems</h3> <p>Got anger issues? Use these effective techniques that even a two-year-old can do them.</p> <ul> <li>The next time you get frustrated, burst out into singing a silly song, such as <a href="">Shakes Your Sillies Out</a>.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Learn <a href="">how to take a deep breath with Dr. Oz</a>.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Create a scream-free zone: If you yell, others will join you in the yelling, so stop it.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Use humor to roll with the punches and brush off troubles.</li> </ul> <h3>5. Chase Your Cup of Coffee With a Nap</h3> <p>Here is a hack to make the most out of your next coffee cup.</p> <p>It takes approximately 15 to 45 minutes for caffeine to reach its peak levels in your bloodstream. Researchers point out that 20 minutes is the sweet spot, so maximize your caffeine rush by taking a 20 minute nap after finishing your cup. You will awaken fresh from both the nap and be ready for action with peak caffeine levels.</p> <h3>6. Take a Hot Bath or Shower At Night</h3> <p>Just like when you were a kid, winding down before bedtime helps your body relax better. Given that your body temperature <a href="">decreases about two hours before bedtime</a>, taking a <a href="">hot bath or shower</a> is a great way to maximize this relaxing &quot;cool down&quot; effect and enjoy a better night's sleep.</p> <h3>7. Eat Low Glycemic Snacks Before Working Out</h3> <p>Continuing with the topic of maximizing benefits, here is one for the next time you go for a run or hit the gym. British researches claim that eating low glycemic snacks before working out helps you burn more fat. Skip the candy bar and choose low glycemic snacks such as hummus, nuts, and hard boiled eggs. If you don't have time to grab the right snack, then use this <a href="">list of portion size for 100+ foods</a>.</p> <h3>8. Wait 30 Minutes Before Brushing Teeth</h3> <p>Most people follow the rule of thumb of brushing their teeth at least twice a day. However, according to the American Dental Association, the timing is also important. Brushing your teeth right before or after eating or drinking something acidic (e.g. orange juice, coffee) or sugary does not only give you a yucky feeling but also weakens your teeth enamel (a protective coat for your chompers). The ADA recommends to wait 30 minutes before or after a meal to brush your teeth so that your mouth's pH has time to balance out.</p> <h3>9. Go Dancing</h3> <p>Getting your groove on has several benefits:</p> <ul> <li><a href="">Boosts memory and prevents dementia</a>;</li> <li>Helps with with <a href="">anxiety and stress problems</a>;</li> <li>Has comparable health benefits as walking and biking, according to an Italian study;</li> <li>Is a low-impact and <a href="">safe form of exercise</a>.</li> </ul> <p>So, pick up a class to learn a new dance, or join a group to show off your moves.</p> <h2>Financial</h2> <h3>10. Raise Contributions to Retirement Accounts</h3> <p>The clock is ticking. If you haven't started saving for retirement or are saving too little, you need to ramp up. Given that people are living longer and debt levels are on the rise, people need to raise their target retirement savings goals. For example, members of Gen Y are starting to use $2 million as the new goal instead of just $1 million. (See also: <a href="">12 Things You Didn't Know About Retirement</a>)</p> <p>Increase your contributions to your retirement account by:</p> <ul> <li>Adjusting your paycheck withholdings for your 401(k) or IRA;</li> <li>Making catch-up contributions of $5,500 per year if you are age 50 or older;</li> <li><a href="">Evaluating if annuities would make sense</a> for your retirement goals;</li> <li><a href="">Keeping your debt levels in check</a> so you have more money left for savings.</li> </ul> <h3>11. Save for Holiday Spending</h3> <p>Consumer counseling agencies see a <a href="">25% increase in people seeking help</a> in the first two of months of every year due to out of control Christmas spending. One of the easiest ways to keep your annual budget in check is to set a spending goal at the beginning of every year, and make a weekly contribution towards that goal throughout the year. This way you will not only prevent credit card debt, but also have less financial stress at the beginning of the next year. (See also: <a href="">Get Ready for Christmas: 7 Things You Should Do Today</a>)</p> <h3>12. Get More Freebies</h3> <p>Whoever said that there is no such as a free lunch, surely did not check out our calendar of annual free stuff days. Create a reminder in your agenda or smartphone so that you never miss these freebies year after year. (See also: <a href="">Never Miss Free Ice Cream Again: Complete Calendar of Annual Free Stuff Days</a>)</p> <h3>13. Shop Groceries Smartly</h3> <p>Don't let groceries be an afterthought. The average American family spends about <a href="">$6,443 per year on food</a>, which makes the average grocery run about $60. Are you getting the most out of your buck? Make it a habit to:</p> <ul> <li>Skip boxed mixes of anything: you save more by buying items individually;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Check the clearance shelves for items;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Search for alternatives to expensive items (e.g. Pecori Romano and SarVecchio instead of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese);<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Find out what times your favorite stores mark down products, especially the meat department.</li> </ul> <h2>Productivity</h2> <h3>14. Give More Speeches</h3> <p>The ability to communicate verbally with people is among the <a href="">top 10 skill employers seek.</a> Public speaking is a skill that is useful, no matter what job you pick up. So, start volunteering more often to give a toast, talk on behalf of your company, present a report to a client, or say grace before a family dinner.</p> <h3>15. Spend Less Time on Your Phone</h3> <p>The more time that you spend on your phone, the <a href="">more anxious and less happy</a> you feel. Both sensations make you less productive. While going an entire day without your cell make not make feel any better, using it less than usual will help you feel less anxious and more happy.</p> <ul> <li>Turn your phone to silent or completely off during meetings so that you can focus better.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Leave the phone in your car when heading to a lunch or dinner with clients that you have not seen in a long time.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Create an out of office email notice during weekends to reduce the need to check your inbox.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Engage in more face-to-face conversations.</li> </ul> <h3>16. Listen to Music the Right Way</h3> <ul> <li>Take advantage of the Mozart effect: <a href="">lower your blood pressure</a> and calm down by listening to classical music.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Boost your workout through power playlists cured by experts on <a href="">Spotify</a> and <a href="">Pandora</a>.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Have a sharper focus with &quot;chillout music,&quot; such as most of <a href="">Brian Eno's work</a>.</li> </ul> <h3>17. Use the Two-Minute Rule</h3> <p>Multitasking can be detrimental to your productivity, except for a single exception. If a brand new task arrives to your desk and you're able to fully finish it in two minutes, then go ahead and do it. The rush of completing an action item so fast gives you a boost to get back on your to-do list for the day.</p> <h3>18. Exploit Your &quot;Golden Hour&quot;</h3> <p>Just like you have a &quot;witching hour,&quot; you also have a &quot;golden hour.&quot; This is the time that you are at your peak of concentration and are able to tackle the most difficult tasks with the greatest of ease. The great news are that most people have more than just one golden hour. Learn to identify your golden hours and protect them at all costs so that you can get the most done every day.</p> <h3>19. Delegate More</h3> <p>The easiest way to protect your golden hours is to delegate. You don't have to do everything by yourself. Learn to trust others because it makes everybody more productive and builds trust among members of any team.</p> <h3>20. Get Up Early</h3> <p><a href="">Productive people get up insanely early</a>. Get a DVR recorder and catch your shows during the weekend. By going early to bed and waking up before the competition, you will be on top of everything and find out that a day has more hours than you think. Join the early bird (and successful!) crowd, including Apple CEO Tim Cook, Unilever CEO Paul Polman, and Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz.</p> <p><em>What are some other good habits that need to be in this list? Please share in comments!</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="20 Habits You Must Start Right Now and Be a Better Person" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Damian Davila</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> General Tips Personal Development bad habits good habits habits self improvement Thu, 07 Aug 2014 11:00:13 +0000 Damian Davila 1177365 at 13 "Bad" Habits That Are Actually Good for You <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/13-bad-habits-that-are-actually-good-for-you" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="gossiping" title="gossiping" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="178" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Humans are creatures of habit. Although it can take us a while to form these mental pathways, once they're carved out, it's extremely hard to deviate from them. As a species we spend millions of dollars each year trying to <a href="">break bad habits</a>&nbsp;or deal with their side effects. The funny thing is, many of the practices we've vilified don't live up to their evil reputations. In fact, as science advances, experts have discovered some unexpected benefits of many things we've spent a lifetime criticizing. Are you guilty of making any of these &quot;mistakes&quot;? You may have been doing yourself a favor all along! (See also: <a href="">Habits Aren't Boring &mdash; They're the Secret to Happiness</a>)</p> <h2>1. Drinking Alcohol</h2> <p>Who doesn't enjoy a cocktail after a long day of work? Or sipping a delicious glass of wine with dinner? Drinking alcohol is often viewed as a vice, but research has revealed multiple health benefits of regular libations. Good red wine has antioxidant compounds called <a href="">flavonols</a> which evolve into molecules that improve blood pressure and blood flow. (Note: The cheap stuff isn't fermented long enough to release the flavonols, so it doesn't count.) Don't like wine? No problem. Recently research indicates that beer could be an even better heart-disease fighter. Beer is made with malted barley, which contains antioxidants. Beer also contains high levels of <a href="">vitamin B6</a> and silica, a compound that helps strengthen bones. (See also: <a href="">10 Great Reasons to Drink Beer</a>)</p> <h2>2. Not Making the Bed</h2> <p>Most of us were taught that a productive day starts with a well-made bed. Recent research shows that failing to make your bed in the morning may actually be healthier. Although it looks messy, the warm, dry conditions of <a href="">an unmade bed</a> are unappealing to dust mites that trigger asthma and other allergies.</p> <h2>3. Losing Your Temper</h2> <p>Every once in a while, life hands us a big steaming pile of, well, you know what. Polite society says to keep it all in, never allowing our anger to overflow into public situations, but not all anger is unproductive. Scientists say anger &mdash; as opposed to fear or anxiety &mdash; can prompt your brain to release less cortisol, a stress hormone linked to obesity, bone loss, and heart disease. The key is figuring out how to appropriately channel your anger rather than lash out.</p> <h2>4. Cracking Your Knuckles</h2> <p>Many of us grew up with the belief that <a href="">cracking knuckles</a> would lead to arthritic joints in adulthood, but that's actually just an old wives tale. Some even say that cracking your knuckles can be beneficial, increasing finger flexibility for at least a few minutes afterward.</p> <h2>5. Biting Your Nails</h2> <p>Nail-biting (<a href="">onychophagia</a>) is a common stress-relieving habit &mdash; one that most of us consider undesirable. There are countless tools and advice columns about how to stop nail biting, but it might not be as bad as we think. Some scientists say consuming some of the bugs and bacteria that live <a href="">under our nails</a> can boost the immune system.</p> <h2>6. Fidgeting</h2> <p>Tapping your foot during a meeting. Drumming your fingers during a movie. At one point or another, every one of us has been scolded for &quot;not sitting still.&quot; However recent studies show that <a href="">fidgeting</a> might actually be a way to stay fit. Small, seemingly incidental movements can actually help us burn calories throughout the day, and potentially, reduce the risk of health problems.</p> <h2>7. Gossiping</h2> <p>No one wants to admit it, but we all do it: Talk about friends and acquaintances behind their backs, often in a judgemental way. Normally, gossiping makes us feel guilty, but some research suggests &quot;<a href="">gossip and ostracism</a> can have very positive effects. They are tools by which groups reform bullies, thwart exploitation of 'nice people,' and encourage cooperation.&quot;</p> <h2>8. Not Wearing Sunscreen</h2> <p>Too much time in tanning beds or repeated sunburns is detrimental to your health, but scientists admit that a <em>little</em> <a href="">sun exposure</a> is actually good for us. In a time when vitamin D deficiency and rickets are all too common in developed countries, experts say that 10 minutes of unprotected exposure to midday sun can help boost the immune system.</p> <h2>9. Drinking Coffee</h2> <p>Coffee has been blamed for many things, from staining your teeth to increased cancer risk. But the science shows that, for most people, drinking up to three cups of coffee per day will deliver more health benefits than risks. This popular hot beverage speeds up your metabolism, boosts exercise endurance, and reduces your risk of gallstones and kidney stones. Coffee also protects against Parkinson's disease, type 2 diabetes, and liver disease; and it reduces depression in women. Keep in mind that we're talking about the black stuff, not double flavored lattes with extra whipped cream. (See also: <a href="">10 Surprising Benefits of: Caffeine</a>)</p> <h2>1o. Farting</h2> <p>Normally, letting one fly in public is cause for severe shame and humiliation, but new research suggests you ought to <a href="">fart with pride</a>. Regular flatulence indicates that the beneficial bacteria living in your gut are well-fed, which means your entire body is in a better position to absorb nutrients and fight disease.</p> <h2>11. Skipping a Shower</h2> <p>We're terrified of not looking our best. So, we scrub and shave and sterilize every inch of our bodies on a regular basis. However, washing too often actually strips your skin of the natural oils that keep it hydrated and supple (so you have to pile on moisturizers), not to mention wasting lots of water. (See also: <a href="">How to Shower Less and Still Feel Clean</a>)</p> <h2>12. Not Taking Your Vitamins</h2> <p>Everyone wants to be healthy, and we know that vitamins are essential for health. Multivitamins and herbal supplements are a multibillion dollar industry, but experts say they're not as beneficial as we think. If you're constantly forgetting to take yours, it's probably a good thing. &quot;[A] growing body of evidence suggests that <a href="">multivitamins</a> offer little or nothing in the way of health benefits, and some studies suggest that high doses of certain vitamins might cause harm.&quot; (See also: <a href="">Multivitamins Aren't as Good as You Think: Eat These Real Foods Instead</a>)</p> <h2>13. Not Washing Hands With Hot Water</h2> <p>Let's face it, most of us don't wait for the water to get piping hot before we squirt the soap, lather, and rinse. We've been trained that soap and hot water are the key ingredients for clean hands and germ elimination, but new science suggests we may have been burning our hands for nothing. According to the CDC and other health authorities, <a href="">effective hand washing</a> depends less on the temperature of the water and more on your soaping technique, as well as how long you lather.</p> <p><em>Any bad habits that are actually good I've missed? Please share in comments!</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="13 &quot;Bad&quot; Habits That Are Actually Good for You" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Beth Buczynski</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Health and Beauty Personal Development bad habits good habits habits Tue, 03 Jun 2014 12:00:19 +0000 Beth Buczynski 1141295 at 20 Habits You Must Kick Right Now and Be a Better Person <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/20-habits-you-must-kick-right-now-and-be-a-better-person" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="tv" title="tv" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Better, faster, stronger.</p> <p>This is not only the mantra of fans from Daft Punk and &quot;The Six Million Dollar Man,&quot; but also from life hackers around the world who are looking for ways to make their lives better. The first step on your way to self-improvement is to level the playing field by getting rid of bad habits that are slowing you down. (See also: <a href="">5 Habits You Must Break to Become More Self Confident</a>)</p> <p>By eliminating these 20 bad habits, you set up yourself to tackle any challenge.</p> <h2>Social</h2> <p>People are, by nature, social. When we put our heads together, we are able to achieve great things, such as the Pyramids or the Powerpoint presentations due Monday.</p> <h3>1. Being Late</h3> <p>&quot;80% of life is showing up,&quot; recommends Woody Allen. If your personal clock keeps on running 15 to 30 minutes behind everybody else's, then people are going to stop relying on you and find a replacement. Make it a habit to show up to meetings and appointments 15 minutes early. This buys you time for any last-minute surprises and shows people that you are taking them seriously. Being on time is the easiest way to show respect.</p> <h3>2. Texting During Conversations</h3> <p>A major turn-off for co-workers, friends, and relatives is your obsession with your smartphone or tablet during conversations. Trying to answer an email and posting a tweet while your spouse is asking you what would you like for dinner is just plain rude. Not to mention that it's making you dumber. Studies show that <a href="">multitasking lowers your IQ</a> as much as missing a whole night's sleep &mdash; and more than smoking pot.</p> <h3>3. Making the World Circle Around You</h3> <p>Complaining too much, constantly fishing for compliments, de-emphasizing actual compliments, and cutting people off mid-sentence are red flags that you are too self-centered. You are not the center of the universe, and your problems are not bigger than everybody else's. Start using &quot;you&quot; more often than &quot;I&quot; and make an effort to let others speak more than you do. Remember that &quot;being a good listener&quot; is a compliment, and one that shows others that you care for others.</p> <h3>4. Telling &quot;Little White Lies&quot;</h3> <p>No one likes being lied to. Yet, we still keep telling ourselves that is okay to do tell white lies. Even those lies that supposedly hurt nobody cast a shadow of doubt on your integrity. Tell enough of them, and people won't listen to you anymore. To start limiting the number of lies you dish out every day, try the &quot;Little Jimmy Test.&quot; Little Jimmy is your five-year-old kid &mdash; would you be okay with him saying what you are about to say?</p> <h3>5. Oversharing in Social Media</h3> <p>If you Instagram, Vine, or Facebook every aspect of your life, you may be alienating yourself from friends and family. Not everybody wants to be tagged in every picture or be included in every check-in. Respect the privacy of others and ask before you share any information about somebody else.</p> <h2>Health</h2> <p>Remember your New Year's resolution to lose weight this year? It is going to take more than wishful thinking to get it done.</p> <h3>6. Drinking Soda</h3> <p>Studies have shown that people that consume soda have an <a href=";view=article&amp;id=114:disturbing-facts-about-soda&amp;catid=6:articles&amp;Itemid=13">11% increase in cholesterol</a>&nbsp;compared with people that drink other beverages. And drinking diet soda is no good either. In a 10-year study, people who drank two diet sodas a day had a <a href="">500% increase in waist circumference</a>. Switch soda for water and you will keep both your cholesterol and waistline in check. On top of that, drinking water when we are thirsty boosts our brain's <a href="">performance in mental tests</a>.</p> <h3>7. Binge Drinking</h3> <p>While <a href="">light to moderate drinking</a> has been shown to have health benefits, pounding three or more drinks in a row, raises your blood pressure and lowers your vitamin B1. This vitamin is necessary for a healthy nervous system. Stop binge drinking and, if you must drink, limit yourself to two drinks.</p> <h3>8. Late Night Snacking in Front of TV</h3> <p>Not watching what you're eating is going to increase the amount of food you gobble. By eating while distracted not only do you eat 10% more, but also <a href="">25% more at a later meal</a>. There are three ways to attack this bad habit. First, hide snacks from yourself so that you are less likely to reach for them. Second, use a very small plate to limit the size of your snack. Third, choose lighter snacks, such as fruits and veggies.</p> <h3>9. Skipping Breakfast</h3> <p>Mom was right, again. Breakfast is indeed the most important meal of the day. Men that frequently skip breakfast have a <a href="">27% higher risk</a> of suffering a heart attack or fatal coronary disease, compared to those that eat breakfast daily. In the case of women, skipping breakfast increases their <a href="">risk of type 2 diabetes</a>. Make your momma proud and take the time to fix yourself a healthy breakfast every day. (See also: <a href="">9 Make Ahead, Freezable Hot Breakfasts</a>)</p> <h3>10. Wearing Headphones All the Time</h3> <p>If you are using your headphones at <a href="">60% of their maximum volume for a total of 60 minutes</a> a day, then you are already a victim of irreversible hearing loss. Start observing the 60/60 rule regarding volume and duration, buy larger headphones that rest over the ear instead of inside the ear, and preserve your hearing.</p> <h3>11. Getting Sunburned Too Often</h3> <p>Your risk of melanoma, the most serious form of skin cancer, doubles if you have five<a href="">&nbsp;or more sunburns</a>. Don't test your luck. Make it a daily habit to use sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher. Hats, sunglasses, and UV-blocking clothing are also good ideas. Limit sun exposure between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., and keep completely away from tanning booths.</p> <h2>Financial</h2> <p>&quot;Money is only a tool. It will take you wherever you wish, but it will not replace you as the driver,&quot; said Ayn Rand. It is time to reclaim your seat at the driving wheel and kick these financial bad habits to the curb. (See also: <a href="">25 Dumb Habits That Are Keeping You in Debt</a>)</p> <h3>12. Paying Credit Cards Late</h3> <p>One of the top reasons that your credit card balances never seem to go down is that you keep paying past the due date. Every time you do that, you're slammed with a fine of up to $35. On top of that, your creditor is likely to increase your interest rate after too many late payments. To fix this, set up an automatic payment plan or contact your credit card company to move your due date.</p> <h3>13. Buying &quot;Deals&quot; for Premium Goods</h3> <p>Have you ever had to buy something because it was a once in a lifetime deal? Turns out you may have been better off without such deal in the first place. Research suggests that &quot;<a href="">coupons for premium-priced products</a> can actually make consumers spend more money than they would have spent in the absence of coupons.&quot; Our minds are tricked to focus on the coupon rather than total price, so we end up spending more than we originally intended. By focusing on saving $200, you end up spending over $1,000 and&hellip;</p> <h3>14. Busting Your Budget</h3> <p>The king of all financial bad habits. You need to kick this one as soon as possible.</p> <p>When making your budget be sure you're capturing all your spending. By making a very thorough list, you will plan ahead better and increase your chances of keeping within your means.</p> <h3>15. Overspending on Media Consumption</h3> <p>Your iTunes habit may be killing your hearing and your wallet. The price of $1.29 per song may not seem that much, but if you buy 100 songs throughout the year, then you are spending $129. If you have your iTunes account connected to your credit card, yes that credit card that you always pay late, you need to re-evaluate your media consumption. Analyze your options and check out whether paying per song or buying a subscription is the better deal. (See also: <a href="">Buy or Subscribe: How to Pay the Least for the Media You Love the Most</a>)</p> <h3>16. Not Saving for Retirement</h3> <p>Make your golden years truly golden by starting a retirement account. It is never too late and there are options available, no matter how close you may be to your retirement age. (See also: <a href="">This Is the Basic Intro to Having a Retirement Fund That Everyone Needs to Read</a>)</p> <h2>Productivity</h2> <p>Becoming more productive is at the top of almost everybody's to-do list.</p> <h3>17. Taking Mental Notes</h3> <p>Talking about lists, your main productive challenge may be that you're not committing tasks to paper. Start using the notes app from your smartphone to jot down your objectives for the day. Include important information, such as what is the deadline, what you need to complete it, and who you need to contact. Check your list several times during the day so that you can clearly see what you need to do.</p> <h3>18. Not Committing to Deadlines</h3> <p>Deadlines force us to take action. Here is a quick lifehack from psychology and behavioral professor, Dan Ariely: &quot;P<a href="">ublicly committing to a deadline</a> is a powerful motivator because it puts your reputation on the line.&quot; Nobody likes to disappoint friends and colleagues, so this gives you that second wind and adrenaline rush to meet your deadline on time.</p> <h3>19. Being Too Available</h3> <p>If you have Skype, Twitter, Whatsapp, email, and a smartphone on at all times, your work output is going to suffer. While it is a good idea to be accessible, it has to be within specified hours. When you need to get work done, you need to limit your access. This means turning off the phone, shutting down messaging apps, and finding a private space. If you committed publicly to a deadline, your friends and coworkers understand that you are trying to meet that deadline.</p> <h3>20. Overfocusing on Email</h3> <p>Email is a <a href="">productivity trap</a>.</p> <ul> <ul> <li>If an email chain goes beyond two replies, pick up the phone.</li> <li>If a co-worker two cubicles down emails you too much, walk over to her.</li> </ul> <li>Your <a href="">incorrect use of email</a> might make you look rude.</li> </ul> <p><em>What are some other bad habits that need to be in this list? Please share in comments!</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="20 Habits You Must Kick Right Now and Be a Better Person" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Damian Davila</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> General Tips Personal Development bad habits habits productivity self improvement Tue, 27 May 2014 08:48:38 +0000 Damian Davila 1140442 at The Surprisingly Easy Way to Change Your Habits and Your Life <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-surprisingly-easy-way-to-change-your-habits-and-your-life" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="woman using phone" title="woman using phone" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p><em>Editor's Note: This is Part 2 of a two-part article on harnessing the power of habits to change lives for the better. To learn more about the structure of habits, be sure to read Part 1: <a href="">Habits Aren't Boring &mdash; They're the Secret to Happiness. Here's Why.</a></em></p> <p>Having good daily habits helps us work step-by-step towards our goals and makes us more productive. However, we all know that changing habits can be very difficult, especially if the habit is deeply ingrained and the reward is something that feels good. (See also: <a href="">&quot;Good&quot; Eating Habits That Are Keeping Us Fat</a>)</p> <p>I covered the latest research around habits in much greater detail in another recent Wise Bread post, but the key, it seems, to breaking bad habits and installing good ones breaks down into two parts. The first is understanding why we might want to do such things, i.e., why having good, daily habits is good for you. The second is leveraging the structure of a habit (the cue, the routine, and the reward), so that it works for us.</p> <p>As it turns out, <a href="">scientists have developed a technique</a> that seems to be the best way to change a habit. This has helped people change some awful habits that made their lives hell, so it can probably help us, too.</p> <p>To test the power of this theory, I'm applying these steps to one of the habits I'd love to change: my daily interaction with social media. For a long time, I felt like social media ended up dominating my time, even when I didn't want it to. I would tell my daughter that I'd read her a book when I finished checking Facebook, only to look up 15 minutes later and realize I still hadn't read to her. So here is a small example of how this process could look in daily life. (See also: <a href="">Ways to Break Your Social Media Habit</a>)</p> <h2>1. Figure Out What You Want to Change</h2> <p>For this step, look at the routine &mdash; the pattern of behavior that makes up the habit. What is the action, set of actions, or behavior that needs to be different?</p> <p>In my life, the behavior was losing myself and my sense of time online. I wanted to be able to check Facebook, email, or Twitter, but do it efficiently and without getting sucked in for longer than a few minutes at a time.</p> <h2>2. Try Some Different Rewards</h2> <p>We perform our habits because of the rewards they offer. Thus, if we can figure out what reward we are craving, then we can almost always figure out another way to get it. We may need to delve deeper into this line of questioning, asking ourselves what we are getting by performing or avoiding a certain task that seems to lead to a reward we would want.</p> <p>When it came to my time online, I realized that what I wanted was to feel connected. I wanted to feel like I knew what was going on in the world, with my friends, and in the lives of people I respect and look up to, even when I had been at home with my kids all day. I also wanted to feel connected with my kids, which was a huge part of my reward for changing this habit. (See also: <a href="">Why Video Is the Best Way to Connect With People</a>)</p> <h3>Rewards Aren't Easy to Find</h3> <p>Finding a reward that works for you can be the most difficult part of changing a habit. It's hard to find a reward that meets your needs and isn't destructive, especially when the existing reward is the whole reason why you have the habit in the first place. Also, as in my own case, the reward can be pretty abstract, which makes it even harder to pinpoint. Here are some thoughts on determining the reward for your distressing habit.</p> <ul> <li> <p>Use a journal. When you feel like performing your existing habit, or when you have just performed it, write about how you feel. Write about what you felt like you were lacking before you went through your routine, and how you feel better about that afterwards.</p> </li> <li> <p>Check different rewards. Every time you feel like performing your habit, try doing something different that gives a different reward. If you feel like you want a cookie, try eating some carrots instead. If they satisfy your need, then maybe your reward was the cessation of hunger. If they don't, try taking a nap, chewing gum, or talking to a friend next time. When you find something that works, you'll get clues into your reward.</p> </li> <li> <p>Ask around. Talk to some close friends or family members about the habit you want to change. This can be nerve-wracking, especially if you feel ashamed about the habit. However, people close to you often have more insight into your behavior than you might think, and they will be likely to have some thoughts about what you're really looking for when you perform your habit.</p> </li> </ul> <h2>3. Determine Your Cue(s)</h2> <p>This means looking at the situation that occurs right before you enter your routine. There are five questions that generally help analyze this.</p> <ol> <li> <p>Where are you? (I'm usually at home.)</p> </li> <li> <p>What time is it? (Whenever.)</p> </li> <li> <p>What's your emotional state? (Tired, physically and emotionally depleted, feeling like I deserve an easy reward.)</p> </li> <li> <p>Who else is around? (Some combination of my three children.)</p> </li> <li> <p>What action preceded the urge? (Usually I get sucked into social media right after I complete a task or meet someone's need.)</p> </li> </ol> <p>When I used this to work through my actions tied to social media, I realized that I was trying to meet my legitimate need for adult interaction and connectedness at times when I was feeling especially tired. My cues, then, were emotional and physical, but not tied to a particular time or place. Depending on the habit, any one or combination of these questions can make up the cue. (See also: <a href="">7 Habits That Make Us Happier</a>)</p> <h2>4. Come Up With a Plan</h2> <p>When you have a plan, you will be more likely to beat your habit. A huge part of this involves making your cues conscious, rather than unconscious, so that you can see when they happen and implement your new set of actions.</p> <p>In my case, I found it useful to plan out a few in-person social interactions every week. These involved meals or coffee out with friends, having other couples and families over to our home in the evenings, and planning phone calls with far away friends. Having these places of adult social interaction helped me feel like I was connected (or going to be connected) with people, and so I didn't have to search for that all day long. (See also: <a href="">Why Cultivating Relationships Is Good for You</a>)</p> <p>I also found a place for my electronic devices that was easily within my reach if I really needed them, but not so close that I could check them without thinking. This helped me to make my cues conscious, because I had to think about where my phone, iPad, and computer were before I could use them. That interruption was usually enough for me to determine whether it was really a good time to check in online and, if not, what I might rather be doing with my time.</p> <h2>My New Habit</h2> <p>In the end, I found changing this habit to be a powerful motion in my life. Now, I not only spend more time with my kids and feel like I know them a little bit better, but I get more done in my days, too. I use my time better, both online and offline, and I spend more time interacting with the people close to me in real life, which is more satisfying and has helped our relationships grow.</p> <p>Habits can be difficult and frustrating, as I well know, but they can also make our lives more productive and ourselves happier. It is worth understanding the how and why of daily habits, so that we can make their power work for us rather than against us.</p> <p><em>Have you successfully changed any of your habits for the better? What worked for you?</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="The Surprisingly Easy Way to Change Your Habits and Your Life" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Sarah Winfrey</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Personal Development bad habits behavior good habits habits Wed, 19 Feb 2014 11:24:19 +0000 Sarah Winfrey 1126319 at 10 Dumb Habits That Are Keeping You From Earning More Money <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-dumb-habits-that-are-keeping-you-from-earning-more-money" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="laptop" title="laptop" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It seems like there&#39;s a constant competition within us to both work and build something that other people can use and benefit from (and ultimately make us money) or to spend our time in systems that people have already established. (See also: <a href="">11 Easy Ways to Make Money Online</a>)</p> <p>A good comparison would be this simple dilemma: Do I start a Facebook page for my business or spend time skulking around on my personal Facebook account?</p> <p>One is you creating something, while the other is you wasting time in an arena that somebody else created.</p> <p>There are plenty of worlds created by others that we spend time in that rob us of our ability to produce and ultimately increase wealth. It has also created habits in us that rob from that goal as well.</p> <p>Here are 10 of the worst habits standing between you and earning more money.</p> <h2>1. Social Media Unrelated to Work</h2> <p>We&#39;ve already touched on it, but social media is by far one of the most distracting things we have at our fingertips, with the average user spending over <a href="">15 hours per month</a> on Facebook alone. That means on average people are losing over three hours of productivity per week due to Facebook, before we even factor in Pinterest, Twitter, and Google Plus. (See also: <a href="">How to Break Your Social Media Habit</a>)</p> <p>So instead of spending 15 hours a week as a user, spend it as a page admin and work on building up a social media following for your business, whether that be a store, website, blog, or whatever else you&#39;re working on.</p> <p>Make it something that allows you to produce with your time instead of just consume it. (See also: <a href="">Ways to Use Social Media in Business</a>)</p> <h2>2. Constantly &quot;Checking&quot; Your Favorite Websites</h2> <p>The Internet allows to consume information in a live, as-it-happens manner. We don&#39;t need to wait for the paper to show up at 7:30 a.m. Instead, we&#39;re able check for the latest information available, which means a rolling pursuit of information and constantly checking the websites that provide it.</p> <p>Whether it be sports, news, or our collection of RSS feeds, checking a site five or six times a day can burn away the clock, so discipline yourself to only check those sites when you&#39;re not working on other things.</p> <h2>3. Listening to Music While Trying to Focus</h2> <p>While it can help you finish <a href="">boring tasks faster</a>, listening to music while learning something new or trying to build something (writing an article, developing HTML, or designing something in architecture) can actually <a href="">hamper your progress</a> and make it more difficult to concentrate. (See also: <a href="">How to Stay Focused</a>)</p> <h2>4. Taking Long Lunches</h2> <p>Unless your work isn&#39;t time sensitive or you don&#39;t get paid by the hour, taking a two-hour lunch is incredibly unproductive. Instead, pack a lunch and take 15 minutes to relax and fuel up. Not only will you be able to recoup the hour, but you&#39;ll also have an easier time &quot;getting back into the swing of things&quot; with the shorter break.</p> <h2>5. Waiting for the &quot;Perfect Job&quot;</h2> <p>While there&#39;s nothing wrong with having a job you like and doing something that suits you, don&#39;t wait to buckle down until you find the perfect gig. Often the jobs that seem less than ideal can act as stepping stones that push you towards that eventual dream job. Don&#39;t turn your nose up at those opportunities because they&#39;re essential pieces of the puzzle when it comes to your ultimate career goals.</p> <h2>6. Communicating Poorly</h2> <p>Even disregarding simple aspects of communication like smiling and making eye contact can compromise your ability to network and make connections in the workplace or any kind of professional environment. (See also: <a href="">25 Ways to Communicate Better</a>)</p> <p>If you&#39;re a poor communicator or if you make a habit of avoiding situations where you have to speak and make conversation, it&#39;s possible that you&#39;re unknowingly hurting your earning potential.</p> <h2>7. Waiting for the Right Moment to Ask for a Raise</h2> <p>There&#39;s probably never going to be a situation where you feel comfortable asking for a raise.</p> <p>That ideal scenario where it just kind of &quot;comes up&quot; in conversation with your boss isn&#39;t likely to occur, so it&#39;s going to be something that you need to initiate. Just be sure that you&#39;ve got some talking points to discuss why you deserve the raise. You can even approach it from an angle of wanting to be worth more to the company or asking your boss what you can do to potentially increase your pay rate.</p> <p>However you do it, just make sure you don&#39;t keep putting it off.</p> <h2>8. Sleeping In</h2> <p>One simple thing you can do to earn more, or at least increase your earning potential, is get up early. (See also: <a href="">Benefits of Being a Morning Person</a>)</p> <p>For most people, thoughts and ideas are clearer and more easily communicated in the morning. If that&#39;s not true for you and you work better after five, stay later and get that extra hour and half in between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. if you have to.</p> <p>The rule is still the same in that you&#39;re going the extra mile and simply putting more time into your job.</p> <h2>9. Thinking You&#39;re Smarter Than Everyone Else</h2> <p>We&#39;ve all seen people who do this. They&#39;re always carrying around some form of righteous indignation because they could do better at everyone else&#39;s job, except their own.</p> <p>Don&#39;t be that person.</p> <p>Be an expert in what you&#39;re supposed to be an expert in and let everyone else you work with do their job the way they know how. You&#39;ll be more likeable, more respected and, in the long run, more promotable. (See also: <a href="">How to Be More Likeable at Work</a>)</p> <h2>10. Not Having Attainable Goals</h2> <p>Far too many people just think, &quot;I want to build and accumulate a lot of wealth.&quot; At the same time, they don&#39;t put the time into defining or thinking about any of the steps that are required to actually achieve that goal.</p> <p>Set attainable goals for yourself and don&#39;t worry so much about whether or not the money is gushing in. Chances are it won&#39;t for a long time and that&#39;s fine. Instead, just focus on the small and attainable goals as your progress through your yearly to-do lists.</p> <h2>Earning Money Will Come</h2> <p>For those who work both hard <em>and</em> smart, the money and the financial stability will come.</p> <p>The trick is to be more concerned with the work and less concerned with the bottom line. It&#39;s alright to spend your energy improving your worth and creating things that are valuable to people, even if you don&#39;t see the income right away.</p> <p>If you&#39;re able to sustain that rhythm for a few years, you&#39;ll find yourself in a comfortable spot quicker than you ever thought possible.</p> <p><em>What habits have you noticed that slow earning? Please share in comments!</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="10 Dumb Habits That Are Keeping You From Earning More Money" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Mikey Rox</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Career and Income bad habits earning income Wed, 15 Jan 2014 10:36:16 +0000 Mikey Rox 1111194 at The 5 Habits You Must Break to Become More Self-Confident <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-5-habits-you-must-break-to-become-more-self-confident" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="woman" title="woman" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you search &quot;how to be confident&quot; on Google, you&#39;ll find a collection of familiar advice. Talk nicer to yourself. Think positive thoughts. Try something new. (See also: <a href="">15 Ways to Gain More Confidence</a>)</p> <p>All sound guidance that can help boost your ability to be fearless and that is, after all, what confidence is made of. But happy thoughts and kinder words aside, there are also some habits that can actually keep you from becoming more confident, no matter how positive you force yourself to be or how many new things you decide to try.</p> <p>So, rather than repeat what you already know, let&#39;s dig a little deeper and talk about some habits that sap confidence.</p> <h2>1. Stop Trying to Please Everyone Else</h2> <p><img alt="" src="" style="width: 605px; height: 303px;" /></p> <p>If I look back at all the stupid things I&#39;ve done, most can be chalked up to me trying to make someone else happy. Don&#39;t ask me why, but I feel the need to please, and it&#39;s a need that I&#39;ve had to wrestle with for as long as I can remember. (See also: <a href="">How to Say &ldquo;No&rdquo; to Family and Friends</a>)</p> <p>Quite simply, I don&#39;t like the idea that someone doesn&#39;t like me &mdash; it literally bothers me to no end &mdash; and if left unchecked, it will drive me to dismiss my better judgment and throw my own good sense right out the window. Of course, I&#39;ll beat myself up for it later when hindsight sets in, and I&#39;ll start thinking of all the things I should have said and done instead.</p> <p>That need to please has a very icky feeling to it, one that I&#39;ve learned to recognize all too well, which means that I know I&#39;m not being true to myself even as I&#39;m doing it. The solution, then, is to stop caring so much about what other people think. That doesn&#39;t mean you can&#39;t be sensitive or caring; it just means that you consciously stop putting everyone else&#39;s needs above your own.</p> <h2>2. Stop Living in the Past</h2> <p><img alt="" src="" style="width: 605px; height: 303px;" /></p> <p>We carry a lot of baggage around &mdash; we have a tendency to hang on to the moments we believe define us in some way.</p> <p>And to some extent, that&#39;s not necessarily a bad thing.</p> <p>I can look back, for example, and see where my path took me this way or that; where meeting that person launched a new career, reading that book inspired a new dream, or living through that trauma made me stronger and more prepared for the challenges that still lie ahead.</p> <p>But it&#39;s one thing to draw on experience to give us perspective; it&#39;s quite another to use that experience as a measuring tool for success.</p> <p>The truth is, we all screw up. Even the best and brightest have moments that they wish they had handled better &mdash; opportunities that they missed, or obstacles they failed to overcome. And we all long to have those moments back because we believe we&#39;d be happier now if we had only acted differently then.</p> <p>But the reality is that we need those failures to give us something to build upon. We need those dark moments so that we can discern what the light looks like. We need to understand what it feels like to be weak or afraid or uncertain because it shows us who we are in times of crisis, and knowing this less-flattering side of yourself is crucial to becoming the person you really want to be. (See also: <a href="">How to Learn From Mistakes</a>)</p> <p>So, cut yourself some slack. Learn from those past hiccups, but don&#39;t carry them around as proof of your worth (or lack thereof). You can&#39;t start building confidence if you&#39;re busy dwelling on all the reasons you don&#39;t already have it.</p> <h2>3. Stop Setting Yourself Up to Fail</h2> <p><img alt="" src="" style="width: 605px; height: 303px;" /></p> <p>Since we&#39;re on the subject of cutting yourself some slack, let&#39;s apply that to your goal-setting habits as well, because the less confidence we have, the more critical and demanding we seem to become.</p> <p>It&#39;s as if we believe that orchestrating a grander future somehow makes up for past failings. Instead of setting achievable goals that allow us to grow more confident incrementally with each success, we hold ourselves to ridiculous standards and scrutinize every stumble along the way.</p> <p>In short, we set ourselves up to fail, and then point to those failures as proof of our inability to get it right.</p> <p>That&#39;s a nasty, vicious cycle that will destroy any inkling of self-confidence.</p> <p>So, let&#39;s break the cycle. Let&#39;s start setting goals that are realistic and achievable. If you&#39;ve spent a lifetime of being unorganized (like me) for example, it&#39;s absurd to think that you&#39;ll change that tendency overnight and transform your home into a haven of order and symmetry. Likewise, if you&#39;ve accumulated a ton of debt and have struggled to make a dent in it over the years, it&#39;s not reasonable to suddenly assume that you can pay it down in the next six months by foregoing fast food and Friday night beer runs.</p> <p>That&#39;s a nice thought and all, but seriously? It ain&#39;t gonna happen.</p> <p>Better to start small and make less invasive, more manageable changes that you can live with. Changes that put you on the right path to that amazing version of yourself, but that don&#39;t require you to achieve it all effortlessly, right now, this very minute. (See also: <a href="">Ways to Make Goals Manageable</a>)</p> <h2>4. Stop Looking for Someone to Blame</h2> <p><img alt="" src="" style="width: 605px; height: 303px;" /></p> <p>Sometimes, we get the short end of the stick, and sometimes, we can clearly point to those responsible for doing the sticking. But what we can&#39;t do &mdash; what we absolutely mustn&#39;t do &mdash; is allow that frustration to transform into helplessness. It&#39;s hard to be confident if your happiness and well-being depends upon the actions of others.</p> <p>Somewhere along the way, we stopped owning our circumstances. I don&#39;t mean that we were asking for those circumstances or &quot;created&quot; them in some way. I just mean that we became OK with the idea that it wasn&#39;t our fault. And if it wasn&#39;t our fault, then someone else was to blame, and if they were to blame, then they must be in control.</p> <p>The problem with this mentality is that it takes you out of the driver&#39;s seat. You&#39;re no longer responsible for your success, because someone else is keeping you from having it, and that&#39;s pretty much that. We wanted to go back to school, but our partner wouldn&#39;t &quot;let us.&quot; We wanted to make more money or have a better job, but our boss just didn&#39;t like us. (See also: <a href="">How to Be Happier and More Likeable at Work</a>)</p> <p>We wanted the same abundance, love, and happiness that everyone else in the world wants, but that world was working against us, and it just wasn&#39;t in the cards.</p> <p>Focusing on who&#39;s to blame isn&#39;t going to solve the problem, but it will keep you from becoming the confident and self-assured person you want to be. So, break the habit and start looking at your problems from a different point of view.</p> <p>Hold others accountable for their actions? Yes. Call attention to the injustices of the world? Absolutely. But then turn your energy on finding ways to fix the problem and move forward. Forget about figuring out who&rsquo;s fault it is&hellip; focus instead on how to make it better. Because you&#39;ll never be as happy/successful/wealthy as you could be if you&#39;re waiting on someone else to make it happen.</p> <h2>5. Stop Playing It Safe</h2> <p><img alt="" src="" style="width: 605px; height: 303px;" /></p> <p>In the movie &quot;The Secret Life of Walter Mitty,&quot; Ben Stiller plays a quiet, mouse of a man with a big imagination. In reality, he moves through life without much significance, but in his head, he&#39;s a brave and daring hero, engrossed in one glorious adventure after another.</p> <p>There&#39;s a little Walter Mitty in all of us. We&#39;re drawn to stories filled with action and adventure because it allows us to vicariously experience something more intense, more passionate, and more exciting than the life we already know.</p> <p>In &quot;Die Hard,&quot; when Officer John McClane realizes he&#39;s trapped in an office building being hijacked by a group of purported terrorists, does he hide and wait for help? Hell, no. He goes after them with all he&#39;s got, foiling their plans and taking quite a few of them down in the process.</p> <p>And when scientist Trevor Anderson (&quot;Journey to the Center of the Earth&quot;) realizes that his missing brother left behind some unusual clues to his disappearance, did he turn them over to the authorities to investigate? No way. He took his nephew and followed those clues himself, all the way into a hidden world buried deep within the center of the Earth.</p> <p>Indulging in these stories feeds our need for adventure. It answers that nagging question of &quot;what if,&quot; and it satisfies our deep-seated desire to discover, explore and conquer the unknown... safely and without consequence.</p> <p>Unfortunately, it does nothing for our self-confidence.</p> <p>One of the most repeated pieces of advice for building confidence is to set goals and then achieve them, and we&#39;ve already talked about the importance of making those goals realistic. But the opposite is true as well. It&#39;s hard to get psyched about accomplishing things you can do in your sleep, and this is where a little risk-taking can really stir things up.</p> <p>In other words, if you&#39;re not testing your limits and broadening your horizons on a regular basis, you&#39;re missing out on the opportunity to discover just how amazing you actually are. I&#39;m not suggesting that you try to take on a band of criminals by yourself, nor do I suggest venturing into the center of the Earth in search of hidden civilizations, but pushing the envelope just a little once in a while can do wonders for your confidence.</p> <p>Heroes aren&#39;t revealed until they go on quests, so go on a few of your own. Bend the rules a little. Learn to improvise and be spontaneous. See what your safer, more reserved side says to do and then do the opposite of that. Remember, the definition of courage isn&#39;t a lack of fear &mdash; it&#39;s experiencing fear and pushing past it. The only way to experience fear is to face it and that means stepping outside of your comfort zone once in a while.</p> <p>And that&#39;s when you find the confidence to become your own hero and live your own real-life adventure.</p> <p><em>How do you generate self-confidence? Don&#39;t be shy, tell us about it in comments!</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="The 5 Habits You Must Break to Become More Self-Confident" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Kate Luther</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Personal Development bad habits confidence confidence busters Tue, 07 Jan 2014 10:37:17 +0000 Kate Luther 1107271 at How to Break Bad Habits <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-break-bad-habits" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="no smoking" title="no smoking" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>While many of us won't readily admit it, we all have a bad habit or two that we'd like to kick. Whether it's biting your nails, smoking, or chewing with your mouth full (among other offensive habits), here are a few ways to change your ways for the better. (See also: <a href="" target="_blank">How to Learn From Your Mistakes</a>)</p> <h2>1. Become Conscious of What You're Doing</h2> <p>The first step to changing a bad habit is to recognize what you're doing. While we're usually aware of the big habits that affect others around us &mdash; smoking, talking with a mouth full of food &mdash; other, more private habits like biting our nails are often done subconsciously. To change it, you have to first become conscious of the action. <a href="" target="_blank">Inspirationalist Ellie Peterson</a> has devised a plan to help. &quot;One way to become aware of what you are doing is to perform 'Meditative Movements,'&quot; Peterson says.</p> <blockquote><p style="">This simple practice helps you become mindful of your own body, mind, and spiritual being. Many times our actions are on automatic. However, all actions are preceded by our thoughts and beliefs from our subconscious and conscious mind. For example, by completing the 'I Choose' movement, you are taking the time to be open to the messages you are sending yourself. You can feel in your own body the resistance to this statement and through repetition can start to take ownership for yourself. Then you can learn how to strengthen your focus and by listening to your entire self, you are able to get in touch with what you are doing.&nbsp;</p> </blockquote> <h2>2. Make Note of It &mdash; on Paper</h2> <p>When we were in school, we took notes for a reason &mdash; so we could remember the material, study it, learn it, and memorize it after the class ended. Even today, we make notes to remind ourselves of something we need to do. When trying to break a bad habit, it's a good idea to write the habit on paper along with why you want to change it and some of the steps you'll take to make that change.</p> <p>Rhonda Richards-Smith, a licensed mental health expert, agrees. &quot;One of the most powerful tools we can use to change our behaviors is to record them,&quot; she says. &quot;Prior to attempting to change the behavior, keep a daily log of what time you engage in the behavior, where it tends to occur and what you are thinking and feeling just before you do it. Once you become aware of your pattern, you can come up with a strategy for how to change it.&quot;</p> <h2>3. Think Small to Start</h2> <p>Many times when we're making big changes in our lives &mdash; <a href="" target="_blank">New Year's resolutions are a prime example</a> &mdash; we have a tendency to bite off more than we can chew by trying to do too much at once. The result is almost always failure. When attempting to break a bad habit, then, it's best to start by making small efforts toward a larger goal.</p> <p>&quot;After the person writes down or makes clear what it is they want to change, they are instructed to do one thing per day towards that change,&quot; suggest Dr. <a href="" target="_blank">Ramani Durvasula</a>, creator of the concept &quot;Promise for One,&quot; a set of actionable steps toward achieving a goal.</p> <blockquote><p>For example if the bad habit is around eating too much sugar, on Day One the 'one thing' may be to drink two liters of water instead [of soft drinks]. Day Two may be to throw out the cookies. I suggest people put an alarm on a phone to ring once per day to remind them to do their one thing &mdash; and then to make a record of it &mdash; because the accumulation of the one simple thing a day seems not overwhelming in the day to day but over time shows the change in behavior.</p> </blockquote> <h2>4. Change Your Routine</h2> <p>To get your mind off the habit in which you engage &mdash; <a href="" target="_blank">let's say smoking, for instance</a> &mdash; it's important to take your mind off the activity and focus on something else.</p> <p>Andrew Schrage, founder of Money Crashers, says, &quot;Changing up your routine is a great way to break a <a href="" target="_blank">bad habit</a>. If you find yourself smoking a cigarette after each meal, replace that with something else, such as reading or any other activity other than smoking. Attempting to simply stop a bad habit without adjusting your activities is going to be a challenge.&quot;</p> <p>Over time, your new routine will become the new habit, which is hopefully a positive one, like drinking a glass of water or taking a five-minute walk every time you have a craving.</p> <p>This tip isn't just for smoking, however. It applies to a broad list of bad habits as health coach Natalie Wahl points out.</p> <p>&quot;In health coaching, we teach our clients to crowd out the bad foods with good ones. If you don't have the bad foods on hand, or you are eating an abundance of fruits and vegetables, then your cravings for unhealthy foods will diminish,&quot; she says.</p> <blockquote><p>This also works for other habits. I have worked with several autistic children, and my own son is autistic. They often have inappropriate behaviors that they use to stimulate or soothe themselves, and what works best is replacing that behavior with a similar but socially acceptable behavior. For example, instead of biting nails, chewing gum, or sucking on hard candy may curb the habit. Instead of eating mindlessly, or eating junk food, taking a drink of water and having prepared veggies on hand can help you break out of the bad routine.</p> </blockquote> <h2>5. Keep at It for a Month</h2> <p>Dr. Marlene Caroselli agrees and furthers <a href="" target="_blank">the logic of routine change</a> by reminding us of William James' observation that replacing a bad habit with a good one only takes about a month to implement.</p> <p>&quot;America's first psychologist, William James, found that a given action, repeated 30 days in a row, becomes a habit,&quot; she says. &quot;Those who are serious, or even only half-serious, about making a change, need only build time in for one whole month. Desire then overtakes excuses. Keeping a log will help, too, as will having a support system.&quot;</p> <p><em>Have you tried to break a bad habit? How did you do it? Tell us how you did it in comments!</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="How to Break Bad Habits" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Mikey Rox</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Life Hacks General Tips Personal Development bad habits breaking bad habits good habits habits how to change your routine Tue, 16 Apr 2013 09:30:35 +0000 Mikey Rox 973369 at Relationships and Money: Two Sides of the Same Coin <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/relationships-and-money-two-sides-of-the-same-coin" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="couple sitting back to back" title="couple sitting back to back" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Have you ever met someone who&rsquo;s an extreme risk-taker in life but very careful with money? What about someone who is measured and cautious in everything except money? I sure haven&rsquo;t. It&rsquo;s no wonder, then, that money issues overwhelmingly come out on top of <a href="">reasons why couples bicker</a>, argue, and all-out fight with each other. It&rsquo;s because, for better or for worse, the way we deal with money is a reflection of ourselves. Unfortunately, most of us are about as well equipped for balancing money and our relationships as we are for deep-sea diving. In essence, we&rsquo;re all thrown overboard and are forced to flounder around.</p> <p>If you think about what really has an impact on the way you live your life, chances are your finances and your relationships will come out on top. After all, it&rsquo;s problems in these areas that tend to cause the most stress. Fighting with your spouse? Stress. Fighting with your spouse because you can&rsquo;t pay the mortgage? Major stress. But while our financial behavior is probably deeply rooted in our life experiences, we all have a choice about how we live and manage our money. Let&rsquo;s take a look at some of the common disagreements that revolve around money &mdash; and what they might say about you and your relationship. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="">Coping Mechanisms for a Spender-Saver Relationship</a>)</p> <h2>Frugality</h2> <p>My partner recently won $50 in a poker game. My reaction: &ldquo;Let&rsquo;s go out for dinner!&rdquo; His reaction: &ldquo;Are you crazy? This is for my retirement account!&rdquo;</p> <p>Clearly, I have a smart guy on my hands. Unfortunately, a lot of people take frugal too far &mdash; even to unhealthy extremes. I&rsquo;m not talking about people who have to resort to extreme frugality out of necessity, but those who earn a good living but pinch every penny they make with no long-term goal in sight. Perhaps they&rsquo;re afraid of risk, or it physically pains them to part with their cash. Whether they&rsquo;re looking for the secure feeling a big bank account can provide or just don&rsquo;t believe they&rsquo;re worth any luxuries, those who are too insecure about spending their money may have a hard time reconciling those feelings in a relationship, especially if expenses are split down the middle.</p> <h2>Division of Labor</h2> <p>Have you ever noticed that money and control seem to go hand in hand? After all, money is like the wild card, providing a proxy for power, control, and freedom. Whether one partner makes more or just makes all the decisions, it can definitely leave one person &mdash; or both &mdash; feeling hurt and angry. In this case, it isn&rsquo;t money that&rsquo;s the problem, but the way two people are relating to each other &mdash; or using money to avoid really relating to each other. This is why if you have a spouse who&rsquo;s controlling, chances are he or she is controls the finances, too.&nbsp;</p> <p>I&rsquo;m not sure it has to be that way, though. I think of managing the finances as a chore, just like taking out the garbage or doing the laundry. As with all chores, the division of labor is rarely 50/50, but it&rsquo;s a great goal to have. Maybe next time you&rsquo;re arguing about who should walk the dog or wash the windows, you should even out who will pay the bills, do the taxes, and balance the checkbook at the same time.</p> <h2>Debt</h2> <p>Overspending is a key point of contention for couples; it&rsquo;s also the second-biggest source of argument. I think the way we like to spend our money is very personal, which can make us ultra-defensive if we&rsquo;re criticized about what we choose to buy (I know I am). That said, debt can drag a relationship down faster than you can say &ldquo;Honey, I maxed out the credit card.&rdquo;</p> <p>In the world of money personalities, spendthrifts are known for living in the moment &mdash; at the expense of their financial future. If you&rsquo;re the one who overspends in your relationship, have you ever thought about why you do it? It&rsquo;s worth considering. If you&rsquo;re a <a href="">gotta-have-it-now</a> kind of person at the mall, you probably tend toward making impulsive decisions in other areas of your life.</p> <h2>The Bills</h2> <p>If there&rsquo;s fighting in your house about the bills, it&rsquo;s probably because they aren&rsquo;t getting paid. This isn&rsquo;t good for a relationship, and it&rsquo;s <a href="">disastrous for your credit score</a>. According to the <a href="">2011 Consumer Financial Literacy Survey</a> (PDF), a full 28% of people admit to paying their bills late. Not having the money to pay your bills is one thing, but that usually isn&rsquo;t the reason we put them off, right? According to money psychologists, this strategy of avoidance is a psychological trap everyone uses from time to time to avoid situations we find stressful.</p> <p>I see procrastination a bit like a form of self-torture. It feels good, but it also prolongs the agony of what you&rsquo;re trying to put off. Plus, it&rsquo;s pretty clear that too much avoidance can become a very deep hole &mdash; dig it too deep, and it&rsquo;s likely that neither your finances nor your relationship will be able to find their way out of it.</p> <h2>Your Money, Your Life</h2> <p>Think about how you deal with your money. Chances are, it reflects who you are, and the issues you struggle with in many other aspects of your life. Maybe that&rsquo;s why making big changes to the way we deal with money can be so hard &mdash; I know it is for me. That said, the only way toward change is in self-reflection. That goes for money and for relationships. The more you understand the reasons behind why you do the things you do, the more you&rsquo;ll be able to undermine the bad psychology that drives you to act on impulse, seek shelter in avoidance, or hole up under your insecurities.</p> <p><em>This post is a part of Women's Money Week 2012. For more posts about relationships and money<insert here="" topic="" your="">, see <a href=""></a>. </insert></em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="Relationships and Money: Two Sides of the Same Coin" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Tara Struyk</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Personal Finance Family bad habits marriage money relationships Tue, 06 Mar 2012 11:00:20 +0000 Tara Struyk 909625 at How to Stop Chronic Procrastination <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-stop-chronic-procrastination" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="stressed student" title="stressed student" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Some people may wonder why procrastination advice seems to never work for them and if there is a deeper issue at hand. Well, for 20% of the population who are chronic procrastinators, it is a serious problem that needs to be addressed according to Joseph Ferrari, a psychology professor at DePaul University and a leading expert in the study of procrastination. For those 20%, telling them to just &quot;do it&quot; is like &quot;telling a clinically depressed person to cheer up,&quot; says Ferrari, author of the book <a href=";qid=1329440165&amp;sr=8-1" target="_blank"><em>Still Procrastinating?</em></a></p> <p><a href="">RELATED: 5 Reasons You're Late &mdash; and How to Avoid Them</a></p> <h3>It's a Serious Problem If...</h3> <p>So how do you know if you're a chronic procrastinator? &quot;You find that you procrastinate at home, at school, at work, in relationships. You don&rsquo;t pay your bills on time...You miss sporting events, concerts because you never got the ticket,&quot; says Ferrari. &quot;You&rsquo;re late for any social gathering, you&rsquo;ll miss doctor&rsquo;s appointments because you're never there on time, the refrigerator is empty because you never restock it in time, food goes bad because you never eat it on time. If you do all those kind of things, you probably are a chronic procrastinator.&quot;</p> <p>Read on to find out how people become procrastinators.</p> <h3>How People Become Chronic Procrastinators</h3> <p>There are several factors that can lead one to becoming a chronic procrastinator. Here are a couple of them, according to the procrastination expert:</p> <p><strong>Your Dad</strong></p> <p>&quot;It&rsquo;s typically cold, demanding, stern fathers that cause boys and girls to be procrastinators,&quot; Ferrari says. Children with strict dads use procrastination as a way to cope because they can't rebel.</p> <p><strong>You Care Too Much About What Others Think of You</strong></p> <p>Some people procrastinate because they care too much about public perception. The pressure to seem perfect is particularly strong for these people. The chronic procrastinators prefer people to see them as procrastinators that don't get around to doing tasks rather than simply being incompetent.</p> <p><strong>Society</strong></p> <p>We live in a world where society doesn't reward punctuality. Instead, we're penalized for being late, which doesn't give any of us incentive to complete tasks ahead of time. &quot;We punish people if they file their taxes late. We give them a bill. If we pay off our credit card late, we charge them a late fee. But what if you pay your card on time and what if you&rsquo;ve paid your mortgage off? There&rsquo;s no gift here.&quot;</p> <h3>The Cure for Procrastination</h3> <p>For those who have deep-rooted issues with procrastination, it seems that cognitive behavioral therapy, a type of mental health counseling, is the most effective method. This kind of psychotherapy attempts to reroute inaccurate, harmful, or negative thoughts.</p> <p>Ferrari suggests a couple more things that might help chronic procrastinators:</p> <p><strong>Surround Yourself With Doers</strong></p> <p>It's healthy for a chronic procrastinator to surround herself with people who are likely to do things. It'll be a good influence on those with a tendency to delay tasks.</p> <p><strong>Just Start Somewhere</strong></p> <p>Just take a small step at a time. For example, if you're supposed to write an essay, start with a few paragraphs, and if that's too much for you, resolve to write just one. If that's still overwhelming, stick to a couple of sentences or even a few words.</p> <p><strong>Set Up a Reward System</strong></p> <p>&quot;People like to do things they enjoy doing,&quot; says Ferrari. He recommends rewarding yourself with something you enjoy after you complete something that you've been dreading to do. For example, reward yourself with half an hour of <em>Desperate Housewives</em> after doing laundry.</p> <p><strong>Public Posting</strong></p> <p>Because procrastinators care so much about how others view them, they are more likely to do tasks when they publicly announce it. Take to Twitter, Facebook, or any other social media outlet and state the task you're going to do. Then when you've completed it, let everyone know that you've done what you set out to do. The &quot;likes&quot; and congratulatory tweets will feel very satisfying.</p> <h3>So What If I Am One?</h3> <p>If you're reading this and feel that you fit the profile of a chronic procrastinator, you may think that it's not a big deal to be one. After all, your life might be functioning fine, and you've made it through many of the setbacks caused by your procrastination. However, keep in mind that it may catch up with you one day, and it can get to a point where it disrupts your life and negatively impact other people's opinion of your character. Further, it's not exactly comfortable living as a chronic procrastinator. In fact, Ferrari found that procrastinators have more regrets than non-procrastinators for things that they didn't do. &quot;Stop stressing yourself over it. Life is short &mdash; leave a legacy,&quot; says Ferrari. &quot;There are too many places to see and too many things to do in life to just procrastinate and wait and living in a bubble of fear of getting it done.&quot;</p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-blog-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Twenty percent of the population ALWAYS puts things off. The good news if you&#039;re a chronic procrastinator? There are ways to fix it. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-guestpost-blurb"> <div class="field-label">Guest Post Blurb:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p style="text-align:center;"><a style="border:none;" href=""><img alt="" src="" /></a></p> <p><em>This is a guest contribution from our friends at </em><a href=""><em>SavvySugar</em></a><em>. Check out more useful articles from this partner:</em></p> <ul> <li><a href="">7 Tips to Wake Up and Get Out of Bed Fast</a></li> <li><a href="">5 Different Systems for Getting Things Done at Work</a></li> <li><a href="">Prioritize&nbsp;Your Time&nbsp;Better With a Time Log</a></li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">POPSUGAR Smart Living</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Productivity bad habits procrastination time management Mon, 05 Mar 2012 11:24:13 +0000 POPSUGAR Smart Living 909689 at How to Be a Bad Craigslist Seller <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-be-a-bad-craigslist-seller" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="Evil portrait" title="Evil portrait" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Selling used items on <a href="">Craigslist has its ups and downs</a>. The good typically involve simple transactions while the bad can be nightmares involving people who have no concern for others. If you want to make people happy and use Craigslist effectively, be sure to avoid these behaviors typical of bad Craigslist sellers. (See also: <a href="">Craigslist vs. eBay: Where to Sell 10 Common Items</a>)</p> <h3>Lying About the Condition of the Item</h3> <p>Nobody wants to list a &quot;used, stained, and slightly torn chair,&quot; but be careful before you list it as &quot;great condition, only used a few times.&quot; Just because they won't notice that you flipped the cushion over and used a staple gun to keep the fabric in place until the cash is securely in your hands doesn't make it right!</p> <h3>Keeping the Listing Up After the Item Has Been Sold</h3> <p>Bad sellers get rid of an item but think that the work of finding that email that lets you edit or delete your listing is too much to handle, so they leave the item up. Avoid this bad behavior by keeping that email, or at least responding to any inquiries noting that the item has already been sold.</p> <h3>Being Difficult to Reach</h3> <p>You posted it on Craigslist and gave a general description. When people want more details about an item, they want quick responses, not someone who doesn't check their email. The icing on the cake is when your phone is on silent right around the time of the exchange. After all, it's the buyer's responsibility to find the guy who looks like he's trying to sell something, right?</p> <h3>Offering to Meet in a Private Location at Night</h3> <p>What would make someone feel less comfortable than meeting in a dark alley with few people around? Meeting someone you don't know and exchanging cash can be nerve-wracking, so recognize that even if you feel comfortable inviting a stranger to your house at night, that person might not.</p> <h3>Backing Out of Agreements</h3> <p>Even after arranging a deal, if the item is still in your hands, you may have the urge to continue bargaining when other emails come in. After all, your job is to get the best price you can for your item, not build lasting customers. It's hard to blame you for wanting the best price you can get, but you should still be courteous and keep communication flowing. You'd be upset if you showed up to a meeting place and the seller wasn't there, so if you do back out, let the buyer know before they start traveling to you!</p> <h3>If You Can't Sell It, Throwing It Out</h3> <p>Your trash may be someone else's gold. Nobody is willing to pay your price, so your next thought may be to trash it. Instead of throwing it in the <a href="">dumpster</a> out back, spend a few minutes letting people know it's available to the first person who wants it.</p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="How to Be a Bad Craigslist Seller" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Daniel Packer</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="">Extra Income articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Extra Income Shopping bad habits craigslist selling Thu, 23 Jun 2011 09:48:34 +0000 Daniel Packer 590750 at 7 Mindsets Holding You Back (And How To Overcome Them) <div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">Link:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="" target="_blank"></a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/small-business/7-mindsets-holding-you-back-and-how-to-overcome-them" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="7 Mindsets Holding You Back (And How To Overcome Them)" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><p>Are you stuck?</p> <p>Symptoms vary. Along with lack of innovation, they include chronic inability to solve problems effectively, sort fresh ideas from stale ones, and envision new possibilities.</p> <p>Having been stuck myself and watched others stand still, I can relate. &quot;The half-life of an insight or of an innovation is short and getting shorter,&quot; Seth Godin tells us in <em>Poke the Box</em>. So, unimaginative thinking becomes more and more dangerous and prevalent. But mindsets that keep you from moving forward can be overcome. First, recognize the ways of thinking that are holding you captive. Then reorient yourself and take action.</p> <h3>Forgetting that Mission is Critical to Innovation</h3> <p>Absent a clearly-defined, well-understood mission, evaluating new ideas is impossible because there is no filter to determine relevancy. So, you default to appraising the value of a proposal by the polish of the presentation and conviction of the presenter, not its usefulness in realizing the dream.</p> <p><strong>Solution</strong>: Articulate your organization&rsquo;s mission, its purpose, its raison d&rsquo;ĂȘtre. Let mission drive decision making and action taking. Understand that one option is not inherently better or worse than another but more or less aligned with purpose.</p> <h3>Persistent Desire to Obtain Compliance</h3> <p>Your efforts are perpetually focused on promotion and persuasion in hopes that customers will act in accordance with your business plan. Traditional selling activities overshadow product development and customer service efforts.</p> <p><strong>Solution:</strong> Stop expecting customers to act in your self interest. Talk with your prospects and existing customers. Listen. Discover needs, uncover obstacles to interacting with your business, and find what motivates customers to action. Create products, service models, and experiences that mesh with market insights and real-life demand.</p> <h3>Belief that Superficial Change is Transformative</h3> <p>You have heard &ndash; more than once &ndash; that your business needs to keep up with trends in order to stay relevant. For a long while, you&rsquo;ve resisted change for fear of alienating your core customer. But when performance slips, you realize that the needs and expectations of your customer are much different now than just a few years ago.</p> <p>Hurriedly, you tweak your message, your product offerings, and your service delivery method. Mistakenly, you believe that minor changes will transform your business.</p> <p><strong>Solution:</strong> Make a thorough and honest assessment of your organization. Recall feedback that customers offered before you realized that they wanted you to change. Compare your product designs, methods of interacting with customers, technology platforms, etc. to best practices in your industry. Then, formulate and implement a comprehensive plan to make changes and keep up with industry trends.</p> <h3>Conversely, Not Understanding that Incremental Change is Transformative</h3> <p>You hesitate to modify operations, update technology, freshen brand image, etc. because you are waiting to make one humongous change.</p> <p><strong>Solution: </strong>Fine-tune your product, pitch, service delivery mode, etc. when you see areas for improvement. Smaller changes, over time, can help you to avoid having to make huge leaps all the time.</p> <p>As you become accustomed to dealing with change, you become more and more discerning when evaluating opportunities and savvier when taking steps to introduce new ideas.</p> <h3>Unwillingness to Consider Ideas from Those Outside Your Inner Circle</h3> <p>The uncomfortable truth is that innovative thinking may come from outside your familiar circle of trusted advisors. If you are stuck, they are likewise mired. They may see certain problems as temporary and make recommendations focused on superficial fixes rather than understanding of new realities.</p> <p><strong>Solution: </strong>Abandon the viewpoint that only those in your inner circle will take your organization to greater heights, especially if you are floundering now. Outsiders, including those on the periphery now and those new to your organization, can give fresh insights while insiders with domain knowledge can help with execution.</p> <h3>Belief that Quantity is Better than Quality</h3> <p>You are extremely busy. Despite the high volume of work, though, profits are flat. Customers are becoming more and more demanding. As a result, you move from one crisis to the next, deftly solving problems but never feeling in control of your business.</p> <p><strong>Solution:</strong> Eliminate activities and revenue streams that are bogging you down, splitting your attention, and failing to deliver profits &ndash; and causing the marketplace to see your business as nothing special.</p> <p>Channel efforts to excelling in an area that your business can dominate.</p> <p>Convey the message of niche expertise worthy of premium value, not a commodity competing on price with similar companies in your industry.</p> <h3>Failure to Distinguish Between Essential Activities and Outdated Habits</h3> <p>You cling to standard modes of operations without separating essential activities aligned with mission and goals from outdated habits started years ago for reasons now forgotten. Activity is wasted on seemingly good but, in reality, unnecessary movement.</p> <p><strong>Solution:&nbsp;</strong>Review daily, weekly, and monthly actions for relevancy to fulfilling purpose, demonstrating organizational values, and achieving goals. Eliminate what is no longer needed. Streamline through technology and process changes. Free time and release brainpower to generate ideas and pursue innovation.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Julie Rains</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Small Business Resource Center bad habits fresh thinking habits of mind innovation mindset routine small business Thu, 09 Jun 2011 21:01:03 +0000 Julie Rains 550835 at 10 Hidden Costs That Hurt Your Wallet <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-hidden-costs-that-hurt-your-wallet" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="Man with empty wallet" title="Man with empty wallet" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When we see two places selling the same products at different prices, it is trivial to figure out which one costs less. But there are hidden costs, such as the time and money it takes to get to the store, that determine which decision is truly the less-expensive route. Sometimes our choices include costs that we don't even know about but are paying for anyway. Here are ten that you can take note of.</p> <h3>1. Over-Insuring Yourself</h3> <p>When was the last time you looked at how much money you are paying towards insurance for the coverage you are getting? Most people are happy to be eligible for company-sponsored insurance plans (in fact, many work just because of it), but could you actually save money by buying your own individual plan? The coverage is probably better with your employer's plan, but can you raise the deductible and pay a lower monthly fee? (See also: <a href="">Financial IQ Test: How Healthy Is Your Health Care Plan?</a>)</p> <h3>2. Hanging Around People Who Are Materialistic</h3> <p>Whether it's pure peer pressure or just another form of advertising, having friends who are materialistic won't be helping your savings goals. It may seem unreasonable for me to suggest finding friends purely based on spending habits, but if your children had friends who were bad influences, what would your suggestion be?</p> <h3>3. Buying in Bulk</h3> <p>You might regularly encounter advice to get the bigger package, but in reality, the bulk pack is often the least economical choice. A great example of this is medicine. If you won't be consuming 200 pills before a bottle expires, why buy the biggest container?</p> <h3>4. Eating Everything on Your Plate</h3> <p>The reason why restaurants make these huge plates is that it gives the illusion of value. After all, you can always take what's left on the plate to go. But in reality, the more food that's in front of you, the more you probably will consume. And the more you consume, the more you need to consume because your body is used to the volume of intake, not to mention that you will probably be overweight, which adds another set of financial problems down the road due to poor health.</p> <h3>5. Getting the Plan That Covers The Worst Case Scenario</h3> <p>We touched on this with health insurance, but the theory works everywhere. Do you have a cell phone and never use all of its minutes because you don't want to ever go over your limit? If you pay a lower monthly fee on your <a href="">cell phone plan</a>, could you still come out ahead by paying the occasional minutes that you go over? For example, if you are saving $10 a month because you opted for the less-expensive plan, paying the twice-a-year $8 overage charge is definitely worth it.</p> <h3>6. Being Unreasonably Loyal</h3> <p>Is your loyalty costing you? It's one thing to be loyal to your employer who gave you a job when you needed it most, but it's another to be using the same high-cost product just because you've always used it. Don't let all this loyalty talk become an excuse for your laziness. New products, services, and companies spring up all the time. Experimenting can actually be fun, and it could also be cost-effective as you find newer, better, and cheaper alternatives.</p> <h3>7. Thinking Spending Will Help Stop the Urge to Spend More</h3> <p>&quot;When you see fire, shoot water at it&quot; is a reasonable thought when it comes to spending, but in reality, the more you buy, the more you want to buy. In order to truly spend less, you need to see the beauty of frugal living.</p> <h3>8. Trying to Maximize Your Opportunities</h3> <p>I have to confess here, as I'm a maximizer too. That's why I know about the dangers of this. Are there times when you believed you should sell a stock, but you didn't just because it had a nice run and you didn't want to miss out on future gains? Have you seen the duration of those 0% balance transfer credit cards increase lately, and you have been waiting because you want to get the best deal? Often you end up waiting too long, and you miss the opportunity completely. The stock you wanted to sell might drop in value, or the credit card offer is no longer available.</p> <p>Sometimes it's better to take advantage as soon as a deal is worth the effort. When you think that way, it's not a question of whether you got the best deal, but how often you can find deals that benefit you.</p> <h3>9. Being Cheap</h3> <p>The less you pay, the more you keep. However, being cheap limits you in so many ways. The person who is truly cheap will never have that many friends, and the colleague who is cheap will never be able to get things done as efficiently as the person who everyone likes. Be generous, and it can help you socially, professional, and financially.</p> <p>There is a fine line between being cheap and living frugally. It's one thing to take advantage of corporations by <a href="">using coupons</a> for example, but it's completely different if you take advantage of your friends.</p> <h3>10. Valuing Your Time Too Much</h3> <p>A common argument for not taking advantage of an opportunity or doing a task is that it's not worth the time. But how much is your time worth, anyway? Most people try to calculate their effective hourly wage, but in reality, that's not a good number to use because they aren't able to command the same rate if they work longer.</p> <p>Plus those people are only going to sit in front of the TV if they aren't taking that opportunity and earning $0. Is there a side project you've been thinking about but have always thought it wasn't worth your time? It might only be a small financial reward, but anything helps, right?</p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="10 Hidden Costs That Hurt Your Wallet" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">David Ning</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="">Budgeting articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Budgeting Lifestyle bad habits buying in bulk friends Mon, 07 Feb 2011 13:36:08 +0000 David Ning 487648 at 5 Expenses to Ditch After Age 30 <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-expenses-to-ditch-after-age-30" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="game over" title="game over" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="183" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Climb out from beneath the covers and face the harsh light of day: You're 30.</p> <p>Surprisingly, it isn't the end of the world. In fact, consider it an opportunity to shed some of the <a href="">bad habits</a> and poor financial decisions of the past. That's not to say you should run from the last decade of your life.</p> <p>Embrace the all-nighters, corporate climbing, and occasional beer-fueled mayhem that led you to this point. But recognize that while age is just a number, the Big 3-0 can signal a turning point regarding some of the fiscal baggage that may be weighing you down. If you spent the last decade averse to living by a budget, perhaps it's time to take a crack at, you know, actually tracking your income and debts. (See also: <a href="" title="6 Quick Tips for Organizing Your Finances">6 Quick Tips for Organizing Your Finances</a>)</p> <p>The reality is there's often a host of new expenses that either emerge or are already in full swing by age 30, from mortgages and wedding rings to child care and retirement planning. Consider it the consumption-based circle of life.</p> <p>That means some expenses should be headed toward extinction as our 20s hit the rear view. Here's a look at five types of expenses to ditch after age 30.</p> <h2>High-Interest Credit Cards</h2> <p>If you're still holding on to the first card you ever received, you're probably paying way too much in interest charges. Now that you've had a chance to develop a credit history (and if you've been responsible about your payments and charges), you'll likely qualify for a lower rate. Making purchases on a card with a 29% APR is not a path to financial independence. It's a recipe for disaster.</p> <h2>Late Fees</h2> <p>We've all paid them. The first of the month comes around&hellip;and then it's gone. But with internet banking and online payment systems, there are no excuses anymore. Make this the decade of paying your bills on time, every time. This is especially true with credit cards. Depending on your FICO score, a 30-day late payment can cut your score by as many as 110 points.</p> <h2>Partying</h2> <p>As you get older, your wallet isn't the only thing paying for that great night the following morning. Going out with friends is great every once in a while, but if you cut out the weekly (or twice weekly &mdash; you know who you are) partying, you could save a considerable sum of money over the course of the year. Especially because you're probably splurging for something a bit pricier than Stag these days. You could even use a portion of your savings to take one larger vacation (sobriety optional).</p> <h2>Rent</h2> <p>It's an increasingly controversial topic given the economic upheaval of the last 18 months. Homeownership probably shouldn't be viewed as a no-brainer path to wealth creation &mdash; just ask the millions of Americans now underwater in their homes. At the same time, purchasing that dream home can pay off in the long run, especially if you're planning to stay in the property for the long haul. Given current home values and record-low interest rates, now is certainly a great time to buy a home.</p> <h2>Cell Phone Ringtone and Wallpaper Downloads</h2> <p>Yes, they're fun. We understand. And everybody around you really enjoys your Eminem ringtone. But all those little charges add up &mdash; and, really, your phone will still function perfectly without that Beyonce wallpaper. Trust us. Besides, c'mon, you're 30 years old. Act your age.</p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="5 Expenses to Ditch After Age 30" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Chris Birk</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="">Personal Finance articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Personal Finance Lifestyle bad habits expenses growing up Thu, 09 Sep 2010 14:00:17 +0000 Chris Birk 231490 at