how am I doing with the challenges I have assigned to myself a while ago?

I am too talkative today… I know.. I know… Hope you do not mind! Having a day to myself without working or house chore is really a blessing – it allows me to learn and do new stuff and get excited about the new useful information.

This post is a continuation of a few number of previous posts where I wrote about the changes I would like to do in my life; some of them good for my budget, some good for my mental or physical health. I revisit them time to time to see how I have done since the last time. I also update them, too, and create new challenges for myself.

so let’s see how I have done so far:

—————————————————————————————

challenge 1: take the bus (not the cab). It was done then!. I am even better since then; I started to walk in the morning from home to office in the last 3 weeks! I am so excited about this and happy to see that I have the energy to do so and open-heartedness to truly enjoy it. I am not sure how long I can keep doing that as the old man winter is about to arrive and it also rains time to time. Let’s cross the fingers 🙂

challenge 2: eat better and healthy – cut out the carbs and consume more veggies and fruits. DONE. I am eating much better compared to before 🙂

challenge 3: walk an extra 30 min at the weekends. NOT DONE – NEED A PLAN.

challenge 4: do not buy books for two months. DONE! 🙂 I have a shopping freeze till holidays and it has been going really well, I am okay with occasional purchase of a great book.

challenge 5: cut out the bagel breakfast- one bagel/breakfast. DONE!

challenge 6: do grocery shopping as required and buy small amounts. Going well. DONE! 🙂 

challenge 7: start listening to music and relaxing 20 min a day; this is done easily now thanks to my computer and youtube/internet sources. DONE! 🙂 

challenge 8: drink at least one cup of tea a day. I easily and lovingly do this during the week. DONE! 🙂 

challenge 9: get up in the morning and smile to yourself and hum a song. well, remembered to do only a few times. NEED MOTIVATION AGAIN.

PLAN: just remember this challenge; the rest will come 🙂

challenge 10: look outside the window at the office three times a day – enjoy the view and relax. Going well. DONE! 🙂 

challenge 11: record the progress in these areas in breaking the routine or joy journal categories. Not necessarily in these pages, but I kept posting them somewhere in this blog, good job 🙂 Going well. DONE! 🙂 

challenge 12: increase the contribution made to the RRSP account. NOT DONE yet but now that my chequing account has a positive balance, I am getting closer to implement it. I am planning to increase it in the new year by cutting out some expenses- exciting!

challenge 13: during the day remember to smile.  NEED MOTIVATION AGAIN.

PLAN:  just remember this challenge; the rest will come 🙂

challenge 14: lose 15 pounds in two months – record weight and food consumed every day. PARTIALLY DONE. I have been on a healthy – life style mission in the last 7 weeks; all I have lost is around 6-7 pounds. It is going slower than I had expected, but at least it is happening. So I am happy with it 🙂

challenge 15: stick to the plans – I have done these before and I can do it again. ALMOST DONE 🙂 keep going.

challenge 16: comb the hair everyday. I do not need that anymore – have the hair cut short. Yay! But i can easily change this into a new challenge for my short hair; dye the hair every month but every 6 months, get it dyed in a saloon to get a better treatment.

challenge 17: spare 5 min every day to breathe – just to breathe. NOT DONE. I am re-introducing this challenge again. I will start doing this today – it is always relaxing.

challenge 18: apply sunscreen every morning. NOT DONE…NOT APPLICABLE ANYMORE (summer is gone)

challenge 19: apply moisturiser every night. NOT DONE…. It is such a nourishing activity. I should start it now that winter is coming, my skin feels dry.

challenge 20: every week, eat two different food from last week – whether veggies or fruits or others. Change the brands or types of canned food or others I regularly consume. I have been consuming canned beans and others rarely since I started my healthy eating plan. In terms of variety, yes I need to do that and started with it this week – good job 🙂

challenge 21: take the stairs at the office (2 storeys) at least twice a week. NEED MOTIVATION AGAIN.

challenge 22: write the joy journal every day; no matter how dry or repeating it may feel.  I do not write it every day – NEED ADJUSTMENT. The primary reason is I keep blogging about many other topics and it does not leave much time to write my joy journal. nevertheless, all is well and I will keep writing it 😉

challenge 23: have a budget, write down all expenses in each category, do not over-spend the weekly allowance, save as much as you can. DONE!  I am certainly spending less than before and more consciously. I even managed to bring my chequing account to a positive balance. My credit card and cable fees are also down. I am taking advantage of the sales and discounts and I am very abundant. I am proud of my efforts. Yay! 🙂

challenge 24: continue to declutter the home and donate the usable items. DONE! I still need to get rid of the VHSs and CDs, but I have donated my clothes and a large number of books a couple of months ago – feeling good 🙂

challenge 25 (new challenge): learn ways to minimize food waste. I have started this; even though my waste in the past was limited, my aim is to completely prevent it. I will keep reading blogs and websites, get ideas, and implement them as appropriate.

challenge 26 (new challenge): Stretch your body every day and start with light weight lifting activities. Even better, start the gym at the work place to do some free weight exercises. I should be doing these. As soon as I am done with my trips, I will start my free weight training; my plan is to do it twice a week; mondays and fridays. Once I start, I am sure I will be hooked as weights are always fun to work with 🙂

—————————————————————————————

It is so satisfying to see that I have been noting down the beneficial changes I would like to make in my life and seeing that the majority has been implemented. The flexibility to adjust them and to add new ones, as well as this checks I do time to time help me tuned in and motivated to keep going. Overall, this has been one of my most valuable experiences 🙂

assessing the progress re; challenges I assigned to myself

Did I tell you earlier that I love to plan?

Maybe not, but that is the plain truth.

Planning and assessing the progress. Slight changes and modifications to the plan if required. Learning along the way, and hopefully also having fun.

I have had a number of challenges I have had assigned to myself a while ago. It is time to review them, adjust if required, celebrate the challenges tackled, and plan for the next items on the list.

—————————————————————————————

challenge 1: take the bus (not the cab). DONE! – hopefully I will not give up 🙂

challenge 2: eat better and healthy – cut out the carbs and consume more veggies and fruits. Well, missed that one big time.. NEED A PLAN.

PLAN: have regular breakfast, eat more protein, eat more veggies, cut out the bread (one bag/week) and fried eggs, cut out late-night eating, eat more apples and pears. cook at home; make it fun, and monitor the progress.

challenge 3: walk an extra 30 min at the weekends. NEED A PLAN.

PLAN: have the breakfast at another cafe 15 min away from home. Have leisure walks.

challenge 4: do not buy books for two months. I did pretty good with this, with only occasional buys. I have a new two-months freeze in place. DONE! 🙂 Good job! 🙂

challenge 5: cut out the bagel breakfast- one bagel/breakfast. Could not do that yet. NEED A PLAN – maybe withing “better eating” plan.

PLAN: Overall, I should be skipping the bagels as part of the healthy eating plan… Ouch!

challenge 6: do grocery shopping as required and buy small amounts. Going well. DONE! 🙂 

challenge 7: start listening to music and relaxing 20 min a day; this is done easily now thanks to my computer and youtube/internet sources. DONE! 🙂 

challenge 8: drink at least one cup of tea a day. I easily and lovingly do this during the week. DONE! 🙂 

challenge 9: get up in the morning and smile to yourself and hum a song. well, remembered to do only a few times. NEED MOTIVATION AGAIN.

PLAN: just remember this challenge; the rest will come 🙂

challenge 10: look outside the window at the office three times a day – enjoy the view and relax. Going well. DONE! 🙂 

challenge 11: record the progress in these areas in breaking the routine or joy journal categories. Not necessarily in these pages, but I kept posting them somewhere in this blog, good job 🙂 Going well. DONE! 🙂 

challenge 12: increase the contribution made to the RRSP account. Nope. This is not happening. This gotta wait until my chequeing account moves to a positive balance. NEED ADJUSTMENT.

ADJUSTMENT: wait till I accumulate some funds or till I cut  my weekly budget in a sensible way.

challenge 13: during the day remember to smile.  NEED MOTIVATION AGAIN.

PLAN:  just remember this challenge; the rest will come 🙂

challenge 14: lose 15 pounds in two months – record weight and food consumed every day. Missed big time! NEED A PLAN – possibly within the healthy eating plan.

PLAN: See above; challenges 2,3, and 5

challenge 15: stick to the plans – I have done these before and I can do it again. Hmmm. Some success here and there. NEED A STRONGER IMPLEMENTATION.

PLAN: remember the success in other challenges; particularly taking the bus. You can do it!!

challenge 16: comb the hair everyday. I do not need that anymore – have the hair cut short. Yay! NOT APPLICABLE.

challenge 17: spare 5 min every day to breathe – just to breathe. Well, this does not make sense anymore, now that I am listening to music for many hours a day and thus relaxing. NOT APPLICABLE

challenge 18: apply sunscreen every morning. NOT DONE…NOT APPLICABLE ANYMORE (summer is gone)

challenge 19: apply moisturiser every night. NEED MOTIVATION AGAIN.

PLAN:  just remember this challenge; the rest will come 🙂

challenge 20: every week, eat two different food from last week – whether veggies or fruits or others. Change the brands or types of canned food or others I regularly consume.NEED MOTIVATION AGAIN.

PLAN:  just remember this challenge; the rest will come 🙂

challenge 21: take the stairs at the office (2 storeys) at least twice a week. NEED MOTIVATION AGAIN.

PLAN:  just remember this challenge; the rest will come 🙂

challenge 22: write the joy journal every day; no matter how dry or repeating it may feel.  I do not write it every day – NEED ADJUSTMENT.

ADJUSTMENT: I am adjusting this to “write the joy journal at least twice a week”

challenge 23 (previously not listed): have a budget, write down all expenses in each category, do not over-spend the weekly allowance, save as much as you can. DONE!  I am certainly spending less than before and more consciously. Yay! 🙂

challenge 24 (previously not listed): continue to declutter the home and donate the usable items.

—————————————————————————————

Some big, some small steps.. Let’s see how it will go this time. The ones that I will vent about in the coming weeks (just like my past ventings while struggling with taking the bus) will be the most important ones. I am predicting they will be about healthy eating and losing weight 🙂

Cheers everyone 🙂

minimalist; sometime by choice sometime by necessity

The person who is going to home-sit my house while I am away has moved in today. That is a huge peace of mind. My friend told me she likes my house, which is very nice to hear. She also said that the yard looked a lot better this time 🙂 All the cleaning and trimming I have done since last month seem to have worked 🙂

Going back to my home, I have minimal furniture, which makes my home feel spacious. When I first bought my home, I had plans to furnish it really well; I had planned to replace the two beds in the bedrooms with the new ones, together with side tables, night lamps, and dressers. I had planned to have carpets/rugs in the hall, the living room, and the rooms. I had planned to buy new book cases that would fill with my ever-increasing number of books. And the art-work would be everywhere, making the bathrooms, bedrooms, halls, and the living room all pretty and nice.

But soon after I bought the house, I realized I could not do all of these. Home-ownership is really expensive, especially with old houses like mine that keep requiring repairs, sometime even significant ones such as foundation problems. So I had decided to freeze such expenses for an indefinite time, until I secure my home first. This has been 1.5 years ago and I am still counting.

I have been having second thoughts lately and when my friend said nice things about my home, I thought “I can make my home really pretty”. Even though I cannot buy the furniture now, I really would like to beautify my place with art-work for the bathrooms, living room, and the bedrooms. Different kinds of paintings, photos, or other wall ornaments. I am really craving to see them, to make my home feel pretty and colorful.

I am on a serious budget and am saving. I know I am doing much better than before and even so, I can still cut some of my expenses for a month or so to finance the art-work. I am excited by this idea 🙂 My plan is to save the money first (let’s say $100) by means of spending freezes (on books and dining out for a month). Then I can go shop as I please for beautiful art-work for my place. I believe that is going to be fun and largely satisfying 🙂

See, friends and budgeting are great in many ways; one of them supports us all the time and gives us wonderful ideas and motivations, and the other one allows us to make plans for ourselves and make (material) things happen :).

Stay on track with both, everyone 🙂

budget, budgeting tools, and thoughts

I have had fun reading blogs on budgeting, checking websites recommended, checking government and bank websites for budget tips and free budgeting tools.

I did not prefer to log into websites to use a budgeting tool, or use the tools with restricting terms of use. So, even though it took me sometime, I designed my own Excel document to keep track of my “variable” expenses; these are my weekly allowance, grocery shopping, eating out (breakfast at the weekends mostly), other non-regular expenses (such as gifts) in addition to the house maintenance costs.

Each week, I plan to keep track of my expenses in each of these categories and see whether I can keep up with my weekly (or annual in case of house repairs) budget.

I will also note my extra savings. These are the expenses that I am tempted to make, but decide not to; for example, if I want to eat out but talk myself into not, then I will add ~$20 as savings.  Each week I do not buy books, I will add $15. When I am tempted to buy a new pair of shoes or clothes but decide to use the already existing ones, I will put this amount into the savings. Whenever I walk from home or take the bus (instead of taking the cab), I will put the difference into the savings.

I am aware that this is actually silly, as some of these expenses (e.g. books) are covered by my weekly allowance (i.e. by not spending money on these, I am saving from my weekly allowance anyhow).

So, why do I do that?

Simple: To reward myself psychologically. To see that I can save. Weird? Very much. I noticed long time ago that beating myself for the expenses I do does not work for me – I work very hard to provide myself with a living and I deserve to feel good about my life. Plus, I already have a modest life-style. So I am not interested in penalizing myself for my expenses; au contraire, it feels awesome to reward myself for savings.

I will also note other types of extra savings: whenever I do a house improvement (such as caulking, painting, or staining) or mown my own lawn, I will pay myself $40/hour. Why? because instead of paying someone, I take my time and energy to do these; I very much deserve it.

In addition, whenever I find a second use for anything I already have, I will congratulate myself.

I was good at all of these once. I know I can do this again.

I also find “spending freeze” idea pretty cool; for short period of times, I can decide not to spend money on certain items. For example, books. Seems to be working for now, knowing that it is not for ever.

I want to keep my money for better use. But along this journey, not even once I will ignore to pamper myself; whether it is a nice meal or something else, I will not forget to have treats. There is one more hazard in spending less; to strain myself to a degree that I return back to spending like before.

So, wish me luck with this plan and be patient with me as I rant, write, get excited or frustrated about conscious spending! 🙂

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: