Tag: habits

A 2017 Earth Day Checkup

A 2017 Earth Day Checkup

Earth Day was this weekend. To celebrate, Florin’s school passed out garbage bags to kick off next week’s city-wide clean up (my favorite time of year… all the trash that was hiding in all that snow gets picked up!). Each year, I perform a personal Earth Day Checkup. We could all be doing better protecting the environment, but every year, I like to celebrate the things I am doing, note my own improvements, and come up with something I can improve upon.

Earth Day Checkup: The Good

  • Growing Food – We’re pretty good at taking advantage of our short growing season. We got started a bit late this year, but we’ve now got some arugula, basil, and tomatoes starting in our window. (We can’t move plants outside until June 1). When it’s time, we will plant zucchini, carrots, and peas outside. Our raspberries continue to take over the garden and we let them.
  • Sourcing Food – I think it’s important for my kids to understand where food comes from (and not just the store). Partly because of this, my kids are aware we grind our wheat into flour and they help crack our oat groats into our version of “steel-cut.” We also catch enough salmon each year to eat salmon weekly. Our kids are very involved in that process. Though we are not hunters, we try to eat other meats sparingly.
  • Using Fabric Grocery Bags – This is a development that I’m happy to see has caught on. The actual materials may not save the environment, but re-using the same bags over and over is where the environmental benefit is seen. Our bags have all been used many, many times.
  • Recycling – Getting recycle bins in our neighborhood is actually how I become HOA president. I showed up at a meeting and was nominated and voted in immediately. We are very good about recycling everything we can.
  • Drinking Tap Water – Hard to complain about glacial tap water here in Alaska. It’s delicious. And when we need water on-the-go, we bottle it up!
  • Preserving Food – We’re actually pretty good at not having to waste food. Occasionally the last few celery sticks will go bad before we consume them and we do have a hard time making it through the Costco spinach before it’s mushy (we always get really, really close!), but on the whole, we’re actually pretty good about this. We also don’t buy jam (we bring some homemade blackberry up from Mr. T’s mom in Seattle and we make our own raspberry from our own plants) and we preserve when we’re given food (ie: canning delicious homemade applesauce).

Earth Day Checkup: An Improvement Goal

Drive Less – We’re very solid 2-car people lately. I don’t regret this decision since Florin and Penny go to different schools and they are rerouting the city buses and we will no longer have convenient access to them. However, with the chaos of having two kids in two different schools this year, it seems I’m always driving all over town. I’ve been bad about efficiently planning my errands. This year, I want to at least be more conscious about the things I need to do that involve driving and try to limit the amount of trips needed.

What are your goals for improvement in your Earth Day Checkup?

Kindness

On Kindness

Did you know that the incidence of psychopathy in CEOs is 4 times that of the general population? Apparently a lack of empathy and kindness is great material for climbing the ladder all the way to the top!

I’m a firm believer that your selfish vs. altruistic mindsets are firmly cemented the more actions you make. For example, if we spend all of our working years actively chasing early retirement and choosing not to give (after all, one donation could mean 2 weeks/months/years more work!), we’re not going to one day wake up and decide the time is right to start giving. On the flip side, if we get into the habit now of charitable giving, it will become a habit and doing good with money won’t be difficult later.

Just as I think giving money is a habit, kindness is also a habit. Kindness may not make you rich, but it will definitely enrich your journey. Today, I want to make a case for being kind. There is enough rhetoric in the world about how to be cut-throat, ruthless, step on the little guy to get a leg-up, and not looking down on your way to the top. The world doesn’t need more of that. And if that’s the requirement for being successful, I’m happy to be a failure.

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The Formula for a Happy, Productive Day

The Formula for a Productive, Happy Day

When Mr. T and I were in London in June, we attended church right near Hyde Park. The speaker mentioned the three things we should be doing every single day and I’ve thought since then about how right he was.

Here is his 3-step formula for a happy, productive day (with my own thoughts added under each one):

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Know Thyself: Do You

Lately, I’ve had a total breakthrough in achieving my goals. It has been a breakthrough for me to come to the realization (and admit) that I’m an “a lot at one time” kind of person and get stressed out about committing to do something every day. Granted, it’s only been a few weeks since I changed my tactics on my goals to reflect this realization, but so far things are going well. This all goes back to the most important thing you can do for yourself and your finances: know thyself. There are hundreds, probably thousands of personal finance blogs available, and it’s fabulous for your finances to surround yourself with good influences that preach the messages of avoiding debt, saving more, and finding financial freedom and independence. But the reason why there are so many is because there is no one-size-fits all approach to finances.

Do you want to know the absolute best way for you to get out of debt and save more money? The answer: The one you will actually do. 

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Research Highlight: How to Start a New Habit

Ever find yourself with a bad habit like eating a cookie every day at lunch? Charles Duhigg did. And he set out on a research journey to break that habit in the book: The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business. Despite the 8 pounds he had gained, Duhigg found himself in the cafeteria every afternoon eating another cookie. He tried reminder notes, but promptly ignored them. He discovered that a habit is actually a three-step loop:

Cue —> Habit routine —> Reward

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