resolutions http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/266/all en-US 7 Financial Moves You Must Make in 2014 http://www.wisebread.com/7-financial-moves-you-must-make-in-2014 <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-financial-moves-you-must-make-in-2014" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/finances-156416606.jpg" alt="finances" title="finances" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The New Year is upon us, and if you didn&#39;t reach all your financial goals in 2013, here&#39;s your opportunity to start fresh.</p> <p>Maybe you&#39;re tired of being broke or feel that you haven&#39;t given your savings account much attention. You can&#39;t undo the past, but you can improve your future. Here are seven financial moves to make in 2014. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-10-worst-tax-moves-you-can-make?ref=seealso">10 Worst Tax Moves You Can Make</a>)</p> <h2>1. Aim for a Three- to Six-Month Cash Reserve</h2> <p>If you barely have enough in your savings to cover living expenses for one or two weeks, you need to get serious about saving money.</p> <p>No one is immune to a job layoff, and a pink slip can come out of nowhere. A three- to six-month cash reserve, in conjunction with any unemployment compensation, could be the thing that prevents financial ruin.</p> <p>Start by always &quot;paying yourself first&quot;&nbsp;&mdash; putting money in savings before you can spend it. Then review your budget to see where you can cut back and save more. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-ways-to-make-yourself-save-more-money?ref=seealso">Ways to Make Yourself Save More Money</a>)</p> <h2>2. Get Rid of High Interest Credit Cards</h2> <p>A credit card in your wallet is great for emergencies. But it doesn&#39;t do you much good if you&#39;re paying a crazy high interest rate. Take a look at your credit card statements. If you have good credit, yet you&#39;re paying more than a 13% rate, start shopping for a new card. With a high score you should easily qualify for a rate of 10% or lower, or perhaps a card with a 0% introductory rate. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-low-interest-rate-credit-cards?ref=seealso">Best Low Interest Rate Credit Cards</a>)</p> <h2>3. Pay Down Debt</h2> <p>Nothing good comes from excessive credit card debt. Too much consumer debt lowers your credit score, and if you apply for a loan or credit card, a high credit utilization ratio can trigger a rejection. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-worst-ways-to-pay-off-your-credit-card-debt?ref=seealso">Worst Ways to Pay Off Credit Card Debt</a>)</p> <p>Get serious about debt elimination and devise a plan to pay down your credit cards. Even if you can only increase your minimum payments by a small amount, something is better than nothing. Cut your cards in half to eliminate any spending temptation, and apply your disposable cash (after feeding your savings account) and bonus cash to debt.</p> <h2>4. Increase Your Retirement Contributions or Start Preparing for Retirement</h2> <p>If you&#39;re contributing to an employer-sponsored 401(k), look at your finances to see if you can increase your contributions. This can give your retirement savings a boost, especially if your employer matches contributions. And if you haven&#39;t begun retirement planning, make this your year to start. Participate in your employer&#39;s 401(k) plan or speak to a financial planner about starting an IRA. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/retirement-planning-if-you-re-under-30?ref=seealso">Retirement Planning for 20-Somethings</a>)</p> <h2>5. Downsize If You&#39;re House Poor</h2> <p>If the majority of your income goes toward housing, and you don&#39;t have cash for savings and extras, accept reality and make plans to downsize in 2014.</p> <p>Whether you&#39;re renting or buying, moving into a smaller, cheaper home can lift a huge burden from your shoulder and provide some wiggle room. And with the extra income you could pay down credit card debt or increase your cash reserves.</p> <h2>6. Identify Bad Spending Habits</h2> <p>Impulse shopping, buying things to keep up with others, and shopping without a list might explain why you have nothing in savings. If you want to take control of your money, you need to recognize where your money goes, and the spending habits that can leave you broke. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-habits-of-financially-happy-people?ref=seealso">Habits of Financially Happy People</a>)</p> <p>Go through your credit card and bank statements. How much did you spend on clothes, dining out, vacations, and electronics during the year? Additionally, determine what motivated these purchases. For example, do you spend when you&#39;re bored or upset? Or do you buy to uphold an image?</p> <p>Understanding why you spend and changing your mindset can help you save in 2014.</p> <h2>7. Order Your Credit Report</h2> <p>Every consumer is entitled to one free credit report each year from <a href="https://www.annualcreditreport.com/index.action">AnnualCreditReport.com</a>. If you didn&#39;t order your report last year, put this on your to-do list for 2014. Or better yet, order your report today. It only takes a few minutes to verify your identity and gain access to your reports.</p> <p>Once your reports are viewable, check to ensure that all accounts are accurate and up-to-date. If you suspect identity theft, there is a link online to file a dispute.</p> <p><em>How do you plan to improve your financial situation in 2014? Let me know in the comments below.</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-financial-moves-you-must-make-in-2014" class="sharethis-link" title="7 Financial Moves You Must Make in 2014" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</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 money management resolutions saving Fri, 27 Dec 2013 11:25:49 +0000 Mikey Rox 1102864 at http://www.wisebread.com Why Your New Year's Resolutions Will Fail http://www.wisebread.com/why-your-new-years-resolutions-will-fail <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/why-your-new-years-resolutions-will-fail" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/sleep-dv1782025.jpg" alt="sleeping man" title="sleeping man" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>For anyone who has made a New Year&#39;s resolution, setting the goal is the easy part. It&#39;s the part that fitness centers and diet programs, among others, depend on at the beginning of the year. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-tips-for-making-resolutions-stick-in-the-new-year?ref=seealso">4 Tips for Making Resolutions Stick</a>)</p> <p>If your goal is to lose weight, many businesses are more than willing to offer their help for an upfront fee. That&#39;s why gyms are full in January but sparse in March.</p> <p>Following through and succeeding at a New Year&#39;s resolution is doomed to fail from the start for most people, mainly because the human brain isn&#39;t designed to handle such resolutions with enough willpower. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-your-big-new-years-resolutions-are-pointless?ref=seealso">Why Big New Year&rsquo;s Resolutions Are Pointless</a>)</p> <h2>Old Habits Are Hard to Break</h2> <p>&quot;The brain is wired to continue doing things like we&#39;ve always done them,&quot; says <a href="http://rimtailing.blogspot.com/">Bruce Sanders</a>, a consumer psychologist. &quot;You&#39;re going to have to break through them if you&#39;re going to be successful at resolutions.&quot;</p> <p>Resolving to change your life on the first day of the year can be overwhelming.</p> <p>&quot;A New Year&#39;s resolution is kind of an empty promise,&quot; says Paul Karoly, a psychology professor at Arizona State University.</p> <p>Whether it&#39;s made while drunk on New Year&#39;s Eve or sober at a doctor&#39;s office after learning about a medical problem that requires a lifestyle change, half of the people who make such resolutions are unable to follow through, Karoly says.</p> <p>One problem is that people assume succeeding at a resolution is a simple, straight-forward solution. &quot;Your habits are very strong and not that easy to break,&quot; he says. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-break-bad-habits?ref=seealso">How to Break Bad Habits</a>)</p> <h2>Willpower Is a Muscle That Needs Fuel and Training</h2> <p>Just like the body, the brain can suffer mental fatigue when overworked, and it won&#39;t have enough energy through willpower to be successful at such long-term goals as resolutions.</p> <p>The prefrontal cortex area of the brain &mdash; right behind the forehead &mdash; deals with willpower. It&#39;s also responsible for staying focused, short-term memory, and solving abstract tasks. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-brain-hacks-for-better-investment-decisions?ref=seealso">Brain Hacks for Better Investment Decisions</a>)</p> <p>An experiment at Stanford University found that the brain can&#39;t generate the willpower needed to accomplish resolutions if too much is going on.</p> <p>A group of undergraduate students were divided into two groups. One was given a two-digit number to remember. The other was given a seven-digit number to remember. After a short walk through the hall, they were offered the choice between two snacks: a slice of chocolate cake or a bowl of fruit. The students with seven-digit numbers to remember were twice as likely to pick the slice of chocolate compared to the students with the two-digits.</p> <p>Professor Baba Shiv, who conducted the experiment, suggests that the &quot;cognitive load&quot; required to remember those seven-digits sapped <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/poverty-makes-you-stupid">the brain&#39;s energy for other tasks</a>, such as resisting the allure of the cake.</p> <p>Like many muscles, the prefrontal cortex needs to be trained, and willpower seems to be stronger with more use. This can happen by overcoming one of the central problems of New Year&#39;s resolutions: They&#39;re too vague.</p> <h2>How to Fix Vague Resolutions</h2> <p>&quot;[Resolutions] tend to be too abstract and too big and too unachievable,&quot; says Ramani Durvasula, a clinical psychologist who has a private practice and teaches at California State University Los Angeles.</p> <p>What&#39;s needed, Durvasula says, is breaking the goal into smaller, specific steps that can become habits. &quot;Our brains are eminently distractible,&quot; she says.</p> <p>Instead of resolving to lose weight, set a weekly goal and weigh yourself weekly. Instead of vowing not to eat junk food, eat fruit for breakfast. Don&#39;t just say you&#39;re going to lose weight &mdash; set aside 30 minutes at lunch to go for a walk. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-small-new-year-s-resolutions-you-can-start-today?ref=seealso">Small Resolutions You Can Start Today</a>)</p> <p>Having specific goals also works best for financial resolutions, Sanders says. Instead of resolving to save for a down payment for a house in the new year, put aside $500 to $1,500 each month for it.</p> <p>&quot;That range allows you to feel more successful,&quot; Sanders says.</p> <p>Having too many resolutions on your plate can also be a hindrance. &quot;You&#39;re more likely to persevere if you have one primary goal that you&#39;re saving for,&quot; he says.</p> <h2>January 1st Is the Wrong Day</h2> <p>Instead of starting resolutions on January 1st &mdash; after a hectic month when most people have been knocked off of their usual routines because of the holidays &mdash; start on February 1st, and shoot for a date every month to check progress, Durvasula says.</p> <p>&quot;I think January 1st is the worst possible day to make New Year&#39;s resolutions because everybody is doing it and out of their routine,&quot; she adds.</p> <p>Trying to add something to your daily routine, such as exercising, can be difficult on January 1st because for the previous two weeks or so, most people are out of their normal routine anyway, and adding something else to it can lead to quick failure, Durvasula notes.</p> <p><em>How do you intend to keep your resolutions this year?</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-your-new-years-resolutions-will-fail" class="sharethis-link" title="Why Your New Year&#039;s Resolutions Will Fail" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/aaron-crowe">Aaron Crowe</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 grit new year resolutions resolutions Fri, 27 Dec 2013 10:37:26 +0000 Aaron Crowe 1103057 at http://www.wisebread.com The 6 Worst Resolutions Most of Us Will Make for 2014 http://www.wisebread.com/the-6-worst-resolutions-most-of-us-will-make-for-2014 <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-6-worst-resolutions-most-of-us-will-make-for-2014" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/worstres-177030868.jpg" alt="diet" title="diet" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Well, here we are again... &#39;Tis the season, right?</p> <p>Time for gift giving and celebration, time to eat, drink and be merry, and yes, time to start sketching out those New Year&#39;s resolutions. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-small-new-year-s-resolutions-you-can-start-today?ref=seealso">Small New Year&rsquo;s Resolutions You Can Start Today</a>)</p> <p>But before you pen your list for 2014, you might think twice about the goals you choose to set.</p> <p>After all, it&#39;s no secret that we&#39;re notoriously bad at keeping our resolutions. Oh, we start out with the best intentions but inevitably, we just can&#39;t seem to make those new habits stick. Even more discouraging is that most of those resolutions are carry-overs from years past, meaning that we&#39;ve tried not one, not two, but several years &mdash; sometimes decades &mdash; to make our resolutions a reality.</p> <p>And here we are again.</p> <p>So, rather than simply going through the motions, let&#39;s look at some ways to improve that list and thus, our chances for success. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-tips-for-making-resolutions-stick-in-the-new-year?ref=seealso">Tips for Making Resolutions Stick</a>)</p> <h2>The Worst Resolutions <em>Ever</em></h2> <p>First and foremost, there are some resolutions that you should never make. As in, ever, because they&#39;re the hardest to keep and hence, the most commonly broken. Unfortunately, they&#39;re also the resolutions we most frequently make, so let&#39;s start by scratching these off your list.</p> <h3>Workout More</h3> <p>I think we can all agree on the appeal of having six-pack abs and a backside that looks good in everything. Ditto on the benefits of being more flexible and strengthening your heart.</p> <p>But if you think listing this as a resolution will transform you from a couch potato to a lean, mean exercising machine, you need to think again. Yes, in the beginning, we&#39;re all fired up and excited about the prospect of that svelte new physique, so we happily commit to gym memberships and personal trainers.</p> <p>The problem is that when we don&#39;t stick to this commitment (and we typically don&#39;t), we&#39;re left with a gym membership we don&#39;t use in addition to that nasty feeling of failure. This is bad for both our wallet as well as our self-esteem and in the end, we&#39;ll give up on the resolution altogether. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-revive-your-resolution-to-exercise?ref=seealso">How to Revive Your Resolution to Exercise</a>)</p> <p><img alt="" src="http://static1.killeraces.com/files/fruganomics/u784/worstres-exercise-5097646-small-ggnoads.jpg" style="width: 605px; height: 303px;" /></p> <p>So, let&#39;s instead try to face the real reasons we aren&#39;t already working out.</p> <p>For example, are you just so busy that you barely have time to think? If your schedule is already hectic, you&#39;re not likely to suddenly find time for a regular workout without first adjusting said schedule.</p> <p>Have you tried working out before but find yourself frustrated because you&#39;re not seeing results? Then you may want to try setting more realistic goals, adjusting your diet and/or talking to a trainer about your technique or regimen.</p> <p>The point is, if you&#39;re not already committed to creating that fabulous body, simply writing it down as a resolution won&#39;t be enough to change your disposition. Figure out why you&#39;ve been putting it off and that will help you decide how to incorporate more exercise into your daily routine. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-ways-to-exercise-in-under-5-minutes?ref=seealso">10+ Ways to Exercise in Under 5 Minutes</a>)</p> <h3>Eat Healthier</h3> <p>I&#39;m a big proponent of eating healthy. I love salads, for example, and I try to serve grilled or baked fish to my family at least twice a week. I even spent three years as a vegetarian and I can honestly say that I felt noticeably and amazingly better while I was doing it. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-healthy-things-to-eat-and-drink-in-the-new-year?ref=seealso">10 Healthy Things to Eat in the New Year</a>)</p> <p>But that doesn&#39;t mean that I don&#39;t still enjoy a cheeseburger with extra onions now and then, and I&#39;m a self-proclaimed chocoholic, so although I&#39;ve cut down on sweets, they&#39;re not gone completely.</p> <p>And I&#39;ve found that this allowance for indulgence works well for me. Diets, unfortunately, do not.</p> <p><img alt="" src="http://static1.killeraces.com/files/fruganomics/u784/worstres-food-5244407-small-ggnoads.jpg" style="width: 605px; height: 303px;" /></p> <p>Telling yourself that you <em>can&#39;t</em> eat something is the quickest way to trigger a craving for it, and if there&#39;s one thing TV vampires have taught us, it&#39;s that the &quot;thirst&quot; always wins. Besides, you can only eat so much cottage cheese and grapefruit before you&#39;ll start to get bored and once you lose interest, the diet is all but over.</p> <p>The result is that you give into a craving, fall off your diet, and then feel guilty for the small pleasure.</p> <p>Drastic diet changes also often require you to change more than just your calorie intake and that can make this goal even harder to achieve. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/goal-setting-defined-and-deconstructed?ref=seealso">Goal Setting, Defined</a>)</p> <p>Some diets insist that you eat only their products, for example, or that you buy and cook expensive and hard-to-find produce, making your resolution to eat healthier more difficult and costly than you had expected. And what happens when we run into too many obstacles? Yep, we find reasons to quit and do something else instead.</p> <h3>Be Happier</h3> <p>To make a conscious effort to be happier is a wonderful idea in theory, but you first need to figure out why you&#39;re not already gloriously cheerful and then decide how to address those obstacles to contentment. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-you-can-do-to-be-happier-today?ref=seealso">Things You Can Do to Be Happier Today</a>)</p> <p>Simply making the vague &quot;I&#39;m going to be happier&quot; statement doesn&#39;t deal with whatever it is that has been consistently tanking your mood; that requires some soul-searching and self-improvement work, two things we often shy away from.</p> <p><img alt="" src="http://static1.killeraces.com/files/fruganomics/u784/worstres-stress-bored-4255476-small-ggnoads.jpg" style="width: 605px; height: 303px;" /></p> <p>After all, soul-searching can be painful. It requires us to be honest about our shortcomings, and given the choice between owning our circumstances or investing in a quick-fix, we&#39;ll opt for the quick-fix almost every time. And although the &quot;change your life&quot; programs and practices may deliver some initial bliss, it&#39;s superficial and thus, typically short-lived.</p> <p>That doesn&#39;t mean that you can&#39;t benefit from some &quot;get happier&quot; mantras, but you&#39;ll have to dig deeper if you want the happiness to last.</p> <p>And before you trade this resolution for an equally vague &quot;eliminate stress,&quot; consider this: An ongoing study at the <a href="http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/secrets-longevity/201201/the-worst-new-years-resolutions-you-can-make">Longevity Project</a> suggests that those who are happiest are those who&#39;s lives have purpose, which means responsibility, accountability and yes, the stress of working toward a goal.</p> <h3>Get Organized</h3> <p>I&#39;ll fess up &mdash; this one has been on my list for as long as I can remember. And I&#39;ve made many valiant attempts to see it to completion. The reason I keep falling short is that I&#39;m not quite sure where to start. Do I organize my closet, my desk, my kitchen cabinets, or all of the above?</p> <p>My solution to this anxiety was to invest in things I thought would enhance the process. The problem was, I just ended up with a bunch of file folders and storage containers but still no real concept of where to begin. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-easy-organizing-changes-you-can-make-today?ref=seealso">Easy Organizing Changes You Can Make Today</a>)</p> <p><img alt="" src="http://static1.killeraces.com/files/fruganomics/u784/worstres-91500652-ggnoads.jpg" style="width: 605px; height: 303px;" /></p> <p>I finally had to admit that I&#39;m simply not an organized person.</p> <p>Once I admitted that to myself, it was easier to get realistic about how much organization I could actually manage and then not feel guilty because I don&#39;t match my socks before putting them in a drawer. I put them in the drawer &mdash; organization accomplished.</p> <p>Which brings me to the second reason this particular resolution is so hard to achieve.</p> <p>Are you having trouble functioning because of all the clutter or are you just trying to stop the looks of disappointment from your more organized friends and family members?</p> <p>Determining your reasons can help you decide exactly how much organization you really need, so I strongly suggest you consider both why you&#39;re unorganized as well as why you feel you need to become organized. Would compiling all your important papers into a filing cabinet suffice, for example, or are you a serious candidate for the next season of &quot;Hoarders&quot;?</p> <h3>Fall in Love/Get Married</h3> <p>Who doesn&#39;t want to find that special someone that you&#39;ll spend the rest of your life with? The problem is, love doesn&#39;t work that way and making this kind of resolution is just setting yourself up for failure.</p> <p>It&#39;s one thing to decide you&#39;ll &quot;put yourself out there more&quot; so that you can meet new people, but the rest is unpredictable, and if you try to put a new relationship on a clock, you&#39;ll just wind up being disappointed or, worse, settling for someone just to complete your goal. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-online-dating-first-date-get-a-drink?ref=seealso">Get a Drink on Your First Date</a>)</p> <p><img alt="" src="http://static1.killeraces.com/files/fruganomics/u784/worstres-faces-3236782-small-ggnoads.jpg" style="width: 605px; height: 303px;" /></p> <p>A better option would be to look at why you feel this resolution is worth listing in the first place. Are you just tired of not having a &quot;plus one&quot; or is there something deeper going on?</p> <p>It&#39;s easy to believe that life will somehow become better and more magical with a soul mate at our side but the truth is, that soul mate isn&#39;t responsible for your happiness nor can they fix your problems. Only you can do that, and your energy is better spent creating a magical life that doesn&#39;t require a better half to make it work.</p> <p>Plus, cliche or not, it&#39;s true: you&#39;re much more likely to meet &quot;The One&quot; when you&#39;re not looking and what better way to shift your focus than to start working on yourself?</p> <h3>Save More Money</h3> <p>The idea of saving is certainly a sound one and in theory, this resolution is worth your time. But unless you have a specific plan for saving, you&#39;re probably not going to reach this goal and may in fact, end up frustrated and even further in debt. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/saving-money-is-easy-if-you-set-the-right-goals?ref=seealso">Set the Right Goals to Save More</a>)</p> <p>The reason? There are two actually.</p> <p><img alt="" src="http://static1.killeraces.com/files/fruganomics/u784/worstres-empty-piggy-bank-4367596-small-ggnoads.jpg" style="width: 605px; height: 303px;" /></p> <p>First, if you&#39;ve made any of the other resolutions listed above, you&#39;ve probably added some new expenses to your budget, making it even more difficult to squeeze some savings out of your paycheck and that leaves you feeling torn between doing the things you really want to do versus stowing money away in an emergency fund.</p> <p>Secondly, we&#39;re an all or nothing society. When we do something, we tend to do it big, expecting to implement a complete 180 turnaround in our behavior and habits. But of course, life doesn&#39;t work that way and as soon as you declare &quot;absolutely NO frivolous spending whatsoever,&quot; that Kindle you&#39;ve been wanting goes on sale or oh, look! Payless just texted you a coupon for 20% off everything in the store.</p> <p>You&#39;ll refrain of course, because you&#39;re committed to making this very important change in your life, but sooner or later, you&#39;re going to start feeling deprived. After all, you work hard for your money and if you can&#39;t even afford to buy yourself something nice once in a while, then what&#39;s the point?</p> <p>That frustration will soon lead to an inner rebellion, and you&#39;ll find yourself binge-spending to make up for all the suffering you had to endure in the past.</p> <h2>Making a Better Resolution</h2> <p><img alt="" src="http://static1.killeraces.com/files/fruganomics/u784/worstres-167625444-ggnoads.jpg" style="width: 605px; height: 303px;" /></p> <p>But what if you really do want to get in shape, organize your life, save more money, etc?</p> <p>The trick is in your approach, and as I&#39;ve already mentioned, the more vague the resolution, the harder it will be to accomplish. If your goal is simply to do something &quot;more,&quot; for example, then how do you know when you&#39;ve done it? Exactly what constitutes more? 10%? 20%?</p> <p>Goals need to be measurable, as in &quot;I did exactly that,&quot; so that you can check it off your list. You don&#39;t just want to lose weight for instance, you want to lose 10 pounds. And you&#39;re not just trying to save money &mdash; you want to stash $3000 to put toward a new car. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/get-it-done-how-to-measure-your-goals?ref=seealso">How to Measure Your Goals</a>)</p> <p>The more specific you can be, the easier it will be to track your progress and reach your goal.</p> <p>The second thing to remember is that you are who you are. Just as I had to come to terms with my tendency to be disorganized, we also have to acknowledge our tendencies to eat fast foods, skip the gym, veg on the couch, and spend instead of save.</p> <p>That doesn&#39;t mean we can&#39;t instill some new and healthier habits, but it does mean we have to be realistic about our expectations. If you&#39;ve never run a day in your life for example, setting a goal to run a marathon is just a tad over-ambitious.</p> <p>Better to start with something much smaller, such as walking around the block every evening or taking the stairs at work. Want to write the Great American Novel? Start with writing for 10 minutes, three times a week.</p> <p>To save money, take a $20 out of each paycheck. Eat healthier? Commit to a salad two or three times a week and at least two full glasses of water a day. Every one of these goals is completely doable and still guaranteed to give you that &quot;look at me&quot; feeling when you succeed.</p> <p>Yes, I realize these smaller goals may not be as impressive as your original list, but you&#39;re much more likely to achieve them and how awesome would it be to actually not have any carry-over resolutions when you make your list again for 2015?</p> <p><em>What terrible resolutions are you planning to make for 2014?</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-6-worst-resolutions-most-of-us-will-make-for-2014" class="sharethis-link" title="The 6 Worst Resolutions Most of Us Will Make for 2014" 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 resolutions self improvement Thu, 26 Dec 2013 11:25:20 +0000 Kate Luther 1102578 at http://www.wisebread.com Ask the Readers: What Are Your Resolutions for 2014? http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-what-are-your-resolutions-for-2014 <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/ask-the-readers-what-are-your-resolutions-for-2014" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/2014-454027229.jpg" alt="2014" title="2014" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p><em>Editor's Note: Congratulations to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-what-are-your-resolutions-for-2014#comment-736948">Lauren</a>, Linda, and Amy for winning this week's contest!</em></p> <p>2014 is almost here! To jump start the new year on a positive note, many people make resolutions to improve their life in some way.</p> <p><strong>What are your resolutions for 2014?</strong> Do you have a game plan to make sure you stay on track? What were some of your resolutions from past years?</p> <p>Tell us about your 2014 resolutions and we&#39;ll enter you in a drawing to win a $20 Amazon Gift Card!</p> <h2>Win 1 of 3 $20 Amazon Gift Cards</h2> <p>We&#39;re doing three giveaways &mdash; here&#39;s how you can win!</p> <h3>Mandatory Entry:</h3> <ul> <li>Post your answer in the comments below. One commenter will win a $20 Amazon Gift Card!</li> </ul> <h3>For extra entries:</h3> <ul> <li>You can tweet about our giveaway for an extra entry. Also, our Facebook fans can get an extra entry too! Use our Rafflecopter widget for your chance to win one of the other two Amazon Gift Cards:</li> </ul> <p><a class="rafl" href="http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/79857d69/" id="rc-79857d69" rel="nofollow">a Rafflecopter giveaway</a></p> <script src="//d12vno17mo87cx.cloudfront.net/embed/rafl/cptr.js"></script></p> <p><strong>If you&#39;re inspired to write a whole blog post OR you have a photo on flickr to share, please link to it in the comments or tweet it.</strong></p> <h4>Giveaway Rules:</h4> <ul> <li>Contest ends Monday, December 30th at 11:59 pm Pacific. Winners will be announced after December 30th on the original post. Winners will also be contacted via email.</li> <li>You can enter all three drawings &mdash; once by leaving a comment, once by liking our Facebook update, and once by tweeting.</li> <li>This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered, or associated with Facebook.</li> <li>You must be 18 and US resident to enter. Void where prohibited.</li> </ul> <p><strong>Good Luck!</strong></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-what-are-your-resolutions-for-2014" class="sharethis-link" title="Ask the Readers: What Are Your Resolutions for 2014?" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><div class="field field-type-text field-field-blog-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Tell us about your 2014 resolutions and we&#039;ll enter you in a drawing to win a $20 Amazon Gift Card! </div> </div> </div> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-jacobs">Ashley Jacobs</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> Giveaways Ask the Readers New Year resolutions Tue, 24 Dec 2013 11:37:07 +0000 Ashley Jacobs 1102194 at http://www.wisebread.com Best Money Tips: Doable Financial New Year's Resolutions http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-doable-financial-new-years-resolutions <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/best-money-tips-doable-financial-new-years-resolutions" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/cash-187038903.jpg" alt="cash" title="cash" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Welcome to Wise Bread&#39;s <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/best-money-tips">Best Money Tips</a> Roundup! Today we found some fantastic articles on doable financial New Year&#39;s resolutions, uses for dead gift cards, and financial figures you need to know.</p> <h2>Top 5 Articles</h2> <p><a href="http://www.creditsesame.com/blog/10-doable-financial-new-years-resolutions/">10 Doable Financial New Year&#39;s Resolutions</a> &mdash; Make one of your New Year&#39;s resolutions to make on-time bill payments. [Credit Sesame]</p> <p><a href="http://www.moneytalksnews.com/2013/12/19/22-uses-for-a-dead-gift-card/">22 Uses for Dead Gift Cards</a> &mdash; Not sure what to do with your dead gift cards? Use them to remove gum from the floor or clear off frosty windshields. [Money Talks News]</p> <p><a href="http://www.freemoneyfinance.com/2013/12/five-financial-figures-you-need-to-know.html" style="color: rgb(7, 130, 193); ">Five Financial Figures You Need to Know</a> &mdash; It is important for you to know your net worth and tax rate. [Free Money Finance]</p> <p><a href="http://kiplinger.com/article/spending/T050-C011-S001-retailers-with-stingy-return-policies.htmlhttp://www.creditsesame.com/blog/10-doable-financial-new-years-resolutions/">Retailers With Stingy Return Policies</a> &mdash; Did you know Best Buy and Gilt have stingy return policies? [Kiplinger]</p> <p><a href="http://thirtysixmonths.com/trying-to-save-money-5-ways-to-still-have-fun-at-the-weekends/?utm_source=feedburner&amp;utm_medium=feed&amp;utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Thirtysixmonthscom+%28thirtysixmonths.com%2Fblog%29" style="color: rgb(7, 130, 193); ">Trying to Save Money? 5 Ways to Still Have Fun at the Weekends</a> &mdash; You can still have fun while saving money during the weekends by having a movie night. [Thirty Six Months]</p> <h2>Other Essential Reading</h2> <p><a href="http://financialhighway.com/grocery-store-products-make-holidays-easier/" style="color: rgb(7, 130, 193); ">Grocery Store Products that Make the Holidays Easier</a> &mdash; Boxed wine and canned toppings can help make your holidays easier. [Financial Highway]</p> <p><a href="http://Trying to Save Money? 5 Ways to Still Have Fun at the Weekends — You can still have fun while saving money during the weekends by having a movie night. [Thirty Six Months]">5 steps to punch a denied health insurance claim in the face</a> &mdash; If your health insurance claim was denied, apply for a formal appeal. [Bargaineering]</p> <p><a href="http://creativemoney.biz/2013/12/10/give-raise/?utm_source=feedburner&amp;utm_medium=feed&amp;utm_campaign=Feed%3A+CreativeMoneyBlog+%28Creative+Money+Blog%29">How to give yourself a raise</a> &mdash; To give yourself a raise, take the time to update your resume and think about your work passion. [Creative Money]</p> <p><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/DIY-Christmas-Ornaments-26255266">34 Creative DIY Christmas Ornaments</a> &mdash; Need a few more ornaments for your tree? Try making some of these awesome ornaments! [PopSugar Smart Living]</p> <p><a href="http://parentingsquad.com/6-christmas-eve-traditions-for-young-families">6 Christmas Eve Traditions for Young Families</a> &mdash; Young families should think about starting the tradition of giving new books to the kids on Christmas Eve. [Parenting Squad]</p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-doable-financial-new-years-resolutions" class="sharethis-link" title="Best Money Tips: Doable Financial New Year&#039;s Resolutions" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-jacobs">Ashley Jacobs</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 best money tips New Year new year's resolutions resolutions Mon, 23 Dec 2013 11:00:56 +0000 Ashley Jacobs 1101539 at http://www.wisebread.com Ask the Readers: Do You Have Financial Resolutions for 2013? http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-do-you-have-financial-resolutions-for-2013 <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/ask-the-readers-do-you-have-financial-resolutions-for-2013" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/3338981508_77eeb70c89_z_0.jpg" alt="Do You Have Financial Resolutions for 2013?" title="Do You Have Financial Resolutions for 2013?" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p><em>Editor's Note: Congratulations to </em><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-do-you-have-financial-resolutions-for-2013#comment-579291"><em>Kathleen</em></a><em>, Karen, and Therese for winning this week's contest!</em></p> <p>The new year is finally here! It's time for a fresh start with new goals. Most people tend to set new years resolutions for themselves. These can range from exercising more to eating healthier to spending more time with family. Some people will even set financial resolutions for themselves!</p> <p><b>Do you have financial resolutions for 2013? </b>If so, what are they? Buy a house? Pay off debt? Save for retirement?</p> <p>Tell us if you have financial resolutions for 2013 and we'll enter you in a drawing to win a $20 Amazon Gift Card!</p> <h2>Win 1 of 3 $20 Amazon Gift Cards</h2> <p>We're doing three giveaways &mdash; here's how you can win!</p> <h3>Mandatory Entry:&nbsp;</h3> <ul> <li>Post your answer in the comments below. One commenter will win a $20 Amazon Gift Card!</li> </ul> <h3>For extra entries:</h3> <ul> <li>You can tweet about our giveaway for an extra entry. Also, our Facebook fans can get an extra entry too! Use our Rafflecopter widget for your chance to win one of the other two Amazon Gift Cards:</li> <a id="rc-79857d12" class="rafl" rel="nofollow" href="http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/79857d12/">a Rafflecopter giveaway</a> <script src="//d12vno17mo87cx.cloudfront.net/embed/rafl/cptr.js"></script> <p><strong>If you're inspired to write a whole blog post OR you have a photo on flickr to share, please link to it in the comments or tweet it.</strong></p> <h4>Giveaway Rules:</h4> <ul> <li>Contest ends Monday, January 7th at 11:59 pm Pacific. Winners will be announced after January 7th on the original post. Winners will also be contacted via email.</li> <li>You can enter all three drawings &mdash; once by leaving a comment, once by liking our Facebook update, and once by tweeting.</li> <li>This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered, or associated with Facebook.</li> <li>You must be 18 and US resident to enter. Void where prohibited.</li> </ul> </ul> <p><strong>Good Luck!</strong></p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-do-you-have-financial-resolutions-for-2013" class="sharethis-link" title="Ask the Readers: Do You Have Financial Resolutions for 2013?" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><div class="field field-type-text field-field-blog-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Tell us if you have financial resolutions for 2013 and we&#039;ll enter you in a drawing to win a $20 Amazon Gift Card! </div> </div> </div> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-jacobs">Ashley Jacobs</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> Giveaways Ask the Readers New Year resolutions Tue, 01 Jan 2013 11:36:29 +0000 Ashley Jacobs 961751 at http://www.wisebread.com 12 Proactive Things You Can Do Right Now http://www.wisebread.com/12-proactive-things-you-can-do-right-now <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/12-proactive-things-you-can-do-right-now" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/5735159629_a233996de6_z_0.jpg" alt="bicyclist" title="bicyclist" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>January marks a new year, and that means you can expect to find plenty of articles and ideas about how to set and keep the traditional New Year's resolutions.</p> <p>But why bother?</p> <p>Why invest energy into a list that most of us don't adhere to when you could instead simply begin adapting new behaviors that will ultimately lead you in the right direction? Start now, and you'll have a head-start on achieving some of those objectives, many of which are likely leftovers from previous years. You'll also find that you're more likely to stick to your new way of life because rather than setting some vague and overwhelming challenges (like &ldquo;lose weight&rdquo; or &ldquo;write a book&rdquo;), you're creating new habits that will form the foundation of your happier, healthier life. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-new-things-to-do-today">25 New Things to Do Today</a>)</p> <p>Business owners call it &quot;future-casting&quot; and done correctly, it's what enables companies to meet the demands of changing market conditions due to new technology, consumer consciousness, and environmental developments. In other words, it's all about being prepared for what could be, so that you're never caught off guard by what is. It&rsquo;s about being proactive.</p> <p>So, in the spirit of getting things done, here's 12 easy ways to take a proactive approach to life.</p> <h2>1. Learn About Investing</h2> <p>If you have a 401(k) or IRA, then you probably know what kind of investing &quot;plan&quot; you chose when you signed up. Most providers of these financial vehicles offer a selection of plans based on your desired level of risk. But do you know which funds and/or stocks your particular plan includes? Do you understand the difference between the various mutual funds, know how to analyze the fees that they charge, and have a good feel for how to value a particular stock?</p> <p>Obviously, learning more about the various investing tools and all the options that are available to you is the best way to get better control over your finances, but this kind of stuff can be a little intimidating, especially if finance isn't your forte. So rather than setting a resolution to &quot;start investing&quot; or &quot;build a bigger portfolio,&quot; set a smaller goal now to simply start learning about what's out there and how it all works.</p> <h2>2. Start Saving</h2> <p>Did you know that 25% of American households have no savings whatsoever? Given the state of the job market and the super-slow return of our economy, it's not surprising that saving has taken a back seat to more pressing financial concerns.</p> <p>Maybe that means you have to start out small &mdash; even just $5 a month is worth the effort. The financial cushion that you'll eventually build will give you a renewed sense of security &mdash; something I think everyone can benefit from &mdash; not to mention a sense of accomplishment for actually moving toward such an important goal.</p> <h2>3. Pay Down Your Debt</h2> <p>I know, I know...easier said than done, right? But where there's a will, there's a way. And because even the smallest amounts can make a big difference, you don't have to make dramatic adjustments to your income or budget in order to succeed at this.</p> <p>Pick an obligation, and pay just $5 or $10 more each month if that's all you can do &mdash; and then take pride in the fact that you're taking charge of your debt. It won't <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-start-fighting-debt-today">pay the balance off</a> quickly, of course, but like that new savings account you're starting, it will give you a clear sense of accomplishment as you realize you're taking control in a big way.</p> <h2>4. Think About Retirement</h2> <p>Because most of us equate investing with retirement, we have limited knowledge about how our retirement nest egg actually adds up. Add to that the fact that 40% of Americans have no retirement savings at all, and it's easy to see why so many of us think the future looks financially bleak.</p> <p>The problem is, like investing, the concept of retirement savings can be a little intimidating, especially if you're on a tight budget. But even if you can't afford to start setting aside big chunks of your income right now, you can start learning about the different retirement options and how each one could benefit you.</p> <h2>5. Start an Estate Plan</h2> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/do-you-need-an-estate-plan" target="_blank">Estate planning</a> is one of those things that we purposely choose to ignore, if for no other reason than we don't like the idea of planning for our death. But it&rsquo;s also the primary factor that can make or break your family's financial future. If done correctly, can actually save them money down the road.</p> <p>And if you think that your estate isn't big enough for a plan, consider this &mdash; if you're 18 or older, you already have a plan whether you realize it or not. It's created by your State Legislators, and unless you create something to override it, that state will decide what happens after you&rsquo;re gone.</p> <p>A good estate plan allows you to provide for your minor children and even make special arrangements for disabled family members. It can include instructions and authorities to ensure that your wishes are followed in the event you suffer an injury or illness and can no longer speak on your own behalf. And it can ensure the privacy of the contents of your estate, keeping would-be thieves and con-artists from preying on your grieving family.</p> <p>In short, planning for your family after your gone isn't just a good example of the benefits of being proactive, it's the only way to protect the legacy you hope to pass on to the next generation.</p> <h2>6. Meditate</h2> <p>When it comes to meditation, there are three kinds of people in the world: those who swear by it, those who laugh at it, and those who keep meaning to do it, but just can't figure out how to get started.</p> <p>Let me first address that last group of people &mdash; don't worry so much about doing it &quot;correctly.&quot; Yes, there are added benefits when you master meditation but honestly, that mastery doesn't come right away. First, you have to learn how to quiet the mind, and that takes a little practice.</p> <p>Your goal is to quiet your mind for a full 20 seconds without any chatter at all. If a random question or thought pops in, start over and keep going until you can reach 20 seconds with no problem. By the time you reach this milestone (it's not as easy as it sounds), you'll have integrated meditation into your daily routine, and you'll be much more ready to dig deeper into this ancient art of relaxation.</p> <p>Now, for that second group of people who laugh at it &mdash; I know you too. I'm married to one of you. If I'm right, you're more tense and stressed than you'd like to admit, and while it's not your fault (people just seem to keep doing things to aggravate you), you have a hard time letting go and winding down. Why not give it a shot?</p> <p>If I'm wrong and you're as cool as a cucumber, then hey, skip this step and move on to the next. No worries!</p> <h2>7. Learn Something New</h2> <p>A while back, I wrote about the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-improve-your-memory-and-even-get-a-little-smarter" target="_blank">benefits of exercising the mind</a> to improve memory and, hopefully, stave off dementia later in life. Since that time, I've followed my own advice, taking up foreign languages, guitar, physics, and algebra in a self-teaching environment whenever I've had time.</p> <p>And in the process, something amazing has happened.</p> <p>I <em>feel smarter</em>. Not just book-smart like I know something you don't, but I genuinely have more clarity. And the more I learn, the more this feeling grows.</p> <p>Keeping your mind active not only improves your memory, it also opens you up to new ideas and possibilities which could translate into a new business or lead you to acquire a new skill that nets you a promotion. Either way, you're better off for your efforts.</p> <p>If you can't manage going back to school full-time, then go part-time. Or do like I'm doing and self-teach when you can. My algebra and physics lessons are straight out of college textbooks that I bought at Half-Priced Books and my language lessons are free, courtesy of <a href="http://duolingo.com/" target="_blank">DuoLingo</a> (incidentally, if you want to follow me there, my username is HappyGoKate).</p> <h2>8. Start Something Big</h2> <p>Talking about starting a business or going back to school brings us to the next item on my list &mdash; that life-altering thing you've wanted to do but just never seem to have the time for.</p> <p>Maybe you'd like to write a book or quit your job or travel the world or grow your own food. Whatever it is, it's the thing that's attached to your &quot;someday,&quot; only someday still hasn't come.</p> <p>Well, being proactive means not waiting around for the time to be right and instead, creating the opportunities you need to build the reality you want.</p> <p>So, take a step. It doesn't have to be a big one; any old step will do. Request that college catalog or download the form to file your DBA with the State. Research opportunities to study abroad or start browsing beach front properties to see what's available.</p> <p>Maybe you can't do it all right now, but you can start formulating a plan for making it happen and that plan requires a first step. Start there, and then take another. You'll be amazed at how fast things can change when you start moving.</p> <h2>9. Simplify</h2> <p>If I were to make a list of resolutions today, one of my top to-dos would be to get organized. Not just my closet, but my office, too, and of course, my garage could stand a good cleaning-out as well.</p> <p>In fact, as I stand here looking around my house, I'm seeing all kinds of areas that would benefit from a little more organization, and surely I'd be happier and more productive without all the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-4-types-of-clutterers-which-one-are-you" target="_blank">clutter</a>.</p> <p>The proactive approach, of course, would be to tackle these areas one-by-one. No major overhauls &mdash; just a slow implementation of systems that would make it easier to find my stuff when I want it.</p> <p>That means that I won't have to dig for receipts at tax time. I won't have to rush-clean because company's coming over, and I won't have to think of a good argument to explain why my daughter has to organize her room but I don't. See? The benefits of being proactive are many.</p> <h2>10. Get Over It</h2> <p>Bernard Meltzer once said, &quot;When you forgive, you don't change the past. But you certainly change the future.&quot; And in the context of being proactive, we couldn't ask for anything more.</p> <p>Forgiveness allows you to move forward, while carrying a grudge only ties you to the past. Forgiveness allows you to heal, while carrying a grudge keeps you angry. Which do you suppose would be the best path for a bright and happy future?</p> <p>Taking steps now to get over whatever it is that makes your blood boil will actually help you add years to your life. Not to mention that they'll be much happier years than they would be if you had stayed angry all that time.</p> <h2>11. Eat an Apple</h2> <p>Or an orange or some celery. <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-healthy-changes-you-can-make-today">Losing weight and eating &quot;better&quot;</a> are top resolutions year after year, yet the fast food industry continues to show billions in revenue (over $195 billion this year alone), and we're still one of the &quot;largest&quot; populations in the world (currently ranking at #3).</p> <p>Every year we start out strong, eating nothing but grapefruit and cottage cheese, only to discover that we really miss those chocolate truffles, and maybe if we wait and start &quot;next week,&quot; after (you fill in the blank) is over, then we'll be able to do a better job and really stick to it this time.</p> <p>Instead, let's start with something small (notice a trend?).</p> <p>Eat an apple every day for breakfast, and then celebrate that you're eating healthier. Yes, following it up with a chili dog and fries for lunch will likely cancel out any calories you saved at breakfast, but you'll still benefit from the nutrients of the apple, and it's certainly still fewer calories overall than if you had chosen donuts or a sausage biscuit instead.</p> <p>Plus, instilling these little habits is also slowly changing your mindset. As you start to feel good about that apple, you'll find that trading that chili dog for a salad is much easier to do.</p> <h2>12. Stretch</h2> <p>Part two of that whole &quot;get healthier&quot; lifestyle requires that you do some exercise, and this is another area that we often put off until some later date and time.</p> <p>We have good intentions starting out of course, but the end result is typically a gym membership we never use and silent guilt we suppress when we pay the bill every month.</p> <p>Let's stop that cycle, too.</p> <p>Instead, stretch. Or go for a walk. Or go fuss in the garden. The point is, get up and move. Start slow and build up your stamina. Take a dance class, ride a bike, go swimming. The more you move around, the less you mind it, and as your health begins to improve and your waistline begins to shrink, the whole idea of exercise won't be the grueling event you see it as now.</p> <p><em>Now it's your turn. What ideas do you have for living a proactive life?</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-proactive-things-you-can-do-right-now" class="sharethis-link" title="12 Proactive Things You Can Do Right Now" 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> Debt Management Personal Development achieving goals living proactively resolutions small steps Fri, 28 Dec 2012 11:24:30 +0000 Kate Luther 959571 at http://www.wisebread.com Ask the Readers: What Are Your Financial Resolutions for 2012? http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-what-are-your-financial-resolutions-for-2012 <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/ask-the-readers-what-are-your-financial-resolutions-for-2012" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/5857904464_9dbac3f87a_z-1.jpg" alt="What are Your Financial Resolutions for 2012?" title="What are Your Financial Resolutions for 2012?" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p><em>Editor's Note: Congratulations to </em><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-what-are-your-financial-resolutions-for-2012#comment-519723"><em>B</em></a><em>, </em><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-what-are-your-financial-resolutions-for-2012#comment-520253"><em>cwaltz</em></a><em>, and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-what-are-your-financial-resolutions-for-2012#comment-519950">Lynda</a> for winning this week's contest!</em></p> <p>With the New Year comes a chance to make new resolutions. From going on a diet to spending more time with family to landing your dream are, chances are you&rsquo;ve made at least one resolution for 2012. Hopefully one of your resolutions was a financial one!</p> <p><b>What are your financial resolutions for 2012?</b><span style="font-weight:normal"> Saving more money/? Paying off your debt? Or being more frugal in your day-to-day life?</span></p> <p>Tell us about your 2012 financial resolutions and we'll enter you in a drawing to win a $20 Amazon Gift Card!</p> <h2>Win 1 of 3 $20 Amazon Gift Cards</h2> <p>We're doing three giveaways &mdash; one for random comments, one for random Facebook &quot;Likes&quot;, and another one for random tweets.</p> <h3>Mandatory Entry:&nbsp;</h3> <ul> <li>Post your answer in the comments below&nbsp;</li> </ul> <h3>For extra entries (1 per action):</h3> <ul> <li>Go to our <a href="http://www.facebook.com/pages/Wise-Bread/26830741467?ref=ts">Facebook page</a>, &quot;Like&quot; us, and leave a comment on this article telling us you did, or</li> <li><a href="http://www.twitter.com/">Tweet</a> your answer. You have to be a follower of our <a href="http://twitter.com/wisebread">@wisebread account</a>. Include both &quot;@wisebread&quot; and &quot;#WBAsk&quot; in your tweet so we'll see it and count it. Leave a link to your tweet (click the timestamp for the individual URL) in a separate comment.</li> </ul> <p><strong>If you're inspired to write a whole blog post OR you have a photo on flickr to share, please link to it in the comments or tweet it.</strong></p> <h4>Giveaway Rules:</h4> <ul> <li>Contest ends Monday, January 9th at 11:59 pm Pacific. Winners will be announced after January 9th on the original post. Winners will also be contacted via email.</li> <li>You can enter all three drawings &mdash; once by leaving a comment, once by liking our Facebook update, and once by tweeting.</li> <li>This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered, or associated with Facebook.</li> <li>You must be 18 and US resident to enter. Void where prohibited.</li> </ul> <p>Note: Due to recent changes in Facebook's promotions guidelines, we have restructured the entry format of our giveaways.</p> <p><strong>Good Luck!</strong></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-what-are-your-financial-resolutions-for-2012" class="sharethis-link" title="Ask the Readers: What Are Your Financial Resolutions for 2012?" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><div class="field field-type-text field-field-blog-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Tell us about your 2012 financial resolutions and we&#039;ll enter you in a drawing to win a $20 Amazon Gift Card! </div> </div> </div> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-jacobs">Ashley Jacobs</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> Announcements 2012 Ask the Readers resolutions Tue, 03 Jan 2012 11:36:08 +0000 Ashley Jacobs 848499 at http://www.wisebread.com Eliminate Failed New Year's Resolutions with 3 Simple Steps http://www.wisebread.com/eliminate-failed-new-years-resolutions-with-3-simple-steps <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/eliminate-failed-new-years-resolutions-with-3-simple-steps" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/eliminate_failed_resolutions.jpg" alt="Excited people jumping" title="Excited people jumping" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Ahhh....New Year's. The time of perpetual hope. Well, at least until the end of January. I, like many of you, have put together a list of New Year's resolutions that I will try to set out to achieve in 2011. And I, like many of you, have taken a moment to reflect on the sad past of New Year's resolutions forgotten.</p> <p>There are the resolutions that are long-term and ambiguous:</p> <ul> <li>Lose weight</li> <li>Reduce my debt</li> <li>Give to charity</li> <li>Buy a house</li> </ul> <p>Then, when I decided to really challenge myself, there were the resolutions that were long-term, but had a specific quantitative goal attached to them:</p> <ul> <li>Cut 10% off my debt</li> <li>Cut $10,000 off my debt</li> <li>Lose 10 lbs.</li> <li>Lose 2% of my body fat</li> <li>Give 10% of my money to charity</li> <li>Buy a home in XYZ city for under $250,000</li> </ul> <p>Yeah, those didn't quite work either.</p> <p>The problem is that when resolutions end up being goals that you can't measure exactly through every action, they end up being worthless.</p> <p>For example, I might set the goal of losing 10 lbs. over the course of the year, but I have no idea how much any one action (one less slice of pizza, one more mile on the treadmill, one less drink at a party) actually has towards that specific quantitative number. Additionally, our minds work in the moment, not over the course of a year.</p> <h3>The Key to Succeeding in Your Resolutions</h3> <p>Succeeding in your resolutions really requires you to live in the moment, be passionate, and challenge yourself. It's not really about the resolution at all. It's all in the ensuing actions that you take to fight towards that resolution. So how do you do it? Here are three steps that might just work:</p> <p><strong>Step 1</strong></p> <p>Identify what you will be really passionate about this year. What do you really, <em>really</em> want to achieve? Keep the list simple and short &mdash; one to two items. Too many resolutions will mean that you don't succeed in any.</p> <p><strong>Step 2</strong></p> <p>Ask yourself one question when making a decision that will impact you achieving your goal. Print out this question. Stick it to your computer monitor, make it your wallpaper on your smartphone, and laminate it into a card and stick it in your wallet. The question is: &quot;Am I giving it everything that I've got?&quot;</p> <p><strong>Step 3</strong></p> <p>If your answer to that question is &quot;yes,&quot; great! You have taken one small step towards succeeding in your resolution. If the answer is &quot;no,&quot; then give it everything you've got! Nobody wants to live with regret. We only get one chance at this. Fight for what you truly want.</p> <h3>Why Does This Work?</h3> <p>This simple three-step strategy for resolutions works because:</p> <ol> <li>The question changes your habits. If you are serious about your resolutions, changing your habits is the only way to succeed at them in this and future years.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>It challenges you and keeps the fire burning.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>It is simple.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>It works universally. Losing weight; reducing debt; performing at work; being a better husband, wife, brother, sister...you get the idea. The question is universal.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Most importantly, it keeps you focused in the now, at the moment of action and decision that is going to impact whether or not you achieve your resolution.</li> </ol> <p>Give it a shot. What could it hurt?</p> <p>May your 2011 be a happy, prosperous, and successful one.</p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/eliminate-failed-new-years-resolutions-with-3-simple-steps" class="sharethis-link" title="Eliminate Failed New Year&#039;s Resolutions with 3 Simple Steps" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ge-miller">G.E. Miller</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> Personal Development achieving goals new year's resolutions resolutions Sat, 01 Jan 2011 18:00:08 +0000 G.E. Miller 428721 at http://www.wisebread.com What's Your Green Resolution? http://www.wisebread.com/whats-your-green-resolution <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/whats-your-green-resolution" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/picking%20up%20trash.jpg" alt="woman and girls picking up trash" title="woman and girls picking up trash" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="163" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Save money and live healthier by taking action. One to three (or more) changes per household can make a great difference in decreasing energy consumption, eliminating or minimizing toxins, reducing waste, and offsetting your carbon footprint. </p> <p>Wise Bread bloggers share green resolutions for the upcoming year, beginning on October 15, 2007: <a href="http://blogactionday.org/">Blog Action Day</a>. Tell us what actions you intend to take to improve the environment. Be creative, and list resources for accomplishing your goals if you&#39;d like. Share your resolutions in the comments and be entered in a random drawing to win a $25 gift certificate from Amazon.com.</p> <p><strong>This drawing is over. Congrats to <a href="/whats-your-green-resolution#comment-113680">E.C.</a> for winning the drawing.</strong> <strong>Thank you to everyone who participated!</strong></p> <h4><a href="/julie-rains"><strong>Julie Rains</strong></a> </h4> <p><img src="/files/fruganomics/pictures/picture-95.jpg" width="64" height="85" /><br />I want to (and plan to) do more but I&#39;m listing what I know I can accomplish in the next year:</p> <ol> <li>Install a programmable thermostat.</li> <li>Plant a tree.</li> <li>Research hybrid cars big enough to carry camping equipment and bicycles but with better gas mileage than my Corolla.</li> </ol> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h4><strong><a href="/will-chen" target="_blank" title="http://www.wisebread.com/will-chen">Will Chen</a></strong></h4> <p><img src="/files/fruganomics/pictures/picture-4.jpg" /> </p> <ol> <li>Get at least 3 friends to switch from bottled water to Pur Water purifiers.</li> <li>For the next Father&#39;s Day, change all the lights in my parents&#39; house from regular bulbs to CFC bulbs.</li> <li>Unplug all my electronic gadgets before I go to sleep every night. &quot;The Department of Energy estimates that in the average home, 40 percent of all electricity used to power home electronics is consumed while the products are turned off. Add that all up, and it equals the annual output of 17 power plants, the government says.&quot; <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2007/06/14/technology/14basics.html" target="_blank">NY Times</a>. </li> </ol> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h4><strong><a href="/justin-ryan" target="_blank" title="http://www.wisebread.com/justin-ryan">Justin Ryan</a></strong></h4> <p><img src="/files/fruganomics/pictures/picture-186.jpg" width="85" height="79" /></p> <ol> <li>Replace my 10-year old Camry with a smaller and more fuel efficient option.</li> <li>Find a place to recycle the baskets of glass and plastic bottles I have in the trunk. </li> <li>Ride the bike more often, once I&#39;m actually within 10 miles of anywhere I want to go.</li> </ol> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h4><strong><a href="/linsey-knerl" target="_blank" title="http://www.wisebread.com/linsey-knerl">Linsey Knerl</a></strong></h4> <p><img src="/files/fruganomics/pictures/picture-148.jpg" width="58" height="85" /> </p> <ol> <li>Take a trash bag with us when I take my kids for a stroll. Have them pick up any garbage we see and remind them of proper stewardship of the world around us.</li> <li>Continue using the clothes line for most of our laundry when it is above freezing temps.</li> <li>Commit to making one trip to town a week to cut back on gas usage and wasted time!</li> </ol> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h4><strong><a href="/sarah-winfrey" target="_blank" title="http://www.wisebread.com/sarah-winfrey">Sarah Winfrey</a></strong></h4> <p><img src="/files/fruganomics/pictures/picture-9.jpg" width="79" height="85" /> </p> <ol> <li>Ride my bike to work.</li> <li>Wean myself off paper towels.</li> <li>Find a way to recycle normal household items that are not bottles and cans (it&#39;s pretty hard to do in an apartment in my neighborhood!)</li> </ol> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h4><strong><a href="/andrea-dickson" target="_blank" title="http://www.wisebread.com/andrea-dickson">Andrea Dickson</a></strong></h4> <p><img src="/files/fruganomics/pictures/picture-14.jpg" width="80" height="80" /> </p> <ol> <li>Stop using toxic chemicals on my body, such as fingernail polish and polish remover. </li> <li>Start taking the bus to work - sure, it&#39;s going to take a lot longer than driving, but it&#39;s better than dealing with the blood pressure issues caused by the morning commute.</li> <li>No more take-out styrofoam containers - either I bring my own Tupperware to take it home, or I eat it in the restaurant.</li> </ol> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h4><strong><a href="/nora-dunn" target="_blank" title="http://www.wisebread.com/nora-dunn">Nora Dunn</a></strong></h4> <p><img src="/files/fruganomics/pictures/picture-290.jpg" width="85" height="85" /> </p> <ol> <li>Switch to linen napkins as an alternative to paper napkins. </li> <li>Bring reusable bags to the grocery store and stop using plastic bags altogether. </li> <li><a href="/hobo-living-made-easy" target="_blank">Move to Hawaii</a>, where I&#39;ll live an environmentally sustainable lifestyle! :-)</li> </ol> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong><a href="/jessica-okon" target="_blank" title="http://www.wisebread.com/jessica-okon">Jessica Okon</a></strong> <div> </div> <div> </div> <div> </div> <div><img src="/files/fruganomics/pictures/picture-19.jpg" width="85" height="64" /> </div> <ol> <li> <div id="post_message_4806">Be more diligent about recycling things other than cans and newspapers.</div> </li> <li> <div>Switch to more earth-friendly cleaning products.</div> </li> <li> <div>Giveaway before I attempt to throwaway.</div> </li> </ol> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h4><strong><a href="/ed-oreilly" target="_blank" title="http://www.wisebread.com/ed-oreilly">Ed O&#39;Reilly</a></strong></h4> <p><img src="/files/fruganomics/pictures/picture-112.jpg" width="85" height="85" /> </p> <ol> <li><a href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/6378161.stm" target="_blank">Replacing incandescent bulbs with fluorescent bulbs</a></li> <li><a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Water_restrictions_in_Australia" target="_blank">Be very aware of water usage</a> </li> <li>Completely eliminate the use of <a href="http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/health/healthmain.html?in_article_id=487291&amp;in_page_id=1774&amp;ito=1490" target="_blank">household cleaners</a> and use <a href="/cleaning-house-with-dr-bronner" target="_blank">alternatives</a></li> </ol> <p><strong>Resources</strong></p> <ol> <li>Places where you can recycle batteries, electronic parts, plastics, and more at <a href="http://earth911.org/recycling/" target="_blank" title="http://earth911.org/recycling/">Earth 911-Recycling</a></li> <li>How to dispose of CFC/CFLs (compact fluorescent light bulbs) from <a href="http://www.energystar.gov/ia/partners/promotions/change_light/downloads/Fact_Sheet_Mercury.pdf" target="_blank" title="http://www.energystar.gov/ia/partners/promotions/change_light/downloads/Fact_Sheet_Mercury.pdf">EnergyStar FAQs on CFLs</a></li> <li><a href="http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/story?id=2049304&amp;page=1" target="_blank" title="http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/story?id=2049304&amp;page=1">Reducing your carbon footprint</a></li> <li>Wise Bread&#39;s <a href="/topic/frugal-living/green-living">Green Living</a> section </li> </ol> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/whats-your-green-resolution" class="sharethis-link" title="What&#039;s Your Green Resolution?" 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/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Green Living CFC recycling resolutions Mon, 15 Oct 2007 13:07:47 +0000 Julie Rains 1275 at http://www.wisebread.com Successful New Year's Resolutions http://www.wisebread.com/successful-new-years-resolutions <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/successful-new-years-resolutions" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/purple-fireworks-4129820_c2599df63e_o.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="187" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Now that the Christmas festivities are over, the next order of business is the new year. That means resolutions.</p> <p>Frankly, I'm tired of New Year's resolutions. I make them every year. I break them every year, often forgetting the resolutions by <a href="http://www.mlkday.gov/">Martin Luther King day</a>.</p> <p>On the other hand, there are plenty of bad habits I'd like to get rid off before my next birthday in September. So here I am, finalizing my New Year's resolutions strategy. Let's see if we can break the losing streak in <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2000s#Names_of_the_decade">nought seven</a>.</p> <p>I have two lofty goals for 2007:</p> <ul> <li>Get some exercise</li> <li>Quit smoking</li> </ul> <p>I agonized before typing those words. I'm an introvert, super lazy and smoke like a chimney. Trust me when I tell you I'm scared as hell sharing these resolutions. Given my track record of not finishing what I start, there's a good chance of failure.</p> <p>But if I'm serious about growing as a person, not smelling like Uncle Joe's burnt ribs all the time, and not having to sit down every 10 feet, putting these resolutions out in public is the best thing I can do.</p> <p>So here's the game plan...</p> <hr /> <p class="heading">Smokey's 8 sure fire tips for successful New Year's resolutions</p> <p>(If you have tips to make New Year's resolutions more sure-firely successful, please share in the comments!)</p> <p><strong>1. Aim for something you can track</strong></p> <p>&quot;Lose weight&quot; or &quot;get more exercise&quot; are nice resolutions and all, but without specifics to focus on, they're doomed from the get go.</p> <p>Can you aim for a number or other measurable goal? The more focused the resolution, the easier it is to succeed.</p> <p>Instead of &quot;be healthier&quot;, how about one of these more specific resolutions?</p> <ul> <li>Take a 20 minute walk everyday after lunch.</li> <li>Run a 7 minute mile.</li> <li>Finish the company 10k in an hour.</li> <li>Lose 20 pounds.</li> </ul> <p>For the exercising resolution, my trackable goal is <strong>120 days in the gym</strong>. I want to be generally healthier, get more exercise, and have more energy. Factoring in my schedule and overall laziness, an average of 3 times a week at the gym is a hard, but achievable goal.</p> <p>For the quit smoking resolution, my trackable goal is to have <strong>30 consecutive smoke free days within 3 months</strong>.</p> <p><strong>2. Set a deadline, the sooner the better</strong></p> <p>A deadline far off in the distance is quickly forgotten. Without a deadline, you may find yourself making the same resolutions year after year.</p> <p>For my goal of exercising at least 3 days a week, I need to get 120 days in the gym in a whole year (365 days). Hmm, looking at that big 1-2-0 number is kinda scary and having a deadline so far away (Dec 31, 2007) makes it easy to ignore the resolution for just another day.</p> <p>That really increases my chances of failure. I think I need to add a 3 month milestone of <strong>30 days in the gym by April 1.</strong> Doesn't seem so hard now, and hopefully by April, getting some exercise has become an indispensable habit that I'll continue for the rest of the year and beyond.</p> <p><strong>3. Be accountable to someone you don't want to let down</strong></p> <p>Having to tell someone whose opinion you respect when you've succeeded (or failed) is a big incentive.</p> <p>Remember that deadline? You can combine tips 2 and 3 into one &quot;I finally accomplished a resolution!&quot; party. Make that date <em>at the beginning</em> of the year!</p> <p>For me, I'm being accountable to you, the Internet. I figure you, dear Internet, are the scariest person I can be accountable to. God help me.</p> <p><strong>4. Use the buddy system</strong></p> <p>The buddy system works for keeping us safe. It also works for keeping us motivated.</p> <p>Find a friend who wants what you want. Both of you now have a fighting chance of keeping this year's resolution.</p> <p>I have a buddy for both resolutions. There's plenty of people looking to quit smoking and/or get more exercise.</p> <p><strong>5. Do a 30 day challenge</strong></p> <p>I learned about the <a href="http://www.stevepavlina.com/blog/2005/04/30-days-to-success/">30-day challenge from Steve Pavlina</a>. It's a way to trick yourself into not being scared of the commitment. Steve says,</p> <blockquote><p>It seems too overwhelming to think about making a big change and sticking with it every day for the rest of your life when you&rsquo;re still habituated to doing the opposite. The more you think about the change as something permanent, the more you stay put.</p> </blockquote> <p>That summarizes how I feel about the quit smoking challenge. I love smoking. It's great after a meal. Or in the mornings with a soy latte and the New York Times. Trade that in for mood swings and cravings so strong I want to claw my eyes out? That's crazy talk.</p> <p>I'm using the 30 day challenge to track the nicotine intake. To break it down into a manageable chunk. I'm not going to be smoke free every day, but 30 consecutive smoke free days within the first 3 months is doable. 1 month, 4 weeks, 30 days. No biggie.</p> <p><strong>6. Visualize the result</strong></p> <p>Why are you making this resolution? It's not because you suddenly hate chocolate and all things sugary. It's because you want to fit into those jeans. More than that, it's because you want the sweet ego-boosting adulation from all those around. Think about the sweet adulation, not the velvety sweetness of cheesecake.</p> <p>For me, the goal is to not be out of breath walking from my car up the stairs to my apartment. That's not a very sexy goal to visualize, so I imagine myself chasing down a purse snatcher and being everybody's hero. And not coughing up a lung every morning.</p> <p><strong>7. Reward yourself</strong></p> <p><a href="http://www.ruthschris.com"><img alt="Ruth's Chris Filet" width="250" height="145" align="right" src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/wisebread_imce/ruths-chris-filet-mignon.jpg" /></a>Give yourself something awesome to look forward to.</p> <p>If you're quitting smoking, calculate how much money you saved and splurge on yourself.</p> <p>I spent roughly $700 on cigarettes a year. At the end of the year, I'm going to take that money and buy my friends a nice meal. (I seem to have Andrea's <a href="/can-i-conquer-my-vanity-for-the-sake-of-my-sanity">selfish need to be selfless</a>.)</p> <p>I'm picturing a fat, juicy Filet, medium rare, and a side of sweet potato casserole (with pecan crust) at <a href="http://www.ruthschris.com">Ruth's Chris</a> (see picture).</p> <p><strong>8. Start right away</strong></p> <p>If you don't start on January 1, your chance of success drops from 74% to 37%. (source: Bureau of Fake Statistics) So start immediately!</p> <p>I think starting on the 2nd is okay. We'll need a day off to recover from the hangover. Don't put it off too long, or you'll be making the same resolution next year.</p> <p>I have a sneaking suspicion I have some kind of attention deficit disorder, though never formally diagnosed. If I put something off for a couple of days, forget about it. Seriously, just forget about it. It's gone forever.</p> <hr /> <p>If you need some ideas, here are the <strong>Top 10 New Year's Resolutions</strong>, according to <a href="http://10millionresolutions.com">10 Million Resolutions</a>.</p> <ol> <li>Lose Weight and Get in Better Physical Shape</li> <li>Stick to a Budget</li> <li>Debt Reduction</li> <li>Enjoy More Quality Time with Family &amp; Friends</li> <li>Find My Soul Mate</li> <li>Quit Smoking</li> <li>Find a Better Job</li> <li>Learn Something New</li> <li>Volunteer and Help Others</li> <li>Get Organized</li> </ol> <p>And from <em><a href="http://www.tvsquad.com/2006/12/27/the-simpsons-new-years-resolutions/">The Simpsons</a></em>:</p> <ul> <li><span style="font-weight: bold">Homer - </span>I resolve to lose 10 pounds, and then gain it back by Valentine's Day.</li> <li><span style="font-weight: bold">Marge - </span>I resolve to finally learn how to make pancakes that don't stick to the pan. Bart helped me come up with that one.</li> <li><span style="font-weight: bold">Krusty - </span>In 2007, I promise not to keep using the same old jokes Ive been telling since 1961.</li> <li><span style="font-weight: bold">Chief Wiggum - </span>In the coming year, I resolve to learn how to work the safety on my gun.</li> <li><span style="font-weight: bold">Comic Book Guy - </span>In 2007, I resolve to boldly go where I have never gone before out on a date with a woman.</li> <li><strong>Ned Flanders</strong> - I resolve to be pious and kind and gentle and - yippee, skippee - I already am! Happy 2007, everybody!</li> </ul> <p>Still need more inspiration? Check out what Travis of <a href="http://cultivategreatness.com">Cultivate Greatness</a> says about <a href="http://cultivategreatness.com/2006/12/28/forget-new-years-resolutions-begin-new-life-resolutions">New Year's versus New LIFE resolutions</a>. (Great blog full of inspirational material, by the way.)</p> <p><strong>What's your New <strike>Year's</strike> Life resolution?</strong><i><br /> </i></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/successful-new-years-resolutions" class="sharethis-link" title="Successful New Year&#039;s Resolutions" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/greg-go">Greg Go</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> Life Hacks Personal Development exercise New Year's quit smoking resolutions Fri, 29 Dec 2006 09:02:33 +0000 Greg Go 109 at http://www.wisebread.com