Small Changes That Produce Great Results!!!

I have chosen just two constant complaints that I hear on a daily basis and have listed how simple it is to adapt, make small changes and positively impact your life.  These two items alone cause constant stress for some people and negatively effect daily thoughts and performance:

1. I wish that I wasn't so tired all the time!

2. I wish that I had more money!

Now I will break down how these items can be greatly improved if you make them a priority and focus on changing your negative thoughts to positive actions!!!  For example.....Take a look at why you might be tired all the time and see what small changes you can make to positively influence that feeling into more energy, spunk and an all around better mood.  Here are just a few simple and relatively easy ideas you could try:

  • Do you have an inconsistent sleep schedule?  You could try going to bed earlier or getting into a routine of going to bed at the same time and waking up at the same time every day.  Shoot for at least 6-7 hours of sleep and avoid napping during the day!
  • If you are having trouble sleeping at night, check to see what behaviors can be altered before bed time. You could try eliminating caffeine, smoking and alcohol or discontinue them a few hours prior to bed.  Caffeine and smoking are both stimulants and alcohol can disrupt your deep sleep patterns. You may think that a drink or two will help you relax and fall asleep....and it may seem like a good idea, but your body will be restless and unable to get the deep sleep and healing potential that we all need on a nightly basis.
  • Get exercise during the day or try to stay active so that your body is ready to rest at night.  Be sure not to exercise close to your bed time as it may stimulate you and keep you awake.  I like to exercise in the morning so it is done for the day, I feel more alert and positive and it makes me smile knowing that I have started my day with a gift for my body.  I am more apt to make healthier decisions throughout the day knowing that I have already worked hard to burn calories and I won't want to sabotage my efforts.  I also get super energized when I jog or run in the morning and it keeps me pumped up and stimulated for hours after.
  • Before bed time, make a list of things to do for the next day or week so that those thoughts aren't racing around in your head while you are trying to sleep.  You will also be more organized and less apt to forget appointments, meetings etc....I have a pack of post-it notes as reminders to myself and I stick them where I will be sure to see them often.
  • Try to relax for a bit before bed-time to get your body ready for sleeping.  If you aren't tired, try reading a book, listening to some soothing music or watching t.v. for a few minutes so your body can wind-down.
  • Make sure your body temperature is comfortable (not too hot or cold), that you have a peaceful atmosphere (shut off t.v. before you fall asleep) and that the environment is dark enough for rest so that you won't be disrupted once you fall asleep.  In my house, we sleep with fans on in our rooms to block out any sounds that may interrupt or startle us awake in the middle of the night and find the humming of the fan soothing.  You could also use sleep sound machines that have various options such as rain, waterfalls, heartbeat or ocean waves that are calming and may help lull you into a sound sleep.  If you have noisy neighbors, a husband that snores, or you live in an area where there is constant chatter or commotion, a fan or sound machine is a lifesaver in helping you get the rest your body craves, loves and appreciates.
  • Make sure to sleep in complete darkness....sometimes even the slightest glow or night light can stir your brain function which will keep you awake, alert and unable to rest your body.  If you need to have an alarm clock and it lights up, turn it the opposite direction or cover it with a piece of material so that its not a distraction.  If you can't sleep, you will find yourself continually looking at the clock to see the time.......WHY DO WE DO THIS????  So that we can make ourselves more miserable knowing how long we have been laying there awake.....Hello!!!!! THAT'S CRAZY....Does it really matter what time it is???  NO...And every time you roll over to peek at that clock, you will get worked up and flustered and you'll never get to sleep!!!  As long as the alarm is set, just relax and let sleep come, otherwise, get up instead of laying there tossing and turning watching the minutes and hours roll by and go read a book or watch t.v. for a few minutes.  Sometimes just watching t.v. may stimulate you and get you fired up so be careful what you watch and stay away from horror, suspense, blood and gore if possible unless your one of those lucky people that are bothered by such shows.  If you must keep a light on, wear a mask over your eyes to block out the glow.
  • If your husband/wife snores extremely loud or has sleep apnea, you must do something and please don't just deal with it.  Poor sleep habits over a period of time can greatly wear you down mentally and physically and cause harm to your health and your performance.  My husband has sleep apnea and he snores which was driving me crazy and disturbing my rest....He did a sleep study at the hospital and he now has a machine that gives him Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) as it was noted that he stopped breathing multiple times during sleep and was continuously gasping for air during the night.  Being overweight can increase your risk for sleep apnea and snoring, so try to make some positive changes to get the proper rest that your body requires to function optimally on a daily basis.  My husband noticed the benefits of the machine immediately and now wakes up rested and refreshed.  He used to tell me how tired he was every day and I heard those words constantly.  Now we both rest comfortably and we are happy campers every night! If your husband/wife refuses to get help for his snoring or sleep apnea, you may have to resort to sleeping in a different room or wearing ear plugs.  Sometimes, just the mention of this, will cause your husband/wife to seek help and hopefully they do the right thing so that both of you get the rest your body deserves. 
  • Be careful what your are eating and drinking prior to sleep as certain foods and beverages may cause indigestion, bloating, gas etc...you will be miserable and unable to rest comfortably so think twice before indulging.  Going to the bathroom prior to bed can eliminate the need to get up during the night...so even if it feels like you don't have to go....try going anyway so your not tossing and turning later because your too tired or lazy to get up to relieve yourself and then you toss and turn even more until eventually, you have no choice but to get up and go.  Had you gone before bed....you may not have woken up and you'll feel more rested in the morning. 
These few changes alone could improve your quality of sleep and have you feeling more alive and alert during the day and a bigger bounce in your step! How amazing would it be if  you were no longer fatigued and you could look forward to the day's events just by exercising some of the simple and easy strategies above?



Now take a look at why you don't have as much money as you wish and what you can do to positively influence that aspect of your life!
  Here a few examples that I have found extremely helpful:
  • Make a list of what income you have coming in and what you have going out.  Make this a top priority and focus on it as a challenge to yourself!!!  Keep track of every cent you spend for a whole week and you may be surprised and possibly even shocked at how much you are spending on just coffee, eating out, snacks, the newspaper, cigarettes, alcohol, candy, gum, magazines, playing the lottery etc... Simple items that you are in the habit of buying just because you see them in a store and they call your name, can usually be eliminated without a huge sacrifice or withdrawal!!!!  Before you get to the register, seriously re-think the item and decide if you could do without just for one day....then try it again the next day and so on!  Tell yourself if you want it really bad, that you can always come back and get it but test your willpower and your determination and you will be pleasantly smiling when you are able to put the item back on the shelf and walk away without an ounce of regret and more cash in your pocket. Read the newspaper and magazines online and try to avoid going into convenience stores altogether.  Attempt to quit smoking and drinking alcohol or to greatly reduce your consumption...It will save money and your body and internal organs will thank you as well!!! 
  • You could stop drinking coffee and make yourself a nice fresh fruit juice or smoothie before you leave the house in the morning. Your body and your mind will function better and get an energy boost from all the goodness of wholesome fruits and veggies instead of coffee....JUST SAYING!!!!  If not, you could make your own coffee and bring breakfast and lunch directly from home....have a coffee maker at work and keep a supply of disposable cups so you don't have to worry about the clean-up or you could bring a large thermos filled with coffee or your favorite beverage and eliminate all the bother of a coffee station altogether.  Bring snacks as well so that you aren't tempted to buy something at break time....leave a stash of healthy goodies and water or other beverages right on your desk where you can just grab and go for a walk. Start a new habit and give your brain a break.....instead of joining the others in the break room or cafeteria and gossiping or complaining about work related stuff, you could give your mind a rest and go outside for some air or just stroll the grounds for a few moments. You'll feel more relaxed and happier when you sit back down at your desk.  Instead of getting all worked up and full of the anxiety that accompanies the group atmosphere whining and complaining about work, the boss, a co-worker etc....you'll be smiling and ready to take on the rest of your day with a more positive attitude and a calmer demeanor.
  • Look over ways that you could eliminate some of your debt such as reducing your cable plan, your cell phone, credit card interest fees, car/house insurance etc.. by simply calling and negotiating on your monthly plan or asking for ways they can help save you money.  The worst they can do is say "NO" but I have had great success in getting better rates just by a simple phone call!  In less than an hour, I lowered my rent $200.00/month, reduced my cable by $40.00/month for a whole year while keeping my exact same plan and I was even so bold as to ask them to go retroactive back one month and they did!!  I then combined three credit cards into one and reduced my monthly interest fee by several points and got my yearly fee waived just by simply asking for it.  It's that simple...call and ask....Now I only have one credit card bill a month to pay and I still have the same credit limit as when I had all three cards.  Because I am a long time customer, have an excellent credit rating and always pay my bills on time, they were more than happy to help me reduce my debt just to keep me as a customer!!!! Give it a try...it's worth a shot!!!  I was super happy after that phone call and had such a rush of excitement at how easy it was to accomplish.....
  • Take a serious look at what you are spending on groceries and eating out combined.  Make a point to shop with a list and plan out your meals to get the best bang for your buck!  When you plan your meals ahead of time, you will be less tempted to stop for take-out or go out for dinner!  I have been able to reduce my weekly grocery bill significantly and my husband and two children take their drinks and lunch to work and school daily. I take leftovers from dinner and pack my husbands lunch while I'm cleaning up and pop it in the fridge with a few pieces of fruit and some raw nuts or other snacks.  My husband was spending a minimum of $50.00 a week just on coffee alone and breakfast and lunches totaled out in the vicinity of $75.00 or more!!!!  If my kids eat at school it costs me $4.50/day or $22.50/week so I try to avoid it at all costs.  My kids eat whatever I pack them along with a couple of waters and a snack for after school. Needless to say, I have managed to save quite a bit in food alone and I know that my family is eating healthy because I am the one making those scrumptious meals. I've actually been having fun planning and making all kinds of new dishes for us to enjoy and I have control over the ingredients and what we are ingesting into our bodies.  I pack all three lunches at night, put them in the fridge and they are ready to grab and go in the morning.  I like to be organized and start the morning smiling so I make sure everything is ready to go the night before.  It's awesome and our morning routine is stress-free and pleasant!!!
  • Stop buying brand names for toilet paper, paper towels, cleaning products, shampoo, soap etc.....You can save a small fortune with these five items alone.
  • Cancel club memberships if you aren't using them....I had a gym membership but I have an entire gym in my house and I was no longer utilizing the membership.  It was an automatic deduction on my credit card and until I actually sat and reviewed my bill, I had forgotten all about it.  I immediately called to cancel and am saving myself $29.95/month!
  • Review what you are spending on outside activities for your children.  Check with your child's school and see what programs they offer or check with the local YMCA or a Boys and Girls Club etc....My children have two hours of after school offerings with a variety of fun/educational/physical activities sure to please even the pickiest children.  The fee for the entire year is only $15.00 per child and the programs change every five weeks.  You can go one day per week or every day if you choose and my kids love it.  They get to hang with their friends in a structured and supervised environment and have fun, a great workout or learn something that interests them.  They offer various sport and outside activities, wild life programs, cooking classes, model cars, dance, homework club, Wii and video games, Martial Arts, Social Club, Restaurant Design, Invention Convention, Poet Society etc.....These programs are sponsored through the Boys and Girls Club and the kids stay right at the school for one to two hours and either take the bus, get picked up or walk home.  For $15.00/year....it is by far the most economical fun and varied program and my kids totally enjoy it!  The best part is that I no longer have to car pool all over the place after school and rush around from activity to activity.  The best bonus is the extra two hours of quiet time for Mommy to prepare dinner, clean, workout, relax, read or just do whatever and how cool is that....I absolutely love it and I'm saving a fortune!!
  • Get rid of items that you no longer use, are collecting dust, are in the way etc....Put them on ebay or Craig's List, have a yard sale or place an ad in your local newspaper or post items for sale at grocery stores, laundromats etc...  You would be surprised at how much money you could make selling these items and how excited it would make you to see your garage, attic, basement, storage area etc....all cleaned out and organized!  I completely emptied out my basement and we now have a full room loaded with gym equipment and an entertainment room on the other half with a pool table, gaming area, computer station and comfy chairs where the kids can hang out with their friends and Mom and Dad can chill in peace and quiet upstairs away from the commotion of pre-teens at play!! 
If you didn't have to worry constantly about finances and how you were going to pay your bills, you would feel lighter, happier and you would have a decreased level of anxiety and stress. Take a few minutes and see what you could do to reduce your debt....it will be totally worth it!!!

These are just two examples of what making simple changes can do to improve your quality of life.  When you find yourself depressed, anxious, stressed or completely overwhelmed with your day to day structure, mind thoughts, chatter, finances, career etc......Pause and take just five minutes and start jotting down things that totally annoy you or are disabling you physically and mentally on a day to day basis.  Most people fear change, run from it and just plain avoid it at all costs.  There are moments in time when you have to make the change before it cripples you.  If you allow yourself to hit bottom.....the rise up will be so much more complicated that some people stay at the bottom paralyzed by depression because they are afraid of failure or just can't find the strength to push forward or make an attempt to climb back up....make today the day that you take over the controls.  It's your turn.....get a piece of paper and a pen and start writing.....anything that pops in your mind.....Your dreams, your wishes, what makes you smile.....Jot them down in big bold letters and keep the paper handy so you can add things as they miraculously start charging into your brain with a positive jolt.  Once you take charge and decide that your life is all about the choices you choose and how you play the game.  Stop wallowing in your pity and whining and complaining....START MAKING EVERY NEGATIVE STATEMENT INTO A POSITIVE STATEMENT!!!!!  Tell yourself that will no longer allow fear, guilt, shame, or whatever other excuses you feed yourself get in the way of living the life you have always dreamed and wished for!