August 2019 Newsletter
Now that school is back in session, the kids are finally out of the house for hours a day, five days a week. Along with that, you may find yourself (as many others have) needing to get back into the workflow, after the summer’s “life of leisure.” So to bring that bounce back into your step, and bring out your already pre-existing work qualities, we have devised three ways that can help polish up those “good habits,” whatever they may be.
1. Schedule your habits into your life:
Give your habits a specific space in your life. There are two main options for making this happen:
- Put it on your calendar: Give yourself a time and place that it needs to happen.
- Tie it to your current behavior: Not all of your habits will fit a specific time frame, but they all should have a trigger that acts as a reminder to do them. The bottom line to this is: it might be nice to tell yourself that you’re going to change, but getting specific makes it real, and gives you a reason and a reminder to get back on track whenever you slip up.
2. Stick to your schedule, even in small ways:
It’s critical to stick to your schedule, even if it’s only in a very small way.
- It’s not the individual impact of missing your schedule that’s a big deal. It’s the cumulative impact of never getting back on track. If you miss one workout, you don’t suddenly feel more out of shape than you were before.
- The changes to these things make a difference. It results in the impact of always sticking to your schedule and will carry you to long-term success.
3. Focus on what you can work with:
Don’t waste so much time focusing on what is withheld from you. This is especially true after you slip up and get off track from your goals.
- It’s not easy, but I promise you that your life will be better if you choose to feel uncomfortable and make progress, rather than complain and make excuses. Shift your focus from what is withheld from you to what is available to you.
- It’s rare that your circumstances prevent you from making any progress. You might not like where you have to start. Your progress might be slow and unsexy. But you can work with this.
Finances – S.M.A.R.T.
You might be surprised to learn that all electronics suck energy when they’re plugged in, EVEN IF they’re powered down. In the U.S. alone, “vampire power” is responsible for draining up to $19 billion in energy every year. Anytime a cord is plugged into a socket, it’s drawing energy – so although your device isn’t charging, you’re still contributing to your carbon footprint. Simple solution? Leave your electronics unplugged at all times, unless you’re actually using them.
What is a financial goal and how many of us actually sit down to create one for ourselves? While you take this time to think of ways to organize and clean out your home, mind, and body, also take a minute to reflect on how you would like your finances to work for you. When creating a financial goal and thinking of what you want your financial future to look like, a good start is to understand the SMART goal technique.
SMART goals are goals that embody five distinct traits:
Your financial goals should be as specific as possible in order to successfully achieve exactly what you want. Always include as much detail as possible. What am I striving for? How will I achieve it? Who does it involve? Why is it important to me? If getting out of debt is important to you, think about what debt you want to tackle. Is it credit card debt or student loans? Pick one and focus on that for your goal.
For a goal to be effective, it must be measurable. Define how much you will achieve by accomplishing this goal. A goal to “make a lot of money” is not helpful because you can’t measure “a lot.” Let’s look at getting out of credit card debt. What does that mean to you and what does it look like? Saying “I want to reduce my credit card debt by $3,000” is a start to being measurable. How will you accomplish paying down that debt? Do you just “put a little extra in every month when I have that money?” Unfortunately, that may not work very well. You need to be specific and you need to be able to measure it. Figure out exactly how much extra you can pay every month towards your debt. Now you have a concrete figure. You know you need this amount every month. You can now work on ways to make sure you have this much to pay off your debt. This also breaks down your goal of paying your credit card debt into smaller goals that you can attain on a measurable frame. Now, you aren’t focused on paying off all your credit card debt, which can feel overwhelming. You are viewing it as paying off a specific, measurable amount each month.
A big mistake we often make with goals, and one of the main reasons why we may fail to meet goals is because we shoot for the moon with a goal we can’t reasonably achieve. As you are creating your financial goal, ask yourself, “Can I actually do this? Is it really possible?” If you have made your goal specific and measurable, it should help in determining if your goal is attainable. It’s also okay if your goal may seem slightly out of reach. That’s the great thing with goals. We can always adjust them if we need. The point is that you are working toward something. Making a goal too easy to achieve means you aren’t growing and changing something about yourself. Sometimes, we have to stretch and struggle to reach that goal. It can help you to be more of who you want to be rather than who you have been. If your goal is to pay down credit card debt, challenge yourself to rework your budget to be able to put that money toward your goal.
Setting realistic goals involves the methods we intend to use to achieve our goals. An example of a realistic goal might be, “I want to pay off my credit card debt of $3,000 by paying $300 a month for the next ten months.” Is the $300 something you can work into your budget for putting toward that goal? A realistic goal must be in the realm of possibility for you.
This last element of SMART financial goals is really important. Effective goals are time-bound or timely. What does that mean? It means your goal will have a starting point, an endpoint and measurable time or milestones in between. Making your goal time-bound provides a framework for you to work within.
Time makes your goal more SPECIFIC: “I’ll eliminate my credit card debt in ten months.”
Time makes your goal more MEASURABLE: “I’ll put X dollars away every Sunday and then pay N dollars on the 15th of the month toward my credit card bill.”
Time makes your goal ATTAINABLE: “I can’t pay $3,000 in 2 months toward my credit card debt, but I can afford $300 a month to put toward it.”
Time makes your goal REALISTIC: “Is the time needed to attain this goal really the best use of time for me?”
This article is for information, illustrative and entertainment purposes only and does not purport to show actual results. It is not, and should not be regarded as investment advice or as a recommendation regarding any particular investment action.
Personal Interest – Nutrition and Fitness (Section 1.)
When it comes to one’s well-being, being healthy should be a goal within anyone’s lifestyle. Regardless of career, hobbies, family life, or stressors, being healthy is never too far out of reach. Two of the components that can change a lifestyle into a healthy one starts with nutrition. However, when combined with fitness, one can transform a sedentary life into a life of wellness. In this section of this months article, we’ll be covering the nutrition aspect that can get you set up and started on making that lifestyle change and getting situated with it. Then next month we will continue with the fitness portion.
Nutrition is important for fitness
Eating a well-balanced diet can help you get the calories and nutrients you need to fuel your daily activities, including regular exercise.
When it comes to eating foods to fuel your exercise performance, it’s not as simple as choosing vegetables over doughnuts. You need to eat the right types of food at the right times of the day.
Learn about the importance of healthy breakfasts, workout snacks, and meal plans.
Get off to a good start
Your first meal of the day is an important one. Eating breakfast regularly has been linked to a lower risk of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. Starting your day with a healthy meal can help replenish your blood sugar, which your body needs to power your muscles and brain.
Eating a healthy breakfast is especially important on days when exercise is on your agenda. Skipping breakfast can leave you feeling lightheaded or lethargic while you’re working out.
Choosing the right kind of breakfast is crucial. Too many people rely on simple carbohydrates to start their day. A plain white bagel or doughnut won’t keep you feeling full for long.
In comparison, a fiber- and protein-rich breakfast may fend off hunger pangs for longer and provide the energy you need to keep your exercise going. Follow these tips for eating a healthy breakfast:
- Instead of eating sugar-laden cereals made from refined grains, try oatmeal, oat bran, or other whole-grain cereals that are high in fiber. Then, throw in some proteins, such as milk, yogurt, or chopped nuts.
- If you’re making pancakes or waffles, replace some of the all-purpose flour with whole-grain options. Then, stir some cottage cheese into the batter.
- If you prefer toast, choose whole-grain bread. Then pair it with an egg, peanut butter, or another protein source.
Count on the right carbohydrates
Thanks to low-carb fad diets, carbohydrates have gotten a bad rap. But carbohydrates are your body’s main source of energy. About 45 to 65 percent of your total daily calories should come from carbohydrates. This is especially true if you exercise.
Consuming the right kind of carbohydrates is important. Many people rely on the simple carbs found in sweets and processed foods. Instead, you should focus on eating complex carbs found in whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and beans.
Whole grains have more staying power than refined grains because you digest them more slowly.
They can help you feel full for longer and fuel your body throughout the day. They can also help stabilize your blood sugar levels. Finally, these quality grains have the vitamins and minerals you need to keep your body running at its best.
Pack protein into your snacks and meals
Protein is needed to help keep your body growing, maintained, and repaired.
Protein is also essential for building and repairing muscles, as well as helping you enjoy the benefits of your workout. It can be a source of energy when carbohydrates are in short supply, but it’s not a major source of fuel during exercise.
Protein can come from:
- poultry, such as chicken and turkey
- red meat, such as beef and lamb
- fish, such as salmon and tuna
- dairy, such as milk and yogurt
- legumes, such as beans and lentils
For the healthiest options, choose lean proteins that are low in saturated and trans fats. Limit the amount of red meat and processed meats that you eat.
Choose healthy fats
Unsaturated fats may help reduce inflammation and provide calories.
While fat is a primary fuel for aerobic exercise, we have plenty of fat stored in the body to fuel even the longest workouts. However, getting healthy unsaturated fats helps to provide essential fatty acids and calories to keep you moving.
Healthy options include:
- oils, such as olive oil
Balance is key
As you settle into an active lifestyle, you’ll probably discover which foods give you the most energy and which have negative effects. The key is learning to listen to your body and balancing what feels right with what’s good for you.
Follow these tips:
- Aim to make breakfast a part of your routine.
- Choose complex carbohydrates, lean protein sources, healthy fats, and a wide variety of fruits and veggies.
- Stock your fridge and gym bag with healthy workout snacks.
- The right balance of carbohydrates, protein, and other nutrients can help fuel your exercise routine.
September 2 – Labor Day
September 11 – Patriot Day
September 17 – Constitution Day & Citizenship Day
Live up to your potential instead of imitating someone else’s.– Martha Burgess
Thank you and have a great month!