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1. REDUCE YOUR GOALS TO ONE OR TWO: I get easily excited when I am thinking about making a change. Thinking about how I will feel when I achieve something can be exhilarating. It’s also a huge undertaking (depending on your goal) and is a process that can take months or sometimes even years. It’s easy to get overzealous and overload yourself with goals when you are eager to get on with a change, but overload can lead to overwhelm. When we get overwhelmed, we lose motivation and start to think, “I’ll never be able to do this so what’s the point?” and often give up. It can be daunting to think about what it will take to get from where you are now to where you want to be. The key (I have found) to sustained success is to bite off one small piece at a time. Start by making a list of the things you want to change. Perhaps it’s losing weight, improving your relationship, or creating better self care and balance. Write down all the ones you can think of and number them in priority of what you would like to tackle first. Begin with one or mabye two. This will improve your focus and, ultimately, your success rate. Multi-tasking is viewed as a strength by many and is often one of the most sought after job attributes. Well, new research suggests it may benefit your job or others that you work with, but it’s not benefiting you. Just think, if you’re a little invested in fifteen things, you can’t possibly do them well. If you’re a lot invested in two things, you will complete them with more attention and care. Your stress level will decrease and how you take care of yourself will improve.

2. STEER CLEAR OF DIETS: Be very wary of any diets promising results in a short amount of time. Trust me, I know it’s tempting to want to do something radical because you’re fed up with your body, but losing weight and getting in shape is a healing process that involves more than just your body. To make a lasting change, your mental and spiritual health must also heal along with your body and this can take time. Don’t worry though, you can still get the results you want, it just may take a little patience. It may also look a little different than you anticipated. A great place to start is to reduce the amount of chemicals you are putting in and on your body. These include non-organic foods, artificial additives, refined and processed “food product,” and chemicals added to health care products. In the beginning, the focus is typically on the scale, but it’s often more important to pay attention to how you feel. Your body is an amazing tool and if you can learn to listen to it, it will lead you back to health every time. The beginning of any change is the hardest so going easy on yourself will pay off in the long run. You will go through many trial and errors to figure out what works for you. There is no way of eating that works for everyone so begin to develop a curiosity about yourself and what you need. If you eat something that you feel guilty about or that doesn’t make you feel good, learn from it, but try not to let it eat you alive with guilt. We all have good food days and bad food days. It’s what we choose to eat most of the time that will make a difference, not the 10% of choices that aren’t so great. Once you start feeding yourself a clean, plant-based diet (with our without meat), your body will start to crave healthy foods instead of junk foods. Also, we often don’t think of what we put on our body as having the same effect as what we put in it, but our skin is our biggest organ and everything we put on it will eventually get inside

it. Opt for natural brands without synthetic dyes, fragrances, and chemical additives. There are plenty of brands out there to try and many add essential oils for a natural aromatic experience.

3. GET RID OF DISTRACTIONS AND CREATE A POSITIVE ENVIRONMENT: Facebook, email, shopping, eating, binge TV watching, and texting. There are a million ways to distract yourself from what is really happening. These things are usually what derail us from making the changes we so much desire. Have you ever made what you thought was a really great plan, followed it for two weeks, and then quit because it was too hard? If we don’t create a really good system and plan for losing weight or getting in shape, we often get overwhelmed or discouraged when we don’t see instant results. This leads to a loss in motivation and inspiration which ultimately leads to failure. Once we lose that motivation we tend to bring in the distractions to pull our attention away from the bad feelings associated with failure. These distractions can take up hours in a day and are often not productive at all, just bandaids. They’re time wasters and attention stealers. To ensure this doesn’t happen to you the next time, one area to focus on is your support system and environment. Be really picky about the energies you surround yourself with. It may even be beneficial to hire an expert to help guide and support you through the ups and downs. Having someone who is neutral can be invaluable when working through challenges. In addition, good quality connections with friends and family can also help ensure your success. When the going gets tough, and it will, if you have someone you trust to keep you in the game you’ll be less likely to quit. Both professional and personal connections can provide accountability and also the reassurance that others are most likely struggling with similar things.

And lastly, as Winston Churchill said, “NEVER, NEVER, NEVER GIVE UP.” If things don’t go your way, alter your plan or ask for help. We always love to hear your stories so if you have been successful in discovering a plan that works for you or even if you’ve struggled with finding the right plan, we welcome you to share that experience for others to read! 

Shawn Clavelle holds a bachelor's degree in nursing and is a Certified Holistic Health Coach and Certified Yoga Instructor. She believes that yoga is the perfect addition to any fitness routine and ideal for athletes who have sustained injuries that preclude them from participating in other forms of exercise. Shawn customizes her yoga classes to be fun, engaging, and designed to help you lose weight, tone, strengthen, and experience a deeper sense of confidence and esteem. She provides modifications for her students so that each class can be rich and enjoyable. 

I used to be all willy nilly with my money. If there was five dollars in my wallet, I’d find a way to spend it…on anything. I impulse shopped ALL THE TIME. I ate out a lot. Life was good…

UNTIL, the bills came and I suddenly realized I spent the water bill money at the movies. There were so many times when my bank account balance was under a hundred bucks and I had to stretch that money for almost two weeks until I got paid again. Naturally, I was in a constant flux of immediate gratification bliss and anxiety stricken panic. 

I couldn’t take the pain of worrying about money all the time, but I didn’t know what to do different. How could I make sure I was spending my money wisely? How could I ensure that I was always prepared to pay my bills on time and have a cushion in case of an emergency? The answer: My money needed a job.

That sounds weird, right? Shouldn’t it be, “You need a job to make money”? Nope. Most of us have jobs that provide a paycheck. That’s not the problem. The problem is we aren’t taught what to do with our money once we’ve earned it, so we’re left to trial and error to figure out the best method for getting the most bang from our bucks. I’ve learned from experience that I must assign a job to every single dollar I earn. Otherwise, I’ll make split second decisions about what to use my money for, only to regret them later.

So, what does it mean to give your money a job anyway? It means creating a SPENDING PLAN (aka. budget). Like this:

This table only lists a few common bills, but you’ll want to add every single thing you spend money on each month to your spending plan and then determine how much you’ll spend in each category. After you’ve spent the money, you’ll add the actual amount to the “Actual” column, which will help you see how much money you have left over (or how much money you’ll need to take away from another category to keep from overspending). 

The total money budgeted for the month should EQUAL YOUR MONTHLY INCOME. So, if you make $1,000.00 a month, you would allocate all that money to each category in your spending plan until the combined total is $1,000.00. Your actual spending should equal that same amount to ensure you’re not going into debt (which is a common problem for many people). 

You can probably see already how giving your money a job will help you stay on track and help you to know exactly where you’re money is going. But if you need even more convincing that having a spending plan is a smart move, here are 5 Reasons why YOU should give your money a job:

  1. You want your money to work for you rather than you always working for your money.

You know that saying, “Work smarter, not harder”? That applies here. You don’t want to be working day and night just to make ends meet. You want to earn a living so you can do the things you enjoy and have the things you want, but if you aren’t giving your money a purpose, you’ll just blow it. Assigning a job to everything single dollar protects you from having to scramble, put in overtime, or pick up a second job just to break even. 

2. You create a realistic plan for finally reaching those long-term financial goals.

Do you dream of paying off your student loans or mortgage, but feel like it will never happen? Do you fantasize about buying a new sports car or having a beach house but can’t see how you could ever swing it? Do you wish you could put your kids through college but don’t have a penny saved for it? Coming up with large sums of money for things like this takes time and dedication to your goal, but if there’s nothing extra after paying for the bare essentials, you won’t have any money to put towards these dreams. By giving your money a job, you make sure you’ve got extra cash to put toward these long-term goals every month and your far off dreams will become reality. 

3. It’s the only way to get out of debt and live debt free (aka. experience financial freedom).

Remember how I used to spend money on frivolous stuff and then wonder where it went? After I gave my money a job (well, several jobs actually), I was able to make sure I didn’t overspend in any category. Because I wasn’t overspending, I wasn’t adding to my already existent debt. AND I set aside money every month in my “extra payments toward debt category” so I could pay more on my credit cards than the minimum payment. That’s what made it possible for me to get out of debt, and once I did, I never used a credit card again. You can live debt free too (trust me, it’s exhilarating) if you’re committed to a spending plan. 

4. You’ll experience peace of mind knowing the money is there. 

Think about those annoying annual bills. You know, the annual car insurance premium that you get socked with every August, or the property tax bill you have to pay in the Fall, or the dreaded income tax payment you have to make by April 15th. Wouldn’t it be nice if you had the money sitting in your bank account, ready to be put towards those bills rather than freaking out about where you’re going to come up with the money in time? A spending plan helps you to stay on track with putting aside a little bit each month so you’ll be prepared for those annual bills before they even arrive. 

5. You’ll determine your highest priorities and live in alignment with them.

What’s more important to you: eating out three times a week or taking a week-long family vacation? Sometimes we don’t realize that by choosing to pay for convenience or picking up all those little extras here and there we don’t really need that we’re preventing ourselves from having what’s truly important to us. If you’re spending your money on crap, you won’t have any for the things you value. As you create your spending plan, you’ll be forced to think about what’s most important to you and where you want your money to go. As you spend, you’ll always be comparing that to your plan and making adjustments to your spending habits to fit with your overall financial goals. This is what makes it possible for you to have the things you really want rather than just wasting it on things that don’t really matter to you. 

TIP: Avoid numerous trips to places like Wal-Mart, Target, and Dollar Tree. These places suck you in to wasting money on stuff you don’t need! Keep reminding yourself of what you REALLY want when you feel compelled to impulse buy in these stores. 

Now, I want to hear from you. What is your greatest takeaway from this blog? How do you plan to get started giving your money a job? What’s keeping you from taking action today?

To learn more about money management, building wealth in your life, and how to eliminate the limiting beliefs and attitudes about money that are keeping you broke, check out my wealth building website at www.nicoleiacovoni.com. I’ll be releasing my new online program, MONEY MINDSET MAKEOVER in early 2017, so be sure to check the details and enroll early for a sweet discount. 

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Nicole Iacovoni is a psychotherapist, author, wealth building coach, and personal empowerment fanatic dedicated to helping you create a life of happiness & prosperity. Her work is centered around personal growth and holistic health and wealth building. Nicole takes an honest, straight-forward approach to helping clients identify where they currently are in their life’s journey. We’ll With expertise in how our DESIRES, EMOTIONS, THOUGHTS, and BELIEFS influence our success, Nicole helps clients create a concrete action plan for living the life of their dreams. 

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