An Unexpected, But Not An Unwanted Change

As the month of January slowly comes to an end and my change has become habit, I am starting to look into what I’d like to change next for February. Little did I know, a very unexpected change was happening behind my back.

I’ve been out of school for the past two semesters, or a year if you want to get technical. I left my previous school due to many personal and financial reasons. Throughout the year and a half that I was in school, I was always bouncing from major to major. One semester I was in Criminal Justice, the next I was in Visual Arts. I couldn’t figure out exactly what I wanted to do with my life, pretty much because I want to do everything, and I finally drove myself into the ground. (Let it be known that my last semester I was in a bad relationship that emotionally was draining and didn’t help my cause. But that’s a story for another day.) I ended up making the call to my mother half way through finals week to come and get me, and that was the last time I stepped in a classroom.

I was up late one night and for some reason I was on the website of Southern New Hampshire University. I guess was just looking around to see what programs and classes they offer, just in case I ended up going back someday. All of a sudden, I found myself filling out an application for admission to the Small Business Administration online program. I don’t even know if at the time I realized what I was doing. I submitted the application, shut my laptop and thought nothing more about it. The next morning I was rudely awaked by an unknown number. Usually I don’t answer unknown numbers, but for some reason I did this time. It was an admissions counselor from SNHU, she was calling to discuss my application. We talked for about twenty minutes, and by the time we were done talking I was signed up to start classes in March.

I am very excited about this unexpected change that has happened. Honestly, 12 Changes has changed the way I deal with life now and how I make changes. I hope you all were able to make the changes you wanted to during January and I wish you the best of luck in February.

A little late, but still hoping for change!

Greetings all! I’m Kristen via Life By Kristen. While I’m a bit behind on life for getting my 12 changes onto the blog, I’ve been working hard every day to make my January change happen!  Considering I’m posting this almost at the end of January, I probably should have made my January change to be on target with deadlines.

January’s change of go to bed early and get up on time was halfway successful. I am routinely in bed between 10 and 11 at night and getting up by 830AM on the weekends at the latest. But during the week, the 6AM alarm comes far too quickly and I hit snooze way too many times. I’m trying to put my alarm farther away from the bed so that it requires some movement in the morning, but really I just sort of move myself just as little as possible to reach the snooze button. I’m still working on making this change actually happen- and stick.

And here are my 12 proposed changes:

1. Go to bed early, get up on time           2.  Drink more water

3. Be active at least 3 times/week         4.  Don’t waste real work hours on web stuff

5. Make better attempts at communication and plans with friends

6. Less carbs                       7. Cook more

8. Read more                    9. Blog frequently

10.  Paint/create              11.  Take more photos

12. Meditate

January: An update

Hey y’all! Heather here from Musings of Heather. I will tell you now that until two days ago, I was having a hard time with my change this month (drink more water). I’m really not sure why. To me, it seemed so easy since I drink water already (I am not a huge soda fan).

That was until I had to buy a pair of jeans. Then it all fell apart. I realized that I had to do something NOW.

The easiest thing I could do was to INCREASE MY WATER INTAKE! How hard is that? Not really. So, here I am, at the end of January, drinking AT LEAST 64 ounces of water a day (oh man, my bathroom usage has increased as well…haha). Now, I’ve only need doing this for about a week (while all month long trying to get this to stick), but I know that this WILL become a habit.

How’s your January change coming along?

My 12 Changes

Hello my fellow 12 in 12 bloggers! Thanks Katherine for the Add! I am very excited to do these monthly changes to make this year a year of change. My whole life has had tons of changes beyond my control (and I know that there always will be) now I want to make some changes I can control.

January– Expose myself (keep reading lol!) more musically. Since it is almost February I have been doing it already… check it out. I will work on the songs I have written and perfect them before I get posting on those.

And work harder to get back to my pre-pregnancy weight by April 1st (I only have 10 more lbs to go!)

February– Drink more water (at least 64 oz a day) This will help Goal 2 in January

March– Memorize at least 1 Bible verse

April– Eat healthy at least 5 days a week

May-December… I am not really sure what to add to these months to make changes but I am sure I will come up with stuff based on reading these blog posts.

Now the changes I have made for the months above may be completed before the month comes but if not I can make it a priority for that month.

I think this will be very motivating for a lot of people and hopefully we will have some accountability so we can’t slack off!

The Root of All Other Changes (And Everything Else!)

I am The April Blake, and I am excited to be part of 12changes12months because I am looking to make 2012 the best year yet! 2011 was okay for me, nothing too exciting, nothing too terrible- just a very middle of the road, ho-hum 12 months that happened to me. I am looking forward to implementing and building upon each of these changes as they come up and keeping up with everyone’s progress!

The first change that I had planned to make/am already implementing for 12changes12months is to not pre-spend my income, and to generate a little more to knock both of my credit cards back to zero (again), which combined are hovering at about $400 at the moment, which is not a horrifying number in the least. To generate a little more income, I have been selling some items that I no longer need on eBay, including my old Super Nintendo Entertainment system plus games that I found at my dad’s house before Christmas. So far the things I’ve sold are adding up to around $150ish, a pretty decent score in my eyes. I’ve been feverishly transferring the money straight to the credit card payment before my mind even has a moment to think about what I could spend it on.

Plus, paying off the balance on my bank credit card nets me more points which can be converted to a check, which equals yet more money. This money will yet again not be mentally pre-spent on new spring clothes, stuff I don’t have room for yet, or too many wacky ingredients that I don’t need to buy before I eat other food that’s been hanging out in the pantry waiting for it’s turn. No, the income that’s leftover after bill paying that used to be dedicated to paying down credit cards will shoot directly into my savings account. The satisfying feeling of seeing that number rocket up every two weeks is worth taking extra time to really self examine my spending triggers.

We all have spending triggers, and taking the time and putting yourself through the self-shaming act of really looking closely at what makes you spend is worth the payoff- literally. For example, I know for a fact that my shopping triggers are fashion magazines and having clothing coupons mailed to me. So I stopped subscribing to fashion magazines (ahem, Lucky, Vouge, and Allure) and subscribe to more article and inspiration based publications like Marie Claire, Glamour and Veg News.

The other trigger is those coupons that come in the mail from places I’ve bought from before. The most frequent offenders are New York & Company and Express Fashion. Believe me, those coupons have come in handy when I’ve needed to buy clothes for a particular event or to round out my closet for a season, but I can definitely justify spending with “But I’ve got a coupon that’s going to expire!” I have taken to throwing them in the recycling bin right near the mailbox unless I know I am going to need to buy clothes soon. It’s been working well for the most part.

If you aren’t sure what your triggers are and if you use online banking, most larger banks have budgeting and reporting tools to help you track what percentage of your account goes to what type of spending. Bank of America has a great tool for this, and I use it frequently. In 2009 at one point I was able to see plain as day that I was spending $350 a month of groceries for myself. JUST GROCERIES FOR ME. I was shocked and immediately revised the way I meal planned and shopped. Now I spend an average of $150 a month on food for myself, or up to $200 when I am taking requests from the husband.

If you don’t use online banking, or your bank doesn’t offer those tools, there are a plethora of ways that are Google-able to track your spending so you can target the offending areas and have your triggers reach out and slap you in the face. Making and sticking to this change is a great foundation for my other changes because they money that I don’t waste and do earmark for future changes will help me to accomplish these goals to lead a more awesome and fulfilled life!

21 Days, 12 Months, 12 Changes and what all these numbers mean

I have been given a lot of advice in my life. Look both ways before you cross the street; don’t wait til the last-minute to finish a project; if he doesn’t answer the phone the first time, he’s not going to answer the fifth time. (I’M KIDDING. I would only call three times.) Hi, my name is Ashley, otherwise known as Ashalah and I blog over at Ashalah.com.You know what the one piece of advice that stuck out the most over the course of the past five years has been? My coworker and friend once told me over one of our daily lunch discussions at my old job that:

It takes only 21 days to create a new habit.

I passed this piece of advice on to Katherine when we first started talking about this 12 changes in 12 months business. She asked me to research it a little and while I cannot trace this back to the original advice-giver, it is featured prominently in several psychological journals. The days vary from 21-28 days but when you add that all up: within a month, if done every day, a habit can be formed. Of course there are those who disagree but it’s a very interesting theory, one I’d like to see if we can prove! Considering we are trying to do one change every month, we may be able to do just that. If we implement that change every day for a month, we should be able to create a habit right?

I’m reminded of a few years ago when I decided to take up running in Central Park. I used to hate it. Would dread it and for a couple of weeks, it took me quite a bit of effort to come home from work, put on my running shoes and walk out the front door and not just plop down on the sofa like I really wanted to. But sometime after I began to want to put on my running shoes. I craved hitting the pavement and having those couple hours of alone time running in the rain, in the snow, in the sun.

I developed a habit and I bet you it took me around a month to get there. Any of the goals that we want to accomplish this year can be thought of in this same way. Want to lose weight/eat healthier? Start adding vegetables and eliminating something like candy or soda every day and while it may be hard at first, pretty soon you’ll be craving those veggies instead of the sugar and you won’t need that soda to get the energy to get through the day. Want to save money? Start bringing your lunch every day or making your own coffee (I got an $8 tiny coffee pot. It isn’t fancy, doesn’t have any buttons other than on and off but it makes coffee). Soon, you’ll be brown paper bagging it as if you’ve always been doing it. Want to be on time more? Setting your alarm fifteen minutes earlier will suck but soon, your body will get used to it.

21 days, people. 21 days. Not that long when you think of it! And When turned around, you get 12.

Somewhere, in some world, that makes sense. Happy goal-setting and goal reaching!