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Power Up for Positive Change

positive changePower Up for Positive Change!

Training Your Brain for a Successful Mental Shift

Each day, we are given a gift of time. You know that you have 24 hours in a day, so let’s break that down into minutes. There are 1,440 minutes each day to work, play, make a difference in your life and be the person you secretly want to be. You have ample time to power up for positive change!

In fact, it takes about the same amount of time to make an excuse for why you aren’t living the life you desire – as it does to make small positive actions that will become live-changing.

One of the best ways to begin making a mental shift is to quit fighting the old you; those emotionally charged childhood memories, unhealthy habits or self-sabotaging actions don’t serve you well. Divert your attention toward building the newer version of you; Begin to focus on WHERE you want to be and how you WANT to behave. Start right this minute.

Action changes things! Many times people find a new action creates a ripple in a different direction or portion of their life. Ride the energy toward positive change. You can train your mind to be more fit with daily decisions that will directly impact the result you want to achieve. Your goals will define your actions. Write down one goal to get started on the new you.

Here are three tools for creating a healthy mindset and mental attitude:

1) Be Grateful

Look for reasons to be grateful. Take time on a daily or weekly basis to write down why these events, people or experiences fulfilled you and made you thankful. The physical process of writing down your thoughts creates a real change in your brain.

2) Be Mindful

In essence, being mindful is to find or maintain a non-judgmental sense of attention to the present moment. Instead of becoming angry, emulating other’s negative energy or turning inward and focusing on emotions that can consume you, stop! Observe, be “in the moment” and explore all the details around you without relapsing into old habits or reliving emotional drama. When you dredge up old memories, the situation now becomes “all about you.”
Stephen Covey shared a moving story about a dad and his rowdy children on an NYC subway in his book, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. It is a fabulous insight into the effects of being mindful – which often results in a paradigm shift.

3) Fake it until you Become It

You can embark on a new adventure or career choice before you have achieved your vision of ultimate perfection. Don’t wait to lose ten pounds to attend a class reunion or feel you must have $500 in the bank before you look for a new job. Began to act the way you dream of being. As you make those subtle changes and actions each day, over time, you can become the person that you were dreaming of being. Just as Popeye boosted his power with spinach to be strong, you can power up for positive change and achieve your vision with intentional choices. Think about this famous Winston Churchill quote, “Continuous effort, not strength or intelligence, is the key to unlocking our potential.” Aim High! You might just make it!

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Spring Cleaning Your Finances to Make Life Easier

The Money Nerve

There is something refreshing about the advent of spring; it’s officially time for reviewing and renewing! This week, we take a look at spring cleaning your finances.

Ask, “WHY,” before spring cleaning your finances

Why do you budget, save, spend, insure, invest and plan the way that you do? Are you happy with how your finances are working for you? Write down some clear and definitive ideas to sweep away old habits and create a more satisfying result.

Review your budget

Balance all your bank accounts and take a second look your past six months of credit card charges to see if all adds up correctly and that there are no billing errors.

What??? You don’t have a budget. Today is a good day to write down your income and your expenses. With that knowledge, you can now plan and direct your dollars into more focused streams!

Set a few primary, short-term goals

For example, you could set a goal for paying off the credit card with the lowest balance. Set yourself up to hit your new objectives. As you achieve success with your smaller financial projects, you gain confidence to complete larger intentions! And that is a win-win for you and your wallet!

Clear Out the Clutter

Take a serious look at everything you own. Give deep thought to want you want to be most important in your life. Set up actions steps to turn that visual intention into reality. Too much stuff? Distill it down. It’s easier to take care of less. And you keep what is most valuable to you. Too many accounts to manage? Pare down to three accounts, now you have more money at each institution and have created more “klout” for yourself. Utilize direct deposit and automate a small percentage to savings each week.

Streamlining your efforts help to clear your mind, and allow you to focus on creating a proactive life. You will find that spring cleaning your finances, and stating goals result in intentional living.

Find more #moneynerve tips – Enjoy this new vodcast: Funny Money Talks!

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Being Honest

take-an-honest-lookBeing Honest
It is challenging for many people to discuss feelings of financial fear without a sense of shame. Behind closed doors, people may open up about their feelings and embarrassment and be honest about their current financial situation. By voicing their fears or shame, many people feel as though a weight has been lifted and can then take stock of where they are; to formulate a plan to get financially fit.

Financial shame often comes from not living up to a particular ideal. It may be a false expectation or a false belief. The banker “tells” you that you can afford the monthly payment for a brand new home. The car dealership points out that you can purchase a new car and keep your payments the same. Ads on television “sell” us a dream: we deserve to have all the “things” we want now. You may believe you should own a big home, multiple cars and provide for all of your extended family, but perhaps you lost your job, and that is no longer possible. Many of us live with an illusion of the sort of person we should be (or what we should have) rather than being honest about our situation.

It is smart to have an accurate benchmark for what you consider to be a healthy financial goal or lifestyle. For example, you may want to have 500,000 dollars in your retirement savings account as your measure of being financially healthy. Not meeting that benchmark doesn’t mean you are a bad person. However, it may result in a different outcome. If you have 485,000 dollars in your savings account, don’t beat yourself up over the difference, but if you only have $45,000 saved for retirement when you turn 65, be prepared to live on a lot less than you are used to. You are delusional if you think you can postpone saving and live in better style than you do now.

Most people imagine that their retirement will be even better than their current situation and will live exactly as they do now — if not better! But the reality is that many of us have not saved enough money to make those dreams come true. Now is the time to keep feathering the nest. Make an appointment with your CPA or a financial coach who can help you assess your net worth and develop and a plan for staying financially fit. Creating an honest budget and reevaluating what is important long-term may change some of your choices today. Our current cultural and political mindset of deserving it all now and never stopping to say, “I can’t afford that,” isn’t doing you any favors. Set yourself apart, be honest with your money choices. You can do it. You can live abundantly for many years to come.

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SELF-MOTIVATION: find it!

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Self-Motivation? What is it? Embrace it.

The dictionary states:
Self-motivation (noun): Initiative to undertake or continue a task or activity without another’s prodding or supervision.

What’s another word for initiative?  Ambition, Get-Up-and-Go, Enthusiasm, Resourcefulness, and Moxie!

Have you tried to make a change before and didn’t quite succeed? Every time you try again — you will get closer to your goal. Have you ever heard the saying, “Rome wasn’t built in a day”? It is a statement. No blame, no criticism – just a fact. Sometimes, big projects take more time than we think it will. There will be challenges. How can you stay self-motivated over time? Here are a few thoughts to help you find the best path.

Applying that same concept of “building” to yourself means no self-blame and no self-criticism when you begin a project and only make it 75% of the way. Each day presents the opportunity to start again with a fresh action or to use a more innovative way to hit your goals.

When faced with difficult or challenging decisions to make “things” better, most people freeze, become apathetic or just quit. The key to forging ahead is focusing on your key dreams, goals, and sense of what the future holds for you! Use “Baby Steps” to build your world.

When you don’t get what you want the first time; appeal to your inner self to try again.

Want to purchase a new home? Save for retirement? Plan an expensive vacation? What is your next step? Take time to think empowering, expansive thoughts, and make a list. Write it down. Use this personal checklist to knock out the smaller steps that lead to finishing what you started. Fake it until you become it and last: Make a deal with yourself and after you achieve 5 or 10 steps, reward yourself for sticking to it!

You can build that city of dreams into a reality – brick by brick with self-motivation.

My advice: Start Today!

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JOURNALING BUILDS INSIGHT and MINDFULNESS

3x3 Journaling Builds InsightHave you ever thought you needed a body double so you could get everything done? Maybe your thoughts and actions are too scattered. Starting a journal may help. Journaling builds insight and mindfulness. This simple tool is highly productive, only requiring paper and a pen. You will deepen your connection with what is most important to you when writing your thoughts on paper. You may find it easier to think about strategies, visualize a solution and create new pathways for creative thinking.

Sometimes the process of slowing down to reflect and review your thoughts results in a deeper capacity for innovation and more forward thinking. A person’s mind can have up to 60,000 thoughts during the day. Mobile devices push us to make even more teeny-tiny decisions each hour. When writing, most people can only process about one hundred words per minute, so any thoughts recorded on paper have a higher percentage of “sticking” or being remembered.

Journaling can be free form; it can be doodles that mean something to you or your thoughts can be directed toward a particular problem or challenge. Some people carry a journal with them at all times and jot down inspiring ideas as they pop up during the day. Others may end the day with 10 minutes of quiet, introspective thoughts. There is no wrong or right way; each person is unique. The primary challenge for many individuals is to be consistent. Giving yourself permission to take 5-30 minutes to sit quietly and put your thoughts in order sounds like a huge chunk of time for many, but when compared to the 24 hours given to us each day, it isn’t that much time at all!

Journaling builds insight into why you act the way you do and can aid you in changing your perspective on people around you, your job and your life goals. Journaling builds mindfulness as you delve into the emotional side of your life and then look at your problems more objectively to make proactive, intentional actions that will make your life better.

Go ahead; purchase a small spiral notebook or a fancy leather bound book. Both will work just fine. Put that pen or pencil to paper & give yourself a chance. Let journaling build your insight and mindfulness!

~Bob

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SMALL STEPS TO SUCCESS

3x3 Baby Steps to Success

Small Steps to Success: Large dreams are often extinguished by the sheer size of the goal along with a lot of self-doubts, but using small steps to success each day, will ensure you of getting closer to your dreams day by day.

Two simple tools for moving forward are:
1. Setting intentions with a strategic plan
2. Making small consistent actions each day that will move you to the goal

Sometimes big goals or life destinations can be a bit overwhelming. Know where you are right now! Determine where you want to be and breakdown that monstrous goal into smaller chunks. Breaking the bigger picture into small steps to success allows you to create small “wins” each week and will increase your confidence to tackle the next step in your journey.

There are so many possibilities for reaching your goal that sometimes people can’t even begin. When faced with this decision-making paralysis, many people quit before they start. Small, easy steps each day will have more impact than a few “big leaps.” So you want to save $20,000 for a down payment on a house.

Here are a few scenarios to achieve this:
Step1: Put all your pocket change in a jar to start your savings account. Once you have $100, you open an account at the bank.
Step 2: Set up an auto draft within your checking account to take $10 per paycheck or $5 per week from checking into your new savings account. You have now created a new positive habit without a colossal amount of pain.
Step 3: If you get a bonus check, deposit that into your savings. If you get a tax refund, deposit that into your savings. If you are still saving the change, start adding all the $1 bills left in your wallet into the jar each night – deposit when the jar is full.
Step 4: After six months, increase your auto draft to $15 per paycheck; you have gotten more comfortable with the fact that you are not punishing yourself by saving — you are reallocating your money in a new direction.

Small steps to success with a proactive plan will put you into a new home before you know it. Now plug in your big goal and develop your step-by-step plan today!

Bob

Ready to learn more proactive tips? Let me know what questions or comments you have:

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PAY DOWN CREDIT OR SAVE?

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One of the most asked questions I get is: Do I Pay down credit or save? I say do both at the same time!

If a lower income is the cause and you hate your job, find your passion and work in that field. If you don’t have skills, take classes. While the classes may have a cost, the benefits often generate higher income. Just like a game of Monopoly, when you circle around the block each month, you can pick up that extra money!

If you hate being broke, start saving. If you are unhappy with your debt, make a plan to pay it down while curbing spending. What is working for you and what isn’t? Start creating your financial freedom now, even if it’s scary or feels too big.  Making proactive choices is the way to begin heading in a new direction.

Financial security may feel like it is unattainable, but you may need to change your perspective. The cure for being financially overwhelmed is persistence and knowledge. Want to know the best way to a robust savings account? It is one step at a time! Pay down credit on your lowest balance and then start saving ten dollars per paycheck knowing that, over time the account balance will add up to a significant sum. In that way, you can create a new habit that is not painful and creates more wealth.

Surround yourself with books and people that provide financial advice or go online to reputable sites. If you are more comfortable with personal interaction, try to find a personal friend or colleague who excels in your area of weakness, then schedule a time to have coffee with them, and seek their advice.

Financial stability may not happen overnight. Setting goals starts the journey, and you may find the distance to realign your life is closer than you thought. Just put one foot in front of the other and get moving! Pay down your credit AND Save.

Step by Step!

(image available as a screen saver at http://www.hasbro.com/en-us/media/monopoly-money-screen-saver:D4496164-19B9-F369-10B8-4A25863AC342)

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Create New Habits Today

3x3-TMN-Break Chain of DebtAre you still living with an old story you tell yourself – or is it time to create new habits? Start today to intentionally listen, analyze and make changes in your vocabulary.

You may say, “I’m broke; I never seem to get ahead.” Maybe you can explore a new way of thinking and say, “I’m broke; I wonder why I always feel that way.” Take back your power to choose. Envision what you want to spend your money on and state how you might make some changes.

Without blaming yourself, you can create new habits by stating what is actually happening in your daily decisions. For example: “I’m broke because I chose not to save any money this week.”

This gives you the opportunity to be curious, be aware of current actions and think about other choices you’d prefer to make. Hmm…. “It’s interesting to see how and where I’m spending my money. I’d like to find ways to shift some of my dollars this week toward my dreams.”

So instead of repeating, “I’m broke”… Try these: “I am going to make positive choices with my money. I want to consciously choose where I want my income to go, instead of drifting with old habits and being unhappy at the end of the month.” For example, if you like having nice clothes and the trendiest shoes, but have no money in the bank and are ready to make a change – you can begin to choose a new way of talking to yourself.

Try this on for size: “I want nice clothes and I want money in the bank. I will choose to wait and buy the shoes when they go on sale and will put the difference in price in the bank.” Or maybe you decide, “I like nice clothes and I have trouble telling myself no, so I will put $25 in the bank each week before I go to the mall!” Now you are choosing to say “yes!”

Yes to change.

        Yes to new possibilities

                 Yes to conscious choices! That’s a great way to be “stepping-out!”

~Bob

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Setting Your Financial GPS

financial GPSSetting your financial GPS is a strategic plan for reaching a life goal or planning a future destination. First, you need to know where you are and where you want to go.

When people get in a car and activate their GPS, it is assumed the device knows where the car is and will arrive at the correct address. From experience, you cannot always rely on it to be accurate. The same concept of reaching a target in your life must include your starting point and what you want to achieve. To make good financial decisions, you need to break the autopilot mentality and start thinking for yourself. Being on autopilot when facing money decisions means you allow roadblocks and congested traffic existing in your head.

On an actual freeway, you can see hundreds of cars ahead of you on the road. The roadblocks you have set up in your mind tend to be less obvious. Nobody is setting out an orange cone with blinking lights telling you to merge your credit card debt.

Budgeting inertia and increased mental stress take place when you try to juggle payments on seven credit cards or transfer money from one bank account to another. Have you ever freed up expenses on one credit card so you can charge more on it while making a payment for another card? Do you wait for a paycheck to cover checks you just wrote? Time for a new roadmap!

A financial GPS can be a terrific tool for setting a destination from your start point to a future goal. Even when your financial advisor and your accountant set up external steps for you to follow, you are ultimately the driver of your “monetary” vehicle. I have several clients who, in the face of grave consequences, have driven right off a fiscal cliff – despite having been informed of its presence.

Collectively, many of us have become unconscious and drift through the “business” of our lives. As you become aware of what direction you want to go, you can work your way out of that dream state. Slow down and make conscious choices for the next three months. “I will not charge my credit card; I’ll just skip going out to dinner this week.” “Maybe I do not need three new outfits.” “I should balance my checkbook.” “Take a breath and focus.” (It is good to remind yourself to slow down.) Now you can actively manage your money rather than frantically reacting to fiscal surprises.

Makes life more enjoyable!
Bob

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THE VALUE OF TIME

 

3x3 Value of Time

How do you value your time?

What does time mean to you? Do you give your time a value?

I am not just speaking about an hourly wage; I am talking about all the hours in your life. Life is full of activities, challenges, distractions, and obstacles every day. Many people feel they could use a “double” to get everything done. 

A 2008 Forbes article looks at this dilemma, “Time is the most valuable commodity. We never seem to have enough of it. Everyone is time-strapped, time-poor, time-starved. Choose your cliché. Most of us don’t make the most of our time. We wish we did. A self-help industry has flourished on the hope that even if we can’t make more time–the 24 hours in a day remain immutable–we can at least make the most of what we have. Even the most ardent makers of “to-do” lists fritter time away.

Which raises this question to fill an idle moment: Why don’t we value time as we do any other good or service? We could then decide what we do with ours in the most cost-effective way: rationally maximizing our “return on time invested” (ROTI), if you will.”  {Tools for allocating assets}

Ben Franklin said, “Time is Money.” Substitute the word INVESTING for MONEY. Using the word investing as you delegate time may help you to place a higher value on people and experiences. Investing in yourself could be additional education, job training or saving for the future. Investing in relationships could mean scheduling time for valuable activities with family, friends or loved ones. By equating a value to time – it can alter the perspective of your intentions. Being young can give one the sense that everything will last forever, and family and friends will always be there. As people age, many develop a keen sense of time as friends move away or they experience the loss of a cousin, uncle or parent. In retrospect, the personal relationships take on a greater value.

An interesting way to value time is to compare it to a bank account where each person is given 86,400 seconds (dollars) to use each day. Time spent on long-term goals and life-building relations will count more in life. The time lost each night in your account is renewed with a current balance of seconds and minutes to be used again. Consequently, living each day with its sense of promise and possibilities, demands each hour to be lived to the fullest, being “in the present.”

Make space to truly cherish and live – at any particular moment – this week! Celebrate your family, your Mom and those people who you have chosen into your circle of family and loved ones. That is time well spent!

Yesterday is history
Tomorrow is mystery
Today is a gift
That is why it’s called the present!!

-Bob