good habits http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/14126/all en-US 7 Reasons You Really Need to Pay Yourself First (Seriously) http://www.wisebread.com/7-reasons-you-really-need-to-pay-yourself-first-seriously <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-reasons-you-really-need-to-pay-yourself-first-seriously" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_glasses_piggy_bank_613042186.jpg" alt="Woman learning reasons to pay herself first" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It's a familiar refrain in the world of personal finance: &quot;If you want to build wealth, you've got to pay yourself first!&quot;</p> <p>But what does paying yourself really mean and how can such an odd-sounding notion radically alter the course of your financial life? Paying yourself first simply means setting aside part of your income in a savings or investment account before you do anything else &mdash; before you upgrade your smartphone, buy new jeans, pay the utilities, or spring for happy hour drinks for your three closest friends.</p> <p>Thinking of your savings plan as a bill you must pay on a regular schedule automates the act of saving and can build significant wealth over time. Still not convinced it's the path of personal financial security? Read on. Here are seven reasons you should pay yourself first.</p> <h2>1. It Sets Proper Priorities</h2> <p>What's more important than funding your future? What priorities eclipse your family's long-term financial security? Paying yourself first sets in motion an idea that's crucial to successful saving: I matter and I'm going to start acting like it. Remember, wealth-building doesn't happen by chance; it's the result of intention, consistency, discipline, and big-picture thinking.</p> <h2>2. It's Easy</h2> <p>Paying yourself first through automatic payroll deductions is a simple and pain-free way to save. The &quot;set it and forget it&quot; approach makes saving and investing easy because the money is redirected to a 401K, IRA, savings account, or other investment vehicle immediately. Why is that immediacy so important? Because it helps avoid that nagging sense of deprivation that's laid waste to so many people's best financial intentions.</p> <h2>3. It Taps Into the Power of Dollar Cost Averaging</h2> <p>With dollar cost averaging, investors buy a fixed dollar amount of a particular stock or investment, no matter what the share price. Because the investment occurs at routine intervals, that fixed dollar amount buys more shares when the price is low and fewer when it's high. This investment technique helps avoid the risk associated with dropping a lump sum in the market at a moment when share prices are high (a move that gets you less for your money).</p> <h2>4. What's Last Is What's Left</h2> <p>There's a name for folks who try to save only what's left over at the end of the month: They're called spenders. New wants and needs always have a way of creeping in and rapidly consuming any surplus. Paying yourself first &mdash; taking your savings right off the top, investing it, and efficiently managing the rest &mdash; is a far superior strategy.</p> <h2>5. It Builds Discipline</h2> <p>Paying yourself first by contributing a fixed amount of money regularly to a savings or retirement account builds financial discipline &mdash; a discipline that can be applied in countless other financial and nonfinancial ways. As with all habits, saving becomes easier over time. As you watch your wealth grow, you'll want to find new ways to cutback on expenses, increase your income, and save more.</p> <h2>6. It Creates a Healthy Work/Reward Cycle</h2> <p>Ever feel like modern life is an endless cycle of work-spend-repeat? An effective way to overcome that nearly universal sentiment is by starting a savings plan and watching your wealth grow. Paying yourself first creates a new cycle &mdash; one where all that hard work steadily increases your net worth, expands your opportunities, and offers a level of freedom that more stuff simply can't provide.</p> <h2>7. It Models Smart Financial Strategy</h2> <p>I've always been an advocate of discussing money with kids. Of course, you don't want to burden children with adult money worries, but it can be immensely valuable to model and explain effective money-saving strategies like paying yourself first, avoiding credit card debt, and living within your means. Encouraging a level of financial transparency demystifies the world of personal finance and helps kids build the practical money management skills that will serve them well in adulthood.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kentin-waits">Kentin Waits</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-reasons-you-really-need-to-pay-yourself-first-seriously">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-brilliant-tips-from-smart-mom-rich-mom">4 Brilliant Tips From &quot;Smart Mom, Rich Mom&quot;</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-things-football-teaches-us-about-money">9 Things Football Teaches Us About Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-personal-finance-skills-everyone-should-master">12 Personal Finance Skills Everyone Should Master</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-take-one-vacation-day-and-save-thousands">How to Take One Vacation Day and Save Thousands</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-money-lessons-i-learned-from-martial-arts">7 Money Lessons I Learned From Martial Arts</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Frugal Living discipline dollar cost averaging good habits investing pay yourself first priorities saving money stability Wed, 07 Dec 2016 12:00:11 +0000 Kentin Waits 1849009 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Money Lessons I Learned From Martial Arts http://www.wisebread.com/7-money-lessons-i-learned-from-martial-arts <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-money-lessons-i-learned-from-martial-arts" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/martial_arts_000064696395.jpg" alt="Money lessons learned from martial arts" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>People tell me all the time that it's hard to believe I studied martial arts for six years. I don't know if that's a compliment or an insult to my training, but it doesn't matter &mdash; I loved the time I spent learning how to discipline my body and my mind.</p> <p>That's the thing about martial arts: It looks like a sport (and it is), but it's so much more. I learned all sorts of things about life and living it and being a good person, all from my time spent in the <em>dojo</em>. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-things-yoga-can-teach-you-about-money?ref=seealso">5 Things Yoga Can Teach You About Money</a>)</p> <p>I even learned about money. Yup, money. Here are some financial lessons I learned from studying martial arts.</p> <h2>1. Be Aware of Your Surroundings</h2> <p>As I became a martial artist, I became more and more aware of my surroundings. No matter where I was, I started to notice people &mdash; what they were doing, whether it seemed normal, how I felt around them, everything. My sensei drilled it into us: Be aware, be aware, be aware. After all, if it comes down to it, you may not have a chance to use your training if you don't notice what is going on around you.</p> <p>I apply this to my money all the time. By keeping track of what we spend on a weekly basis, I have a good handle on whether or not we are achieving our goals. I also know how much we have available for an emergency and whether something like an odd charge or a bank mistake needs to be handled. My finances don't get away from me because I'm always aware of where we stand.</p> <h2>2. Discipline, Discipline, Discipline</h2> <p>Another concept that is huge in martial arts is discipline. It seems a little strange and unnecessary at first, but students soon learn that, without discipline, they will never be the martial artists they want to be.</p> <p>Similarly, discipline is essential for achieving my financial goals. If I want to go to Mexico this year, I can't buy every shirt or art print or doodad that comes along. So I keep my goal in mind and I use the discipline I learned as a martial artist to progress towards the things that really matter to me.</p> <h2>3. Breathe Through It</h2> <p>Martial artists learn to breathe as they move. They also learn certain types of breath for certain types of movements and situations. And they learn to calm themselves, to still themselves, simply by paying attention to their own breath.</p> <p>Breath helps me financially all the time. When I want something but I know it's not in the budget, I breathe through it. When something bad happens and we have to spend a lot unexpectedly, I take a couple of deep breaths. When I'm worried about our money, when something doesn't seem right with our balances, when the market plummets, I breathe.</p> <p>In all of these situations, breathing helps me make good decisions. It slows me down, calms my body and my mind, and helps me think, rather than just react. It's become second nature now to breathe first when money is an issue.</p> <h2>4. Clear Your Mind</h2> <p>It might sound like a cliche, but a clear mind is essential to being a good martial artist. You have to clear your mind to focus on the one move that is right in front of you, to respond to what your sparring partner is sending your way, and to let your body do what it is trained to do.</p> <p>I have found that it helps me to have a clear mind, too, when trying to solve financial problems. When the budget feels like a tangle, when my husband and I have competing financial goals, when some unexpected expense comes up and we aren't sure how to cover it, I strive for that same clearness of mind. It helps me see solutions that I might not have seen otherwise, and it helps me to take a larger perspective, one in which a single disagreement or setback isn't the end of the world.</p> <h2>5. Sometimes Pain Is Acceptable</h2> <p>Martial artists experience pain. It's not only the sore muscles that come from practice and learning new techniques, but the bruises that come from sparring and breaking, rolling and more. While no one condones long-term injury, most martial artists accept these as par for the course: The bruises are necessary to grow as a practitioner.</p> <p>Sometimes, our financial decisions hurt, too. The pain can be small, like choosing to pay a bill rather than go out on the weekend. Or it can be much bigger, like choosing to help an ailing parent rather than purchase a home. Financial decisions also hurt when they are proven to be mistakes, when we feel like we set ourselves back.</p> <p>This pain, while uncomfortable, helps form who we are. It not only forms us financially, but as whole human beings. Whether we hurt from making a right choice or a wrong one, learning is part of the financial process, and sometimes pain can be acceptable towards that goal.</p> <h2>6. You Can Do More Than You Think You Can Do</h2> <p>Most people (and I say this having been a student and a teacher) come into martial arts wondering if they can really do it. They've seen the movies and it looks impossible, but for whatever reason they are motivated to try. Most of them find that, while they will probably never be Bruce Lee (or even Jackie Chan!), they can do a lot more than they had once thought.</p> <p>I've found that this belief &mdash; that I can do more than I think I can do &mdash; helps me financially, too. There have been times when we were sure we couldn't make ends meet on our income, when we desperately needed a vacation or a car and thought we couldn't do it. And each time I was able to step into believing that there had to be a way, because I'd seen it happen before, during my martial arts journey. We solved each of those problems, which only gave us more confidence in our financial prowess.</p> <h2>7. Progress Comes Slow and Steady</h2> <p>Most martial arts have an established path that takes a person from beginner to expert and beyond. It's a slow path, with motions and movements building on one another in a way that is logical and allows the body time to accustom itself to these new patterns of movement. Some people get frustrated with this, wanting to learn faster or do all the cool stuff right away.</p> <p>It doesn't work that way with martial arts and it doesn't work that way with money, either. Wealth is built one investment at a time. It is built by making one wise decision after another. Most of us won't get rich in a year or two, but we can build our value and our savings the way martial artists are built: slow and steady.</p> <p><em>Have you ever done something that wasn't directly financially related but taught you about money? What did you do and what did you learn?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/sarah-winfrey">Sarah Winfrey</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-money-lessons-i-learned-from-martial-arts">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-reasons-you-really-need-to-pay-yourself-first-seriously">7 Reasons You Really Need to Pay Yourself First (Seriously)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-38-money-lessons-we-can-learn-from-celebrities">Flashback Friday: 38 Money Lessons We Can Learn From Celebrities</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-good-money-management-habits-you-already-have">5 Good Money Management Habits You Already Have</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-to-decide-if-its-a-fund-worthy-emergency">8 Ways to Decide if It&#039;s a &quot;Fund-Worthy&quot; Emergency</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-brilliant-tips-from-smart-mom-rich-mom">4 Brilliant Tips From &quot;Smart Mom, Rich Mom&quot;</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance achievements budgeting discipline good habits martial arts money lessons patience perseverance Thu, 26 May 2016 10:30:04 +0000 Sarah Winfrey 1717166 at http://www.wisebread.com Save More Money With 5 Sneaky Tricks http://www.wisebread.com/save-more-money-with-5-sneaky-tricks <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/save-more-money-with-5-sneaky-tricks" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man_thinking_brainstorming_000086234205.jpg" alt="Man saving money with these sneaky tricks" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Developing a savings habit can be daunting. It might feel like enough hassle tracking your money, without going the extra mile and assigning a proportion of your income to medium or long term savings. Like many good habits, it can be tough to get started.</p> <p>If you're struggling, then try these simple and painless tricks to start building your nest egg. Not only will you quickly create a decent pot of money, you can also develop a habit which can last a lifetime.</p> <h2>1. Get the Mindset Right First</h2> <p>The key to developing a savings habit is your mental approach. The barrier usually is not so much about making the changes needed to save, but about getting sucked into the mindset of feeling deprived. Once you get to this stage, you are more likely to splurge, and blow the savings on something you may later regret. If you're trying to develop a daily or weekly habit, of ditching the morning coffees or paying bills on time, for example, then a habit tracking app like <a href="https://www.coach.me/">coach.me</a> might help. Set your own personal goals, which you check off every day in your phone, and get reminders, encouragement, and a way of watching your new practice become a daily habit.</p> <p>If you feel that you're making progress towards solid goals, saving is much easier. Have savings goals you agree on with your family, and use trackers, either online or using a pen and paper, to watch your money grow. Your bank might offer savings tracking apps and online tools, or try Mint, as a great way to keep all your goal setting and money tracking in one (secure) place.</p> <h2>2. Use the Tools You Have</h2> <p>Depending on your employer, there may be very simple ways you can get into a savings habit by having money assigned at source to various types of savings, rather than physically needing to manage it yourself.</p> <p>401K plans are especially good to help you squirrel away some savings for later &mdash; with the added advantage of removing temptation by having the cash taken from your pay before you ever see it. Check out whether your employer will match contributions to make your money go even further. If your workplace offers an ESOP (Employee Stock Ownership Plan) scheme, for example, this can be an efficient way to save &mdash; although you should be wary of sinking too much into a single asset, even if you do really rate your employer!</p> <p>Ask your manager or your HR department what policies they have that can help you &mdash; from reimbursements on tuition fees, mobile phone bills, commuting, or parking costs, you may find the answer to your savings problem buried in your company benefits handbook.</p> <h2>3. Reframe It</h2> <p>If you're struggling to convince yourself (or a family member) that it's worth saving, then it may help to reframe what you're trying to do. Think of your progress in terms of percentage changes, for example. If you're saving $500 for a holiday, and can manage to stash away $25 a week, then every week you're 5% closer to your goal. Quite quickly you will be a quarter of the way there, then half way, and so on. Sometimes seeing progress expressed in this way can help motivation.</p> <p>Another approach is to think about the time value of what you can save. If I told you that you needed to start saving 20% of your income, you might tell me that it was impossible, or that that amount was much too high. However, if you think of this as of it as working a day a week towards your family's future, or that dream home or holiday, it may become more palatable. For that one day a week, mentally picture the money you're earning going not into a generic pot to pay bills or rent, but as a step closer to your savings goal. Even if you can only manage a half day a week, or less, it will make the work during those few hours feel somehow more valuable than the rest of the week.</p> <h2>4. Make It Non-Negotiable</h2> <p>One tactic some people claim works for them is freezing their credit cards in a large block of ice &mdash; meaning that any spending has to wait until the card has defrosted, and you have a good chunk of &quot;cooling off&quot; time to stop impulse purchases.</p> <p>If this is too extreme, then there are, of course, other ways to be strict with yourself. One of the basic principles of personal finance is to pay yourself first. If you have some money that could be used as savings, but somehow find that by the end of the month it has evaporated, then arrange an automatic payment of your chosen amount into savings on payday. Automating your savings habit means you can't conveniently forget your personal commitment.</p> <p>You could also consider banking any pay rise you get &mdash; if you get a raise of a certain amount per month, then set up a direct debit for the equivalent into savings. You will never get a chance to get used to having it, and so won't miss it when it's gone!</p> <h2>5. Don't Forget the Little Things</h2> <p>Not all of the ideas here will suit everyone, depending on your personal preference and financial situation. However, whatever your cash flow, don't forget the little things that add up. Keep a coin jar for spare change, or else for money you have mentally saved &mdash; for example, by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-ways-to-make-brown-bagging-it-better-than-buying-lunch">brown-bagging it instead of buying lunch</a> at work. Or choose a specific coin to save every time you spot one in your change. Even just saving all the quarters you come across adds up, and helps the savings habit to develop without you even noticing it.</p> <p>There's an old saying which reads: &quot;The best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago. The second best time is now.&quot; If you're putting off saving, then these simple tricks might be enough to get you building some momentum.</p> <p>Developing a routine of saving is one thing we can all do. Whether it is to spend on a specific holiday or event, or to help fund a secure long term future &mdash; it is one habit that you won't want to quit.</p> <p><em>How have you tricked yourself into saving more money?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/claire-millard">Claire Millard</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-more-money-with-5-sneaky-tricks">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-brilliant-tips-from-smart-mom-rich-mom">4 Brilliant Tips From &quot;Smart Mom, Rich Mom&quot;</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-surprising-ways-summer-will-cost-you">7 Surprising Ways Summer Will Cost You</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-common-weekend-money-traps-and-how-to-avoid-them">8 Common Weekend Money Traps (And How to Avoid Them)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-frugal-hacks-for-single-living">10 Frugal Hacks for Single Living</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-personal-finance-skills-everyone-should-master">12 Personal Finance Skills Everyone Should Master</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living 401k budgeting good habits mind tricks retirement saving money tricking yourself Thu, 17 Mar 2016 11:30:07 +0000 Claire Millard 1673872 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Good Money Management Habits You Already Have http://www.wisebread.com/5-good-money-management-habits-you-already-have <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-good-money-management-habits-you-already-have" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_phone_call_000081177679.jpg" alt="Woman with good money management habits she already has" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you're struggling to save or pay down debt, you might think it's because you're no good with money. But the truth is, plenty of the good habits you practice in other areas of your daily life can also help you build an emergency fund, pay down your credit card debt, and stick to a monthly budget. You just need to apply the good habits that you already have to money management.</p> <p>Here is a look at the five good money management habits that you might be surprised to learn you already have.</p> <h2>1. The Household Schedule</h2> <p>You know that you should build an emergency fund of savings, stashing away enough dollars to cover at least six months of daily living expenses. That way, if you lose your job or if your furnace suddenly goes on the fritz, you won't have to turn to your credit cards to survive. But you just can't seem to find enough money at the end of every month to build that emergency fund.</p> <p>Here's the trick, though: If you already manage to schedule all of your household activities &mdash; everything from getting your children to their sporting events on time to mapping out exactly which of your teens needs access to a car at which hour of the day &mdash; you should also be able to create a household budget. You already have a knack for scheduling. Instead of scheduling the activities of your family members, schedule where the money you spend each month is going.</p> <p>Creating a budget might even be easier than juggling your family's activities. Write down how much money comes into your household each month. Then write down fixed expenses such as mortgage and car loan payments. Add monthly payments that fluctuate, such as utilities, groceries, and entertainment. Once you have this charted, you'll know exactly how much money you should have leftover each month. Then you'll know how many dollars you can earmark for building your emergency fund.</p> <h2>2. The Willpower</h2> <p>Creating a budget is a good first step. Sticking to it is key. You might not think you have the willpower to do so, but if you can force yourself to go to the gym or take a run five times a week, why can't you force yourself to only spend the $400 you've allotted to eating out and entertainment in your monthly household budget?</p> <p>The discipline it takes to stick to an exercise program or healthy diet is the same discipline you need to only spend what you plan to each month. If you can do one, you can do the other. You just need to apply the same focus to staying financially healthy as you do to remaining physically healthy.</p> <h2>3. Tracking</h2> <p>Do you track the calories you consume each day, whether with an old-fashioned pen and notebook or with the help of an app on your smartphone? Then you should be able to do the same with your dollars.</p> <p>One secret to creating and sticking to a realistic household budget is to create a spending book. In this book &mdash; which can be as simple as a notebook or as high-tech as an app &mdash; you write down every dollar you spend, at least for a month. This will give you an idea of where you are spending your money, which helps you create a household budget that is realistic. This will provide you with the motivation you need to tweak your spending patterns.</p> <h2>4. Skipping the Doughnuts</h2> <p>Your coworkers love their sweets. Every morning, one of them brings in a box of doughnuts or a tray of chocolate chip cookies. But you're good &ndash; usually. You pass right by those doughnuts and pop open that container of low-fat yogurt.</p> <p>Now, apply that same discipline to your finances. Sure, putting that super-deluxe flat screen TV on your credit card would provide a jolt of immediate gratification. But you'll regret it later when you open your credit card statement. Instead, pass on the easy pleasure and buy that TV only when you've saved enough to pay for it in cash.</p> <h2>5. Dumping the Clutter</h2> <p>You have the neatest house on the block. You spend every weekend toting a trunk full of unused toys, clothes, and tools to your local Goodwill or Salvation Army. You hate clutter and love the airy basements, living rooms, and kitchens that you get when you don't have a home filled with too much stuff.</p> <p>Your finances can have clutter, too. It's called credit card debt. <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-tricks-to-consolidating-your-debt-and-saving-money">Credit card debt</a> is one of the worst forms of debt you can have because it comes with such high interest rates. If you don't pay it off each month, it will steadily grow &mdash; just like all those ignored children's toys that seem to multiply in your home's playroom. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/when-to-do-a-balance-transfer-to-pay-off-credit-card-debt?ref=seealso">Stop Paying Interest on Credit Card Debt With a Balance Transfer</a>)</p> <p>It's time to declutter your finances. Pay a little bit more each month to pay down the principal balances on your credit cards. Consider it to be the financial equivalent of donating those unread books cluttering your bookshelves.</p> <p><em>What good money habits do you already follow?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-good-money-management-habits-you-already-have">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-often-do-you-get-your-paycheck">How often do you get your paycheck?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-money-lessons-i-learned-from-martial-arts">7 Money Lessons I Learned From Martial Arts</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-auto-payments-can-screw-you">7 Ways Auto-Payments Can Screw You</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-to-decide-if-its-a-fund-worthy-emergency">8 Ways to Decide if It&#039;s a &quot;Fund-Worthy&quot; Emergency</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-brilliant-tips-from-smart-mom-rich-mom">4 Brilliant Tips From &quot;Smart Mom, Rich Mom&quot;</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance budgeting good habits money management organization scheduling willpower Thu, 18 Feb 2016 11:00:04 +0000 Dan Rafter 1656435 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Small Gestures That Go a Long Way at Work http://www.wisebread.com/10-small-gestures-that-go-a-long-way-at-work <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-small-gestures-that-go-a-long-way-at-work" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000081177621_Large.jpg" alt="this small gesture at work went a long way" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you've ever worked in an office environment, you know how hectic things can get. Looming deadlines, departmental goals, staffing issues, and customer service challenges can send stress levels soaring and morale plummeting. If your office needs an attitude adjustment, start your own nine-to-five pay-it-forward program. Not only will it help boost morale, it'll help you get noticed in all the right ways. Here are 10 small gestures that go a long way at work.</p> <h2>1. Tidy Up</h2> <p>Does the break room at your office look like a scene from <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000IKQK7E/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B000IKQK7E&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=TSNCPNWRUIJVNKLO">Animal House</a>? Take a few minutes to wipe out the microwave, empty the dishwasher, or replenish supplies. If you're brave enough to dig deep into the refrigerator, send an email notifying everyone well in advance and provide a clear deadline for claiming any unmarked items. (People get very attached to the science projects they've got growing in there.)</p> <h2>2. Feed the Machine</h2> <p>My favorite good deed is to make sure there's enough copy paper on hand and topping off the paper trays. The next person with an urgent, large-scale copy job will appreciate interruption-free &mdash; and panic-free &mdash; copying.</p> <h2>3. Brew It Up</h2> <p>Let's all agree &mdash; the world runs on coffee. Help everyone start their day off right by keeping this magic elixir flowing freely. Brew a fresh pot right before a big meeting or when you notice the supply running dangerously low. You'll be an instant hero and it might inspire some copycat kindness. Also, bringing in treats or doughnuts can give your coworkers a morning boost or turn the day around for someone who couldn't grab breakfast before dashing out the door.</p> <h2>4. Raise Your Hand</h2> <p>If your employer participates in charitable giving, volunteer to be the committee point person and spearhead your company's involvement with United Way, Habitat For Humanity, JDRF, or other worthy causes. Besides providing a valuable service, volunteering builds teamwork and taking a leadership role in volunteer activities can enrich your resume and expand your professional network. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-10-best-networking-tips-for-people-under-40?ref=seealso">The 10 Best Networking Tips for People Under 40</a>)</p> <h2>5. Get Social</h2> <p>Help your coworkers blow off some steam and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-hacks-to-avoid-burnout-at-work">avoid career burnout</a> by organizing a group get-together. Work with management to schedule an off-site team building event, a potluck, or an end-of-the-quarter celebration. Remember, keep things light and make it fun.</p> <h2>6. Offer Kudos</h2> <p>Public acknowledgement of a job well-done is a simple, free, and powerful motivator. Send an email to your team as a shout-out to a colleague who pulled of a mini-miracle. Take it a step further by giving the coworker a stellar LinkedIn recommendation. Besides being the right thing to do, it's one of many <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-act-like-a-leader-and-get-ahead-at-work">ways to act like a leader</a> and move your career forward.</p> <h2>7. Be the Minute Man (Or Woman)</h2> <p>Volunteer to take the minutes at the next company-wide or team meeting. It'll provide a welcome respite for someone and showcase your listening, organization, and communication skills.</p> <h2>8. Offer to &quot;Uber&quot;</h2> <p>Channel your inner chauffeur. The next time your team is scheduled to attend an off-site meeting or event, offer to drive. The commute will spark conversations and relieve a few people of the stress of paying for parking, fighting traffic, or walking long distances.</p> <h2>9. Give a Small Gift</h2> <p>Did a coworker pitch in to help you get a difficult project out the door on time? Show your appreciation with a $5.00 gift card to their favorite coffee or dessert shop. Remember, it's not the amount you give, but the gesture that counts.</p> <h2>10. Express Interest</h2> <p>In the busyness of business, it's easy to forget that we're all human. Though some people prefer to draw a clear line between their professional and personal lives, most appreciate a little blurring of the two. Peek over that cube wall and ask how a vacation went, talk about a shared hobby, or briefly share a funny story. A little interest helps pass the time and makes work feel... well, less like work.</p> <p><em>What small gestures have made the biggest impression on you at work? What do you wish more people did in your office? </em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kentin-waits">Kentin Waits</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-small-gestures-that-go-a-long-way-at-work">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-things-people-with-good-table-manners-never-do">13 Things People With Good Table Manners Never Do</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-times-you-should-never-feel-guilty-at-work">8 Times You Should Never Feel Guilty at Work</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-youre-being-a-terrible-neighbor">10 Ways You&#039;re Being a Terrible Neighbor</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-ways-youre-driving-your-coworkers-insane">12 Ways You&#039;re Driving Your Coworkers Insane</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-rules-of-etiquette-everyone-should-know-and-follow">10 Rules of Etiquette Everyone Should Know (and Follow!)</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Career and Income General Tips cleanliness etiquette good habits manners small gestures work etiquette Tue, 16 Feb 2016 10:30:22 +0000 Kentin Waits 1655105 at http://www.wisebread.com Best Money Tips: 25 Morning Habits for a Great Day http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-25-morning-habits-for-a-great-day <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/best-money-tips-25-morning-habits-for-a-great-day" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/breakfast-iStock_000064711529_Small.jpg" alt="family eating breakfast" title="family eating breakfast" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Welcome to Wise Bread's <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/best-money-tips">Best Money Tips</a> Roundup! Today we found some great articles on morning habits for a great day, ways to save $100 this week, and things you can do this summer to boost your career.</p> <h2>Top 5 Articles</h2> <p><a href="http://www.popsugar.com/smart-living/Good-Morning-Habits-34931838">Up and at 'Em! 25 Good Morning Habits For a Great Day</a> &mdash; Start your day with a brain exercise like Sudoku or a crossword to get those wheels turning! [PopSugar Smart Living]</p> <p><a href="http://www.moneytalksnews.com/21-ways-save-100-this-week/">18 Ways to Save $100 This Week</a> &mdash; Set a cash-only expenditure budget for the week. When your cash is gone, your spending is done! [Money Talks News]</p> <p><a href="http://frugalbeautiful.com/blog/5-summer-build-career/">5 Things To Do This Summer To Help Build Your Career</a> &mdash; Volunteer at a charitable organization! You'll grow your network, gain more experiences to put on your resume, and give back to your community. [Frugal Beautiful]</p> <p><a href="http://www.csmonitor.com/Business/Saving-Money/2015/0604/How-to-make-your-laptop-last-longer">How to make your laptop last longer</a> &mdash; If you have an older laptop with a hard drive, replace it with a solid state drive. They're more expensive than your average hard drive, but they're also much faster. [The Monitor]</p> <p><a href="http://bargainbriana.com/five-common-frugal-cooking-substitutes">Five Common Frugal Cooking Substitutes</a> &mdash; Substitute juice for wine if you don't want to pop open bottle. [Bargain Briana]</p> <h2>Other Essential Reading</h2> <p><a href="http://liveyourlegend.net/passionate-work-framework-to-do-work-you-love/">The 3 Simple (&amp; Absolutely Required) Steps to Doing Work You Love</a> &mdash; Become a self-expert! To do this, you need to constantly experiment and learn new things about yourself. [Live Your Legend]</p> <p><a href="http://momsneedtoknow.com/10-ways-to-cut-your-electric-or-gas-bill/">10 Ways to Cut Your Electric or Gas Bill</a> &mdash; On warm days, cook on the outdoor grill or an electric skillet on your patio to keep your house from heating up. [Moms Need to Know]</p> <p><a href="http://www.shebudgets.com/personal-finance/5-ways-youre-sinking-financially-stop/59134">5 Ways You&rsquo;re Sinking Financially&hellip;And How to Stop</a> &mdash; It's easy to forget about automatic payments...long after you've stopped using the service! [SheBudgets]</p> <p><a href="http://www.lifehack.org/articles/technology/8-tools-boost-your-social-media-performance.html">8 Tools To Boost Your Social Media Performance</a> &mdash; Nimble combines your schedule, contacts, emails, and social media accounts into one centralized hub. [Lifehack.org]</p> <p><a href="http://parentingsquad.com/all-the-best-award-winning-children-s-books-of-2015">All the Best Award Winning Children&rsquo;s Books of 2015</a> &mdash; This year John Newbery Medal goes to <em>The Crossover</em> by Kwame Alexander! [Parenting Squad]</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/amy-lu">Amy Lu</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-25-morning-habits-for-a-great-day">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-self-improvement-apps-to-make-you-smarter-stronger-and-happier">10 Self-Improvement Apps to Make You Smarter, Stronger, and Happier</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kill-boredom-with-these-34-fun-and-productive-projects">Kill Boredom With These 34 Fun and Productive Projects</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/get-it-done-how-to-measure-your-goals">Get It Done: How to Measure Your Goals</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-easy-ways-to-have-energy-after-work">7 Easy Ways to Have Energy After Work</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-improve-your-decision-making-skills">10 Ways to Improve Your Decision-Making Skills</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Development Productivity best money tips good habits Mon, 08 Jun 2015 19:00:12 +0000 Amy Lu 1448906 at http://www.wisebread.com Important Habits of Very Frugal People http://www.wisebread.com/important-habits-of-very-frugal-people <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/important-habits-of-very-frugal-people" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_tablet_000078796949.jpg" alt="Woman learning habits of highly frugal people" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Frugal people who pay off their debt and achieve financial independence don't succeed by accident. They establish habits that allow them to consistently reach their goals over the long haul.</p> <p>During the past few years as a personal finance blogger and author, I have noticed that the most successful frugal people tend to follow a common set of habits. These are the best habits for&nbsp;achieving financial independence.</p> <h2>1. Be Proactive</h2> <p>Frugal people are proactive about their money, taking action to monitor and control spending and maximize income. They find ways to spend less and reduce expenses &mdash; even if it requires effort and creative thinking. They direct most of the money they save from reduced expenses into savings and investments for long term goals.</p> <p>Although the first thing that comes to mind with frugality is saving money, many frugal people maximize income through side hustles or by generating passive income in addition to controlling their spending. An extra dollar saved or an extra dollar earned both contribute favorably to the bottom line.</p> <p>Frugal people know how much money they have coming in and how much is going out, often with great precision. This is accomplished by creating and following a budget and proactively monitoring spending. They focus on what they can control within their budget to achieve financial success.</p> <h2>2. Begin With the End in Mind</h2> <p>Why do frugal people work so hard to control spending and keep track of their money? Are they simply not interested in buying things? On the contrary, most frugal people are striving to reach financial independence so that they can travel or launch a second career or to have plenty of money to buy the things that matter to them. Frugal people are willing to worry about money now so they don't need to worry about it later.</p> <p>Surprisingly, many frugal people care more about their time than their money. Saving money buys financial independence, which buys time to do whatever you want. Frugal people want freedom to use their time as they wish and not be locked into working at a job until they reach old age.</p> <p>Frugal people begin with the end in mind. The end they want to achieve is financial independence. With that end in mind, they make a plan to reach the goal and follow it every day. The sacrifices along the way are worth reaching the goal.</p> <h2>3. Put First Things First</h2> <p>What is the first thing you pay every month? Do you pay your mortgage first? Perhaps you pay your utility bill or car payment first. Frugal people pay something else first &mdash; themselves.</p> <p>Paying yourself first means that you invest in your retirement fund or other savings accounts first, then you pay other bills using the money that is left. Most people pay their bills first, and then save or invest if there is any money left.</p> <p>Frugal people realize that having money to invest is the most important priority, and they take care of that priority first. If there is not enough money left to pay the bills, then frugal people find ways to make their bills smaller so they can fully fund their investment goals.</p> <h2>4. Think Win-Win</h2> <p>Stephen Covey talked about win-win situations in terms of structuring deals where both parties involved get something beneficial. His point was that someone doesn't have to lose in order to make a great deal &mdash; in fact, the best deals happen in win-win situations.</p> <p>Looking at this habit in the context of frugal success, just because you spend less money doesn't mean you have to benefit less or receive less value. In fact, frugal people find ways to spend less money and achieve greater benefit at the same time.</p> <p>Frugal people find plenty of win-win situations for their money. For example, why do many of them prepare most of their meals at home instead of dining out? Of course, making food at home is cheaper than paying the bill at a restaurant, but eating at home is healthier as well. The benefit of making your own food goes beyond just saving money.</p> <p>Buying a smaller house is less expensive than a larger house and it costs less for maintenance, insurance, heating/cooling, and lighting. In addition to the lower initial price and reduced ongoing costs, a smaller house also takes less time to clean and maintain, freeing up time for other activities.</p> <p>Most win-win scenarios involve not just price, but value. Frugal people consider the overall value that a purchase would provide throughout its life, including hidden expenses and potential benefits. Frugal people are willing to spend money to get a good value, and they shop around and use coupons to get the best deal they can on the right item.</p> <h2>5. Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood</h2> <p>Most frugal people don't start out being frugal. They start out as &quot;normal&quot; spenders and rack up credit card bills and student loans like most people. Over time, they come to understand that spending and debt are not the path to contentment. They realize that sometimes less really is more, at least when it comes to debt and spending.</p> <p>Frugal people reach an understanding of how much stuff they need to be happy, which is often far less stuff than most people think they need to be happy. Frugal people make spending decisions in terms of needs and wants, while most people think primarily in terms of having more and better stuff than their friends and neighbors.</p> <p>As far as being understood, most frugal people don't seem to care much what &quot;normal&quot; people think of them. Frugal people understand that spending money to keep up with the Joneses, or anyone else, doesn't make much sense and is certainly not the path to long term contentment.</p> <h2>6. Synergize</h2> <p>Synergy is the concept that sometimes, one plus one adds up to more than just two. How is this possible?</p> <p>If you decide that you can live without cable TV, you can save about $100 per month. Not only do you save $100 this month and every month thereafter, but you have significantly reduced the amount of money you need to retire by forgoing a recurring expense during your retirement years. You could retire years earlier due to the synergy of eliminating a recurring expense.</p> <p>Another example of synergy is reducing clutter. If you minimize the amount of clutter you collect over time, you will require less space to store your stuff. You will be able to live in a smaller, less expensive house. With less clutter, you will be better able to find and use the items that you do have. Savings of time and money will accumulate over the years greatly exceeding the small amount of effort it takes to nip clutter in the bud. This is another example where a seemingly insignificant action can allow you to achieve your goals years earlier due to synergy. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-clutter-keeps-you-poor?ref=seealso">8 Ways Clutter Keeps You Poor</a>)</p> <h2>7. Sharpen Your Saw</h2> <p>As you are reading this, you are sharpening your saw! If you have ever tried to cut something with a dull saw, you know that it takes a lot of work and a long time to get the job done. Keeping your saw sharp is time well spent.</p> <p>Sharpening your saw means to continue learning and finding new inspiration to get the most from your money. Frugal people tend to seek out ideas on saving money from blogs, podcasts, books, and by talking with other frugal friends. Reading about the financial success and failures of others can provide inspiration to keep your goals firmly in mind and on track.</p> <p><em>Which of these seven habits do you think is the most important?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dr-penny-pincher">Dr Penny Pincher</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/important-habits-of-very-frugal-people">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-things-people-who-are-good-with-money-never-say">5 Things People Who Are Good With Money Never Say</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/16-ways-to-kick-start-frugality">16 Ways to Kick-Start Frugality</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-smart-ways-to-make-yourself-hate-spending-money">10 Smart Ways to Make Yourself Hate Spending Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/could-you-save-money-by-subscribing-to-an-addictive-game">Could you save money by subscribing to an addictive game?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-to-decide-if-its-a-fund-worthy-emergency">8 Ways to Decide if It&#039;s a &quot;Fund-Worthy&quot; Emergency</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Extra Commentary being proactive frugal people good habits money habits saving spending wisely win-win Sat, 06 Dec 2014 22:29:37 +0000 Dr Penny Pincher 1666846 at http://www.wisebread.com 20 Habits You Must Start Right Now and Be a Better Person http://www.wisebread.com/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="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman-drinking-water-185640317-small.jpg" 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="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pEQAie8ABLE#t=68">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="http://www.wisebread.com/20-habits-you-must-kick-right-now-and-be-a-better-person?ref=seealso">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="http://www.healthytheory.com/8-reasons-to-drink-more-water?ref=seealso">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="http://khsaa.org/sportsmedicine/heat/exerciseandfluidreplacement.pdf">Drinking about 17 ounces of water</a> about two hours before exercise improves your performance.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Water helps you <a href="http://www.webmd.com/digestive-disorders/water-a-fluid-way-to-manage-constipation">manage constipation</a>.</li> </ul> <h3>2. Walk 10,000 Steps Every Day</h3> <p>Several health organizations, including the <a href="http://startwalkingnow.org/">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="http://www.ted.com/talks/nilofer_merchant_got_a_meeting_take_a_walk/">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="http://tv.esquire.com/shows/american-ninja-warrior">American Ninja Warrior</a> and <a href="http://tv.esquire.com/shows/boundless">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="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e2TbrRz8pLo">Shakes Your Sillies Out</a>.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Learn <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=__An65QQPvc">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="http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9322266">decreases about two hours before bedtime</a>, taking a <a href="http://sleepfoundation.org/sleep-news/healthy-sleep-tips-women">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="http://www.health.harvard.edu/newsweek/Glycemic_index_and_glycemic_load_for_100_foods.htm">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="http://socialdance.stanford.edu/syllabi/smarter.htm">Boosts memory and prevents dementia</a>;</li> <li>Helps with with <a href="http://www.prevention.com/mind-body/emotional-health/dancing-shown-help-boost-happiness-and-mental-health">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="http://circheartfailure.ahajournals.org/content/1/2/107.full">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="http://www.wisebread.com/12-things-you-didnt-know-about-retirement?ref=seealso">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="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-know-what-annuities-are-you-might-be-missing-out">Evaluating if annuities would make sense</a> for your retirement goals;</li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-dumb-habits-that-are-keeping-you-in-debt">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="http://abcnews.go.com/Business/story?id=88539">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="http://www.wisebread.com/get-ready-for-christmas-7-things-you-should-do-today?ref=seealso">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="http://www.wisebread.com/never-miss-free-ice-cream-again-complete-calendar-of-annual-free-stuff-days?ref=seealso">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="http://money.howstuffworks.com/personal-finance/budgeting/average-american-grocery-bill.htm">$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="http://www.forbes.com/sites/susanadams/2013/10/11/the-10-skills-employers-most-want-in-20-something-employees/">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="http://www.cleveland.com/metro/index.ssf/2013/12/college_students_who_spend_hou.html">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="http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15296685">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="http://open.spotify.com/user/spotify/playlist/6iJ9O8TnK67NKl3W6BWLT4">Spotify</a> and <a href="http://www.pandora.com/music/workout">Pandora</a>.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Have a sharper focus with &quot;chillout music,&quot; such as most of <a href="http://open.spotify.com/artist/7MSUfLeTdDEoZiJPDSBXgi">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="http://www.fastcompany.com/3013856/how-to-be-a-success-at-everything/why-productive-people-get-up-insanely-early">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> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/damian-davila">Damian Davila</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-habits-you-must-start-right-now-and-be-a-better-person">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-break-bad-habits">How to Break Bad Habits</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-habits-you-must-kick-right-now-and-be-a-better-person">20 Habits You Must Kick Right Now and Be a Better Person</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-bad-habits-that-are-actually-good-for-you">13 &quot;Bad&quot; Habits That Are Actually Good for You</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-surprisingly-easy-way-to-change-your-habits-and-your-life">The Surprisingly Easy Way to Change Your Habits and Your Life</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-nervous-tics-you-need-to-stop-right-now">6 Nervous Tics You Need to Stop Right Now</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> General Tips Personal Development bad habits good habits habits self improvement Thu, 07 Aug 2014 11:00:13 +0000 Damian Davila 1177365 at http://www.wisebread.com 13 "Bad" Habits That Are Actually Good for You http://www.wisebread.com/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="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/friends-gossiping-78745556-small.jpg" 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="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-break-bad-habits">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="http://www.wisebread.com/habits-arent-boring-theyre-the-secret-to-happiness-heres-why">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="http://news.nationalpost.com/2014/05/26/the-resveratrol-ruse-a-little-red-wine-every-day-is-healthy-new-research-contradicts-old-dietary-wisdom/">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="http://www.cnn.com/2013/09/30/health/beer-good-health/">vitamin B6</a> and silica, a compound that helps strengthen bones. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-great-reasons-to-drink-beer?ref=seealso">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="http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/4181629.stm">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="http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/crack-research">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="http://www.webmd.com/anxiety-panic/tc/nail-biting-topic-overview">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="http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2305953/Bad-habits-From-biting-nails-burping-eating-bed-The-bad-habits-GOOD-you.html">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="http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/05/11/fidgeting-your-way-to-fitness/">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="http://news.stanford.edu/news/2014/january/upside-of-gossip-012714.html">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="http://www.care2.com/greenliving/7-little-known-benefits-of-sunlight.html">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="http://www.wisebread.com/10-surprising-benefits-of-caffeine?ref=seealso">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="http://www.care2.com/greenliving/fart-with-pride-it-means-your-gut-is-well-fed.html">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="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-shower-less-and-still-feel-clean?ref=seealso">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="http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-and-supplements/news/20131216/experts-dont-waste-your-money-on-multivitamins">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="http://www.wisebread.com/multivitamins-arent-as-good-as-you-think-eat-these-real-foods-instead">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="http://ecosalon.com/hand-washing-101-forget-everything-your-mama-taught-you/">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> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/beth-buczynski">Beth Buczynski</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-bad-habits-that-are-actually-good-for-you">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-break-bad-habits">How to Break Bad Habits</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-habits-you-must-start-right-now-and-be-a-better-person">20 Habits You Must Start Right Now and Be a Better Person</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-surprisingly-easy-way-to-change-your-habits-and-your-life">The Surprisingly Easy Way to Change Your Habits and Your Life</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-things-most-people-dont-realize-are-holding-them-back">4 Things Most People Don&#039;t Realize Are Holding Them Back</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-habits-you-must-kick-right-now-and-be-a-better-person">20 Habits You Must Kick Right Now and Be a Better Person</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Health and Beauty Personal Development bad habits good habits habits Tue, 03 Jun 2014 12:00:19 +0000 Beth Buczynski 1141295 at http://www.wisebread.com The 5 Secrets of Happy, Rich People That You Can Learn From http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-secrets-of-happy-rich-people-that-you-can-learn-from <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-5-secrets-of-happy-rich-people-that-you-can-learn-from" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/seniors-136360322.jpg" alt="yacht" title="yacht" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="165" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Rich and happy? Is that really a question?</p> <p>The Beatles sang that &quot;money can't buy me love,&quot; which has been argued with some cynicism ever since.</p> <p><a href="http://thechart.blogs.cnn.com/2010/09/06/more-on-money-not-buying-happiness/">More money</a> does, in fact, make us happier &mdash; up to a point. The rich can teach us a little bit about happiness, even beyond the fleeting happiness of spending money. But only if we understand that simply having (and spending) more money doesn't make us happier. It's <a href="http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/using-money-to-buy-happiness/">how we spend</a> it that counts.</p> <p>Here are some tips from the lifestyles of the rich that apply to anyone, even those of us in the more modest income brackets.</p> <h2>1. They Value Education</h2> <p>Rich folks are famous for doing their homework. They make sure they do a thorough study before investing money, for example, and frequently alarm business associates by backing out of deals at the last minute, not because they got emotional, but for the opposite reason &mdash; because digging into an issue finally revealed it was a risky investment.</p> <p>What about education in general? Psychologist Laura Carstensen, the director of the Stanford Center on Longevity, is among those who believe <a href="http://money.usnews.com/money/personal-finance/articles/2012/04/10/why-learning-leads-to-happiness">education is linked directly to both longevity and happiness</a>. &quot;People with more education get better jobs that pay more money, are less physically demanding, and provide more enjoyment. They live in safer neighborhoods, practice healthier lifestyles, and have less stress,&quot; Carstensen said.</p> <h2>2. They Give to Charity</h2> <p>One reason that group therapy sessions work, according to Irvin Yalom, professor of psychiatry at Stanford University, is because of the altruism involved. While you have your own problems to stew about, helping others feels good. &quot;Research finds that acts of kindness &mdash; especially spontaneous, out-of-the ordinary ones &mdash; can <a href="http://www.pbs.org/thisemotionallife/topic/altruism/altruism-happiness">boost happiness</a> in the person doing the good deed.&quot;</p> <h2>3. They Have Productive, Meaningful Work</h2> <p>You <a href="http://www.cnn.com/2011/HEALTH/01/07/lottery.winning.psychology/">win the lottery</a> &mdash; more samollians than you ever dreamed you'd be worth. So you go on a world tour, buy a beach house, and sit on the beach. You can have a party every night or you can get up and get a job. Unfortunately, many choose the latter.</p> <p>None other than Sigmund Freud has your back here. Human beings, he said, require love and work to be happy. More recent studies confirm Freud's intuition. In addition to satisfying family, community, and spiritual lives, a <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/15/opinion/sunday/a-formula-for-happiness.html?src=me&amp;ref=general&amp;_r=1&amp;">satisfying work life makes us happier</a>.</p> <h2>4. They Avoid Television (and Other Time-Drains)</h2> <p>The hours some folks spend watching re-runs! Rich folks certainly watch television, but they are apt to watch the nightly news and their favorite sports team. They do not surf the channels looking for a purpose in life, and people who <a href="http://www.popcenter.umd.edu/mprc-associates/jrobins1/john-robinson-publications/articlereference.2009-04-14.6178672400">watch less television</a> have been found to be happier. The rich, generally speaking, do not waste a lot of time. Down time is spent being social, not anti-social. In fact, <a href="http://blogs.wsj.com/wealth/2012/04/27/do-the-wealthy-work-harder-than-the-rest/">high earners enjoy less leisure time</a> than do those who earn less. Maybe because their meaningful, productive work offers so much happiness.</p> <h2>5. They Know When to Quit</h2> <p>The <a href="http://youarenotsosmart.com/2011/03/25/the-sunk-cost-fallacy/">sunk-cost fallacy</a> is the tendency to keep pursuing a losing situation. In business that means spending more to support a money-losing product. You don't get rich doing that. In daily life that means continuing with habits or patterns that don't make us happier &mdash; or worse &mdash; make us less happy. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-your-brain-screws-up-your-money-and-your-love-life?ref=seealso">How Your Brain Screws Up Your Money and Your Love Life</a>)</p> <p>Stop throwing good money after bad. It's not easy &mdash; in fact, we may be evolutionarily rigged to keep at it when <a href="http://insight.kellogg.northwestern.edu/article/is_the_sunk_cost_fallacy_actually_smart_business/">we probably should quit</a> &mdash; but some <a href="http://freakonomics.com/2014/01/21/meditating-on-those-sunk-costs/">simple mindfulness</a> tricks can help you make the right decision, including the decision to quit wasting your time and your money.</p> <p><em>What else do happy rich people do? Please share in comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/anthony-hall">Anthony Hall</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-secrets-of-happy-rich-people-that-you-can-learn-from">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-ways-to-feel-better-fast">25 Ways to Feel Better Fast</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/100-small-things-that-can-bring-you-joy">100 Small Things That Can Bring You Joy</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-ways-to-be-a-better-person-today">25 Ways to Be a Better Person Today</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-you-can-do-today-to-be-happy">10 Things You Can Do Today to Be Happy</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-things-scientists-say-will-boost-your-happiness-today">11 Things Scientists Say Will Boost Your Happiness Today</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Development good habits happiness rich people Thu, 08 May 2014 09:01:16 +0000 Anthony Hall 1138502 at http://www.wisebread.com The Surprisingly Easy Way to Change Your Habits and Your Life http://www.wisebread.com/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="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/phone-170081722.jpg" 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="http://www.wisebread.com/habits-arent-boring-theyre-the-secret-to-happiness-heres-why">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="http://www.wisebread.com/6-good-eating-habits-that-are-keeping-us-fat?ref=seealso">&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="http://experiencelife.com/article/the-power-of-habit/">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="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-break-your-social-media-habit?ref=seealso">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="http://www.wisebread.com/hang-up-the-phone-why-video-is-the-best-way-to-connect-with-people?ref=seealso">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="http://www.wisebread.com/the-happiness-habits-7-ways-to-feel-better-now?ref=seealso">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="http://www.wisebread.com/make-friends-and-be-happy-why-cultivating-relationships-is-good-for-you?ref=seealso">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> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/sarah-winfrey">Sarah Winfrey</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-surprisingly-easy-way-to-change-your-habits-and-your-life">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-5"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-break-bad-habits">How to Break Bad Habits</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-habits-you-must-start-right-now-and-be-a-better-person">20 Habits You Must Start Right Now and Be a Better Person</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-bad-habits-that-are-actually-good-for-you">13 &quot;Bad&quot; Habits That Are Actually Good for You</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-things-most-people-dont-realize-are-holding-them-back">4 Things Most People Don&#039;t Realize Are Holding Them Back</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-habits-you-must-kick-right-now-and-be-a-better-person">20 Habits You Must Kick Right Now and Be a Better Person</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Development bad habits behavior good habits habits Wed, 19 Feb 2014 11:24:19 +0000 Sarah Winfrey 1126319 at http://www.wisebread.com Habits Aren't Boring — They're the Secret to Happiness. Here's Why. http://www.wisebread.com/habits-arent-boring-theyre-the-secret-to-happiness-heres-why <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/habits-arent-boring-theyre-the-secret-to-happiness-heres-why" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/teeth-450744169_0.jpg" alt="brushing teeth" title="brushing teeth" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p><em>Editor's Note: This is the first of a two-part series on harnessing habits to change our lives for the better. Tomorrow, in Part 2, Sarah puts theory to the test and attempts to corral one of her own bad habits &mdash; too much time spent on social media.</em></p> <p>Do you brush your teeth every day? Of course you do. But do you know why you do it?</p> <p>You do it because an advertiser named Claude C. Hopkins realized his clients would sell more toothpaste if they <a href="http://www.npr.org/2012/02/27/147296743/how-you-can-harness-the-power-of-habit">tied the product to a daily habit</a>. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/live-long-and-prosper-with-these-15-small-healthy-habits?ref=seealso">15 Small Healthy Habits</a>)</p> <p>Hopkins discovered that products tied to a cue that was both simple and specific sold better. In the case of toothpaste, he used the nasty feeling of the film that builds up on your teeth. Customers learned that, when they felt that film, they could brush their teeth, and it was gone! Within a few years, nearly everyone was brushing their teeth regularly.</p> <p>We all have habits &mdash; good ones, like brushing your teeth, and unfortunately, some bad ones, like eating too many sweets. Habits are deeply powerful forces in our life. For better or worse, they automate our behavior. The key is to use the power of habits for good, by <em>creating</em> habits that will bring us closer to our goals. But in order to make habits work for us (instead of against us), we need to understand how a habit works. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-break-bad-habits?ref=seealso">How to Break Bad Habits</a>)</p> <h2>What Makes a Habit</h2> <p>Every habit has three parts: the cue, the routine, and the reward. Understanding each of these and how we can leverage them for our benefit can help us create the habits we want, rather than the ones we just fall into.</p> <h3>The Cue</h3> <p>The cue is the beginning of the process. The cue is the thing that sets us in motion, the thing that we recognize, either consciously or unconsciously, and act upon, automatically.</p> <h3>The Routine</h3> <p>The routine is the behavior itself. It is the set of actions that we perform. It's important to notice that, once these behaviors are triggered by their cues, things go by themselves from there. This is why we sometimes find ourselves in the middle of performing certain actions but aren't sure how we got there.</p> <h3>The Reward</h3> <p>Finally, every habit ends with a reward. It's the reason the habit was created in the first place. We may or may not even be aware of what exactly the reward is anymore, once the habit has been created and we've been acting it out for some time. But there is always a reward. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/21-frugal-ways-to-reward-yourself-right-now?ref=seealso">21 Frugal Ways to Reward Yourself</a>)</p> <h2>Harness the Power of Habits to Reach Your Goals</h2> <p>More than anything else, <a href="http://medicalxpress.com/news/2013-05-good-habits-important-self-control-goals.html"><u>habits can help us reach our goals</u></a>. There are many times in our lives when we cannot depend on our own willpower to make good choices, like when we are hungry, angry, lonely, or tired. However, if you turn behaviors into habits &mdash; like going to the gym or eating healthy snacks &mdash; then you'll perform that action even when you are tired, sick, or otherwise weakened. You won't have to rely on your willpower to achieve your goal of losing weight or eating healthy.</p> <p>When our determination and resolve are weak, we default towards our habits. We do the things that we have &quot;programmed&quot; ourselves to do, via habit, even when we don't feel like it. Thus, if you want to take steps towards your goals even when you are not at your best, incorporate those steps into your daily habits. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-habits-of-the-financially-successful?ref=seealso">Habits of the Financially Successful</a>)</p> <h2>How to Create a Habit</h2> <p>Not every habit is something that we can take on daily, but it is best if we make as many of our daily tasks as possible into habits, so that we are stepping towards our goals on a daily basis. Not only do we feel like we are accomplishing something, but we are actually doing it. And we have our accomplishing built-in to our schedules and linked to the cues that exist around us in everyday life. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/change-your-life-with-a-30-day-challenge?ref=seealso">Create a Habit in 30 Days</a>)</p> <h3>Start Smaller Than Small</h3> <p>When creating new habits, don't bite off more than you can chew. In fact, don't even bite off as much as you think you can chew, because it's probably too much. Instead, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/26/life-changes-how-to-create-habits_n_1970105.html">break your big habit into as small of pieces as possible</a>, and start with one or two of those. When they become habitual, you can add to them, until you are performing the whole action that you want.</p> <h3>Use Cues to Your Advantage</h3> <p>The cue is what happens right before you perform your behavior. This can be as simple as something like eating when you feel hungry. When you want to create a new habit, decide what cue you will use. Tie your routine to your chosen cue, and it will reinforce your new habit without requiring nearly as much willpower as might be needed without the cue. You will still need willpower for the first few days or weeks (depending on the habit), but eventually you think of the habit whenever the cue appears. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-increase-your-willpower-and-be-more-successful?ref=seealso"><u>10 Ways to Increase Your Willpower</u></a>)</p> <h3>Habits Are Habit Forming</h3> <p>Practicing a set of habits on a daily basis also gives us even further motivation for continuing to practice them in the future. When we do a task or set of tasks every single day, we don't only have the motivation that we mentioned above, which is essential for any habit, but we also have the motivation of having created a chain. When we have done something every day for a period of time, we may choose to continue those actions simply because we don't want to break that chain. This gives the habit even more power in our lives.</p> <p>We know the power that habits can have in our lives, if only because we've seen them work against us. However, understanding what makes up a habit and how good daily habits will help us succeed can motivate us to do the work necessary to replace bad habits with great ones. When we harness their power, we will watch our goals come closer to reality every, single day.</p> <p><em>Have you used the power of habits to improve yourself and your life? How did you do it?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/sarah-winfrey">Sarah Winfrey</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/habits-arent-boring-theyre-the-secret-to-happiness-heres-why">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-6"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-break-bad-habits">How to Break Bad Habits</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-habits-you-must-start-right-now-and-be-a-better-person">20 Habits You Must Start Right Now and Be a Better Person</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-surprisingly-easy-way-to-change-your-habits-and-your-life">The Surprisingly Easy Way to Change Your Habits and Your Life</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-bad-habits-that-are-actually-good-for-you">13 &quot;Bad&quot; Habits That Are Actually Good for You</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-more-things-people-who-make-a-lot-of-money-do">12 More Things People Who Make a Lot of Money Do</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Development good habits habits routine Tue, 18 Feb 2014 10:48:31 +0000 Sarah Winfrey 1125943 at http://www.wisebread.com 16 Ways to Kick-Start Frugality http://www.wisebread.com/16-ways-to-kick-start-frugality <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/16-ways-to-kick-start-frugality" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/piggy-bank-4288147-small.jpg" alt="piggy bank" title="piggy bank" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>One great thing about being frugal is that once you start doing it, it kind of snowballs.</p> <p>I've been frugal my whole life, partly because I believe that saving money is just as good as making it, and I don't like overpaying for something. But what really kick-started my frugal lifestyle was being laid off in 2008 from the newspaper industry. Without a fulltime job, I no longer had benefits and the same income I had before, so some frugality was called for. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/new-year-new-spending-habits" target="_blank">New Year, New Spending Habits</a>)</p> <p>Here are 16 tips I've learned, either on my own or by talking to people cited below, to kick-start frugality, and make it an everyday part of life. Some are small tips to save a few dollars a week, and a few are big that can add up to hundreds (if not thousands) of dollars, so be sure to start with the easy ones before jumping to the big ones.</p> <h2>1. Start Saving With Direct Deposit</h2> <p>Whether it's a <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/07/business/an-automatic-solution-for-the-retirement-savings-problem.html?pagewanted=all&amp;_r=0" target="_blank">payroll savings plan</a> to save for retirement or simply moving $100 each month from a checking account to a savings account, putting money aside before you get a chance to notice it and spend it is a great first step to being frugal.</p> <h2>2. Track Spending for a Week</h2> <p><a href="http://www.spendingdiary.com/" target="_blank">Keep track of every penny you spend for a week</a>, and you'll likely see a pattern. Fidelity Investments, of which I'm a customer, has a barrelful of tips for saving money, and it recommends keeping track of every dollar. It has a graphic that shows <a href="https://guidance.fidelity.com/static/dcle/Guidance/images/gr-ways-to-save-more2.gif" target="_blank">how far saving a dollar for retirement</a> can go at different ages. Obviously, the younger you start saving, the more money you'll have as it compounds. By tracking spending for a week &mdash; either by the dollar or penny &mdash; you'll see your weak spots (too many trips to the vending machine at work or coffee house) and can adjust and have the extra money automatically transferred to a savings account.</p> <h2>3. Skip Treats and Luxuries for a Week</h2> <p>Stop buying anything you eat, drink or smoke that would be considered an &quot;extra,&quot; and instead drink boring water or make it yourself or bring something cheaper with you. Bring an orange instead of buying chips at the vending machine.</p> <p>Financial counselor and editor <a href="http://nextgenmilspouse.com/" target="_blank">Adrianna Domingos-Lupher</a> told me that she broke a coffee house addiction two years ago by investing in an espresso maker and having lattes at home. Her family has cut their coffee house expenses by nearly 75%, dropping from $30 a week on coffee to less than $10 now. &quot;Granted the learning curve to froth the milk and find the right grind of coffee was a challenge, but I'm glad to report that I visit a certain celestial coffee house a lot less than I used to,&quot; she says. &quot;It's more of a treat on weekends than an everyday affair.&quot;</p> <h2>4. Spend Only Cash</h2> <p>Try this for a week &mdash; it's not as easy as it sounds. Like tracking your spending online, using only cash will show you where your money goes and will limit what you buy.</p> <p>Author <a href="http://www.alancorey.com/" target="_blank">Alan Corey</a> says he started being frugal by simply going to the ATM once a week for $100. Everything he bought had to be in cash. &quot;It kept me on a budget without having to save receipts or planning too much ahead,&quot; Corey says. &quot;All I had to do was look in my wallet to see what I could spend, and then determine if I could get by on until my next ATM outing.&quot; He later lowered it to $80 a week after $100 was working well, allowing him to save more money.</p> <h2>5. Don't Buy Anything</h2> <p>This is a much more drastic step than what Corey does, and it probably shouldn't be your first step to starting a frugal lifestyle. But if you want to make the big jump in the frugal pond, this will do it. The &quot;no spend challenge,&quot; as many <a href="http://www.momadvice.com/money/nospend_challenge.aspx" target="_blank">bloggers</a> have written about, starts with cutting all unnecessary spending cold turkey. Only spend money on the basics, such as rent or mortgage, utilities, and basic groceries. If anything will lead to a frugal snowball effect, this will.</p> <p><a href="http://www.thehappyhomeowner.net/" target="_blank">Jen Smialek</a>, a personal finance blogger in Boston, says a month-long no-spending vow helped her save $600 one month. Smialek says she only spent money on rent, utilities, and basic groceries, and that the habit has helped her stop unnecessary spending for the past four years.</p> <h2>6. Don't Shop at the Grocery Store</h2> <p>I can do this for a week, no problem. In fact, my refrigerator is now almost empty and a trip to the grocery store is imminent. With a well-stocked pantry, visits to the farmer's market, and buying $25 worth of groceries from an online organic grocer, <a href="http://shopmyclosetproject.com/" target="_blank">Michelle Jackson</a>, a personal finance blogger, says she went seven weeks without having to go to a grocery store. Jackson says her grocery bill dropped from about $75 per visit (two to three times a week) to $275 for the entire seven weeks.</p> <h2>7. Don't Eat Out</h2> <p>For 30 days in 2006, blogger <a href="http://www.pocketyourdollars.com/" target="_blank">Carrie Rocha</a> and her husband did a no eating out challenge. It included no stops at the coffee shop, no soda at a gas station, no rotisserie chicken from the grocery store, no concessions at a ballpark, and never a meal in a restaurant. They were successful that month and saved hundreds of dollars, but the real benefit was realizing their lack of self-control. Before, they took joy in a midday treat, and learned that because they couldn't afford to indulge, they had to find healthier ways to get through the temptations. They bought healthier on-the-go snacks and have saved thousands of dollars in the seven years they've been living within their means.</p> <h2>8. No Big Group Meals Out</h2> <p>If eating out once a week with your spouse is too difficult to cut from your lifestyle, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-dodge-peer-pressure-to-spend" target="_blank">try to at least cut out group meals</a> with friends and co-workers.</p> <p><a href="https://www.goodapril.com/" target="_blank">Mitchell Fox</a>, co-founder of a tax monitoring website, says the best the best thing his wife and he did to start saving money was to skip on big group dinners in San Francisco, which is an expensive city at any income. The dinner bill always seemed to come out to at least $50 per person, sometimes much more with drinks added to the bill. &quot;What we have started to do instead is suggest house parties &mdash; either inviting people to our place or suggesting they host &mdash; or meeting up for happy hour drinks instead of dinner,&quot; Fox says. They used to eat out at least once a week with friends, but this step has cut their monthly spending by at least $500, he says.</p> <h2>9. Get Your Teenager to Wait a Year Before Driving</h2> <p>This kick-start method can help teach you and your teen how to save money through delayed gratification, although convincing a teen of this may be difficult. If you can get around the hassle of driving your teen around for another year when they turn 17, you (and the teenager) will save money by not buying a car or paying for maintenance or extra gas. You also won't have to pay the 20% to 80% surcharge from some insurers for teenage drivers, according to <a href="http://www.autoinsurancecenter.com/persuade-your-teen-to-wait-to-get-a-license-and-save-thousands.htm" target="_blank">AutoInsuranceCenter.com</a>.</p> <h2>10. Pay Yourself to Meet Your Goals</h2> <p>Putting a few dollars in an envelope or some spare change in a jar whenever you meet a frugal goal is a way to reward yourself for being frugal. Lisa Boesen was successful in her <a href="http://www.thedomesticadministrator.com/2013/02/26/lenten-challenge/" target="_blank">&quot;Lenten Challenge&quot;</a> to use up everything in her pantry and freezer during Lent, so she put $5 in a jar every time she and her husband followed their frugal guidelines. They ended with $100 in the jar last year, Boesen says, and are continuing to add to their own tip jar whenever they meet a frugal goal they've set.</p> <h2>11. Don't Buy a Book for a Month</h2> <p>I've done this for a few years (except on trips) when I realized I was <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-read-comic-books-for-free-or-almost-free" target="_blank">spending about $50 a month on new books</a> for my Kindle. I sometimes buy used books and save 50%, but I mostly go to the library and check them out for free. Getting new releases can be tough, although I've found that if I get on the waiting list early enough, the book is available within a month or so. You can also save money on DVDs, music, and other media at libraries. Getting a <a href="http://www.ala.org/conferencesevents/celebrationweeks/card" target="_blank">library card</a> is too easy, so there's no excuse to try it for a month or so.</p> <h2>12. Cut Back on Haircuts</h2> <p>After spending $200 a month for 25 years so she could have her hair straightened, life style strategist <a href="http://www.visionworkscc.com/" target="_blank">Melisa Alaba</a> eliminated that expense by chopping her relaxed hair and wearing her hair in its natural style. She puts the savings in an education fund for her daughters, and since starting this three years ago, she has learned to do her own hair, and as she puts it, has learned to &quot;embrace my natural beauty.&quot;</p> <h2>13. Walk, Bike, or Ride to Work</h2> <p>Moving close to work so you can walk is a big step, but worth thinking about the next time you change jobs. I've made it a life-long habit to live near where I work, and have always lived within a few miles of my job. While I've often needed a car at work, I've been able to walk and bike to work, and live in an area where I can walk to stores for quick errands. I've saved on auto insurance by driving fewer miles, which has also cut maintenance and gas expenses.</p> <h2>14. Get Rid of Your Car</h2> <p>Obviously, this is a big step. I've always wanted to try this, but haven't because I think it would be difficult without having the public transportation of a big city. Comedian <a href="http://www.comedianjim.com/" target="_blank">Jim Dailakis</a> of New York has, taking public transportation whenever he can or renting cars. Dailakis accumulates points as a gold member with Hertz, allowing him to sometimes rent a car for free.</p> <h2>15. Dump Cable TV for a Month</h2> <p>As I've <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cutting-the-cable-cord-has-more-than-financial-benefits" target="_blank">written</a> before, this step has much more than financial benefits. The biggest has been not wasting time watching TV. I read more, have more free time, and watch programs that I really want to watch. After the initial equipment costs to make the switch away from cable TV and buying monthly services such as Netflix and Hulu, we've saved at least $30 a month.</p> <h2>16. Live in a Tent</h2> <p>This is the biggest, most life-changing way to kick-start frugality, and you might want to make this the last frugal choice you make. But if you're really committed, as <a href="http://www.venturexpo.com/yearinatent.html" target="_blank">Richard and Laura Pawlowski</a> were, then this could be the first kick-start to a life of frugality.</p> <p>The Pawlowskis are in their 70s and wrote about living in a tent for two years after being pushed from their home of 35 years. They traveled to more than 50 campgrounds in 10 states, saved money, and rebalanced their debt. They no longer paid $1,200 in monthly rent, using some of the money for gas and food.</p> <p>It's a heck of a kick-start to frugality and makes skipping a daily latte look simple.</p> <p><em>How did you kick-start your frugal habits?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/aaron-crowe">Aaron Crowe</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/16-ways-to-kick-start-frugality">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-7"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-baking-soda-took-my-bathroom-from-yuck-to-yes">How Baking Soda Took My Bathroom from “Yuck” to Yes!</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/51-uses-for-coca-cola-the-ultimate-list">51 Uses for Coca-Cola – the Ultimate List</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-cheap-and-easy-formulas-for-homemade-windshield-de-icer-plus-bonus-tips">3 Cheap and Easy Formulas for Homemade Windshield De-Icer (Plus Bonus Tips)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/chinese-money-habits-how-my-culture-influences-my-attitudes-toward-money">Chinese Money Habits - How My Culture Influences My Attitudes Toward Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-habits-of-highly-frugal-people">7 Habits of Highly Frugal People</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living General Tips bad financial attitudes frugal habits good habits money habits Tue, 16 Apr 2013 10:24:33 +0000 Aaron Crowe 973456 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Break Bad Habits http://www.wisebread.com/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="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/no-smoking-1044536-small.jpg" 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="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-learn-from-your-mistakes" 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="http://www.meditativemovements.com/" 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="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-keep-your-new-years-resolutions" 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="http://doctor-ramani.com/" 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="http://www.wisebread.com/25-healthy-changes-you-can-make-today" 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. 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.&nbsp;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="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-book-ive-ever-read-about-making-changes-stick" 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> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-break-bad-habits">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-habits-you-must-start-right-now-and-be-a-better-person">20 Habits You Must Start Right Now and Be a Better Person</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-habits-you-must-kick-right-now-and-be-a-better-person">20 Habits You Must Kick Right Now and Be a Better Person</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-surprisingly-easy-way-to-change-your-habits-and-your-life">The Surprisingly Easy Way to Change Your Habits and Your Life</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-bad-habits-that-are-actually-good-for-you">13 &quot;Bad&quot; Habits That Are Actually Good for You</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-nervous-tics-you-need-to-stop-right-now">6 Nervous Tics You Need to Stop Right Now</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> 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 http://www.wisebread.com 4 Tips for Making Resolutions Stick in the New Year http://www.wisebread.com/4-tips-for-making-resolutions-stick-in-the-new-year <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-tips-for-making-resolutions-stick-in-the-new-year" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/4222533261_97e032f908_z.jpg" alt="resolutions" title="resolutions" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>New Year&rsquo;s resolutions have become a bit of a cliché, especially when you consider the statistics &mdash; according to a 2002 <a target="_blank" href="http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/jclp.1151/abstract">study</a> published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology, only 19% of people who make resolutions are still sticking to them after two years. So what&rsquo;s the point?</p> <p>As much as I cling to the cynical view, I&rsquo;m all for resolutions for one simple reason &mdash; results. Resolutions really work, and I&rsquo;m not just speaking anecdotally. Among the people who make resolutions in a typical year, 46% keep them for at least six months, compared to only 4% of a comparable group of people who wanted to make changes and thought about doing so, but stopped short of actually making that commitment. In other words, the power of a New Year&rsquo;s resolution may not be so much in how you make it or what you resolve to do, but whether you actually make a resolution at all.</p> <p>Pretty cool, huh? There is one snag, though &mdash; most of us don&rsquo;t know what a resolution really is. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-your-big-new-years-resolutions-are-pointless">Why&nbsp;Your Big New Year's Resolutions Are&nbsp;Pointless</a>)</p> <h3>Remember: Resolutions Aren&rsquo;t Goals</h3> <p>Setting a concrete goal to work towards during the year is a valuable exercise. After all, it could be the impetus you need to push you to do something you&rsquo;ve always wanted to do, like run a marathon, travel, or finally start putting some effort into retirement savings. But while many people resolve to do very specific things (losing weight, quitting smoking, and exercising more regularly top the list), those aren&rsquo;t really resolutions.</p> <p>They&rsquo;re goals.</p> <p>What&rsquo;s the difference? Well, a resolution is the act of resolving or determining on a course of action, but the word also implies a sense of firmness of purpose, of being resolute. In other words, while a goal is something that you work on until it is complete, a resolution is better thought of as something that you must <em>live</em>, day in and day out.</p> <p>With that in mind, here are some ways to make better changes in the New Year. And by that I mean changes you&rsquo;ll be able to make continued progress on for years to come.</p> <h3>1. Stop Trying to Make the <em>Right</em> Resolution</h3> <p>When I make resolutions, I often find myself torn between resolving to do something I feel like I should do and choosing a more personal resolution that really resonates with me. Maybe you feel like you should <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-steps-to-weight-loss">lose weight</a>, or your family is bugging you to quit smoking. Those are great goals to set, but if they aren&rsquo;t in line with what you want, I&rsquo;d be willing to bet you won&rsquo;t succeed &mdash; at least not for long.</p> <p>Instead of trying to make the right resolution, focus on making one that&rsquo;s right for you. Try thinking about the things you did that made you feel proud and happy during the year, and the things you regret. Then come up with a resolution that&rsquo;ll help you embrace more of the good and less of the bad. Now that&rsquo;s progress, especially if you continue to do this year in and year out.</p> <h3>2. Do It Every Day</h3> <p>Gretchen Rubin, author of &ldquo;The Happiness Project,&rdquo; often writes about the power of doing something every day, even if it&rsquo;s only for a few moments.</p> <p>&ldquo;If I try to do something four days a week, I spend a lot of time arguing with myself about whether today is the day, or tomorrow, or the next day; did the week start on Sunday or Monday; etc.,&rdquo; she wrote in a 2009 <a target="_blank" href="http://www.happiness-project.com/happiness_project/2009/01/your-happiness-project-do-something-every-day/">blog post</a>. &ldquo;The things you do every day take on a certain beauty, and provide a kind of invisible architecture to daily life.&rdquo;</p> <p>An invisible architecture. If you think about your life that way, the things you do every day, the things you resolve to be a priority, the things you get so used to doing that you do them without question, could be considered the very foundation and framework of your life.</p> <p>When it comes to what you do every day, resolve to add things that improve that structure, such as making healthy choices, spending time with your family, or <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-ways-to-take-five-minutes-for-yourself">finding time for yourself</a>. We breathe every day, we eat, we sleep. Those are essential. When it comes to the other stuff, there&rsquo;s some wiggle room. Even so, what you choose to fill the rest of the time with should be what matters most to you.</p> <h3>3. Try, but Don't Succeed</h3> <p>A year is a long time, and often, situations we don&rsquo;t anticipate make keeping a resolution difficult. I often find myself basking in the glow of a little time off around Christmas and resolving to be more patient or, perhaps more specifically, less totally impatient. But once I&rsquo;m up against a little more stress and a little less sleep, I sometimes snap under the pressure (and ultimately snap <em>at</em> someone).</p> <p>Change is hard, but if there&rsquo;s anything harder than changing our ways it has to be our failed attempts. Fortunately, a Stanford psychologist has found some evidence that failure is actually a performance enhancer.</p> <p>According to research by <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carol_Dweck">Carol Dweck</a>, people who saw ability as something that could be developed were able to make huge strides in just about anything they set their minds to, while those who chose to feel helpless about their lack of ability failed to progress. The difference is largely one of perspective. Do you see your resolutions as something you need to complete and check off your list, or as a work in progress that you can continue to perfect over time? I&rsquo;m going with the latter. At least that way, there&rsquo;s hope for me yet.</p> <h3>4. Start Small, Live Large</h3> <p>Maybe you&rsquo;ve resolved to live healthier or be happier, but whatever big ambitions you have in life, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/big-changes-or-small-changes">start small</a>. (After all, if a resolution is something you live every day of your life, you have time!) Start chipping away at your resolution by choosing something you will absolutely be able to achieve. Once you have that down, add something else. This won&rsquo;t deliver the dramatic, ugly-duckling-to-beautiful-swan type transformation we all sort of fantasize about. The thing is, I think we all recognize that most of those fantasies just aren&rsquo;t very realistic. So take little steps toward to your big ambitions. Over time, you will achieve something tangible that you can proud of.</p> <p>I&rsquo;m not sure what resolutions I&rsquo;ll make this year, but I&rsquo;m always aiming to live a life that&rsquo;s happier, healthier and more in line with what I believe is important. As a result, I look forward to making a resolution of some sort. When it comes to health and happiness, there is no destination. But when you think about it, that&rsquo;s actually a good thing.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tara-struyk">Tara Struyk</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-tips-for-making-resolutions-stick-in-the-new-year">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-8"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/you-can-make-a-big-life-change-heres-how">You Can Make a Big Life Change: Here&#039;s How</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/21-ways-to-make-a-big-financial-change">21 Ways to Make a Big Financial Change</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-break-bad-habits">How to Break Bad Habits</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-your-big-new-years-resolutions-are-pointless">Why Your Big New Year&#039;s Resolutions Are Pointless</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-make-yourself-accountable">5 Ways to Make Yourself Accountable</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Development acheiving goals good habits new year's resolution Thu, 27 Dec 2012 11:36:30 +0000 Tara Struyk 959923 at http://www.wisebread.com