Intentional Living

Your Habits Determine Your Future

We recently changed our Cable TV subscription from having over 100 channels thru the old-school Platinum pack with the Discovery and lifestyle channels to the cheaper Dual Def 549 package. As a result, we now have the Simply Money channel where the show ‘Til Debt Do Us Part airs. A few years back, that show inspired me to build better spending and saving habits. Coupled with other concepts I’ve learned here and there, I managed to cut back on consumer credit card debt and felt so happy about it.

Unfortunately, I’ve not always maintained those good habits. Now, my credit card use is getting a little bit out of hand.

After our wedding, my husband and I agreed on a budget and we’ve pretty much stuck to it. We prioritised paying off debt, but by this time, we should already be building our emergency fund back up. Sad to say, we aren’t. We are thru paying off one loan, and will soon finish payment on another. Instead of getting rid of all but one credit card, we still have three. The third one was supposed to be the only remaining card and would be used for auto payments on bills, for gas and groceries too. It is the card we always pay off in full monthly. So far, we’ve managed to do that. But in order to keep cash flowing, I’ve made the mistake of swiping the plastic to pay for meals in restaurants, and also for other purchases. In order for my plan to work, we should stick to cash on all other expenses.

So anyway, tuning into Simply Money even for just a few days has helped knocked some sense back into my thick skull.

But no sound advise will ever be enough. John Maxwell has it when he said in his book Make Today Count that –

Your Success is Determined by Your Daily Agenda

John Maxwell IMG source: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/459226493231678766/

 

Our habits do define us. And I’ve got some pretty bad habits, and so does the husband.

Change your habits

Source: http://www.mairovergara.com/aprenda-ingles-com-citacoes-10-you-will-never-change-your-life-john-c-maxwell/

We will not get our finances in order without making real changes to our daily habits. Same goes about losing weight. It is not going to happen without us changing the way we spend our days. We have taken a bold step – we have been on a calorie-controlled meal plan in the past month and I lost a little over 5 pounds already. But because we’re using a meal delivery service, we’re getting tired of the food. So we have to learn to make it on our own. This week is the start of trying portion control by ourselves on our home cooked meals. Wish us luck.

I examined how I spend my days and realise that spending over 12 hours at work was not going to help me achieve my life goals. Besides, my team’s success doesn’t rely on how long I stay in the office. I need at least 7 hours of sleep, at least that’s what Arianna Huffington says. I already know that no matter how much sleep I get, I still fall asleep at work or on the wheel. There’s a whole different health issue there and I’m going to need a sleep study, but before then I’m willing to give it another shot. I’ll start trying to sleep better. But if I were to sleep that much without changing anything else on my schedule, I wouldn’t be spending any quality time with the husband daily, and there’d be no more time for reading or crochet. I like watching TV, and going on the computer at home, how am I going to squeeze in those activities and add exercise too?

I’ve got to make changes on my daily schedule, and build new habits. Ready or not, here I come.

 

2016: My Blogging Year

2016: Getting Ready was all about the goals we set as a couple. Today, I’d like to start talking about my personal goals.

For a few minutes on the 1st of January, I stopped to think about anything I actually got done in 2015. With the exception of the Mystery CAL Afghan, none of my other projects were completed. Isn’t that embarrassing to say out loud? But I dare say it, so I can own it and move on.

I can hide behind work and use it as an excuse for not doing much else, but that wouldn’t be fair. There are, after all, 24 hours in a day and I always have a choice in how to spend each one. I just chose poorly, perhaps. Or I don’t choose at all. Maybe my priorities shifted. Hmmm. It seems like it’s the creative pursuits that had taken off the ground. My knit afghan is almost finished. The only reason it isn’t done yet is that I found other projects to start before I even completed it. Maybe part of me doesn’t want to complete it just yet! That’s a theory. A major resolution for 2015 was to do better as a memory keeper. In fairness, I have completed more Project Life pages in 2015 than I have ever before in the many years of attempting it. I intend to do better in 2016.

Now, 2016 will be My Year. And in My Year, I do the things that my heart yearns for. Here’s one of them:

2016 will be a Blogging Year

I have written sporadically in 2015. There are so many factors that I don’t care to explain now. But one thing is for sure: I let blog envy, and other people’s rules get in the way of my voice and my story. I kept thinking so hard of defining what my blog was going to be about, and the categories I would keep writing around, that I ended up not publishing anything at all.

I know. Finding a niche is key if you want a successful blog. Clear categories make it easier for readers to navigate and engage. I get it, really. But maybe I am not ready for that. I am not ready to think about readers who are not yet here. I don’t have a community of readers! No one follows my feeds! What readers are you talking about? Pardon me, I know someone out there reads this and I don’t mean this to be an insult. Someday I will write again thinking about my audience. For now though, I need to blog for myself. And hopefully, an honest voice will gain some following.

It was twelve years ago when I started to blog. I fell in love with it. Loved the blogs I read, and the ‘friends’ I got to find. I’ve been in many different platforms, and I’ve been thru many different phases. For a time, my blog earned a decent amount of money. Not decent enough for me to live off it, but enough to support hosting, and some online shopping. So I thought that was something I should pursue. But things changed and maybe I wasn’t so willing to change along with the times. Or maybe I just lost sight of what it was that mattered most to me.

Did traffic matter? Sponsors? Or was it the conversations? One thing’s for sure: I’ll never be a popular blogger, and that’s fine by me.

So this year will  be my blogging year. I will try not to think of categories, Pinnable posts, etc. I will just write, edit, and Publish. Some posts may take days to finish, others just 10 minutes. I will write, edit, publish. Repeat.

Life-Changing Gifts

For our annual gift exchange this year, the Friendships agreed on a theme: Life-Changing. We were to get our Monito/a a gift that would change his/her life in one way or another.

That is NOT easy.

Rubee gave me this book:

I sure could use more direction in my life. I know that the things I do daily will determine my future. Judging by how I’ve spent this day so far – my future is grim! Haha! Kidding aside, I do look forward to reading up.
Truth be told, even if I don’t do anything about what I read, just to get me reading again would be life-Changing enough. I’m in another reading slump and it’s been going on for months, it has to end soon.
Now this whole theme in gift giving has got me really thinking about the gifts I want to be giving moving forward. It’s not just about being specific and intentional with the gifts we give, but we also got to consider if it will bring joy or change into the receiver’s life. What value will it bring? Now that could really be challenging.
This year, we didn’t get gifts for absolutely everyone on our list, but I told myself I didn’t want to stress about it.  I don’t mind not getting a lot of gifts. I’ve stopped counting the number of presents I open each year many years ago. But not everyone’s like me, I get that.
This year, I still ended up getting a generic gift for my Team Managers, but I wrote them each a personal message. I am hoping they remember that more than the gift.
I’m wondering about how I can gift experiences for my God-children. Shall I give out tickets to Kidzoona or Kidzania? Or take them out to a fun day at the park? I’m pretty sure they’ve got plenty of toys and clothes already. It also hasn’t been easy to pick the right toys. You just don’t know what they already have or what they’d be interested in! Unless you spend time with them, which I should.
Apart from being intentional and focusing on value add, I also somehow got into my head to attempt hand-made gifts for next year. I’m not talking about buying hand-made items from artisans, but actually making the gifts I’ll be handing out. What a way to level up even more.
Anyway, what’s your approach to gift-giving?

Oodles of Doodles

I know that I’ve always loved doodling. But I don’t think I’ve doodled so much like I do now! 🙂

It started when I bought a pack of Sharpies on sale and brought it to work with me, along with 4×6 cards. I made a number of greeting cards. And then, I just kept writing and doodling with my Sharpies. A few weeks later, I scored a pack of colored pens from the bookstore and it made the doodling so much easier. I like writing words, not so much shapes.

Doodles by Verabear

Doodles by Verabear

 

This is why I started thinking about learning more about lettering or calligraphy. I tried my hand on it back in highschool. I even bought a book, nibs and ink. But I soon realized it wasn’t the kind of writing I liked.

Have you heard about Abbey Sy? I recently followed her on Instagram (@abbeysy) and she does really beautiful type work. I’d love to have her book (The ABCs of Hand Lettering), and/or her lettering kit.

The ABCs of Hand Lettering by Abbey Sy

The ABCs of Hand Lettering by Abbey Sy – photo credit to Abbey Sy and http://artistic-dreams.com/

 

The Craft Central - Lettering Starter Kit

The Craft Central – Lettering Starter Kit

I know, I know. I already have hobbies I can’t even sustain. But I see lettering as possibly complementary to scrapbooking with Project Life. Imagine those journal cards and how lovely they’d look. 🙂

Ooooh so many hobbies. Hobbies that cost time and money – but also a lot of happiness. Haha. For now, the kit or classes on lettering would have to take least priority. But her book is only PhP 295 so that’s definitely affordable. Supplies might cost a bit though. We’ll see.

What about you? Do you like doodling or lettering too? Any hobbies?

I Had Cancer. Let Me Tell You What Chemo Patients Really Need.

Time. Essential oils. You taking my husband on a date. At the worst time in my life, I could have used a gift registry for things like these.

Source: I Had Cancer. Let Me Tell You What Chemo Patients Really Need.

(No, I didn’t have cancer. I am using WordPress’ Press This feature and the article title was assigned automatically.)

Anyway. So I had recently read Cancer is a Bitch, so one  might say that reading this piece from a cancer survivor is quite timely.

My takeaway – Gifts of time. It’s not just friends or family who are sick or getting treatment who would find such gifts priceless and valuable. Most any one would appreciate it. I know I would.

I think that if we really try hard, we can find ways to gift time and experiences to those dear to us.

I haven’t been a great gift giver lately. I’ve gone commercial, or I’ve resorted to picking items from social enterprises or handmade bespoke items just so my gifts would be meaningful. But if I really put more thought and love into the gifts, I would probably be able to find out what the recipient would appreciate more – because it answered a need they may not have even known existed.

Right now, I would appreciate a car wash. Haha. It’s just one of those things I choose not to spend my time on, you know? You don’t even have to wash it yourself. Just take the time to bring my car in for a good cleaning. I would be so thankful. 🙂

I do not mean to trivialize the point of the author from the Story of Stuff Blog. I just really feel that it applies to so many people and to a variety of situations.

I am also at this point where I want to be more intentional in how I spend my time. I’m surely a work in progress. Much of my time, for sure, is wasted on things that aren’t important. Reading about gifts of time and experience just fits right into that concept of intentional living that I would so like to achieve.

What do you think?

 

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