Life-related objectives following a vacation

I just returned back from a family visit – it was great!

I found a chance to see my family and friends, and I have had a great time. Food, conversations, and visited places were all awesome. I am glad I have done this trip!

I also found a chance to stay away from work, especially in the last half of the vacation. I did not access and respond to emails, which was a blessing! I like this improvement in my approach to work.

My work-induced stress levels were down to zero as soon as I stepped on the plane. I still feel positive and relax. I hope to be able to respond to work related feelings and pressures better. I want to convince myself that I can do this.

One of the best things about having a break from the routine and engage in activities and thoughts that are different than what I usually have (mostly work related issues) is that it is a good opportunity to formulate new plans to remove the negativity of the past activities and have a chance to improve things that do not go so well. Today is a good day to do these:

Aims related to personal life:

1. Going back to frugal and abundant life-style.

I have been quite successful with this a couple of years back and then I broke it with junk food and can-fare expenses… I want to go back to that as of today.

My specific aims are:

  • to spend no more than 100 bucks a week on grocery and other needs (cleaning products, personal care products, etc.). This does not include medication and health-care related expenses (e.g. physiotherapy)
  • to utilize what I already have (dried food, frozen food, etc) to reduce my food cost, while not sacrificing from healthy and diverse food
  • to have another shopping freeze for flower pots, shoes/clothes, books (occasional ones are okay) and furniture
  • to keep all other frugal activities I already have (e.g. use of coupons/discounts, points, etc.) to maximize the value of my money
  • not to make any pre-payments unless an unexpected sum of money finds my way. This is to ensure that my chequing account will remain at a healthy level. I feel quite strongly about this because when it dips, first I pay extra money to the bank each month, and second, it makes me feel like I am in a financial crisis – not a great feeling
  • to eat the food that I have in the freezer and pantry (I have a lot of dried legumes/beans/rice that are waiting to be enjoyed)
  • to save around 7K bucks till December
  • to make a prepayment in December with the money I will save till then while also keeping around 5K in my chequeing account. This is an ambitious but doable aim. I feel like this will give me the best motivation to move forward and keep my frugal spending habits.

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2. Having a healthier body and weight

I have gained quite a bit of weight this year and its negative effects on my health were noticeable during my vacation: my feet ached a lot, my back gave me trouble (twice I have had my back pain/sciatica – they were minor compared to last year, but still I did not like having two episodes in a short time…).

I am aware of two reasons as to why I have gained weight this year: I did not walk as much as I did in the past years (I used to walk from office everyday – rain or shine) and I ate quite unhealthy food (pizzas and prepared food…). I still have two boxes of frozen pizza and some frozen, pre-made dinners in my freezer. I will consume them as well but with the understanding that my priority will be not to purchase them anymore so that I can eat better.

Thus, my specific aims are:

  • not to buy any pizzas or other prepared meals
  • to eat at least 6 different food (veggies, fruits, or dried food) every week
  • to cook meals at least 3 nights a week (I often consume them in two-three days)
  • to eat apples everyday at the office and to continue to eat carrots and radishes that I love so much (for some reason, these veggies made me feel much better and help me lose weight at the same time)
  • whenever feasible, to walk in the morning to office and in the afternoon from the office (this will help me feel great, lose weight, and also save from the transportation – win-win situation!)
  • to shop at the farmers’ market to have fresh local and affordable food
  • to keep take my calcium supplements and drink milk to keep my bones healthy
  • to re-start doing my back exercises to help strengthen my abs and my back muscles
  • to do light weight-lifting at home to keep my muscles and my bones healthy and strong

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3. Heaving a healthier mind and higher quality of life

I wish not to have stress and anxiety to my best anymore…. Work-related stress, sleep problems, and problems related to relations with the colleagues have hit the ceiling last couple of years… I am better at managing my anxiety by means of the worry journal exercise. But in terms of stress management I have not been much successful.

Hence, my specific aims are:

  • to walk everyday, to eat a healthier diet, and to exercise whenever I can find a chance to provide myself a healthier, nourishing way of life
  • to rest everyday. This I noticed is quite important for my stress levels. Whenever I am tired, I noticed I feel more pressurized and over-react as a result
  • to not access the emails in the evenings and the weekends, unless I have a good reason to do so
  • to take things a little bit lighter and not to react to problems when I am anxious or panicky
  • to trust the life and people around me a little bit more
  • to stop thinking that I am the only person who can do things well and on time. This is one of the main reasons that I feel resentment towards people I work with. Often times I have a good reason to think that the work is not done well and corrections/my involvement is needed. However, this also makes me over-work and over-stressed… Perhaps it is time to lower my standards without harming the quality of the work. I can also take it easy with relations. I can be more tolerant and less assuming… (wish me luck with this one. It is hard…. but I must do this)
  • to make it priority to feel calm at the office
  • to feel confident that I have solved many issues in the past and I can do so now and in the future as well. I must remind myself this everyday, especially when I face of an issue
  • to integrate a new walking route or an activity in my life over time – whether this would be going to theaters/shows, visiting a cafe on a Saturday morning, or reading about an entirely new topic does not matter. Something useful and enjoyable!
  • to continue to read my daily affirmations first thing in the morning to set my intentions for the day for the better

For example:

I am calm and can take care of any of the work-related issues easily

I am confident and successful

I have great work-relationships with everyone I see today

I am known by my high quality and meticulous work and I am respected for these

I am kind to everyone I meet today, especially, myself

I have time to do my work

Today has all the opportunities and beauties I may need

I welcome and appreciate the opportunities life can offer me

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Have a great Sunday everyone!

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joy journal – May 6, 2017

1. I am grateful for sleeping in today. I woke up at around 7 am again but decided to sleep some more. It was past 9.30 am that I finally got up. It made my day short but I appreciated having a lazy and cozy morning.

2. I am grateful for the breakfast I have had at home. It was healthy and filling. And, coffee was awesome! (as usual 🙂 )

3. I am grateful for wanting to walk and walking to a shopping mall. I walked around 2 hours today. Weather was awesome and I felt quite light. Walking was easy and very enjoyable. I have done very well for my health by walking 🙂

4. I am grateful for going around the thrift stores. I found nothing to buy but i am getting used to this. It is still quite exciting to check the items and hope that one or two will turn out to be mine. In the future. Eventually 🙂

5. I am grateful for my back pack. It is such a sturdy and useful thing. I always grab it whenever I go for shopping. It takes up a lot of things and make carrying items easy.

6. I am grateful for talking to my family; sister, mom, and brother today 🙂 My brother is visiting my sister and mom and it was a fun and delightful talk today.

7. I am grateful for all the healthy food I have consumed today and the milk I have drunk. All of them are helping my body keeping healthy and strong. 

8. I am grateful for enjoying the bright day with blue skies. 

9. I am grateful for the things I bought today; milk which is good for my bones; eggs which are awesome, tasty, and packed with nutrients; coffee that will last for 3-4 months; and the chocolate that felt like from heaven 🙂

10. I am grateful for taking a rest and relaxing into my Saturday night. I need to spend time alone so that I can fully relax. It is strange that when I spend time with others in the evenings, I feel like I miss something…. It is awesome to be spending time with myself 🙂

11. I am grateful for the moisturizers I have! They make my skin feel better. And they smell so good too! 🙂

12. I am grateful for dreaming yesterday. I have a new recurrent theme in my dreams. Wonder what it signifies… Life is so mysterious sometime 🙂

13. I am grateful for being grateful and taking my time to note these beautiful things, people, and experiences.

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What do I appreciate myself for today?

1. I thank myself for pampering myself with sleeping in and treating myself with chocolate! 🙂

2. I thank myself for walking and enjoying it. I now consider myself a regular walker.

3. I thank myself for making a continuous effort to eat healthy and drink milk.

4. I thank myself for being frugal and not buying things just because they are on sale or pretty.

5. I thank myself for having a routine and not getting bored of it all the time.

6. I thank myself for enjoying the Kung Fu Panda! Have you seen that animation movie series? please do!

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having energy and new projects feel fine

It has been a fine day today. I am kind of bored and anxious about something I care a lot, but other than that, it has been going well.

Today I got up around 9 am, had a light breakfast at home, and then walked all the way to one of the shopping mall’s area. There are a number of dollar and thrift stores in that region, which I really love to visit. I did not buy anything today, but it was so much fun to go around the shelves, look at items that are usually unique, browse the books, and checking the sewing items/notions.

I then walked back home. I estimate that I walked around 2 hours today. I think this is awesome 🙂  I feel strong, powerful, able, healthy, and lighter 🙂 Thanks to all vitamin D and iron supplements that I was prescribed two years ago.. What a difference they have made in my energy levels. 

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My interest to consume the food hoarded in the freezer and pantry is going strong. I have consumed quite a bit of the “old” items and have replaced some of them back with fresh ones (like minced beef, chicken, pasta, and legumes). I still have a number of food that I have not touched in the last year or so, including some frozen veggies, wild rice, bulghur, and dried veggies. So I would like to prioritize their consumption in the coming weeks. That is my mental note for today.

My interest in designing new projects continues. Now that I have had all bunch of different projects implemented in my life (decluttering, budgeting, saving money, being frugal, using coupons and discounts, shopping bans, baking bread, taking the bus or walking to go to work, etc.), I am naturally looking for new ones. It excites me, learning about this kind of things, planning, putting an effort to implement them, monitoring my progress, and then improving it if I am still interested in (remember the #superduperleanspendingmonth that I left in two weeks or so because it did not work out for me? 🙂 it is okay every once a while). 

I now am interested in reducing my waste. I have checked a couple of sites and it sounds like I have a lot of extra waste at my hand: I still use paper towel when needed (for cleaning the bathroom for example), wet-disposable clothes for cleaning the sinks and the floor, facial tissue/napkin after meals. I do not compost, though I do recycle paper and other items accepted by our city. I donate what I do not need/use anymore and shop from thrift or second-hand stores as appropriate. I re-use the plastic/nylon shopping bags as garbage liners. I reduced my food waste quite a bit by shopping small amounts (store is 5 min away from me – so it is easy to stop by more than once a week). But I still have waste (1 large garbage bag/week – not too much but it can be less).

So what do I do about it?

I think I should keep reading and continue to be inspired by others’ experience. I will also have a careful look at what my waste and garbage includes. I really want to compost but I will have to see whether I can do this inside the house (no worms or anything) – if I want it to be a continuous activity I must find the most practical way to do so even during our harsh winter.

So these are my new plans 🙂

Shoot a comment if you have ideas to help me reduce my waste/garbage!

being frugal versus being cheap

It is not uncommon to confuse the terms “frugal” and “cheap”; as a matter of fact, whenever I or others try to be spending their money responsibly, I bet the first thing that comes to people’s mind is the term “cheap”. Not that they are all mean or inconsiderate people – I guess it is because the difference between a frugal and a cheap person is not always clear.

It was not absolutely clear to me, either, although I had some idea.. I searched the internet and came across a number of sites that distinguish them: two things I have learned and makes perfect sense to me are 1) frugals are resourceful and aim to get the best out of the money they have, and b) frugals do not negatively affect others by their money-related behaviours.

I am attaching select links below for you; there are probably other differences between the two and many other posts about the frugal and cheap people.

I must admit sadly (!) I did not include some websites/pages that also treat frugality with a negative tone.

I am a proud frugal! 🙂

http://money.usnews.com/money/the-frugal-shopper/2014/06/20/5-major-differences-between-cheap-and-frugal

http://www.moneycrashers.com/the-difference-between-frugal-and-cheap/

http://embracingsimpleblog.com/frugal-vs-cheap-whats-the-difference/

PS: I have added this after the post. I would never call a poor person or a person who can hardly afford anything cheap. I do not think this is “cheapness”. I do not think these people are cheap. Absolutely not. Sometimes our finances can be so limited that all we can afford is the cheapest one. The only thing wrong with this would be “why we could not help these people to afford better?”.

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