January 6, 2010

Free Life

What is Free Life? Free Life is my blog where I plan on expressing ideas and interests that I believe lead to a life of happiness and freedom. Free Life is an idea. An idea that you can be free to be who you want to be, free to do the things you want to do, free to be happy and just plain free!
I have also been interested in personal finance. Lately I have also become pretty interested in personal development. Both of these topics will be covered pretty regularly here at Free Life. With a strong financial base through a sound personal finance philosophy we can be free to do the things we want. We can be free to be happy. But you must also understand that money cannot buy happiness. One has to decide to be happy. And thus, Free Life covers both of these topics.
So if you are interested in living a Free Life then I hope you will check back frequently for ideas on improving yourself, being happy and creating a strong financial foundation.

January 4, 2010

Figure Out Your Obstacles

Yesterday I discussed easing into a new habit or resolution. Today I want to discuss the importance of figuring out the obstacles that will get in the way of achieving what you want to achieve.
Whatever it is you are wanting to accomplish it is important to look ahead. Try to think of anything you can that might get in your way or sidetrack you. Then have a plan put into to place to deal with these obstacles. Obstacles will arise. Some you may foresee and some you may not. However with a plan in place to deal with obstacles you will have a much higher chance for success.
In my plan to form the habit of exercising 6 days a week I have tried to see any obstacles that will get in my way. In the past when I have tried to start up running and fallen off the wagon it is usually because I get busy with work. I have to stay a couple hours late for a few days or weeks in a row and next thing I know I haven't run for a month.
Looking forward I know that I am going to be working a lot these next couple months. Not only will we be busy at work probably working an hour later or so most days but I have decided to also work part time doing income tax preparation. I know about these obstacles before I'm starting my habit change. I know that things like this have thrown me off track in the past. How am I preparing? Well I plan on working part time 2 nights during the week. So I plan on taking my one rest day a week during one of those days. That only leaves me to worry about the other day. The plan is to wake up early in the morning that day and get my run over first thing. That day will be an easy day for me. It will be the easiest day of the week for running so that I won't wake up and immediately think not to do it because I have a hard day of running scheduled.
It is also important to roll with the punches. Things will come up that you can't plan for and that you didn't see coming. So you miss a day of running. Don't let that get you down. Get back out there the next day and stick to your plan. Stay motivated and if you are forced to miss a day for some reason then look at it as a necessary extra rest day. Don't let that completely throw you off track so that you give up.
Ideally by planning for obstacles I will be able to maneuver around them and stay on track. Hopefully by the end of February I will have been consistent with my running and on my way of accomplishing my bigger goal of completing a marathon.

January 3, 2010

Stick to a Resolution by Easing Into It

Have you ever made a New Year's resolution to exercise more? Then January 3rd comes and you don't feel like going to the gym or hopping on the treadmill. Then January 4th comes and you had to stay an extra hour at work and have to go to the grocery store that night or you won't have anything to eat that week? Then next thing you know it's January 15th and you've given up on your resolution? I'm sure this sounds familiar to quite a few people out there. I know it does for me.
This year I've decided to focus on 6 habits to change or form in 2010. I talked about these habit changes in my last post here. My very first habit that I'd like to form is the ever popular habit of exercising more often. More specific I want to start to run at least 6 days a week and gradually build up to a goal of completing a marathon. This is a tough habit to form as many know.
The key to starting off on the right foot is to ease into the habit. At the beginning I am all motivated and excited to begin my new habit. For example, on the second day of the year, I was so motivated I really really wanted to run an extra couple miles. However I have made the decision to start out easy. At the start I am focusing on running 6 days a week. The time I run does not matter. I am going to run for a time that seems easy to me. Only 20 minutes. This way I have no excuse not to lace up my shoes and get a short run in.
Why is it a good idea to ease into your new habit or resolution? For one you won't become burned out. At first we are all excited to accomplish our goals. Things go good for a few days. Then our bodies begin to get sore. We begin to come up with excuses like having to run some errands. Next thing we know, we aren't on track any more. Another reason is to keep motivation high. Have you ever been excited about something and held yourself back? What happens? You tend to stay excited. Possibly becoming more excited.
Possibly the most important reason to start out easy is accomplishment. For me the greatest motivating factor is accomplishing something. If I set my goals to high I will become discouraged and fail. However by setting my sites low at the beginning I will easily reach my targets and will keep motivated to reach higher. With the ball rolling and completing my habit daily I will stay motivated.
Gradually I will begin to increase the distance of my runs. Gradually. For now though and for the next few weeks I need to make sure I keep my runs at a level that I can achieve fairly easily. After the habit is formed I can begin to increase my distance.

January 1, 2010

6 Resolutions for 2010

In an earlier post I discussed the idea of choosing 6 different resolutions for 2010 and focusing on each one of these resolutions for 2 months at a time. The idea is that focusing on one resolution or habit at a time will give me a higher success rate.

Therefore, my plan is as follows:

January - February: I will be focusing on creating the habit of exercising every day. I have a goal to run a marathon towards the end of 2010. In order to get there I need to get into the habit of running at least 6 days a week and the sooner I start the better chance I have of succeeding. Therefore for the first two months of 2010 I will be focusing on running at least 6 days a week. My plan is to start off easy only running 20 -30 minutes a day. Gradually towards the end of the two months I hope to have built up to being able to run closer to a full hour. Along with the running I want to do 15 crunches and 10 push ups after each run. Not a lot but a consistent effort over the course of a year will really make a difference.

March - April: The next habit I want to focus on is not eating out. In March and April I will try to develop the habit of eating my lunch at work instead of going out to fast food. I will save more money and be eating a little healthier. One thing I will allow is that if I am asked by someone to go to lunch (usually happens once a week or so) then I will join. Otherwise I must eat a lunch I packed from home.

May - June: For these two months I want to really focus on my job. I tend to spend too much time checking other blogs or reading news on the Internet. I want to change this habit so that while I am at the office I am focusing on work. Also during these two months I would like to try to get a better understanding of the more complex laws guiding my industry. I work in an area of taxation that is pretty specific. I would like to read some of the IRS code and try to memorize the laws so that I can be more knowledgeable. Ideally these two months will help turn me into a more valuable worker who possibly deserves a promotion and a raise!

July - August: Soda! I want to give up drinking soda. Currently I don't drink much but I do drink a soda at lunch time during the work week. This is a waste of money and I get no nutritional value from it. I would like to quit the habit of drinking soda and focus on drinking water, juice or milk.

September - October: These two months I will be focusing on keeping the kitchen clean! I like having things in order and clean. Sometimes I feel overwhelmed when I walk into a room and things are messy. The main room of our house that I see everyday before I leave and when I get home is the kitchen. It's also the easiest to get dirty. So for these two months I would like to focus on cleaning up the kitchen each night after dinner. Cleaning out the sink, wiping off the counters and cleaning off the stove will do wonders for bringing me peace of mind.

November - December: For the last two months of 2010 I would like to focus on a habit that I should have developed a long time ago. I need to brush my teeth every single night and floss every day. Currently I don't do this. I think it will be important for the health of my teeth and hopefully fewer problems at the dentist will lead to saving some money!

So what do you think? If I can accomplish all this in 2010 then it will be a successful year! What are your resolutions? How do you plan on achieving your goals?

December 31, 2009

Happy New Year - 2010

With 2010 fast approaching, I found myself contemplating what resolutions I was going to make for the new year. Looking back at past years I've made many resolutions. Most of them I can't remember. All of them I failed to follow through on.

Are resolutions pointless? Why don't I follow through on things that I apparently want to do? Am I aiming to high? Am I making a resolution to do something that I don't care enough about to follow through on? Am I lazy?

While pondering these questions I came across this blog post from Zen Habits titled "The Definitive Guide to Sticking to Your New Year's Resolutions." Surely this post is exactly what I need! It will tell me exactly how to stick to my resolution and at last my old habit of breaking resolutions will be gone. I will finally stick to and accomplish my resolution!

Alas! This blog post was not what I thought! It does not talk about picking one new year's resolution! This post discusses picking 6 resolutions for the year 2010. Focus on one resolution at a time for 2 months each. Turn the resolution into a habit. Once you've developed the habit after 2 months then move on to the next! This sounds like a great idea. Why accomplish one resolution in 2010 when I can change or create 6 different habits? If I can do this then surely 2010 will be one of my most accomplished years yet.

So this is what I've decided to do. 2010 is the year for creating or changing 6 habits for myself. For each 2 month period I will focus on one of the habits I want to create or change. This will be the most important thing for me to focus on during those 2 months. Nothing shall get in my way of creating the habit.

In my next post I will discuss the 6 habits I've decided to create along with why they are important to me.