Experiencing Gratitude

So many people in my life have experienced great loss this past year, it makes me feel  a little… off… trying to write about gratitude. Today is a day for giving thanks, though, so I want to send out some simple, positive thoughts about being thankful.

Experiencing Gratitude
Experiencing Gratitude image courtesy of Pixabay

“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.” -Melody Beattie

Gratitude and the Holiday Season

So often, Thanksgiving, and the whole holiday season for that matter, gets tied up in expectations that peace and joy are going to bring so much fulfillment to everyone’s lives. Then, the “big day” rolls around and passes – maybe with plenty to be thankful for – maybe not, and everything is still the same at the end of the day. Then all those positive feelings slip away and it’s kind of a bummer.

The Key…

It’s worth trying to focus on those positive feelings, though. Going back to the Melody Beattie quote – “Gratitude unlocks…” There’s a hidden truth there. Gratitude… thankfulness… it’s more than a feeling you have sometimes. It’s the key that helps you open the door to a more peaceful, fulfilled life.

Is In Your Hands

Gratitude alone won’t fix things, after all, it’s just a key. You have to turn it in the lock. You may even have to fix the lock first. You have to push open the heavy door that’s been made up from your burdens in life so far. You have to walk down the unfamiliar corridor that leads to a better place in life.

What Experiencing Gratitude Does for You

What gratitude does do, is it lets you breathe. It lets you know peace. It connects you emotionally with something bigger than yourself so you can heal and find a way through the dark times.

No matter what is going on in your life as you read this, my wish for you is that you are able to experience gratitude, if not for every little thing in your life, for something. And, I wish you peace and a happy, blessed Thanksgiving.

I picked the Melody Beattie quote above because, one, it’s about gratitude and today is Thanksgiving, and two, one of her books had a huge influence on me. The book was called Codependent No More: How to Stop Controlling Others and Start Caring for Yourself, and it helped me see my own role in the problematic relationships in my life. (FYI – that’s an affiliate link.)

By Laure Justice

 

What Did You Want to Be When You Were a Kid?

While I was walking today, I started thinking about what I wanted to be when I was  a kid, how that changed over the years, and how I felt about it; so I’m wondering about other people’s experiences with the same topic. What I wanted to be “when I grew up” changed over the years, based on books I read and TV shows I watched, and I guess, on how life knocked me around. Sound familiar?

What Did You Want to Be When You Grew Up?
What Did You Want to Be When You Grew Up? image courtesy of Pixabay

So Many Life Choices

We start making life choices when we’re really young, even if we are too young to realize it. The thing that really changes as we grow up, is when we’re young, our decisions get made for us.  When we get older, we get to make our own choices, and even not making a choice, is a choice. Here’s what I mean, using myself as an example…

Some Decisions Get Made for You

When I was little, like Kindergarten age and younger, I wanted to be a ballerina. Or a princess. Or a writer. I didn’t really care which. To me, they were all amazing because two of them got to wear pretty pink clothes and one gets to play with words and letters all day. (I almost got to take ballet classes, but someone who might as well remain nameless decided I was too fat to be a ballerina.) That’s another story, really, but it’s a perfect example of an adult making a life choice for a child. (By the way, I would still really LOVE to be a princess or ballerina.)

Fate and the laws of nature decided I didn’t get to do this next pair of examples. As I got older, popular media kicked in and I really wanted to be a genie (thanks to I Dream of Jeannie) or a witch (thanks to Bewitched.) Again, I didn’t really care which, I just wanted to be “magic” – you know – something bigger and more exciting than a kid sitting in a room watching TV. Unfortunately, I didn’t know any good spells that worked and no matter how many times I jumped off that picnic table, I just could NOT fly!

Some Things You Choose for Yourself

There were other things over the years that I wanted to do, like being  a lawyer so I could help people who were treated unfairly, and being an interpreter so I could help people understand one another. Choices I made, by not staying in college when I was younger, took these out of the equation for me. Going back to college when I was older opened the doors for me to become a writer. (Finally – one of my childhood dreams came true, because I chose it and worked for it.)

A Common Thread in Your Early Life Goals

But, there’s a common thread, and I’m suggesting you look for your common thread…

Everything I ever wanted to be was either creative, empowering, or centered on helping others – and I find it satisfying incorporating those things into my writing. So, maybe, if you, for whatever reason, aren’t living the life of your dreams… maybe you can find a common thread in the things you’ve always loved, and make that common thread part of your life going forward.

So, anyway… this is getting long, and my point isn’t that some things happened to me when I was a kid.

My point is, I hope you’ll take a moment to think back to what you wanted to be when you were a kid.

  • Did you achieve your childhood dream, or some version of it?
    • If you didn’t, it isn’t too late.
  • Are there common threads in the things you dreamt of being?
    • You may have to dig to find them, but they are usually there and worth the effort and time spent soul-searching.
  • Can you, today, make choices that make your life more satisfying and fulfilling?
    • I would love to hear your thoughts on this, so please share if you feel inspired to.

You can’t undo decisions that were made for you when you were a child, and you can’t change your own past decisions either, but you can look for ways to honor that child inside of you who wanted to be magic, or a ballerina, or a lawyer, or whatever YOU wanted to be.

 

When You’re Just Not Feeling It…

I haven’t posted much here lately, and that’s because I just haven’t been feeling it… My positivity… my enthusiasm… etcetera, etcetera, etcetera… just not feeling it. Giving into that blah feeling and accommodating it with inaction was a mistake, though, and if you do the same thing when you’re just “not feeling it” this post is for you!

Don't Just Hit the Pause Button When You're Just Not Feeling It!
Don’t Just Hit the Pause Button When You’re Just Not Feeling It! image courtesy of Pixabay

Taking Action Makes You Feel Better About Yourself!

I actually just summed up everything I wanted to say in that that one sentence, but I want to add some details to explain why taking action is such a positive thing.

When you summon your inner strength and take action against the things that hold you back, like negative thoughts and your fears, according to Dr. Goldman of Psychology Today, it makes you stronger. Goldman recommends understanding and admitting your fears so you can overcome them.

I like that suggestion, but I also think there’s a fine line between analyzing the fears and emotions that hold you back, and wallowing in them. If you don’t see a post here on Intrinsic Vicissitude from me fairly often, it’s a fair bet that I’ve crossed that line from analyzing to wallowing.

So, where’s your line? And, what can you do today that puts you on the side of the line that lets you bring positivity to your life? 

Exercise Helps With a Blah Mood

Okay, that’s not really news… medical experts have been saying it for years. But… and I feel this is a big BUT… when you get bummed, and blah, and you’re just not feeling it, getting even a little bit of exercise can feel as daunting as the idea of climbing  a mountain.

The thing, is, it doesn’t take a lot of exercise to boost a blah mood, and it doesn’t have to be exercise that you hate. The kinds of exercise I enjoy tend to be kind of silly and playful, like dancing when I’m alone in my room. The problem is, when I’m bummed, I don’t think about it and I just sit here, being bummed.

According to WebMD, exercise is an effective, underused way to treat depression that’s mild to moderate. And really, isn’t that blah feeling a form of mild depression?

Simple Actions That Make You Feel Positive

If you don’t feel like getting up and working out, I get it. There are still some easy things you can do to boost your mood.  get dressed up, smile at yourself in the mirror, and do something you’ve been putting off. It doesn’t have to be big, the fact that you’re checking something off of your to-do list is a simple way to give yourself a burst of positivity.

One last idea, turn on some music that you love, and sing along with it. If you feel up to it, go ahead and dance a little bit, too. And try not to laugh too hard when you picture me dancing around my room all by myself.

By Laure Justice

 

Positive Quotes About Unlocking the Secret of Life

I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t know the secret of life (I wish I did) so I turned to successful people through the ages who provided quotes about the secret of life and the secret of success to create this post.

Unlocking the Secret of Life
Secret of Life Quotes image courtesy of Pixabay

The Secret to Changing Your Life

“The secret of change is to focus all your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.” – Socrates

Think of how many times you’ve railed and fought against the circumstances of your life. It’s so easy to get caught up in where we are, that we don’t see the possibilities that could happen if we just expand the perimeter, shift our focus, or open up the box and think outside of it.

“You will never change your life until you change something you do daily. The secret of success is found in your daily routine.” – Author unknown

The Secret to Changing Your Future

“The secret of getting ahead is getting started.” – Mark Twain

It’s normal to want assurance of a positive outcome before you start something. The problem with waiting is, we don’t get guarantees about how life is going to go. The best we can do is get ready, psychologically, without overthinking so much the opportunity is lost.

“Before everything else, getting ready is the secret of success.” – Henry Ford

The Secret Value of Uncertainty

The secret of your future is hidden in your daily routine. – Mike Murdock

Almost everyone falls into a routine where the same things happen, in the same order, day in and day out. It’s really rare that anyone breaks out of a routine that isn’t working by sticking with the routine. It’s when you start to make changes in your routine that you start to see changes.

All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware. – Martin Buber

Don’t worry if you don’t know how it’ll turn out. If you aren’t satisfied, just start, even if you start small in making routine changes, it’s progress, and if one approach doesn’t work, be like a GPS; recalculate, then go another direction.

No pessimist ever discovered the secret of the stars, or sailed to an uncharted land, or opened a new doorway for the human spirit. – Helen Keller

The Secret of Using Your Inner Values

Don’t let your special character and values, the secret that you know and no one else does, the truth – don’t let that get swallowed up by the great, chewing complacency. – Aesop

Thanks for browsing through this short list of quotes about the secret of life, feel free to leave a comment, sign up for email updates, and be sure to follow Intrinsic Vicissitude on Facebook to stay in touch, too.

By Laure Justice

How Do You Find Your Life’s Purpose?

There are a lot of good reasons to know your life’s purpose; knowing helps you make decisions that get you where you want to go in life, it leaves you fulfilled when you’re working toward your goals, and knowing your purpose reduces the uncertainty you may feel in life. But what if you’re not one of those lucky people who just instinctively knows what your purpose is?

Lifes Purpose
Lifes Purpose image courtesy of Pixabay

What Can You Do to Find Your Life’s Purpose?

Start by asking yourself some questions, and be really honest with yourself. If you enjoy writing, write down your thoughts and feelings as you go through the questions, and if one or any of the questions don’t resonate with you, skip it and move on to the next one. You can even think up your own questions, these are just examples to get you started as you think about why you’re here on this earth.

Why Am I Here?

Think about what you were like as a child, and then think about your life now.

  • What did you love to do as a child that you no longer do?
  • What things did you care the most about as a child?
  • How did you picture the life you would have as an adult when you were looking ahead and dreaming?
  • What things about your current lifestyle would make the young you want to cry?

Think about the things you haven’t done yet.

  • If your life were ending in a day, or a year, and you knew your time was limited, what would you regret leaving undone?
  • How do you want to be remembered and what do you want to be remembered for?
  • How long can you keep waiting to cross things off your bucket list before you have to admit you aren’t going to get to do them if you don’t just choose and take action?

Think about what you love and what inspires you today and just start.

  • Does there have to be only one purpose?
    • I’ll admit here, that when I think about the purpose of my life, I don’t pick up on one clear answer.
    • Still using myself as an example, I love my family and friends, I love writing, I love animals, I love sewing, I love classic cars, I love helping and inspiring people, the list goes on and on and on.
    • So, I sat down with my journal, because that’s how I think things through, and I wrote, and wrote, and wrote, about my feelings about my life’s purpose.
    • If you like journaling, I highly recommend it as a way to process your thoughts.
    • When I got to the question about what I would regret not having done if my life were to end in a year, the answer was that I would regret not putting more positive things out there in the world, and since writing is both my job and one of my great passions, here I am, using words to share positivity.
  • What can you choose to do today, and go ahead and start?
    • Taking action is a positive thing, even if you don’t know if the thing you choose is your true life’s purpose.
    • It’s okay to readjust your focus as you go if you find the thing you chose isn’t perfect or if it starts to feel like it isn’t your purpose, because so often, it’s in the action steps that we find our real destinations and we find things we love.

You may not instinctively know your life’s purpose, and you may not know even after these soul searching exercises, and that’s okay, and pretty normal. But, don’t let the decision-making process be where your quest for your life’s purpose ends.

Latch onto the things you know you want, like if you know you want to own your own business but not what kind of business, take some steps to make yourself ready. Study the field that inspires you, and dip your toes in the water. Start small if you need to. You don’t have to go all in, just start on the path your heart tells you is right.

By Laure Justice

Action or Eclipse?

Sometimes in life, it feels like you’re just spinning your wheels. You get stuck in a rut or a bad situation and your life just isn’t going the way you want it to go. So, what do you do?

Lunar Eclipse
Lunar eclipse image courtesy of Pixabay

You can keep thinking it over, using the same thought processes that got you where you are – stuck in a rut – or you can try looking at it from a different angle, consider some unorthodox ( and probably scary) ideas for getting unstuck, make a decision, and take action. Could you fail? Absolutely! What’s the alternative? If you stay stuck in your rut that isn’t making you happy or giving you any satisfaction in life, you’ve already failed, haven’t you? So, maybe it’s time to try something else.

What Does an Eclipse Have to Do With It?

We pretty much all start out as kids. full of enthusiasm for life, excitement about the future, and loaded with expectations about the lives we’re going to lead. We’re like the full moon, or the sun, (emotionally) big and ready to do something amazing. Then, life kicks the crap out of us, and our hopes, dreams, and expectations get smaller, and smaller, and smaller. Pretty soon, full eclipse, we’re just shadows of our former selves. Shadows of the people we are meant to be.

“The time for action is now. It’s never too late to do something.” – Antoine de Saint-Exupery

But, it doesn’t have to be like that. Do you know those people we see on TV and in the news, leading big lives – the kind of life you dream of living? Those people aren’t just lucky (well, some of them are, and some of them are born to rich parents that start them off well) those people, for the most part, are the people who considered the options,  made decisions, took action in spite of the possibility of failure, and kept trying till they found a way to ‘get it right’

“Follow effective action with quiet reflection. From the quiet reflection will come even more effective action.” – Peter Drucker

When you start to take action, it’s like you’re moving out of the total eclipse phase of your life, and your light starts to show again. Just like a real solar eclipse or lunar eclipse, it doesn’t show all at once, but it does show. More than showing, you feel it, in your heart, and once it starts, you want it to keep going. There will be times you have to rely on faith, and that isn’t always easy if you’ve had a rough way to go. But, if you have the intelligence and interest to make a change, to just start and try, then you deserve to know that you can do it.

“Never mistake motion for action. – Ernest Hemingway

Solar Eclipse
Solar eclipse image courtesy of Pixabay

“Action is the real measure of intelligence.” – Napoleon Hill

You can think an idea to death, you really can. (I’ve done it SO many times, myself.) Opportunities come and go quickly. If you’re sitting on the fence, so to speak, thinking it over, waiting on it to be perfect and easy, someone else is going to snatch your great idea out of the ether, and they’re going to run with it. Then, you’re going to be wondering why someone else is getting rich and living the good life, and it’s because they had an idea and took action instead of waiting for every detail to be perfect.

“A real decision is measured by the fact that you’ve taken action. If there’s no action, you haven’t truly decided.” – Tony Robbins

It’s normal to WANT everything to be lined up perfectly and ready to go when you start something new. Unfortunately, life rarely delivers that kind of tidy package. Some amount of risk lies behind every opportunity for success. (That risk is called ‘the chance it might not work out’.) Only you can decide what you’re willing to put into something, whether it’s a personal relationship, a career, or any other type of dream.

“Action may not bring happiness, but there is no happiness without action.” – William James

The only thing you know for sure is, if you don’t make a decision and take action, you can’t really expect anything other than what you have right now. And if that was satisfying to you, you probably wouldn’t have just read this whole article trying to find out how to stop spinning your wheels get unstuck, and get your eclipsed inner light to shine again.

Be sure to sign up for email updates – the subscription box is over on the right side of the page –  if you would like to get a  notice when new posts are published here on Intrinsic Vicissitude.

By Laure Justice

Turning Off the Screens – How to Increase Productivity and Become Less of a Consumer

Stepping away from the electronic devices can help you increase productivity and enjoy a fuller life. Read on to learn how.

Power Down to Increase Productivity
Power Down to Increase Productivity image courtesy of Pixabay

The wealth of available technology in our world today has created a double-edged sword swaying ominously over-top the heads of each and every one of us.

On one hand, the advances that we have seen in computing and connectivity in just the last ten years, have made the world smaller and afforded more opportunity for efficiency as well as creativity and industry. However, on the other, less attractive hand, the increase in efficiency and the ease with which tasks are able to be completed has left us with more free-time than men and women have ever had before.

Unfortunately, more often than not, we are slothful in our use of that time and are more and more becoming consumers rather than producers. While binding ourselves to screens may not seem harmful at first, there are long term negative effects like health risks, social coping, focusing issues, and attention problems that mount in those who are raised around, or spend most of their time around screens. Let us quickly look at a few simple techniques to add to your thinking and acting in order to increase our human productivity and decrease our cultural consumption.

Read More!

Discover the World When You Open a Book
Discover the World When You Open a Book image courtesy of Pixabay

Benjamin Franklin attributes nearly all of his success to the fact that he was relentless in self-education and reading. As you find yourself reaching for your phone or computer begin to implement having the conscious thought of ‘why?’ Ask yourself if reaching for an active screen is bettering you or those around you; are you getting smarter by wasting ten minutes of every hour on your phone looking at nothing important or necessary?

The average person reads 200 words per minute, if you were to reach for a book every time that you reached for your phone to scroll through social media updates, throughout the course of the day you would be able to read 8-10,000 words (to give you some perspective – the Iliad is around 200,000 words). There was once a time where nearly all entertainment was reading or storytelling and we used to be more personable, relatable, and educated because of it. Avoid the temptation to waste time inactively scrolling through a screen and instead train your brain and its focus to receive knowledge through the text of your choosing.

For some examples of good places to start consider:
His Autobiography by Benjamin Franklin
Fruits of Solitude by William Penn
Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell
Focus: The Hidden Driver of Excellence by Daniel Goleman

Resolve to Learn One Thing a Week and Practice It

The fact that every problem we have has a solution just a phone call or short drive away has allowed for an ease of life that results in taking less personal responsibility. Think about this scenario as an example: You need to power-wash your deck, you have decided not to hire out for the job but upon trying to start your power-washer you find that it wont turn over as old gas has gunked up the carburetor. If you had taken the time previously to patiently read, study, focus, and practice then cleaning the carb would be an easy two-hour job and you would be back to the project before noon. However, you never picked up the trade of repair and instead take it to the small engine shop down the road where they tell you they will have it back to you tomorrow, rendering your whole Saturday now free which you choose to spend with a six-pack and Netflix.

Now, while I understand that this example may inspire a bit of eye-rolling at how hyperbolically and perfectly it illustrates my point, it is not far off for the way in which most of us find ourselves with free time – by spreading our responsibilities to others – thus: Consuming. A great way to break this habit pattern is to seek new knowledge from relationships with the older generation or others more experienced. There is no shame in not knowing how to do something that you have never been taught!

Learn Something New
Learn Something New image courtesy of Pixabay

If you are a computer guy and engines give you fear – that is okay! Seek someone out who can help share their knowledge and experience in order to better prepare you to handle your own fix the next time. It is in this communion, coming together, sharing of knowledge and kinship that cultures survive and prosper and give more than they take and increase their efficiency.

Each week, consider something that you don’t know how to do and resolve to educate yourself and practice it ten-twenty minutes a week instead of spending time in front of electronics. If it takes more than a week then great!

For some examples of where to start consider

Learning to tie different knots
Celestial Navigation
Fire Starting
Calligraphy
Wood-Working
Cooking
Deep Breathing Techniques
Fishing
Gardening

There is no bad place to get started in spending less time on our phones and computers and more time in the vast array of experiences that the world has to offer. Worldly, hands-on education inspires creativity and thus leads to efficiency and the moving forward of our culture.

If you are feeling your stomach tighten as you think about releasing some of the connection you have with your phone, try to undergo the challenge with a friend or buddy. Set some rules for phone use and also set aside a day where you come together to sit and talk about what you are reading or practicing; this will help you stay focused on being a producer and slowly slide away from the consumption!

How to Protect Yourself Emotionally From Toxic People

We all know someone who is as toxic (psychologically) as a poison mushroom, and sometimes it’s easy to just avoid that person. What do you do, though, when it’s a person  in your life – or worse – multiple toxic people – who you have to interact with on a regular basis – like your mom or a spouse? What do you do, when your family delivers a heaping, daily dose of soul-crushing toxicity to your life?

How to Protect Yourself From Toxic People
How to Protect Yourself From Toxic People image courtesy of Pixabay

What Is a Toxic Person?

Before jumping ahead with this, it feels important to give a bit of a definition of a toxic person.

A toxic person is one who exhibits behavior that inflicts emotional pain on others, using tactics like manipulation, constant criticism, and even jealousy. The surprising detail, is that, according to PsychCentral, these toxic people are coming at you from a place where they were deeply wounded in their own lives.

The problems with toxic people arise from the fact that rather than take responsibility for their own feelings and needs, toxic people inflict pain on those around them by playing the role of victim, martyr, bully, or perfectionist that they fell into at some earlier point in life.

So… They’re Being Jerks Because They’re Hurting???

Understanding that the toxic person is coming at you from a point of pain can help you distance yourself from the situation and open the door for you to forgive the behavior that injured you, but it can’t take away that knot in your stomach, and it won’t necessarily take away any rage you feel from being victimized by the toxic person.

How to Protect Yourself Emotionally From a Toxic Person

There are a number of things you can do to protect yourself from the unhealthy behavior of a toxic person, but one of the most important is to love yourself enough to be good to yourself.

Record Your Feelings

Keep a journal of how you feel after interactions with the toxic people in your life, go into as much detail as you comfortably can, and if you are concerned that the toxic person might find your journal, put your thoughts in a password protected document or blog so no one else can access them.

Re-read your journal entries and look for patterns, and as you begin to recognize that you get sick every time ‘Aunt Bertha’ is coming over or that you find yourself in the bathroom throwing up and checking the scale every time your ‘hubby says you’re chubby’, then you can start looking for healthy ways to process the stress caused by the toxic person in your life.

Try Some Deep Breathing and Meditation

When you are in the heat of an exchange with this person, recognize that you don’t have to engage them. Toxic people ‘feed’ off of your responses like parasites feed on hosts. If you don’t respond, and they get even more demanding, and more vocal, then you have even more confirmation of their toxicity. You might have to respond to keep the toxic person from resorting to physical violence, but try to take a few deep breaths and speak from an earnest place rather than delivering the emotional response that your toxic person is craving.

Should You Run?

If you are too deeply entrenched in the anger and nastiness that’s being thrown your way from the toxic person in your life, the time may come when you have to separate yourself physically and emotionally from them if you ever want to be ‘okay’ – but only you can decide that – and only you can do the work of allowing yourself to grow stronger, and allowing yourself to see your own worth.

What About Love?

Separating yourself from this person doesn’t mean you don’t love them (talking family members here for this part – not so much co-workers). In fact, it’s pretty obvious that if you are tolerating someone’s toxic behavior, then you must love them or you would have already bailed on the toxic relationship.

Psychology Today suggests a number of ways to know when you are the victim of a toxic person, and two big ways to know are when you dread being around the person and when thinking about the person is taking a lot of your energy and crushing your self esteem.

Chances are pretty good that if you have been the victim of a toxic person, now is the perfect time to put some self-analysis into it, and be real with yourself about recognizing and breaking unhealthy patterns in how you interact with the toxic people in your life.

By Laure Justice

Five Tips For Practical Frugality in Modern Times

Although Benjamin Franklin is well accredited for being the Father of many different ideals and processes, one of the most underrated practices that he developed through his youth and practiced throughout his life is the idea of staunch frugality. Lest we forget that he is the man who championed the phrase, “A penny saved, is a penny earned!”

Burning Money and Practical Frugality
Burning Money and Practical Frugality image courtesy of Pixabay

While the idea of thrifty spending may have been a bit more simple in the 1700’s as purchasing access was nothing like what we have today, the principles of thrift have not entirely changed all that much. In this blog we will look into five techniques that are more inline with today’s world and reveal how to trim the fat around your budget to save more of those precious pennies!

Define a Goal and Budget

Saving will always be easier if you have a defined goal for why you are doing so. Principally, your goals should be based on clearing any debt that is currently keeping you from building a nest egg. If your goal is to become debt free then set a clear amount that you will need to save each month and build your budget around that. If you are fortunate enough to be clear of debt than physically sit down and bluntly define why you want to save.  As you parcel out your ‘why,’  your ‘how’ will become that much more important and achievable.

As for budgeting, I can not stress enough how useful the phone and computer applications make this in our world (oh how Mr. Franklin would love the convenience!). Define an upcoming month as your ‘strict observation month’ as you need a starting point for your financial analysis. During this month, track where every single dollar goes in your spending the second after you spend it. I use an app called Spending Tracker that allows me to easily categorize spending into things like, ‘Grocery,’ ‘Utilities,’ ‘Rent,’ etc. once you have a whole month to examine it makes for an easier platform to see where you can cut back on overspending. If you don’t know where your money is going how can you possibly expect to keep more in!

Online Shopping and Cell Phones

Resist the urge to online shop! There is a reason that it is so easy to just click a button and have something delivered to your door – the companies want you to spend more money! As you find yourself opening your browser of choice to shop for new online goodies ask yourself these two questions:
1) Is this really something that I need right now?
2) Do I want this thing more than I want to achieve my financial goal?

Another important technological suck on the budget is the cell phone bill. Overages, specifically with data, can double or even triple your original cell phone bill and leave you with an empty wallet. Utilize the data tracker that is available through most of the service applications to know exactly where you are in your usage and do not go over. If you find that you are getting close each month, see if there is useless usage that can be cut out throughout your normal day and eradicate the waste.

Electricity, Water, and Air Conditioning

Inside the home, as lights and televisions are left on, water is left running, and AC is cranked, there are dollars flying out the window constantly. Set new rules in your house to turn off lights unless the room is being used and to turn the television off unless someone is watching it.

As for water use, try to limit your showers and also turn off the water while you are brushing your teeth as it was estimated recently that leaving it running wastes more than one gallon of water every single night (that’s 30 gallons over the course of a month – 360 per year!).

Air Conditioning can also be a major drain especially for those who live in the South and have poor insulation. Try to turn the AC up every time you leave the house and up as much as you can bear it at night. If your AC unit is constantly whirring this is a good indication that the wallet will be hurting when the utility bills come.

Shop Store Brand

When you are doing your grocery shopping, do your due diligence to inspect the ingredients of every product you buy as there is almost always a cheaper alternative. The ingredients are what you are buying, not the name on the box, so pair your favorite foods with the store brand alternatives to see that you are in fact paying more for the exact same products. With one of the major budgetary strains being the grocery store, this small oversight can lead to all kinds of money waste over the long term.

Shop Used

If you find yourself answering yes to the question of, ‘do i really need this,’ then see if there is a better alternative to the purchase. If you live in a major city then chances are your local thrift store has more higher end clothing than most of the brick and mortar stores where people spend money on new threads.

If you happened to be in more of a rural area there are still hidden gems to be found, although you may have to look a little harder. Do not let the cultural stigma of ‘used’ taint your desire to spend money and achieve your goals. Often times the hunt for finding what you want used can lead to the discovery of new cool, interesting, and cheaper things anyway!

There is money to be found in every budget and with a few easy thrifty steps, even the tightest of budgets can be happy. Sit down and define your goals and then create the habits that help you to accomplish those goals that leave you with a plentiful wallet full of pennies saved!

Weekly Motivation Note Card

Motivation and positive thinking are finely tuned, highly functional muscles in the body, spirit and mind that are often neglected. Just as you would not go to the gym once and expect to be extremely fit and healthy, you can not simply read a self-help book, or do one set of affirmations and anticipate motivational success.

Motivation Note Card Tips
Motivation Note Card Tips image courtesy of Pixabay

How to Use the Weekly Motivation Note Card System

By IWrite4U!

The Weekly Note Card is a great organization habit to keep you focused, goal-centered, and driven throughout each week. The idea is that you fill a personalized note card each week with a positive quote, goal, reassurance, affirmation and where you would like to be at the end of the week and then carry it with you at all time and reference it throughout.

What You’ll Need

In order to get started, all you will need to purchase is a pack of standard 3×5 note cards. I prefer packs that offer a variety of colors so I can use the different colors to have different overall meanings, for instance:

Red Card: a very emotionally exciting color, red actually increases respiration and heart rate – I will use if I have a big week of projects or major test or presentation
Yellow Card: associated with joy, creates a warming effect – will use if it is a rainy week or there is possible gloom on the horizon
Green Card: symbolizes growth, harmony, and freshness – will use if I am feeling stagnated or anxious

How to Make it Work

Once you have your selected your preferred card it will be time to fill it! Try to lay out a schedule for yourself in when and where you create the card and also reference it at home. I find that Sunday evenings work best for making the new card for the week as it lays out your mental road map. In practice, I will keep the card on my nightstand if I am home, or on my bathroom counter, so that it is the first thing that I see when I wake up and last at night.

Allow yourself to be creative in your composition but try to stick to the card format of:

Affirmation: Speak in the first person and be specific. Some examples:
– I am in charge of my mood
– I have everything that I need to make this a great day
– When I breathe I inhale confidence and exhale timidity

Positive Quote: Search and select something that resonates with you. Some people keep books they quote (Bible, Collections, Poems) or some just reference web searches – either works!

Goal: What would you like to accomplish this week?
– Spend more time with kids
– Take wife out on date

Thing to work on: What would you like to see different in yourself?
– Be more patient with your employees
– Be humble about your successes

Compose your card and keep it on your person at all times throughout the week (wallet or purse works great). Whenever you have a moment pull out the card and reference it and overlay it with your present moment to check in and exercise the ambition and positivity muscles. At the end of the week, look into what you could have done better and where you ended up, and use it as a platform for your next card! Have fun with the practice and enjoy the positive growth that is summoned within you!