writing

Personal Finance – Three Reasons You Should Keep a Spending Journal

Keeping a spending journal is one of the most important financial decisions that you'll ever make. So why don't more people keep track of what they're spending? Chances are if you're not keeping a spending journal right now you've either never heard of it or you aren't aware of the benefits. What could it possible do for your financial situation to simply write down how much you're spending? If you're wondering about this, here are three reasons why you need to start keeping a spending journal as soon as possible.
Benefit #1: Overcoming Denial
When you start writing down everything that you're spending you'll be 100% aware of what you're spending and how much spending you're doing. Over spending is MUCH harder to do when you're being consistently reminded of how you're spending your money. For example, many people start keeping track of their spending and find that they're spending hundreds of dollars a month eating out. When this happens and you become aware of how your spending is matching up with your exact values, you'll be compelled to make changes in your spending habits.
Benefit #2: Coming Up With a Plan
The second benefit of keeping a spending journal is getting enough clarity about your financial situation so that you can come up with a plan for how to control your spending. For example, in the four bucket financial system, you spend according to four categories: living expenses, investing, giving and setting money aside for purchases or emergencies. Your living expenses represent 70% or less of your spending while the other three categories represent 10% or more each. In order to put this plan together, you need clarity about how you're already spending your money and where you need to make your adjustments.
Benefit #3: A Great Sense of Control
Much of the financial stress that people experience comes from feeling that they are out of control. This feeling diminishes quite a bit once you get a clear picture of what's happening in your financial life. Even if things aren't going well, having clarity will help you quite a bit because you'll no longer be wondering what is happening. Fear comes from uncertainty and uncertainty can be cleared up almost immediately by keeping a written record of what you're spending and why you're spending it.
So now that you're aware of what the benefits are of keeping a spending journal, why not start your spending journal right now? You can begin by saving all of the receipts from your purchases and writing down what you spent today. It will take only fifteen minutes and by getting into this habit, you'll build a stronger awareness of what your financial habits are and have a much better grasp on coming up with a plan for changing them and taking control.

writing

Three Ways to Deepen Your Gratitude Practice

The art and science of happiness has begun to get a lot of attention in the media lately. At the same time, practice of gratitude is now recognized as an important path to happiness. Research has begun to show us what we all intuitively understand, which is that the practice of gratitude improves our moods, our relationships, makes us more optimistic, and even helps us take better care of our health.
I'm sure you understand the basic concept of a gratitude journal as part of gratitude practice - just set aside few minutes every day to write down what you're grateful for. By placing some focused attention on gratitude, you practice the art of being grateful and gradually it becomes a habit. Remember, the way we focus our attention profoundly affects our experience of daily life and our relationship with ourselves. Why not have a more grateful and positive experience in life?
Gratitude is helpful in any form. However, if you're finding it hard to generate ideas (or you're a whiz at gratitude and are ready to take it to a deeper level), here are some exercises that can help you dig in:
1. Be grateful for the different kinds of people in your life.
Try following the following cycle, spending a few minutes contemplating gratitude for these categories of people: yourself, a benefactor or someone who has always been a source of goodness and wisdom in your life, a friend, a neutral person (i.e. someone who you have neither positive nor negative feelings toward, this could be a stranger), and someone irritating or you simply don't like (in the Buddhist tradition, this is sometimes called an enemy).
Start with yourself because loving and being grateful for yourself allows you to have a strong core from which you can be grateful for others. Then continue the cycle, starting with people for whom it is easy to be grateful and progressing to more challenging people.
Why would you be grateful for an irritating person? Sometimes people and situations that we don't like, while unpleasant, offer us lessons and possibilities for self-development that we could not get in any other way. For example, irritating people teach you how to be patient, give you an opportunity to ask yourself if you do some of the same behaviors, or give you insight into others when they are frustrated with people in their life. It's also a great opportunity to practice compassion. You had situations in your life that allowed you to become you are and we rarely know the path and challenges that led other people to become who they are.
If you are familiar with loving kindness meditation, you will recognize this cycle. If you'd like to learn more about lovingkindness, read the book "Loving-kindness the Revolutionary Art of Happiness" by Sharon Salzberg.
2. Be thankful for your past, your present, and your future. Go through a cycle of contemplating these three phases of your life, noting the gifts that people and situations have brought to you. Many of us have experienced challenges in our life and even face difficult situations in our current life, but it's possible to look for lessons and understand how our life situations brought us to be who we are. For example, in life coaching I've seen that sometimes people who face the greatest challenge in their lives are capable of the greatest compassion and self reflection.
3. Be thankful for what you do not have. Sometimes what we do not have, such as dreams or even material things, become important sources of inspiration to create a great life. On the other hand, sometimes what we do not have offers as an opportunity to learn about ourselves, to be patient, or to develop greater depth of character.
Good luck with these gratitude tools. If you'd like any support of pursuing your gratitude practice or just want someone to celebrate your new insights, you're invited to contact me anytime. Enjoy your beautiful life!

writing

The Easiest Weight Loss Trick

One of the best things I have ever done to help myself eat healthy is keeping a food journal. I struggled for many years with eating too much, eating too little, and eating junk. You can't survive eating this way. It is not good for your body as there is no way you are getting the proper nutrition. I found keeping track made me so much more aware of what I was eating, it causes you to think twice about what you put in your mouth.
Keeping your journal is very easy. It does not have to be elaborate. Get yourself a little pocket notebook and start right away! Put down everything you put in your mouth. Even if it is one grape, write it down! I think you will be very surprised how much you eat that you were not aware of.
If you are struggling with weight gain this is a wonderful tool to figure out where those extra calories are coming from. Calories add up so fast, especially if you drink beverages with high sugar content. Water is always best! You should be drinking half your body weight in water. If you are 100 pounds you should be drinking 50 ounce of water.
You do not have to keep a journal for ever. I think you will notice that just by doing it your habits will start to change. I know for me I did not want to write down that I ate 6 cookies, so I didn't eat them. It caused me to make better food choices.
Good luck, and remember food is needed for nutrients so try to make healthy choices. I take supplements because I find it hard to get all the nutrients I need from food. If you keep the journal you will be on your way to better eating!

writing

Expressive Writing Can Reduce Anxiety

"Writing down your feelings helps you stop dwelling on past events, which reduces stress and allows for better sleep," says James W. Pennebaker, PhD, professor of psychology at the University of Texas, in Austin.
Much research has been done to prove that writing is extremely beneficial to your health, mainly because it reduces stress and anxiety. But the key to maximizing this stress reduction is to write about your personal and emotional experiences.
Expressive writing (in a secret diary or personal journal) let's your thoughts out of your head where they magnify and become exacerbated. Negative memories and thoughts are insidious and unless they are released, will cause more stress and anxiety.
As they mention in the Penzu Health Benefits section, some questions might be able to get you started:
THE PAST:
o Is there something that has been on your mind lately?
o What are some of your greatest memories?
o What are some of your worst memories?
o Is there anything in your past that you still think about?
o Describe a memorable event and how it made you feel
o Does that memory bring you joy or pain?
o If you could rewrite the past, how might you change how that event occurred?
o Did you learn anything from that memorable event?
o If so, how can that learning be applied to your future?
THE FUTURE:
o What are some of your dreams for the future?
o What does your ideal life look like in 5, 10, 15 years?
o Is your future a positive or negative one?
o If negative, what can you do to make it positive?
o How can you change your thinking today to make for a positive future?
o If there are things about your past you want to change, what then can you carry forward?
o Is there anyone you admire and strive to emulate?
o How different is your future self from your current self?
o What do you have to do to become your ideal self?
Hopefully these questions will ignite some inspiration. Try writing on a pad of paper or in an online diary such as Penzu .
Start writing and feel better!

writing

Heal the Soul With a Personal Writing Journal

Keeping a personal writing journal has a powerful way of healing the soul. When writing about what troubles you and all your immediate thoughts on the subject it creates space for solutions to enter your life. When you write down things that excite you it creates an opportunity to reflect back to that feeling and experience with happiness and bliss. Your greatest teacher will become your personal writing journal as you write down your inner thoughts, special events, future plans, successes, difficult challenges, dark thoughts, bright thoughts, major frustrations and life's loves in your journal. You will discover more and more about who you are in the world and why your life is the way that it is.
Your personal journal can be the hidden key to self-discovery and personal growth. This is your own story told in your own words. Find some personal space and write down anything and everything that is going on in your head and your heart and let it flow on paper. Personally for me as I battled deep depression and felt I could never talk to anyone about this darkness I found solace in my journal. I chose a beautiful leather bound journal.
This is not to say that everything you write will be remarkable, but occasionally you will surprise yourself. Personally for me, as I began to attempt to unravel my mind, answers slowly came to me. More importantly it gave me a sense of peace and was a great release of negative energy. My journal was the destination where I got to unburden myself of my troubles by writing them down. It is never good or healthy to "bottle" up your emotions especially if they are serious and negative. These feelings and the energy that surrounds them has to be released. If you feel you cannot talk to anyone about these feelings, write them down. You will surprise yourself! This unlocks doors to solutions and healing.
Writing and keeping a personal journal can put you in control of your life and destiny as it gives you the clearest insight into where you are going and where you have come from, and gives you the opportunity to change the path you are on if you don't like what you see. What you have at this moment will not be what you will ever have for eternity. You can discover what is truly important and rid what is poisonous and useless in your life and put you on that path to happiness and bliss. The three most important words I ever heard.. "Follow Your Bliss"

writing

Travel Journals – Today’s Diary Is Tomorrow’s History

What if you used a trip diary to record a different kind of travel - a journey into the milestones of your life or the lives of loved ones? Did you ever think that your everyday life is an adventure worth preserving?
We travel for lots of reasons, such as to enrich our lives, to relax, or to visit friends and family. Travel journals are the perfect tool to capture our travel experiences, so we can preserve them and relive them.
Historians use diaries to gain information about the past. A good example is Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House series. Her father's restlessness caused the Ingalls family to move across the Unites States, which became the basis of these famous books. A more tragic story comes from one of the most famous journals, The Diary of Anne Frank. The author described a journey that forever left a mark on history.
What do Anne Frank and Laura Ingalls Wilder have in common? Neither knew they were making history when they started their journals. Both of these girls lived extraordinary lives but started out writing about ordinary circumstances. When Anne Frank made her first diary entry, she wrote about her birthday. She did not know that her diary would become a book and historical document.
The words 'journey' and 'journal' come from the same root, from the French word meaning "a day." Anne Frank and Laura Ingalls Wilder captured the journey of a day. All those days added up to a legacy.
What if you were to start your journal as travel of a day? Can you imagine what you would have if you wrote one sentence and took a photo of something, every day for one year? Perhaps you start out recording the ordinary, but if something extraordinary happened, it would be easy to write about it since you have already begun your daily journal.
You could concentrate on special events, such as social and family gatherings, trips, family traditions, holidays, or historical moments. Perhaps you could write about tiny trips, such as going to a movie or out to dinner. These may not seem important now, but can you imagine your grandchildren reading what you wrote?
What if you made this a family project? Imagine what you would have if every night before bedtime, your children wrote something about their day? In these days of economic uncertainty, a keepsake like this would be priceless.
If you want to, you may add photos to your journey journal. You can keep them on a CD or DVD and store them in a pocket in your diary. If your journal doesn't have a pocket page, you can attach a CD sleeve to the inside back cover.
You can start your armchair travel anytime. Your birthday, the New Year, or today. Remember, you are capturing history, and history does not make an appointment. So why not start now? You never know what will happen tomorrow.
Oscar Wilde wrote, said, "I never travel without my diary. One should always have something sensational to read in the train." Perhaps your journal will not make for sensational reading now, but later, when the memories are cold and forgotten, you will have created a legacy.

writing

4 Free Ways to Re-Commit to Your Diet

Ways to re-commit to your Diet.
1) Re-commit. Take a minute to look back and remember why you decided to diet in the first place. Perhaps it was out of a health concern or perhaps you decided to go into this out of wanting to shed a few pounds. On a blank sheet of paper write down what ever action brought you to start a diet.
Next ask yourself to remember the feeling that brought you to this resolution. What where you feeling when you decided to do this? Where you feeling fear, disappointment, concern? What ever the reason or feeling you had at the time, revisit that and re-focus your efforts.
2) Start a Diet journal. Starting a journal of any sort can be a daunting task but can be a very powerful tool to add to any diet. A journal can help dieters keep track of food by adding accountability. I can think of at least one VERY well known diet plan that uses accountability as it's prime tool in the battle of the belly fat.
The two things you'll need in order to make a diet journal work are honesty and regularity. You must be honest enough to write down what you've had and you must make entries with regularity in order to make sure you've stuck to your.
3) Drink lots of water. You hear it all the time but it's a fact, water is good for you. Some studies have also shown that people often mistake thirst for hunger. And we all know that hunger is a dieter's worst enemy. That said, the next time you think you might be hungry, stop for a sec and be sure. If not it may just be a question of easily extinguishing this urge with a glass of water.
I might also add to be sure it's water. None of this sugar substituted iced tea stuff, just plain old water.
4) Read the nutritional information. Whether you're on a diet or not, reading the nutritional information is always a good idea. In fact I dare say that a dieter who does not read the nutritional information is akin to a financial expert who refuses to read bank statements. After all how do you know what you're eating if you don't even know what's in it. Burying your head in the sand might make eating that tasty treat easier in the short term but you owe it to yourself and your diet to read what's in it.
I sure hope this helps, they're just a couple things I'm trying out myself so I decided to share with all of you as well. Till next time.
Happy Dieting

writing

Why Journaling Every Day Is a Great Idea

People have been keeping journals and diaries for a long time and for some very good reasons. Journaling has many benefits that can impact a person's mental health, creativity, and memory. If you don't keep a journal, perhaps you should consider it. Here are a few reasons why journaling every day is a great idea....
To express your feelings. Every human being experiences emotions and some of these feelings can be hard to handle. If you're going through a rough time or need an outlet for your emotions, writing in a journal can be a big help. It can help you process difficult feelings like loneliness, depression, and anger, and also serve as a record for your more positive emotions. If nothing else, writing about your feelings can help you sort them out so you can accept them and move on. It's almost like free therapy which can be really helpful.

To record your life. While many people record their activities via social media websites such as Facebook, there's something homey and quaint about recording one's activities in a journal. For one thing, you don't need an Internet connection to do so. (That is, if you're using a paper journal as opposed to an online service like LiveJournal.) All of your experiences will be chronicled in a book that you can take down off the shelf so you can remember the good times (and the bad times, if you wish).

To keep track of inspiration. Writers and artists can really benefit from journaling. If you're out in the world and inspiration hits, you can jot down your ideas or even do a quick sketch so you can work with the material later on. Trying to remember creative fragments (i.e. a few notes of music, a phrase for a poem, bits of a dream, etc.) can be difficult, but if you have a record of them, you'll be able to use them at a later time.

To save mementos. You don't just need to draw and/or write in your journal. You can also use it as a kind of scrapbook and paste photos, postcards, ticket stubs, and more in it. This is an especially good thing to do if you take a special trip somewhere or go to a great concert. It will also make looking through the journal really enjoyable in the future.

To get creative. The best thing about journaling is that your journal is yours. You can get as creative as you want with it; no one will judge you for how you keep it or what you put into it. You can write with colorful markers or soft pencils. In all caps or small letters or a mix of both. It's up to you. If you want, you can even create your own journal if you have cover stock, paper, and access to a binding machine. This can make the book really special and you won't have to shell out money for a store-bought journal.
Journaling every day can be beneficial for many reasons. It can help you process feelings, record life events, and encourage you to be more creative. Start keeping your own journal today.