dreams http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/2182/all en-US 9 Ways to Invest in Yourself http://www.wisebread.com/9-ways-to-invest-in-yourself <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/9-ways-to-invest-in-yourself" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman-flexing-494364267-small.jpg" alt="woman flexing" title="woman flexing" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="151" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You are your own greatest asset.</p> <p>Think about it. Who you are, how you feel about yourself, how you present yourself, what you know, your overall physical and mental health&hellip; it all contributes to how you perform at work, at home, and in the things you do for fun.</p> <p>Of course, you're also a lot more than an asset &mdash; a machine that either performs its function well or does not. You are also a person, someone who feels better, lives better, and loves better from a place of all-over health. You are worth investment simply because you are alive. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/52-great-weekend-projects-to-improve-your-life?ref=seealso">52 Great Weekend Projects to Improve Your Life</a>)</p> <p>In fact, you are worth investing in no matter which of these views of the self resonates more deeply with you. It is always worth putting a bit more time and energy into yourself, whether it is so you can improve your performance, or so you can just live from a healthy, whole, centered place.</p> <h2>1. Meditate on Your Needs and Desires</h2> <p>Before you start finding ways to invest in yourself, it's worth taking the time to sit down and decide what you need and what way to invest in yourself is best for you. Your needs will be different from those of the people around you, and that's as it should be. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-stop-being-afraid-and-live-your-dreams?ref=seealso">How to Stop Being Afraid and Live Your Dreams</a>)</p> <p>Sometimes, you will instinctively know what you need. Other times, you may need to spend some time journaling or talking with someone close to you to figure out where to start.</p> <h2>2. Heal From Your Hurts</h2> <p>One of the best ways to invest in yourself is to take some time to heal from the things that have hurt you. There are <a href="http://www.griefrecoverymethod.com/2013/03/40-losses-qualify-as-grief/">so many things to grieve in life</a>; job loss, lost relationships, and the death of those close to you are only a few of the more common experiences that can cause grief. Because <a href="http://www.eddiereece.com/StuckInGriefOrLoss.en.html">our culture doesn't grieve well</a>, sometimes we can't get beyond those things that have hurt us.</p> <p>Being intentional about grieving well can take many forms. Maybe you just need time, or maybe you need a couple of hours with a cup of tea and a journal. If that doesn't help you, consider talking to a professional. This can be a long process, but you will only be able to live fully if you can move past your losses.</p> <h2>3. Create in a New Way</h2> <p>Most of us have some creative outlet, whether it is obvious, like painting or writing poetry, or less obvious, like computer programming or solving old problems in new ways. Sometimes, when we get used to functioning creatively in a certain way, we find that our creativity actually stagnates, or that we burn out.</p> <p>Instead of trying the same old things creatively, <a href="http://www.lifehack.org/articles/lifestyle/3-valuable-ways-to-invest-in-yourself.html">try something new</a>. If you usually write, draw a picture or listen to music instead. Focus on those things you've always wanted to do, or on things that are less usual outlets for creative thought.</p> <p>For example, you could consider:</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/build-your-own-furniture-9-helpful-tips-for-non-carpenters">Woodworking</a></li> <li>Pottery</li> <li>Calligraphy</li> <li>Cooking classes</li> </ul> <h2>4. Learn to Network</h2> <p>For some people, meeting others comes as naturally as eating. For others, it's a difficult process. Most people think of networking as something that specifically takes place in a work capacity, but the truth is that learning how to meet other people can help you in all areas of your life. Knowing people can help you learn new things, get help when you need it, and learn about the opportunities around you.</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/networking-basics-for-regular-people">Beginning to network</a> can be as easy as inviting some friends over. Have them each bring a couple of friends, provide some low-key edibles, and there you have it!</p> <h2>5. Move Your Body</h2> <p>We hear so much about exercise that it's easy to tune it out. Sure it's good for you, but who has time for that? However, taking time to exercise doesn't only help you get more physically fit, but it also helps you <a href="http://denisejacobs.com/talks/white-space-creativity/">get some white space</a> in your day. Even if you blast your music, you generally can't multi-task while you're working out, so your brain gets a break.</p> <p>&quot;Exercise&quot; can mean a lot of different things to a lot of different people. You can walk, jog, run, lift weights, Jazzercise, CrossFit, jump rope, kick box, Zumba, use cardio machines, and so much more. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/50-ways-to-make-exercise-more-fun?ref=seealso">50 Ways to Make Exercise More Fun</a>)</p> <h2>6. Save Money</h2> <p>Before you splurge on those shoes or a computer game, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-save-100-this-week">put money in your savings account</a>. When you pay yourself first, you say to yourself that you are important and that you are more than the things you let yourself buy.</p> <p>If you aren't good at saving, set up a separate savings account for this money. Put in a certain amount after each paycheck, and leave it there. You will probably be surprised at how much you have after several months or a year. This can be your travel fund, your new car fund, or your to-be-determined fund. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-ways-to-make-yourself-save-more-money?ref=seealso">12 Ways to Make Yourself Save More</a>)</p> <h2>7. Spend Time Where It Matters</h2> <p>Figure out what the things are in your life &mdash; or your work &mdash; that are most important, and <a href="http://hbr.org/2013/09/make-time-for-the-work-that-matters/ar/1">make sure they get your best time</a>. If there are tasks that you can delegate, do it. If you feel like you need to delegate something but you don't know what, take some time to determine which parts of your day feel the most fulfilling. Then figure out if someone else can take on some of the rest.</p> <p>There are seasons in life where delegation is hard, not because you don't want to do it, but because it isn't a good option, for whatever reason. In these cases, try to do as many of the important and rewarding tasks first, and then do the essential &quot;other&quot; tasks as your energy allows.</p> <h2>8. Educate Yourself</h2> <p>Education is an obvious but important investment that you can make in yourself. Most people equate education with school, but the truth is that there are a million ways to learn. Sure, you could go back to school, but you could also work alongside someone doing what you want to do, or invest in (and read!) books that focus on topics you want to know more about.</p> <p>Even if you don't have a lot of time or money, you can learn more. Talk to the people around you and find out what they know and if they'd be willing to teach you. Or run a Google search on an interesting subject and read the top five articles.</p> <h2>9. Sleep More, Sleep Better</h2> <p><a href="http://www.cnn.com/2009/HEALTH/03/04/sleep.stress.economy/index.html">We're sleeping less</a> than ever before. We are busy and our phones/tablets/computers/email keep us going constantly. And sometimes, even when we try to sleep, we can't because of stress or worries that keep us awake. If you really want to be at your best, though, you need to get enough sleep.</p> <p>Is sleep a struggle for you? Be sure to give yourself some non-screen time before you go to bed. You can also try focusing on your breathing until you drift off to dreamland. Find what works for you and do it. Sleeping feels like doing nothing, but it is one of the most rejuvenating things you can do for your waking hours.</p> <p><em>How do you take care of yourself? What works for you?</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-ways-to-invest-in-yourself" class="sharethis-link" title="9 Ways to Invest in Yourself" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/sarah-winfrey">Sarah Winfrey</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Personal Development dreams goals self improvement Fri, 27 Jun 2014 17:00:04 +0000 Sarah Winfrey 1149837 at http://www.wisebread.com Do These 26 Things to Make This Year the Best Year Ever http://www.wisebread.com/do-these-26-things-to-make-this-year-the-best-year-ever <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/do-these-26-things-to-make-this-year-the-best-year-ever" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/bicycle-2789091-small.jpg" alt="bicycling" title="bicycling" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>There was a time when life was full of new experiences.</p> <p>I went dancing and took night classes. We camped out all day to see &quot;The&nbsp;<a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0006VIXGQ/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B0006VIXGQ&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20">Empire Strikes Back</a>&quot; &mdash; no cell phones, no tablets, just lawn chairs and a cooler full of drinks and snacks. I competed for Ms. Autorama on a dare, climbed on the shoulders of a guy I didn't know to get closer to Steve Perry at a Journey concert, and broke my hand getting bucked off a horse.</p> <p>But of course, as we get older and more responsible, those adventures get farther and fewer between. We've got bills to pay, careers to advance, kids to raise, and retirements to plan.</p> <p>That dream of a to-do list is still there, but lately, it's started to collect some dust. And while we might secretly wish we had more time and resources to rekindle our adventurous side, the reality is we're starting to think our glory days are behind us and this is what they really mean when they say &quot;settled in your ways.&quot;</p> <p>But maybe we just need to rethink our definition of &quot;adventure.&quot; Maybe we're not as settled as we think. Maybe we just need a new to-do list and a little motivation to open up a whole new world of new experiences.</p> <p>So, here are some ideas to get you started and on your way to making this year your best year yet. (Even though you've only got about half of it left.)</p> <h2>1. Take That Vacation</h2> <p>You know, the one you've been putting off. The one you promised your family that you'd take years ago, but never did. Go to the beach. Go see the mountains. Or just venture a few cities over and stay in a hotel &mdash; one with a pool, of course. Getting away is good for the soul, and it creates memories you'll cherish forever.</p> <h2>2. Paint Your Walls</h2> <p>No, not repaint them white or beige. Pick something a little bolder, something with some personality. You've seen those Home Depot commercials. Pick something with some flair. And then ask your friends to help. If they're good friends, they'll do it for pizza and beer. You'll have a stunning new paint job when you're done and stronger friendships.</p> <h2>3. Learn Something New</h2> <p>I've written before about the benefits of keeping your mind fit and with so many cheap and free options, there's absolutely no reason you can't broaden your horizons&nbsp;<span style="font-size: 13px;">&mdash;</span><span style="font-size: 13px; line-height: 1.7em;">&nbsp;yes, even with your busy schedule. Take a class, watch lessons on YouTube, or just grab what you need and learn as you go. You can't discover the secrets of the Universe if you don't seek them out. (See also: </span><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-ways-to-learn-something-new-every-day?ref=seealso" style="font-size: 13px; line-height: 1.7em;">Learn Something New Everyday</a><span style="font-size: 13px; line-height: 1.7em;">)</span></p> <h2>4. Ride a Horse</h2> <p>Broken hand aside, there is something exhilarating about riding a horse. And not just sitting on his back steering him in a circle. &nbsp;I'm talking about actually getting him to do what you want, teaching him to follow your commands, giving in to your direction so that the two of you can work together. It's really cool to go fast, too.</p> <h2>5. Make a Difference</h2> <p>We'd all like to see the world become a better place. We'd like to end poverty, feed the hungry, stop global warming, deter crime. The list just goes on and on. But for those things to happen, someone has to do them. Why not you? Join a committee, adopt a highway, run for office. Be the leader everyone else is looking for.</p> <h2>6. Write a Letter</h2> <p>When was the last time you actually wrote a letter? I mean with pen and paper, not electronically. Letters are personal, intimate, and definitely more intriguing than just another email. So, pick up your pen, grab your best stationery, and get to writing. Don't know who to write to? Write a letter to your mom, your grandmother, your best friend that lives out of state, or pen something to your congressman or local newspaper. Putting thoughts on paper is liberating &mdash; &nbsp;and it can be a treasured memento for the person receiving it.</p> <h2>7. Change Your Style</h2> <p>I know those are your favorite jeans. I know you love your sweats and with the jacket on, you can't even see the repairs you did on that skirt. But it's time for an update. Try something new. Add some color. Go bright and bold. You'll be amazed at how much you change on the inside when you tweak what's on the outside. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/50-ways-to-save-money-on-clothing?ref=seealso">How to Update Your Wardrobe for Cheap</a>)</p> <h2>8. Pay Off One Bill</h2> <p>Just one. It doesn't even have to be a big one. You've been wanting to get out of debt for a while now, or maybe you're still ignoring the problem, either way, it's time to take control of your finances and paying off a single bill is a big step in the right direction. Plus, think of all the fun things you can do when your cash flow isn't strapped down by debt.</p> <h2>9. Start a Savings Account</h2> <p>Okay, this one isn't exactly daring, but there is definitely something very sexy about being financially fit. Always having the money you need for the things you want, always being able to keep calm and get things done, no matter what unexpected surprises life might throw your way. Granted, that kind of financial confidence might take some time, but you gotta start somewhere.</p> <h2>10. Apply for a Job</h2> <p>Not just any job &mdash; apply for <em>The Job</em>. The job you'd love to have, but you're so not qualified to get. Why bother? Because you just might get it. And even if you don't, the experience will do you good, and the only way to reach those stars is to, well, reach for them.</p> <h2>11. Start a Business</h2> <p>How long have you been sitting on that idea for a new business? How long have you thought, &quot;<em>one of these days...</em>?&quot; Well, today is <em>one</em> of these days, so get started. Make this the year that you went into business for yourself. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/starting-your-dream-business-is-easier-than-you-think-heres-how?ref=seealso">Starting Your Dream Business Is Easier Than You Think</a>)</p> <h2>12. Start a New Tradition</h2> <p>When I was little, we weren't allowed to rush the tree on Christmas morning. Instead, dad would keep us hidden in the hall while mom positioned herself with the camera on the couch. The result is a collection of &quot;first-look&quot; pictures &mdash; me and my brother, eyes wide with excitement as we saw what Santa had brought for the first time. I've continued that tradition with my children and I'm betting they'll do the same with theirs.</p> <p>But I've also created a few new traditions of my own.</p> <p>Every Christmas, for example, my kids get to choose a new ornament. It goes on the tree with the rest and when they're grown, they can take their collection with them. We also make cookies the week before, baked from scratch, cut and painted by the kids while I boil a mixture of cinnamon sticks, cloves, allspice, and nutmeg on the stove. The smell is delightful and it sets the mood for cookie-making. Yes, these are little things, but it's those things that we remember most when we're grown.</p> <h2>13. Reconnect With an Old Friend</h2> <p>Do you ever wonder what happen to that girl that lived down the street from you when you were growing up? Or how your college roommate is doing, given that you haven't spoken to him/her since graduation? Now's the time to find out. With so much technology at your fingertips, tracking someone down is much easier than it used to be. And honestly, you can never have enough good people around you. (Prepare to be amazed: Children's author Eric Carle recently <a href="http://www.syracuse.com/kirst/index.ssf/2014/04/for_renowned_author_eric_carle_an_easter_miracle_after_more_than_80_years_in_tou.html">reconnected with a childhood friend</a> he hadn't seen in <em>82 years</em>!)</p> <h2>14. Meet Your Neighbors</h2> <p>When I was growing up, everyone knew everyone. I couldn't walk down the street without neighbors saying hello, asking about my folks or sending a recipe home with me for my mom to try. I also couldn't get into trouble, because everyone on that block knew exactly who to call. Somewhere along the way, we lost that sense of community, and I for one think it's time to get it back. Invite your neighbors over for a cookout. Take some baked goods and go knock on their door. Organize a block party or just stop the next time you see them outside and say hello. It's <em>your neighborhood</em> &mdash; shouldn't you know who lives in it?</p> <h2>15. Change Your Diet For a Week (or More!)</h2> <p>Learn how to cook something authentically &quot;<em>not</em>&quot; your usual fare. Try eating a Mediterranean diet or <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/35-slow-cooker-recipes-for-busy-or-lazy-vegetarians">go vegetarian</a> and see how you feel. Cut out processed foods, fast foods, drink more water, have a smoothie for breakfast. The choices are endless, and the results are worth the effort. The point is to become more conscious about what you're putting into your body. Food (and the creation of it) can be a ritual experience in and of itself if you let it. But to experience that ritual, you have to do more than open a can or unwrap a sandwich. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-easy-exotic-meals-you-should-be-making?ref=seealso">10 Easy Exotic Meals</a>)</p> <h2>16. Play an Instrument</h2> <p>You've been talking about taking up guitar for years now. Or, you're tired of dusting that piano that never gets played. So play it. YouTube is a virtual goldmine for aspiring musicians and there's plenty of books, courses, and teachers out there to help you as well. Music soothes the soul, lifts the spirit, and calms the mind. It's also been shown to help ward off dementia and improve your memory. And if that's not enough, it makes you appear more attractive. Need I say more?</p> <h2>17. Do Something&hellip; Not You</h2> <p>When George Castanza (from &quot;Seinfeld&quot;) did the opposite of what he normally does, he was rewarded with an amazing streak of good luck. Women suddenly wanted to date him, the New York Yankees offered him a job, and he finally got the chance to move out of his parents' apartment.</p> <p>&quot;If every instinct you have is wrong,&quot; Jerry tells George, &quot;then the opposite would have to be right.&quot;</p> <p>And not that your instincts are wrong...</p> <p>But once in a while, it's time to shake things up, so do something &mdash; anything &mdash; that's not &quot;you.&quot; Be spontaneous, take a dare, get a tattoo, walk right up to that guy or girl you've been eyeing and give them your phone number.</p> <p>What's the worst that could happen? Better yet, what if the best happened instead?</p> <h2>18. Volunteer</h2> <p>When you were a kid, did you dream of being a superhero? Able to leap tall buildings or thwart evil with your golden lasso? We all did. And here's your chance. Volunteer. You don't even have to leave your house &mdash; <a href="http://volunteermatch.org">VolunteerMatch</a> has hundreds of opportunities you can do from the comfort of your secret lair. You'll feel better, the people you help will feel better, and you'll be one step closer to getting that invitation to join the Justice League.</p> <h2>19. Be A YES Man (or Woman)</h2> <p>No, you don't have to give a stranger a ride out into the woods, but you do need to learn to say &quot;YES&quot; more often. Not to things you really don't want to do, but to things that you would be doing if you weren't feeling tired, overworked, stressed out, and stuck in your ways. Say yes to opportunity and see what adventures come your way as a result.</p> <h2>20. Compete</h2> <p>They say that &quot;winning isn't everything,&quot; and they're right. But it doesn't suck either. And it doesn't even have to be anything big. Join a co-ed softball team. Train for a local 5K. Submit your poetry or short story to a writing contest or coach a little league team and take them all the way to the playoffs. And incidentally, if you don't win, don't sweat it. It's the challenge of a competition that will do you the most good.</p> <h2>21. Create Your Own Time Capsule</h2> <p>Write a letter to yourself 20, 30, or even 50 years from now. Have your kids and spouse do the same. Include pictures of who you are now, where you are now, and what you think the future might hold. Then seal it up, and lock it away until the designated time. It's a great way to preserve memories, and it gets the kids off the electronic devices for a while. In other words, it's a win-win.</p> <h2>22. Be Nicer to Others</h2> <p>Smile more. Hold the door open for someone. Let that car trying to merge pull in front of you. Say thank you and please. Leave big tips. Spread the love and you'll be surprised at how quickly it comes back to you. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-easy-ways-to-make-someone-happy-today?ref=seealso">25 Easy Ways to Make Someone's Day</a>)</p> <h2>23. Be Nicer to Yourself</h2> <p>No more putting yourself down. No more beating yourself up. For the rest of the year, make this the year that you pamper yourself, indulge yourself, protect yourself, and treat yourself the way you're supposed to be treated.</p> <h2>24. Go See an Opera</h2> <p>I saw my first opera on a field trip in the 5th grade. It was &quot;Romeo and Juliet,&quot; and although we had no idea what they were actually saying, I was mesmerized by the sheer energy of the production and enchanted by the elegance of its patrons. Opera expands your cultural awareness. It conveys emotions that you just don't get in a movie theater. And it gives you a great excuse to get dressed to the nines and enjoy a very refined night out on the town.</p> <h2>25. Learn a Language</h2> <p>I know I mention this one frequently, but I'm going to mention it again here because communication is the key to our evolution. Plus, it's not like it costs you anything to do it. You can learn Spanish, Russian, Italian, and French for free, in just 10 minutes a day using <a href="https://www.duolingo.com/">Duolingo</a>. Not only will it enable you to hold a conversation with more people, but learning a foreign language is also a great way to stimulate the brain and <a href="http://www.cbsnews.com/news/learning-another-language-may-help-delay-dementia/">ward off dementia</a>.</p> <h2>26. Make a Move</h2> <p>There's something you've been wanting to do. You know what it is. It's that &quot;one thing&quot; that you've been talking about for a while now. Maybe it's asking someone out on a date. Maybe it's starting a business, going back to school, changing careers, selling your house and moving to a new state. Whatever it is, this is the year that you make your move and set that thing into motion.</p> <p><em>So there's my list. What are you going to do with the rest of the year to make it a great one? Start by sharing your ideas in comments!</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/do-these-26-things-to-make-this-year-the-best-year-ever" class="sharethis-link" title="Do These 26 Things to Make This Year the Best Year Ever" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kate-luther">Kate Luther</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Personal Development act now actions doing dreams goals Tue, 29 Apr 2014 09:36:18 +0000 Kate Luther 1137335 at http://www.wisebread.com Will That Thing Really Change Your Life? http://www.wisebread.com/will-that-thing-really-change-your-life <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/will-that-thing-really-change-your-life" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/3606660488_b568536973.jpg" alt="empty yard" title="empty yard" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Will it make you happy? Will it bring you the endless hours of joy that you imagine when you look at it? What thing am I talking about? Well, it's different for every person, but it's usually a material possession that you dream about often. And more often than not, it won't make any real difference to your life at all.</p> <p>I was pondering this one recently when my family and I took the dog for a walk around a more expensive neighborhood. It was a beautiful evening, the perfect temperature, a slight breeze, and the sun was just starting to set. Ideal weather to be on that big deck in the back yard, sipping wine or ice cold beer and chatting about the day.</p> <p>But we didn't see anyone doing that. Not a soul.</p> <p>We saw plenty of beautiful decks, and even more beautiful yards. We looked at these decks with envious eyes, as we've always wanted one of our own in our tiny back yard. And yet, after passing more than 100 homes and seeing not one family out there enjoying the evening, I began to wonder if the deck really would change our life. Or maybe we would be just like these people, all of them stuck inside watching a 52-inch LCD TV.</p> <p>And that's the crux of the matter I think. For many people, those &quot;things&quot; are an attempt to reach out and live the life they think they should be living. In the case of the deck in the back yard, it's not about a wooden structure that looks nice; it's about spending quality time with family away from the small screen, taking in fresh air and wearing those genuinely happy smiles that you see in catalogs and on TV.</p> <p>But when it comes down to it, those &quot;things&quot; can't change who you really are or what you really want. Which is why those decks we saw were all empty, and the owners were all inside watching something they really did want: a huge TV.</p> <p>It reminds me of a story the personal trainer at my gym was telling me. One of the people he used to train had no equipment at home, and complained that if he could only afford a home gym he'd do much better. The other guy was without a home gym, too, but found ways to train. He'd use the stairs, do push ups and sit ups, and do pull ups when he took his kids to the park. He basically used his own body as resistance.</p> <p>The moral here is that when you want something badly enough, and are motivated, you'll find a way. And if you think that buying something will give you that, you're sadly mistaken. People who want to spend time outside with family will do it, regardless of what's in the yard. A $20 picnic blanket does the job and has served us well for years. Conversely, the addition of a deck isn't going to turn a bunch of TV addicts into the socialites of the neighborhood.</p> <p>I know people who pined for home gyms and watched them gather dust. And we all have &quot;miracle&quot; gadgets that are sitting in some dark corner of the basement or garage, in pristine condition. Those infomercials make money because they tell you how much better life would be if you only had that &quot;thing.&quot; Sadly, nothing you can buy will really fill the kind of hole they promise to fill. I remember wanting a Filofax back in the day, because I wanted to be super-organized and never forget a meeting or a birthday. I paid $80 for it and hardly ever used it. My friend paid $5 for a notebook and organized his life with it. He didn't need anything fancy, he was already motivated to get it done.</p> <p>I think we all have something we wish for. Maybe it's a better car, a bigger house, or a piece of jewelry. Perhaps it's a boat, or a 200 square foot deck. Whatever it is, think hard about that purchase. As Shakespeare has said often, &quot;to thine own self be true.&quot; Do you really want that &quot;thing&quot; or do you just want the idea of what it could bring you?</p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/will-that-thing-really-change-your-life" class="sharethis-link" title="Will That Thing Really Change Your Life?" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/life-hacks/personal-development">Personal Development articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> General Tips Lifestyle Personal Development buying dreams envy hopes shopping spending Thu, 19 Aug 2010 12:00:18 +0000 Paul Michael 210268 at http://www.wisebread.com What Dreams Mean About Personal Finance http://www.wisebread.com/what-dreams-mean-about-personal-finance <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/what-dreams-mean-about-personal-finance" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/sleeping.jpg" alt="woman sleeping" title="woman sleeping" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="240" height="159" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Until recently, it had never occurred to me that dreams could offer insights into financial and career dilemmas. Then I had a <a href="#bus_accident">dream</a> that revealed a financial fear, and finally discerned that a <a href="#driving_backwards">recurring dream</a> had been sending me a message about my career.</p> <h2>Finding Possible Meanings of Dreams</h2> <p>Here is my approach to discovering what unusual and recurring dreams might mean.</p> <h3>Note elements of the dream</h3> <p>A message is often embodied in very specific objects. You may not encounter these items frequently in your everyday life or one of these items may be particularly prominent or memorable. These elements provide clues that are just as or more significant than the feelings that the dream evoked.</p> <h3>Discover meanings of the elements</h3> <p>Use a dream dictionary (such as <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Dreamers-Dictionary-Stearn-Robinson/dp/0446342963"><em>The Dreamer's Dictionary</em></a>) or online sources as references. Analyze how the element appears (water might be clear or murky, calm or rocky) and find meanings that match your dream context.</p> <p>Realize that some meanings are <strong>straightforward</strong> (green leaves mean growth and happiness while brown, withered ones indicate despair and loss) while others are <strong>obscure</strong> (a radiator can mean &quot;remorse over an alienated friend&quot; according to my dictionary). Many are <strong>obstacle</strong> dreams (a curtain indicates &quot;hidden opposition&quot;). Certain elements have a <strong>contrary or counterintuitive</strong> meaning.</p> <h3>Study common meanings of recurring dreams</h3> <p>Many people have the same recurring dreams as you do. Online sources, such as this <a href="http://www.toptenz.net/top-10-recurring-dreams.php">top 10 list of recurring dreams</a>, can give you hints about their meanings.</p> <h3>Fit the meanings of elements into a complete picture</h3> <p>Think about what's going on in your life at work, home, and school as well as outside groups. For unusual dreams, recall recent events, business transactions, or conversations. For recurring dreams, consider ongoing issues, such as patterns of behavior that you are trying to change or concerns about a relationship.</p> <h2>Interpreting My Dreams</h2> <p><a name="bus_accident"><strong>Bus Accident = Need to Budget</strong></a></p> <p>In a recent dream, I was a passenger in a car driven by a friend. We were driving down an unfamiliar but pleasant city street on a sunny day. Just as we were crossing an intersection, I saw a bus heading toward the same intersection. The bus driver didn't slow down or swerve, and my friend wasn't able to react in time to avoid the accident. Our car crashed into the bus and the dream ended.</p> <p>The disturbing nature of this particular dream prompted me to dig for meaning. The obvious, scary element was the accident, which indicated a warning. What intrigued me was the bus, an uncommon sight in my day-to-day activities. Using online sources, I found these explanations:</p> <ol> <li>To dream that you are in a bus accident, suggests that it is time for you to move away from a group setting and venture out on your own. You need to be more independent. &mdash; <a href="http://www.dreammoods.com/dreamdictionary/b3.htm">Dream Moods <p> </a></li> <li>Being in a bus accident shows the dreamer will have a period of frustration due to financial embarrassment. &mdash; <a href="http://en.mimi.hu/dreams/bus.html">Mimi - Dreams </a></li> </ol> <p>The first suggestion seemed generic, though might be significant for a recurring dream. The second was both puzzling and promising, making me think deeper about the dream. It occurred to me that the car's driver was significant. She was a friend whose daughter had recently become engaged and, just a few days prior, I had offered to host an event of some sort in the coming months; we hadn't pinpointed exactly who, what, when, and where. I had dismissed waking concerns that the cost of the shower, or luncheon, or whatever might get out of control but realized quickly that I needed to be more upfront about setting and keeping a budget.</p> <p><a name="driving_backwards"><strong>Driving Backwards, Unable to Brake = Redirect Career</strong></a></p> <p>In my recurring dream, I was driving a car that traveled backwards and wouldn't stop when I put on the brakes. When I did my research on dream meanings, I realized that there was a period in my life when I needed to making changes in order to progress in my career.</p> <p>I haven't had this dream in a few years, so I must be moving forward now.</p> <h2>Beyond Personal Finance</h2> <p>You may be inspired to delve into the meaning of your dreams or dismiss discovering their messages as frivolous, but I've found that some dreams are worth a few moments of research and reflection.</p> <p>A few years ago, my husband retold a story about a man's dream that intrigued me. The man was battling alcoholism but wasn't convinced of its negative impact on his life. Then he dreamed that he was swimming happily in the ocean, when he became attracted to a beautiful woman in the ocean's depths and was lured to her side. He was enjoying her touch when he realized that he needed air to breathe but the woman wouldn't let him go. Staying with this enticing woman meant certain death. Upon waking, he recognized that his attraction could destroy him and made the decision to become sober.</p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-dreams-mean-about-personal-finance" class="sharethis-link" title="What Dreams Mean About Personal Finance" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/julie-rains">Julie Rains</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/life-hacks">Life Hacks articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Personal Finance Life Hacks dreams Wed, 18 Aug 2010 13:00:15 +0000 Julie Rains 207467 at http://www.wisebread.com What would you do with the F.U. money? http://www.wisebread.com/what-would-you-do-with-the-f-u-money <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/what-would-you-do-with-the-f-u-money" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/420685336_a6f5b7d9d7.jpg" alt="Money" title="Money" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="265" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>One of my close friends at work can often be heard saying &ldquo;man, if only I had the F.U. money.&rdquo; By that, of course, he means that if he had enough money to not care about losing his job, he could say what was really on his mind and do what he wanted to do.</p> <p>I did point out to him that if he had the F.U. money, which by his estimate is millions, if not billions, of dollars, he wouldn&rsquo;t be at work in the first place.</p> <p>&ldquo;Not true&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;I may not be at this job, but I&rsquo;d still want to work. The only difference would be that I&rsquo;d call the shots and I&rsquo;d make a difference.&rdquo;</p> <p>I thought about that for a while and I had to agree that even if I had all the money I could ever dream of, I&rsquo;d still want to work: I&rsquo;d want challenges; I&rsquo;d want exciting things to happen; I&rsquo;d want to make that difference on my terms.</p> <p>It has now become a long-running debate over lunches and coffee-breaks. &ldquo;What would you do with the F.U. money?&rdquo; Now, we do have a few main rules. One is that you can&rsquo;t say you&rsquo;d give away millions to charity, cure hunger and starvation or bring about world peace. As worthwhile as those are, they&rsquo;re just way too easy to say. You also couldn&rsquo;t sit on a beach in Jamaica drinking coconut rum and listening to reggae. Again, that&rsquo;s just way too easy&hellip;and really selfish if you ask me.</p> <p>Personally, if I had a ton of cash and no limits, I&rsquo;d want to do something extraordinary and memorable. Partly to fulfill that small desire to be remembered long after I&rsquo;m pushing up daisies. But mostly because I&rsquo;d want to give something to the world that was truly remarkable. What would that be? A time machine? An island of pure happiness?</p> <p><img height="400" width="300" title="Sub" alt="Sub" src="http://healthcarehacks.com/files/fruganomics/u17/2452880_aa26c34aa8.jpg" /></p> <p>One thing I&rsquo;ve always wanted to do is find out more about our oceans. We know more about space than we do about what&rsquo;s under the sea. Maybe if I had the big F.U. money I could find a way to traverse the real depths successfully and discover what this planet is all about. An enormous sub that could go deeper, for longer, and hold more people. Of course, science can't defeat the powers of nature right now.</p> <p>On a less amazing note, I&rsquo;d love to create a chain of truly healthy, cheap restaurants that combine good food with play and education for children. It&rsquo;s amazing that most of the restaurents that offer fun-time for kids are places like McDonald&rsquo;s! What if you could take the family to lunch, eat a really healthy, affordable meal and also let the kids play in a safe, educational environment? Sort of like crossing a salad/sushi bar with a kid&rsquo;s science museum. And if you didn&rsquo;t like that idea, well, that&rsquo;s why it&rsquo;s called F.U. money.</p> <p>The big question is, what would you do? I&rsquo;d love to know. I&rsquo;d also love to give away a massive prize of cash and gold to the winner, to help them realize their vision, but alas I don&rsquo;t have the F.U. money yet. I don&rsquo;t even have the &lsquo;please, can I come in two hours late tomorrow&rsquo; money.</p> <p>More importantly, if you have any amazing ideas on how to raise that F.U. money, don&rsquo;t sit there and think &ldquo;what if?&rdquo; Do something about it. Maybe if we all try, a few of us just might succeed.</p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-would-you-do-with-the-f-u-money" class="sharethis-link" title="What would you do with the F.U. money?" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Consumer Affairs dreams goals money Fri, 01 Feb 2008 18:27:02 +0000 Paul Michael 1731 at http://www.wisebread.com The Downsizing of an American Dream http://www.wisebread.com/the-downsizing-of-an-american-dream <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-downsizing-of-an-american-dream" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/dollhouse.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p class="MsoNormal">Adults with high-paying jobs, nice cars, pretty homes, and a house full of kids are said to be living the American dream.<span> </span>I was drooling for that dream when I headed off to college, scholarships in hand, and a decision to make between becoming a lawyer or a teacher.<span> </span>As adulthood set in, however, my dreams became fuzzy, and my ideals became more concrete.<span> </span>My American dream changed, for better or worse, due to these common factors: </p> <p class="MsoNormal"><strong>Location</strong> – Location really is everything.<span> </span>A move from the small town I was born to a metropolitan city of almost 1 million, changed my view of “what a girl needs.”<span> </span>The dumpy car I drove to college wasn’t good enough anymore.<span> </span>Even my poorest friends had nice rides.<span> </span>My dream was going to require me to make much more money. </p> <p class="MsoNormal">After my marriage, several successive moves put me right back where I started.<span> </span>My 10-year-old car was a common mode of transportation, and the brand-new company car that my husband drove attracted more attention than it was worth.<span> </span>Our dream shifted again to satisfy more conservative standards. </p> <p class="MsoNormal"><strong>Priorities</strong> – With only myself to care for, working two jobs in college seemed like a great way to pass the time.<span> </span>Extra money came in and was spent quickly on CD’s, bar tabs, and highlights.<span> </span>Building equity was a foreign idea designed for folks much older than myself, and my income was gone almost before I earned it.<span> </span>I still held on to the hope of “making it big” someday.<span> </span></p> <p class="MsoNormal">After I became a mother, new shoe purchases made way for diaper duty and prescription medicine.<span> </span>With no time to work outside of the home, our suddenly one-income family found new ways to make ends meet.<span> </span>The American dream was put on hold until a week when we could get more than a few hours’ sleep. </p> <p class="MsoNormal"><strong>Satisfaction</strong> – Believe it or not, it has been awhile since I could buy something just because I wanted it.<span> </span>What’s more amazing is that I prefer it this way!<span> </span>As our standards of living have sunk to an all-time low, the level of satisfaction I have gotten from my purchases has been record-setting.<span> </span>Frugality has spawned a joy from every little thing we indulge in. </p> <p class="MsoNormal">Our five year plan would have been met this month.<span> </span>Our new car, new home, two college degrees, and one child could have made us happy.<span> </span>We would have been living the America dream we always wanted. </p> <p class="MsoNormal">Instead, we sit in a downsized version of our original plan.<span> </span>Older cars, (barely running at times), a strange rental situation, one set of graduate classes, and four kids grace our lives with their unplanned presence.<span> </span>We dream of owning a small business in our even smaller hometown and raising our family in a quiet, simple way. </p> <p class="MsoNormal">It isn’t the dream we wanted years ago, and at times I’m not always sure it is the dream we will want years from now.<span> </span>I guess that is why it is the American dream; on any night where you can sleep soundly, it may change.</p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-downsizing-of-an-american-dream" class="sharethis-link" title="The Downsizing of an American Dream" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/linsey-knerl">Linsey Knerl</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Personal Finance dreams frugal living Thu, 24 Jan 2008 03:52:59 +0000 Linsey Knerl 1666 at http://www.wisebread.com A Journey to Vocational Freedom: Focusing your Dreams with Goals http://www.wisebread.com/a-journey-to-vocational-freedom-focusing-your-dreams-with-goals <p><img src="/files/fruganomics/wisebread_imce/finish_line.jpg" alt="Crossing the finish line" title="Reach those goals!" width="240" height="360" /></p> <p>Instead of a how-to article, or even a &quot;Top 10&quot; list, I want to tell you part of my own story. I&#39;ve tried to put this into a list, tried to make it into something else, and I just keep coming back to the story. There&#39;s something about this story that is true: far more true than any list or set of steps. So this is for all of you out there who (like me!) learn better through stories than anything else.</p> <p>For years, I&#39;ve wanted to work independently. I&#39;m not made to work in box, nor is my natural sleep cycle conducive to the usual working hours. I don&#39;t believe in following the rules just because they&#39;re there, so I&#39;m not exactly a dream employee for most bosses (though I should be...but I won&#39;t go into that here). I think I always figured it would just happen; someday, somewhere, someone would offer me a lucrative contract to do something that interests me on my own time. </p> <p>I waited.</p> <p>And waited.</p> <p>(I&#39;m still waiting.)</p> <p>As I got more and more frustrated working a traditional job (and more and more tired, since I can&#39;t get myself to transition to a healthy sleep schedule), I wanted this kind of lifestyle even more. There&#39;s probably a direct correlation in there somewhere. I also got more frustrated as I continued to wonder, &quot;Why isn&#39;t this happening to me?&quot;</p> <p>Sometime around last Christmas, I realized that this is not going to fall into my lap. Or, at least, I&#39;m not willing to wait that long. So I&#39;m going after what I really want. In the words of the Disney generation, I&#39;m following my dreams. But I&#39;m not following them to an idealistic crash-and-burn (I hope!). Instead, I&#39;m pursuing them with research, knowledge and, most importantly, goals.</p> <p>Setting actual, realistic, solid goals has been the hardest part of the process. When I began investigating freelancing and entrepreneurship, all I knew was that there HAD to be something I could do that would eventually get me out of the cube. Needless to say, that is NOT enough information to start a freelance career on! So my first goal was: Research the possibilities!</p> <p>Now, a real goalsetter will tell you that that&#39;s not a real goal--it doesn&#39;t have a timeframe nor does is it specific. But it worked for me. It gave me something concrete that I could do in my spare moments that would help me go where I want to go. It focused the snark that was emerging with my frustration, and gave me something to do towards my ultimate goal. It helped me take the energy that was all balled up inside of me, that had nowhere to go, and do something with it.</p> <p>I researched for weeks. At first, it was informal. I began watching social networking sites for relevant items. Soon, I had books to read and blogs that gave me more information daily. I found which search terms worked and which produced junk (i.e. lots of sites that say I can make thousands of dollars in 20 minutes a day. Those sites? Bogus.). Eventually, I began skipping articles because I already knew the information that was in them. </p> <p>It&#39;s taken me quite a while to do that research, and I&#39;m still probably not quite done yet. But I know where I want to go. Gradually, over time, the research helped me identify things I would (and would not!) be interested in doing. When I focused my frustrated, angry energy, I started doing something about my problem. </p> <p>Now, I have a long-term goal. And I&#39;m researching what needs to happen to fill in the short-term goals to help me get there. I&#39;m still at my &quot;real&quot; job, but I&#39;m not nearly as frustrated there because I&#39;m working towards something new, and what that looks like is becoming more and more specific every day. </p> <p>Oh, and in case you wanted to know (and I know you do...), my new ultimate goal? To be a freelance Jill-of-all-trades (or at least several of them)! I&#39;m pursuing freelance writing in several fields while working on a longer book. I&#39;m updating my web design skills and working on some free templates, in the hopes of getting started in that field (and to give myself the practice). And I&#39;m pursuing even more spiritual direction clients than I already have. Eventually, I&#39;d like to expand that side of my work to include leading retreats, possibly for corporations who care specifically about team-building and who value corporate storytelling.</p> <p>Goodbye, cube-rats! Working on my laptop from Panera, here I come!</p> <p>(Photo by <a href="http://flickr.com/photos/spine/" title="Rick&#39;s the man!">Rick</a>) </p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-journey-to-vocational-freedom-focusing-your-dreams-with-goals" class="sharethis-link" title="A Journey to Vocational Freedom: Focusing your Dreams with Goals" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/sarah-winfrey">Sarah Winfrey</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Career Building cube rat dreams focus freedom goals out of focus Tue, 29 May 2007 19:24:18 +0000 Sarah Winfrey 377 at http://www.wisebread.com