My Journey out of Debt

Featured customers currently enrolled in a CareOne Debt Relief Plan, share journey to become debt-free; hear how they juggle family, finances, and more.

Laying the Foundation

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In my blog entries this month, I've been talking about my goals for 2011, and changes my wife and I are making in our daily lives in order to accomplish these goals. 

In order to be successful, these behavioral changes have to become habits.  

Some experts say that it takes about four weeks to form a habit, although I'd bet that varies from person to person. 

Until that habit really kicks in, we need to somehow keep ourselves going with these new behaviors, so we've come up with some tricks to help us.

Laying the FoundationObvious reminders:  When I get home, I now put my workout bag in an obtrusive place inside the front door.  I don't care if I trip over it. As I'm falling on my face for the third time that night, that bump on my forehead will say to me, "Hey, buddy, don't forget to go work out tomorrow." 

From a budgeting point of view, we have an envelope that we put our weekly entertainment funds in.  When the money is gone, we stay home.  This envelope is a large 10x12 manila envelope with "FUN" written in bright red marker, and it's stuck on the refrigerator door with a magnetic clip.

Schedule it:  If I wait until I get home to decide what to make for supper, I may find that I don't have the right ingredients to make anything.  If you have your meals planned, and make sure you have everything to make it, you're ready to go.  I have a list on my refrigerator that has potential meals that I bought supplies for during that week's grocery shopping trip.  That way I know what I've got the ability to cook at all times. This will help prevent us from getting take-out because we don't have the right ingredients to cook at home.

I put 90 minutes of exercise time on my work calendar every day.  Ten minutes before the designated time, a reminder pops up, telling me it's time to head to the gym for some "me" time.

Talk about it, constantly:  "How much money is in the envelope?"  "Is there anything we want/need to buy this week?"  "What are we doing this weekend?"  "How much money is in the envelope?"   I figure, if we talk about it, it will always be in the forefront of our minds, and we'll be more likely to make good decisions.

Compliment yourself:  I keep a food journal, as well as a workout journal. So does my wife.  I saw her write a compliment to herself in her food journal when she had a particularly good day.  What a great idea!  I want to tell her and myself when we've done something right.  My son has a shirt that says, "Without me there would be no Awesome."  That's absolutely right.

Move on from mistakes:  We're going to make mistakes.  I'll forget that I used all the pasta for spaghetti, so I can't make chicken alfredo and we'll end up ordering pizza.  Something will come up at work that will prevent me from getting a workout in that day.  When it happens, I will assure myself that I'm still awesome, and move on.

None of the above techniques are new, but I felt like I had to personalize them to make them work for me.  Hopefully, you can personalize them too along with other techniques to form habits to successfully accomplish all of your goals for 2011!

 Related Links:

Bring on the New Year

Is it in You

Running the DMP Marathon

Travis PizelTravis Pizel

Travis is a contributing writer for the My Journey out of Debt blog and is a very active member of the community forums. Travis is currently enrolled in a CareOne Debt Management Plan and in his posts he shares his personal journey to pay off his debt and the tips he's learned along the way. As a father and husband he provides a unique perspective on balancing debt, finances, and family. Compensated CareOne Blogger.

Follow Travis on Twitter @DebtChronicles

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  • Another great Blog!!  Sounds like you are still on track :-).  You truly are an inspiration for other members on CareOne.  Thank you!

  • Thanks mdavis1964!  I'm looking forward to updating the community on the progress of my goals!

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