Hacking Our Thoughts for Change

Nothing will ever change unless we hack our thoughts first. How many times have you heard these phrases whether they come out of your mouth or someone close to you?

thinking-cap

“Every now and then”

“Here and there”

“I only do this once in a while.”

“A little bit won’t hurt.”

“Who’s it going to hurt?”

“I don’t do this all the time!”

“I can handle it!”

Every time we say things like this they all add up and we’re left with less money and ever expanding waistline. If we say we only buy more lives on an in-game purchase  every now and then, those now and then words add up. How many games do we play on our devices? Now add up how many times we buy lives for each game. We’d be surprised at how much these little games can suck us dry.

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Now let’s apply this to eating. We’re trying to lose weight, we know what we’re supposed to eat that will help us with the journey. But then we’re at work and it’s time for a break, we go down to the cafeteria or out for a snack and we pick up a bar of chocolate vowing all the while that “a little bit won’t hurt.” Guess what? It does hurt, and it doesn’t just hurt for a little while because after we eat that chocolate we’re irritable, we’re tired and we’re even more hungry than before the break.

So how do we hack our thoughts?

We change what we focus on. How does this work? Yesterday, I had to go and pick some x-ray images from the clinic. Since it was such a sunny day, I decided to walk. I knew that I would have to pass by one of my favorite coffee places that also has some of my favorite chocolates. Normally, when I walk to the clinic I always treat myself. Yesterday was different, I focused on something else. I decided to give my spouse a call while I walked there so I could focus on the conversation and not about the coffee house and their chocolates. It worked I didn’t stop and I didn’t miss either the coffee or the chocolates.

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We always need to have a plan and then a backup plan that fits our personalities, the goal we are trying to achieve, and our lifestyle. I choose to walk to places that are within 3 miles of my home. This helps me because I hate to workout and I need exercise.

Three thought hacks to get you started:

  1. Change your routine, when it’s break time tell yourself “It hurts me, I am somebody” every time you look at something you know you shouldn’t eat.
  2. Before you get up in the morning say out loud “God, how can I please you today?” This is a big thought changer.
  3. When you feel yourself inching towards spending money on something you don’t need (more game lives, candy bars, books, etc), ask three questions:

         “Will I die tomorrow if I don’t have it today? A year from now will I still want it? Will it make my life more fulfilling?

These are loaded questions and will help you define your needs from your wants.

Change only comes when we hack our thoughts and bring every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ. (2 Corinthians 10:5 NKJ)

Wishing you Wellness for a New Day!

 

 

Money Saving Hacks

Instead of reinventing the wheel about saving money, I thought I would take a gander at some hacks already online that focus on saving and stretching money. Here are a few of my favorites

Living on Less

Here are 75 ways a homesteading family saves  and stretches what money they have. Not every tip will work for all of us, but some of them are sound.

My favorites

  • #5: Keep up with what’s in your refrigerator. This is a huge one for many of us. I know I always have some sort of science experiment going on in the back of the fridge. I’ve also had to ditch many good Snapware containers because of said experiments.
  • #16: Bartering for services. This one is geared just toward carpenters but it can include anything from hairstylists to house cleaners to ghost writers to personal trainers to personal chefs to event planners to photographers. Make a list of the talents you have and maybe you can use them to barter for the next job you that needs doing.

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Simple Ways to save

100 simple ideas for people to start saving money. The simpler the idea the easier it is to save money.

My favorites

#8: Invite friends over instead of eating out. This one can be even more cost effective if you turn it into a potluck. Each of your friends brings part of the meal and you’re not stuck with the bill of feeding everyone.

#39: Join up with a Volunteer Program. I learned something from this one as I did not know that you could volunteer with a different program and earn money to help pay off your student loans.

Creative Ways to Save

These are 94 ways to save money creatively, some I’ve seen before and well, some are very creative.

My favorites

#9: Take care of yourself. A healthier you costs you less money. It doesn’t take much to keep yourself healthy. Wash your hands often, take your vitamins, drink plenty of water, keep your servings at a healthy level, eat your veggies, dump the junk food, eat clean, exercise. These will save you money in the long run. The less sick days you have the more money you’ll have in your pocket.

#49: Check your labels. Anything that needs to be dry cleaned is going to cost you more money than just the initial cost shock. Have you checked out how much it costs for dry cleaning, not to mention the chemicals involved?

These are just three websites to get you started on the road to keep more money in your pocket to pay off your debt or just save more for those rainy days.

Wishing you wellness for a new day.

 

WE ARE OUR HABITS

It’s simple really we are what we repeatedly think and do. Have you ever noticed that when you start thinking about something you see more of that something in your life. For instance, I began thinking about BMW’s (my car of choice). Then I began noticing them more and more. Every turn of the corner I made there was a BMW. Our mind is more powerful than we think sometimes. Just ask anyone who has gone through a horrendous illness or trauma and is able to talk about how they got through it. They used their mind. One of my favorite quotes is by Viktor Frankl, a Holocaust survivor and doctor,

When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.

We live in uncertain times, it’s a fact that we all must come to realize. Our government is not run by people who have our best interest at heart. Everything runs on $$$, those with the most make the rules Even though these rule makers think they are doing what’s right in their own eyes, they have lost sight of what right is. We can’t change what’s being done in the houses of our lawmakers. We can’t change the situation. If we keep talking about how bad it is, then all we’ll see is the bad. We can challenge to change ourselves, just like Viktor Frankl did to survive the Nazi death camps of the Holocaust.

So we might not have the best life situation, and we don’t see any way out of it. We can change our thinking, which will change the way we see life. This instance is called the “AHA moment” by many people professing to know what’s right. I am here to tell you it’s not a moment, you don’t get that spark of “I got it” for just a moment. Real change doesn’t come from a moment in life, it comes from what we repeatedly do every moment of every day of our lives.

Those things we repeatedly do, those are called habits.

H.A.B.I.T.

Our habits make us who we are and changing them is at times one of the greatest challenges we face. The end result is the difference between life and death. We can’t keep doing the same things and expecting different outcomes. So how do we change a habit? It depends on the habit, it depends on the person, it depends on the health of the person, it depends on the emotional health of the person. Some people can succeed at breaking a habit “cold turkey” style, some need to take it step-by-step. The idea here is to find what works for you. How do we cultivate a new habit? Slow and steady wins the race? We can’t go from the couch to a marathon in a day. We need to work up to it. We can’t lose 100 in a week. It’s what we do repeatedly every day that will make the pounds say goodbye for good.

 

How long does it take to change a habit?

Good Habits

Aggregation of Marginal Gains

Develop Good Habits

 

 

 

LIFE, HEALTH, & MONEY

So you think you have it all figured out. You know what you want in your life, you know where you want your health and wellness to be, and you know just how much money it will take to get the other two. But you don’t have that money right now, your health is not on track and you don’t have the life you want. What do you do now? The answer is both simple and challenging.

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A building isn’t constructed without an architect making plans for how it will look, a landscaper doesn’t just come to your home and start digging holes without a sketch. People don’t just decide one day to have a business and next day open the doors and start doing business without having a plan first. Think about all the plans in life: diet plans, fitness plans, educational plans, spending plans, etc. So why do we think we can go through life without a plan in place and think we will accomplish anything worthwhile?

Why am I talking about plans anyways? Because I’ve needed to write three business plans, one for each part time business that I run. Together these businesses bring in some money but not nearly at what I want to see them bring in. After I sat down to write up my three business plans, I thought about writing up a life plan and fill it with everything that I wanted in my life.

This included dates of when I should have different tasks accomplished as well as how I was going to do them. Since I don’t have the money right now to accomplish many of the tasks I want right now, I put deadlines on myself so I can have a target date to work towards. It also includes who can help me attain the goals I have set for myself.

Putting all of this in writing has helped me to focus on what I really want out of life and for my own life to feel successful. Each of us have different terms of success so my life plan will look totally different than your’s. It includes the wants and desires I have for my own life. If you’ve ever been in an interview where the interviewer asks you, “Where do you see yourself in five years?” and you don’t have a clue at what to say. A life plan is the answer.

Five years from this very day what will your life be like? Where will you be in your health and wellness plan? How will your money situation be? What experiences will you have accomplished? Will you be stuck in a rut or energized by your accomplishments? Will you still be at your same job or will you be self-sufficient? Will you have the capability to see your family and friends more often? Will you be doing what you love to do?

Five years from this very day what will your life be like?

TIP #19: MONEY SUCKERS

Recently I had a conversation with a very wealthy friend of mine who made the comment, “A person with money problems shouldn’t be spending money on muffins, bags of chips, or going out to restaurants.” His comment has stayed with me for quite some time and I’ve been questioning all the purchases I’ve made in the last three weeks. Saving receipts on everything I bought. I found out that I’ve also been throwing my hard earned money to the money suckers without thinking about it. We all have our own money suckers they are unique to our lives but one thing is certain they will continue to suck money out of our pockets until we stop the behavior and say “NO MORE!”

Money Suckers

 I stopped  buying a cup of coffee at my local coffee house. I love their coffee but realized that a pound of their coffee ($14) was cheaper than a three visits to their coffee house. Because I don’t just order their coffee; I have to get a treat too.  So I still have my favorite coffee but only pay a fraction for it. Plus, I’m saving calories when don’t go into the coffee house.

Another area that stopped the money suckers in their tracks has been any convenient purchases. It used to be that I would run to the gourmet grocery store every time I got a craving for something sweet, salty, or didn’t feel like making dinner.   It’s difficult for me because this store within two blocks from my house and I love all their healthy but expensive treats. So now I just keep things on hand to make my own treats. If I feel the need for chocolate: I make a chocolate protein shake. If I want something salty: I cut up a cucumber and sprinkle salt on it. Both are much cheaper because I already have them in the house, and both are a whole lot healthier for me.

Then I got to wondering how many times in a month do I say “I don’t feel like cooking!” “I didn’t have the time to cook!” So both of us would go to our favorite restaurant in town and order a salad and end up spending more than $20. Or we’d end up at the gourmet store and order one of their sandwiches and drop $15. When all along I had the fixings for a good meal in my refrigerator and pantry. All I needed to do was plan better and use my cooking skills to come up with simple meals.

So what’s changed so far in the last month? I’ve spent less money, and have become more creative with what I have on hand. Yes, it’s difficult to walk past my favorite store every day (it’s on my walking route), but I’m saving my checking account and my health. 

It’s simple: The money suckers will always be there. You can give in and have no money left. Or you can stand strong and stop the money suckers from sucking your life away.

It’s your choice. Choose wisely.

TIP #8: FREE

One of my favorite activities I did with my grandfather when I was a child was to go junking. We used to walk up and down the alleys in our neighborhood in Chicago, IL. I still have one of the bowls we found on one of our walks over 43 years ago. Every time I use that bowl I think about that wonderful time and the love my grandfather had for me. My grandfather taught me on those walks that free is always good.

From my junking walks with my grandfather I learned how he took old televisions apart and made money from the copper inside of them. Then he would take the tubes out and my father would use them in fixing televisions for other people. My grandfather filled a need with what he did. He found many things that either helped us or our neighbors in some way.

As I grew I loved getting something for free. But my favorite way to get something free was to go junking on days when people put bigger trash out with their weekly trash pick up. I would get up early in the morning and be out before the garbage trucks came around. I found some pretty interesting things. One piece that I found was a little chair that had a seat with a lid. It was called a sewing chair, it was ugly and brown. But I took it apart and painted it a bright red, and reupholstered in a bright vegetable fabric. I never took photos of it, I can still see it in my mind’s eye, but I sold it at a flea market to a woman who fell in love with it.

Free is always good especially when you can take what you get for free and make it into something special that becomes a treasure for others.

My Tin Can Art

I have many items in my home that were made from the free things I found along the street. It’s interesting that these free items are the ones that are complimented the most.  One such piece of art work came about because I was looking through an old Metropolitan Home magazine that had a unique piece of art that I loved. That is, I loved it until I saw the price tag. I found out that the artwork was made from recycled tin can lids that were coated in silver leaf and attached to a piece of wood. The piece cost $5,000. I looked at long enough to figure out how to make it myself. So I collected tin can lids and I asked my friends to do the same thing. Instead of coating it with silver leaf. I coated it with a rusting medium and let it sit out in the elements for a couple of months. This didn’t even cost me $5 to make.  But it is the one piece of art work that people keep asking me to duplicate.

Doing and gathering free things liberates us to not just saving money but also shows us what’s important. While my grandfather may have taught me to recycle things that wasn’t his intention. He just wanted to share what he loved to do with me. I’m so thankful that he spent his time with me instead of him spending his money on me.

TIP #6: ONLY BUY WHAT YOU NEED

I’ve used coupons and thought I was saving money on the items I bought. I’ve seen these coupon divas buying boxes and boxes of cake mixes, soda, candy, and every other processed food item with great abandon. Taking  pride over how much money they saved by sharing the photos of their bounty on social media. I have to ask, Is money really being saved when all they’ve bought are items that are genetically modified? So many times you look into their pantries and see shelves and shelves of mixes that are devoid of nutritional value. When hard times hit, they may have a stocked pantry but there’s not a single ounce of nutrition. Coupons are great if you use them wisely and only buy what you need.

Don't get caught up!

Don’t get caught up!

In my over zealous couponing years I too, bought items that I didn’t need only because I had a coupon and it was on sale. This way of thinking only made me spend more money than I actually intended to on items I did not need. When I stopped playing the coupon game, I started to save even more money and our health, too.  All the money I threw toward buying things and food items I did not need, I was able to purchase better quality items.

People ask me all the time how can I get such good deals on my grocery bills, it’s simple stick to the list, use coupons only on items you regularly buy, need, and have nutrition in them. Let go of the farce that you are saving money when you make purchases with all these coupons.

  • Monthly Savings: Your families’ health