Before we left on our honeymoon in September, I purchased an e-book to read on the many flights we had over the course of the trip. It’s called The Miracle Morning: The Not-So-Obvious Secret Guaranteed To Transform Your Life… (Before 8AM). I didn’t end up reading it on the trip, instead choosing to read a non-fiction paperback about the hey day of antique wines in the 1980s. Fascinating stuff!
In October and November, I was reading on and off, a bit at a time. I finally made my way through The Miracle Morning. The general gist of the book is to take some time right after waking up in the morning to devote oneself to self-development. The author lists six activities to do during this time: silence/meditation, exercise, affirmations, visualization, reading, and journaling.
I was not terribly impressed with the book itself, and found it gimmicky and lame how the author refers to his own ‘level 10’ success. His simple idea of making time for self-improvement in the morning is a good one though. I used to get up with only 45 minutes or so to get ready. After I started giving myself an hour and fifteen minutes, I felt much calmer and more prepared for the day. I didn’t need to rush through my routines, could eat breakfast and spend some time with the cats.
Perhaps the new year is a good time to again read the book Savor: Living Abundantly Where You Are, As You Are. I started reading its short entries (one per day) for a few months in 2016, and writing brief responses to them in my journal. Perhaps reflecting on topics such as life, love, and grief could help me live a more appreciative life. The entries in the book are super short, so reading and writing about them for 5 minutes as I enjoy my toast in the morning is doable.
Are you a morning person? Are there things you do when you wake up that make sure the day is a good one?
If you have trouble budgeting, I highly recommend finding some budget-related YouTubers to follow. With some fresh ideas and guidance from them, you’ll get an extra dose of enthusiasm and feel inspired to re-commit to your financial goals.
Especially during this season of high spending, getting real with your budget is critical.
The finance YouTubers I watch regularly include:
Dave Ramsey Of course Americans who budget know who this guy is. While sometimes rather rigid in his advice, he has a system that works for many people. If you’re just starting out, check him out.
Budget Girl A gal who’s putting Dave Ramsey’s system into practice. I’ve been watching her videos for a long time now, and appreciate her energy and commitment. As a journalist, her income isn’t super high but she makes it work for herself and has really put a dent in her debt. Some videos are on meal prep.
FrugalChicLife She’s got a ton of great, short videos about budgeting and how she runs her family’s finances. Also some videos on simplifying.
Sugar Mamma An Australian single mom who’s a financial planner by profession. Lots of guidance on buying stocks and something she calls the $1,000 Project which is a way to create a passive income stream.
Miss Be Helpful I just found her on YouTube this week and love her energy! Budgeting basics and really great advice on ways to save money.
What YouTubers do you watch to get financial inspiration? I recently revamped my budgeting system and will post on that soon.
My reading goal for 2016 was to read a book each month. This was fine, a reasonable decision for a busy professional such as myself, and totally doable… until I started reading and listening to Shantaram in April. This book is a hefty 946 pages.
I read books mostly by borrowing them from the public library as e-books or audiobooks, so sometimes I have to wait until they are available if others are ahead of me in line. So that is part of the reason why it took me so long to finish it, another reason is that it’s poorly written and very slow to get into. But I recently finished it! So to date, I’ve finished 7 books this year, with two currently in the works as well. See below for the books I’ve completed, and the others still on my list to read this year:
I found Hagakure after watching the movie Ghost Dog with my boyfriend, and really appreciate the book’s link between behavior and values. It’s also a quick read, at less than 200 pages. I’d like to read a few shorter books to catch up with my goal. 5 more books before the end of the year is an ambitious goal, given that it’s almost November!
I’m also still reading the daily devotional book Savor. I was good during the first few months of the year to read and write briefly about the essay every morning, but haven’t done it regularly since then. Every once in a while I read the day’s essay and think about it, but I think it would be nice to get back into that habit to reflect a bit more every day and keep things in perspective.
What are you reading this year? Do you have a reading goal on Goodreads? If you’ve read any of the books I list above, what did you think about them?
As a goal-oriented person, I take my commitments very seriously and take immense pleasure in seeing progress as I get closer to my goals. Unfortunately, each day only has a limited number of hours in it, so we can only accomplish so much in a given day. There’s a push and a pull for each decision I make on how I spend my time. Lately, the tension has been between my goal of finishing the P90X fitness program before my boyfriend and I set off on our European vacation in late August, and making progress on my reading goal for this year.
When he suggested we do the P90X program, we calculated that we had plenty of time to finish the 90-day program before our departure, with some extra days thrown in, in case of sickness or if we needed extra rest days. What we soon realized after starting the program was that when it’s both a work day and P90X day, that usually doesn’t leave much time or energy for any other activity. If we had dinner planned with friends, that usually meant we wouldn’t be working out that day.
It is helpful to have a workout sheet on the fridge and see what’s coming up in the next few days. I love washi tape and use it to cover each workout as we complete them.
I joke that playing with washi tape is the reason why I do the workouts.
We’re now on Week 10 of the program (woo hoo!) but that means I’ve really dropped the ball on my reading goals. It also doesn’t help that I started reading a 900+ page novel that’s pretty slow to get into. I’ve recently made an effort to get back into listening to the audiobook on my walk home after work, but it’s a real struggle some days. Perhaps I should start a vision board for my reading goals just like I have for P90X. That way I could see my progress and get motivated!
Back in April of this year, I started posting short videos of our cat, Chester, on YouTube. As his adopted mother, I knew that his antics and cuteness needed to be seen and appreciated by more than just Michael and I. He was at ease with our roommate Alex as well, but with visitors he would become reserved. So I tried to capture some of his habits on camera.
Two Somersaults was his debut video, and set the bar high with Scott Joplin’s sweet ragtime tune and Chester’s artful acrobatics. Chester loves those small, bright bins from IKEA, which I used to use for storage but he adopted. He loves not seeing out of the bin, maybe it’s the sense of urgency or danger that it creates? Tumblin’ is a follow-up on this theme, with more bin fun.
I’ve seen it mentioned in a few articles that watching cute animal videos online helps increase productivity. It’s something about how your brain tunes into the cuteness and becomes more attentive, which then translates to more attention to other tasks you do thereafter. So go ahead, watch these videos! Who knew increasing your productivity could be so fun, right?
You’re welcome for the music as well. It always gets stuck in my head when I’m editing these videos! ^_^