Declutter. It’s not about things

Editor’s note:

Declutter: It's not about the Things
Declutter: It’s not about the Things

Heather Shue has been a source of inspiration and focus as I’ve been working through the March Challenge to minimize the clutter at home.  Here’s a guest post sharing her perspective on the beauty of getting rid of all the s-t-u-f-f around the house.  Check out her blog SimplySaveMN, or shout out with Heather on Twitter or on Facebook.

It’s Not Just About Things

Decluttering isn’t just about having a tidier home; it goes much deeper than that. It’s a process and a journey and no two are the same.

It’s about time.

Declutter: It's about Time
Declutter: It’s about Time

Things involve maintenance and upkeep. Whether it’s as simple as replacing batteries or dusting around the knick knacks, this is time away from the people and things you love the most and that time adds up. I’m sure that you wouldn’t hesitate to agree that you value your loved ones and passion projects much more than knick knacks, so why do we give away so much of our time to the upkeep of things?  Time is finite. We all get the same amount of hours in a day and there’s nothing we can do to get any extra.

It’s about money.

Declutter: It's about Money
Declutter: It’s about Money

Sometimes we fall into this cycle of cleaning out the closet and selling the clothes, only to fill up the closet again with brand new clothes. That’s not the type of decluttering I’m talking about, but when you do declutter, you can sell many of your things and have some extra funds to put towards debt, holidays, or whatever your financial goals are.

You can sell books, movies, CDs, sports equipment, clothes, accessories, and more to consignment stores. Facebook garage sales, Craigslist, and NextDoor are other great places to sell things. Most local police department lobbies or parking lots serve as a safe place for these transactions.

You may not get a ton of money, but you’ll earn more than you would by letting the items continue to collect dust in your home. When you learn to be comfortable with less, you eventually want less, which saves you money in the long term.

It can sometimes be difficult to let go of things that we spent money on, especially things that haven’t been used or still have tags on them. But the truth is those are exactly the things you should get rid of. The money has already been spent, hanging on to the item won’t make it a good value, enjoying it and using it regularly will. If you haven’t used it within a few weeks of purchase, you likely never will. Let someone else get joy out of that item.

It’s about head space.

Declutter: It's about head space.
Declutter: It’s about head space.

Decision fatigue is a real thing. What seems small, like choosing what to wear or which new TV to buy, takes a little bit of your brain power each day. Multiply that by the countless small choices we make every day and that’s a lot of brain power used up in just our daily routine! No wonder we’re exhausted by the end of the day and just want to chill in front of the TV!

Eliminating clutter reduces decision fatigue. Even the smallest amount makes a huge difference, leaving you more brain power and head space to be present and engaged with your family.

It’s about acceptance.

Declutter: It's about Acceptance
Declutter: It’s about Acceptance

Although we may not realize it, we tend to buy many things because we think that we “should.” For example, the media and society tell us that when we have kids we need all these fancy things to be a good parent. Or when we buy a house, we should have a kitchen full of the latest gadgets and be ready to entertain guests at the drop of a hat. Well what if you don’t enjoy cooking or hosting parties?

We all have different values and interests; therefore, our possessions should be as unique as we are! There is no standard Parent or Homeowner checklist that we all have to follow. It’s ok to accept that you don’t enjoy cooking and that your child will be just as safe and happy without the latest popular toy.

The same philosophy applies to decluttering. There is no right or wrong way to go about it. You may choose to keep things that your best friend would part with. But I bet you each have different hobbies and priorities! You likely won’t keep the same things so don’t waste energy comparing. Use that energy to motivate and encourage!

Your self-worth is not defined by your possessions. Let go of “should” and the items that come with it.

It’s about joy!

Declutter: It's about Joy.
Declutter: It’s about Joy.

Decluttering is not about getting rid of things you love, it’s quite the opposite! When you eliminate the excess, you get to enjoy your most cherished possessions that much more! They’ve been there all along, but you can really see them when you get rid of things you kept out of obligation or because you thought you “should” have them. You may find yourself sitting on your couch, looking around, and smiling at your things as though you’ve only just discovered them.

A Real Life Example

Think about your morning routine: you stand in front of the full closet assessing your options and you might think to yourself, “What to wear? I really should wear that top I bought last year because it cost $30 and still has the tags on. It’s the latest fashion, but it’s just not that flattering on me. I have nothing to wear! I guess I’ll wear my old standby favorite outfit that I wore a few weeks ago.”

What a way to start your day! What if the feeling you get when you wear the old standby outfit that you love is how you felt in all of your clothes? Confident, comfortable, ready to start the day feeling great! Decluttering the closet covers many of the principles mentioned above:

  • You save time and brain power when you know you look good and feel good in everything in your closet. Easier choices equal less decision fatigue and more time being present with your family.
  • You made some cash by selling the clothes you got rid of and are a little closer to your financial goals!
  • You accept that you prefer some styles over others, regardless of the latest trend. You let go of “should” and save money by sticking with what you like and not following the trends.
  • You’re left with a closet of fewer clothes, but clothes that you like! You don’t feel the pressure to wear things only because you spent money on them. You no longer start your day with negative thoughts and low self-esteem about your image. You feel good and confident in everything you own!

It’s not just about the things.

Sure, when you declutter your house is tidier and it’s easier to find things, but that’s just the beginning! Decluttering is about much more than just the clutter. It’s a worthwhile process. Start small, work at your own pace, and don’t worry about what others are doing. You’ll be amazed at the impact it has in your life.

March challenge: Simplify home

Editor’s note:  I know that we are starting this on the 2nd of the month, with travel and family time, I am just getting started on this challenge.  Better late that never and I am getting started!

Simplify Your Home
March Challenge: Simplify your Home

So, this is a big one.  We are making some changes.  We have lived in our rental home for the past three years.  My husband didn’t want us to move here initially as he was concerned that I would fall in love with the space and when it would be time to leave that we would be unable to find something similar in our price range.

Boy, have we changed.  After our time here, research, and this incredible financial journey, we have realized that this is not what we want in our life right now.  So, to help us focus on our financial situation, to give us the space we need and not just what we want, and to help us minimize excessive spending, we are ready to downsize.  Here’s the challenge for March.

The March Challenge

Primary goal:  move from a 4-bedroom, 3 bath, 2 car garage, 3,000 square foot home to an apartment from 1,000 – 1500 square feet.  That’s a downsize.

Secondary goal:  eliminate all the junk in our home by 40-50%.  Room by room. Closet by closet.  Shelf by shelf.  

This is no joke. It’s time to roll up the sleeves, and get to work.  Are you with me?

And while I’ve never been a minimalist, nor am I trying to be a minimalist at this time.  I am certainly working to simplify our home during the month of March.

Here are the rules.  (And please, just know that these are the rules I’m using to get my home in order.  Please adjust as you deem necessary.)

  1.  Focus on one room at a time.  This is where I have gotten off track in the past.  You know, take this sippy cup into the kitchen, spend five minutes sorting mail while I’m there, then off to do laundry and… somewhere in there I lost a complete hour of good working time.  I plan to use the Pomodoro timer app to keep me in the area, focused, and working on just the section I need to be working on to finish.
  2.  Cupboard by cupboard, closet by closet, item by item. I plan to do it like this to make the right decisions that will keep the home in order for a good, long time.
  3.  Eliminate 30-40% of stuff.  Okay, everything I’ve read leads me to the 80/20 rule.  But getting rid of 80% of our stuff?  That’s huge.  HUGE.  I plan to start with 40-50% and see how it goes from there.
  4. Week by week through different areas of the home.  I’ll take a portion on the house, usually certain rooms and make the decisions of the day.

And, just arriving back home from our travel to my sweet Grandma’s funeral, I’m looking at the house with fresh eyes.  Part of learning to live an enriched life means living below our means.  For most of our marriage, we have tried to live “Right at our level of means,” or worse, “Just a smidgen above our means.”

Part of me dreams of being just a little OCD, so our home is stunningly clean and gorgeous at all times, in all seasons, and no matter who pops in for a visit.  But, let’s be real about this.  With all this, dare I call it, crap in the house we are never going to achieve that!

This is part a de-clutter, part a spring cleaning, and part purge of the junk.  So, what would be the perfectly- appropriate-upbeat-title for that?

Spring Simplifying?  Too vague.

Primavera purge?  Sounds like a bad trip to Olive Garden.

Tidy up for the Tiny House?  Who am I Stuart Little?

Ahem.  I digress.

Even though we are without a catchy title, let’s get going on this challenge.  (Side note:  if you think of a name for it, please send it over.  You’ll get all the credit, for sure!)

DeCluttering Calendar

March Challenge: Wk 1 Bedroom
March Challenge: Wk 1 Bedrooms

Week 1:  Bedrooms.  I plan to go through each closet, each drawer, each pair of shoes and make thooooose decisions.  I just have stuff around the house right now that we don’t need, and probably won’t use for a very, very long time.  I plan to ask questions like, “Have I even worn this in the past year?”  “Will I need this in the next six months?”  “Is there someone I know who could use this?”

You’ve seen those shows.  The kind where the person who is a collector of waaaay too much stuff calls in a professional organizer and gets things in order.  I plan to do that on a much smaller basis.  I’ll have 2 bins set up:  one for donations to Goodwill, the other for someone else to decide.  (For example, if my husband needs to decide on clothes or if one of my daughter’s friends could use clothes she’s outgrown.)  Other than that, it will go back in its place, nicely organized for a simpler, cleaner, clearer home and lots of organized future use.

Week 2:  Bathrooms. This will include going through the medicine cabinets, checking expiration dates, chucking those half-used bottles of shampoo, the stuff that just seems to clutter up the bathroom counter and get us back on track.

Week 3:  Storage Spaces.  We have a study that is more like the “stuff and study.”  We have an extra room that has been the place of  “stuff we will need in a couple months,” that has been in there for 3 years.  It’s embarrassing to say that aloud, but it is time to come clean and purge nearly all of that!  I’m sure there’s a couple things that we might be able to sell, but we will get there.

Week 4:  Kitchen, Living Room, and Playroom:  You knew that was coming, didn’t you?  Our kitchen is pretty organized.  That’s where most of my OCD tendencies come in to play.  The living room is pretty simple, and I want my little girl to see that we are donating a lot of stuff and are still okay, in fact, we are better so that she gets excited about donating more of her stuff.  She’s done a round of donating items before, I think we will have much more success in the future.

This is one of those months where I’m going to share with you the stuff of my life.  You know, the messy, ugly and all those nooks and crannies that just need to be cleaned up.  In complete hope that it will be organized and I’ll have it documented here to never have it get this bad again.

Care to join me?  What are you going to clean, de-clutter, and organize this month? Comment below and let me know.  I’m delighted to hear about it and even more excited to cheer you on to your success in simplifying!

Grandma’s Legacy

My sweet Grandma passed away this morning.  The memories, thoughts, and special moments are swimming in my mind and I need to get them written down.  This blog is dedicated to living a life enriched by making wise choices, doing good, and serving others, I would be amiss to not pay tribute to her impact on my life.

Grandma's Legacy
Grandma’s Legacy

Today, while going through my regular activities, I mentioned to my husband that this hurts more than I would have expected.  Grandma hasn’t been a part of our daily lives the past few years, living so far away.  His response and wisdom was, “She was a big part of the bedrock of your life.  She is one of a few people who made significant impact on who you have become as a person.”

He’s right.

Grandma, who signed every card as G.Dart, was the foundation for our family.  GDart sounds so gangsta.  So ahead of her time.

Not only am I so grateful for my loving grandma.  I am reminded again how much love there is in family.  Sometimes, we get busy with life and forget all of the love we have. Cousins, brothers, sisters,  & loved ones are making plans from all parts of the country to be together to pay tribute to her life, her sacrifice, and her love for all of us.  Through phone calls, texts, messages, and other support I am in awe of all the love that abounds in this family.

Talking to my sister/cousin (you know, the kind where she’s the best of both worlds), reminded me that “Family is there to celebrate the very good times with each other and lift each other through the toughest times.”

Family makes the difference. Family knows where you come from.  Family understands that you have potential and can make a difference.  Then family pushes you to do even more than you thought you could.

Her progeny includes attorneys, teachers, scientists, counselors, innovators, and most importantly, some really good people.  The kind you want on your side. It’s incredible to see what they’ve all achieved.

If I had to say, her legacy is easily summed up in: tradition, love, and a lot of work.

Thank you Grandma for the Traditions

My cousin Blaine taught us that “Dart backwards is Trad.”  Grandma was the queen of traditions.

Dart Backwards is Trad
Dart Backwards is Trad

Ask Grandma how she was doing, and her response was always, “Pretty and good.”  Then a wink and a smile.  This girl’s got swagger.

Halloween meant going to Grandma’s house and getting my first real popcorn ball.  If you ate it on the holiday is was nice, chewy and delicious.  If you waited a couple of days it got harder, and harder.  You would have to bite off a chunk and let it warm up in your mouth for a good 20-minutes before you could chew it down.  But it still was delicious.

Grandma always made sure that every child, son-in-law/ daughter-in-law, grandchild, stepchild, step grandchild, step-great-step-something-cousin’s-child knew we were expected to be together on every holiday.  She made that the number one priority, and that whoever was with us was not only welcome, but wanted.

I remember sitting at Thanksgiving tables full of people I’ve never seen before, or since, and she served them with love and that glint in her eye with a smile.  She made pies and pies.  Usually 30 or more every holiday so that everyone would be able to enjoy a nice slice of Thanksgiving pie and still have an entire pie to take home.  That shows her generosity.

Every Christmas Santa came to our family party.  I never knew that it had been arranged months and months in advance with the background info on nearly every child there to make us know that the Santa at Grandma’s party, was the real one.  He would have someone stand in the jingle bells and dance while we sang a couple of carols.  My little girl never got to be part of that tradition.  We’ll have to make it happen.

The first time I ever went “Black Friday Shopping” was with Grandma and the DoFADS (Daughters of Frank and Arlene Dart)  they have cards and everything.  I’m a proud D0D0FAD (Daughter of the Daughter of Frank and Arlene Dart) just haven’t had my card as a proud member of the organization.

Grandma pulled my first tooth.  She was far more gentle that my Mama.  She would look at it and smile and “get that puppy outtathere.”

My love for the mountains started from times at Grandma’s Cabin.  A little slice of heaven near Strawberry Reservoir, some of the best moments of life and family time happened in that little corner of the mountain. She taught us how to spot elk & deer in the mountain, build a fire, burn a marshmallow, and make some slammin’ fried eggs in the morning over an old fashioned fire burning stove.  I can see her sitting on the patio in her t-shirt and an opened flannel shirt sitting and taking in all the beauty and grandeur of nature.  That is when she was in her element.

I remember running around her yard in the irrigation water as she was watering the massive garden.  It was like our own private waterpark.  So cold on my feet in the hot summer sun.  It was like mmmmmagic.

She taught us all about scouting. Sold cookies.  Did service projects.  Did more service projects.  Cooked for 10, 20, 50, or 100 scouts.  She knew how to master the unit box and keep them kids in line.   Generations of scouts learned from G.Dart.  A legend in her own time.

Every President’s Day the DoFADS would go with Grandma for lunch.  It was just one little thing but became a family tradition.  It was about getting together to celebrate and laugh as you would appreciate the loved ones in your life.   That luncheon has gone on every year for 40 years.

On Easter the family would get together for a fun barbecue, they would pull all the kids in the house, close the windows, as my Aunt Linda would make up some excuse to just “get us all together for a few minutes” as the other adults would “hide” all the candy and easter eggs.  The Bit-O-Honeys were never the hot ticket and I still think of my family easter holidays every time I see that stinkin’ candy.

One Easter or Mother’s Day, I remember the hopscotch tournaments starting.  Large women, playing hopscotch, everyone laughing until tears.  You don’t forget something like that.

I saw G.Dart every Tuesday when she would come to my Mama’s beauty shop, in our basement, and get her hair done.  She always came with a bag of ice from her fancy ice maker in the fridge and a loaf of banana bread.

My favorite was watching my aunts, the DoFADS, get together, tell jokes and stories and laugh themselves silly. Grandma would laugh until the tears would fall. They all would.  The stories of raising chinchillas in the basement, traveling in Frank Dart’s car, and countless stories of family get togethers came alive just listening to them. I get that happy vibe inside just thinking about it.

So much love shown

Of all the things I’ve learned from my Gran, these stand out:

  • She had little, but always had something to share.
  • G.Dart showed love by being able to cook, provide for her children and their friends, and grandkids, and friends and continue to give.
  • Grandma was frugal before we knew what it was to be frugal.  My Mom used to complain about all the delicious homemade bread and would ask to buy store bought bread because it tasted better.  For shame.
  • She would can, preserve, and make the garden of vegetables feed her family through the tough winters.  We have forgotten how to do that. I tried to help her once.  Mostly, I was in the way and just hung out with Gram, telling stories and asking more about her life.
  • She had 8 children, and buried 4 of them.  I can only imagine the reunion of all of them together.
  • Every year for my birthday she sends me a card with a crisp $2 bill.  Oh, she does this for her other 21 grandkids, plus their 11 spouses, plus her 26 great grandkids,  too.   It feels like magic.  I have several pristine $2 bills saved up in a drawer that I will not spend.  The crispiness makes it too special.  I’d love to see how many $2 bills she gave away.
  • Every year for her friend’s birthdays, she sends a card with some small gift.  I had no idea she did that for her friends, too.
  • Gram took just the girl cousins to the cabin for our special weekend.  We played games, told jokes, made so much noise and she seemed to love it all.  Until she didn’t.  Then you better shape up quick.  She also took the boy cousins.  I’m sure they didn’t have nearly as much fun.
  • She is a master gardner.  She has a big, beautiful, bloomin’ garden and always shares her bounty.  I tried a garden.  Uh, no dice. I’m going to try again.
  • Nearly every New Year’s Eve all the cousins had a sleep over at Grandma’s house.  It was the first time I remember watching Dick Clark and the countdown, seeing my cousin doing the Safety Dance, and having the most amazing time.
  • She made holidays special. She still has an ornament or gift for every one of us.

She worked through her entire life

Grandma's Legacy of Work
Grandma’s Legacy of Work
  • She had a “spud pit.” Still.  What’s a spud pit?  Some call it a potato cellar, and it’s an underground cellar to hold food storage.  When times were tight, my Grandpa would buy a ton of potatoes (literally, One Ton.  2000 pounds.) of potatoes to feed the family of seven kids through out the winter.  Who does that anymore?  Do they still make them?
  • My Grandma made all her food from scratch.  Since she had a ton of potatoes every winter, (like a ton of potatoes) she had to peel them daily to feed the family.
  • She never fed her kids processed foods.  As I am going through the process of learning to use what’s in my pantry, I can see the value in this (did I mention a ton of potatoes?  I still can’t get my mind around this.) She was not just saving money, she was feeding her children the healthiest choice.
  • She showed her love with food.  She cooks like a master, taking just a few ingredients and whipping up something spectacular to eat.
  • She created meals from seemingly nothing.  Cow syrup, hopscotch, Goulash, Banana Bread, Chinese Casserole, Homemade noodles, and oh!  Thanksgiving.

The five most powerful lessons from Gram:

  • She is tough as nails.  It’s been said she can “Knock you on yer butt with just a look.”
  • Stubborn, bull-headed and loving to a fault.
  • Don’t worry, “She’ll love you back up when it’s time.”
  • We share the same first initial.  One time I saw a beautiful gold “A” on a chain she was wearing. When I mentioned that’s my letter, too, she took it off and gave it to me.  She absolutely refused to have it back.  I was stunned and oh, so shocked at her unbelievable kindness.
  • She was widowed young.  With 5 kids still at home.  With no degree, her tenacity and grit pulled them through.  One day I may understand how she did that.  But I can only imagine.
  • She pulled out almost every one of my teeth when it was time.  I didn’t trust my Mama to do it.  Gram knew how to do it nicely.
  • She waited for her military man.  I know a little about that.  But she waited without the internet.  And that’s a totally different ball game.
  • She fully expects your best.  Every day.  And every family member, grand kid, and friend knows that.
  • She made family come first.  No matter what.

My heart is full of love, gratitude, and a sense of pride to call her my family.  She worked through the struggles, she served others when she could have easily felt sorry for herself, she whined to herself and lifted others.

Tell me now, how has your Grandma enriched your life?

Tracking Numbers Gives You Power

Track Your Progress Daily
Track Your Progress Daily

“That which is measured improves.”

This has always been one of my favorite quotes.

It’s always made sense to me from a distance, but I really haven’t taken a lot of time to track the numbers of my life.

Until I started budgeting.

It’s been a process of learning to make changes, measuring and watching decisions throughout the day, and learning to be smart about every single purchase.

What an amazing discovery this has ben in my life.  By paying attention to the numbers and amount of money coming and going, I have learned to understand and respect the power of money in my life.

But budgeting has only been the beginning.

This year, like every year, I have set a resolution to become more physically fit.  I want to be strong.  I want my body to be able to keep up with my mind and dreams and desires in life.

But this year, I’ve been tracking my progress.  This, in no way, is put up to brag about my efforts.  But rather, to show you how small steps make a tremendous difference.

I was a tracker.

Ironically, one of my first jobs as an adult was a tracker at a high school.

I was the one who would walk the halls, find kids missing class, give them citations to go early morning tardy make-up.  It sounds like a horrible job.  It wasn’t.  Those kids came to trust me, come have conversations about tough things that are confusing at home or with dates- and in my time there, you know what the biggest lesson I was?

Most teenagers, like the rest of us, know they are  doing stupid stuff.  They are completely aware when they aren’t doing their best.  Most people know they need to change- but have no idea how to do so, or worse, have completely given up imaging the possibility of improvement.  I learned I never had to tell someone they are screwing up- I just had to show them what is possible to make their situation better.

I would work with students that had a difficult time getting to class on time.  Or at all.  They had to check in, have their teacher initial that they were in class, and check in with me at day’s end.

I was paid to hold them accountable.  And I absolutely loved it.  I laughed with the kids.  A lot.  But when it was time to shake things up, they knew I was going to hold them to it.  And, in part, because we had laughed, they listened.  And usually worked to make changes.

Sometimes I wish I had a tracker. That’s why people pay for various coaches, trainers,  and mentors.  We all need someone to look where we are, how much progress we have made, and help us “Shake it Up” when we need it.  As you are working on improving the finances, there is no better tracker than your budget.  You will know at any time where you are in your financial plan as you keep working with that budget.  It’s gold.  I just wish more people understood its value.

That’s why people pay for various coaches, trainers,  and mentors.  We all need someone to look where we are, how much progress we have made, and help us “Shake it Up” when we need it.  As you are working on improving the finances, there is no better tracker than your budget.  You will know at any time where you are in your financial plan as you keep working with that budget.  It’s gold.  I just wish more people understood its value.

Track your numbers.

Daily Tracking
Daily Tracking, FitBit style

I loved tracking. I loved working with those kids and holding them accountable.

Accountability is about really looking at what is going on in your life, not just the story you tell yourself.  And, we all do it.  What we are doing and what we think we are doing are not always the same thing.

This month I have renewed my love for tracking.  Using the FitBit I got for Christmas, I’ve been working on reaching my goal og 10K steps every weekday.  Weekends are for my family and spiritual refreshment from the week.

Here’s my results.  You can see I missed a day- I was really off that Tuesday.  I made sure to get my 10K steps while keeping up with work responsibilities, taking care of family & home, and my swim lessons.

Here’s what I’ve learned:  Whatever the goal is, money, exercise, reading a certain number of books, whatever… you’ve got to make the goal/plan and then track it.  Every step of the way.

Once you make that initial change- even just a little one, as you track it you’ll be able to see what is working, what needs a little more attention, and where you just need to “Shake Things Up” to get closer to your goals.

Then I also added the other part to this equation.

Daily Food Tracking via My Fitness Pal app
Daily Food Tracking via My Fitness Pal app

I started tracking every teeny, tiny piece of food that goes into my mouth.  Everything.

Every nibble of my daughter’s snack.  Every 2-3 crackers as I’m making dinner. Every bite.

Every morsel.

Whoa.  Talk about a wake-up call. I started out really difficult and annoying having to look up the ingredients and items in each bit of food.  But it has become much more easy and part of my regular routine.  Before I realized it, I have been logging in for a full 30 days!  Yess!  Habits are being made!

Progress is on its way.

Methods of tracking

The method that you use doesn’t really matter as much as you are consistent.  So, let me rephrase that. The method you choose to track your efforts matters so that you stay absolutely consistent.  Most people set off on a goal with no way of measuring or determining what has been achieved.

Find the method that works for you.  For your finances, have you tried a new app that could really help or do you forget to enter in the numbers as you spend the money?  Oh!  Time to find a better method.

What about the old school tiny notebook and pen?  Writing every purchase down can make a huge impact as you examine your progress.

Do you prefer the spreadsheets?  Wow!  That’s awesome! I haven’t been as consistent as I’d like to be with spreadsheets, I’ve got a lot to learn before I love them.

Evaluate results

That which is measured improves.
That which is measured improves.

You’ve heard it said that, “Knowledge gives you power.”

Uh, not exactly.  It’s what you do with that knowledge that gives you power.

And that’s where that beautiful brain of yours comes in to play.

All of this tracking doesn’t help if you don’t take the time to evaluate your efforts.  This is your life.  This is your financial situation, your health, your goals and desires.  The only way it will improve is if you choose to make the right changes.

See where you are.  Determine what is really, really working for you.  Celebrate those wins. Give yourself props for making such great strides in your efforts.  [Side note:  Do we still give props anymore?  Or is that old news?]

Next, look at where you can improve.  Is it a big thing that you’re struggling with or is a little hiccup that keeps getting you throughout the week?

Are you suffering from the afternoon pick-me-up that has way too much sugar to really sustain you throughout the day?

Are you doing really well on your spending through the work week then blow the budget during the weekend?  Ahem.  Not like I’d know ANYTHING about those last few examples…

It’s what you do with that information that makes all the difference.

And there is the power of tracking in your life.

Tell me now, how has tracking been effective for you?  Or, in what ways could you improve your tracking method?