Saturday, March 24, 2012

It’s Not Too Late to Change Your Habits

Post written by Leo Babauta.

A (slightly) older reader wrote to me recently, wanting to know how to change her bad habits ingrained after so many many years of doing them. She wanted to know, “Is it too late to change?”

And I can understand the feeling. Doing bad habits for years makes them deeply entrenched, and getting out of that trench might seem impossible, hopeless.
I once was stuck, and felt the weight of built up bad habits crushing, smothering, burying me. I felt helpless, like I had no control over myself, and was too discouraged to even try to change.

This discouragement is what does it. It’s not that changing bad habits is impossible. But if we are so discouraged we don’t try, we will never change them. To try and to fail is of little consequence, but to never start at all is fatal to the habit change.

And I’m here to tell you, that changing bad habits is not impossible. No matter how long you’ve done them, no matter how many decades.

It can be done. By you. By taking a single step.

Here’s how.

Know as you start that you aren’t changing a mountain. You don’t have to change years of bad actions. Those actions are gone — they’ve evaporated into the ether, and you can forget them. Forgive yourself for them, then forget them.

You don’t need to run a marathon to change a habit. You just need to take a step. And you can take a step.

Consider for a moment your bad habit. You might have a dozen, but choose an easy one. Not the one you’re most afraid of — the one you think you can lick.

Take a step back and think about this habit. When do you do it? What things trigger the habit — stress, food, drinking, socializing, boredom, sadness, waking, being criticized? What need does the habit fulfill for you? Know that it does fulfill a real need, and that’s why you keep doing it.

Realize something — stop here to drive home for yourself a crucial, crucial point: you must realize that you don’t need this habit to fulfill this need. You don’t need the habit. You can deal with stress in healthier ways. You can beat boredom. You can cope. You do not need the habit, and you will learn better ones with practice.
You might be feeling a bit overwhelmed at this point, but you’ve done the hardest part. Now you just need to take one more little step.

Commit to yourself to make a small tiny insignificant but powerful step each day. Commit fully, not half-assed. Commit by writing it down, and putting it up on your wall. Commit by telling a friend about it, and asking for help. Commit by putting it on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, your blog, a forum you frequent. Be all in.

Find a replacement habit. One that is healthier. One that fulfills the need. One that is easy. One that you can do after your trigger, instead of your bad habit. One that you enjoy and will look forward to. If you need to relieve stress, for example, consider walking, or pushups, or deep breathing, or self-massage.

You’re now ready to climb out of your trench. Remember, just a tiny tiny step.

Notice your urge to do the habit. Pause. Don’t do the bad habit. Let the urge pass, then do your new replacement habit.

Repeat, noticing the urge, letting the urge pass, not doing the bad habit, doing the good habit instead. You might mess up, but that’s OK. You’ll get better with practice.
Practice as often as you can, every day. You’ll get really good at it. Don’t worry about how long it takes. Keep doing it, one urge at a time.

Know, Consider, Realize, Commit, Find, Notice, Repeat, Practice. These are easy steps that don’t take a lot of work. You can do them as you sit here, reading this post.
It’s never too late. There is no habit that can’t be broken by the pressure of a single footprint. Make that footprint by taking a single step, today.

***Zen Habits is one of the awesomest blogs that has inspired me to be a better person all the time. Thought it may make a difference to your life, too.

Transferring a Blog to Another Gmail Account

I was figuring a way to transfer my current Google account to another, and so I consulted the ever reliable Google search engine. Well, I could have used Bing or Yahoo as well, but I'm very much used to Google that it was second nature to me when researching for the needed answer to my dilemma. Well, it is very useful when looking for anything, actually. By keying in: how to transfer blog to another gmail account, I found this:

and I found it very easy to understand especially with the illustrations. I hope this will help others out there as well, when you feel that your existing blog will have to transfer to a new account. Good luck!

And to Deepak Kamat, a big thank you to you!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Personal Finance Blogs and Resources

Putting money in a mutual fund can really be exciting especially to regular employees like me. It provides a certain rush each time I looked at the NAVPS from the previous day and it creates a wonderful feeling when I compute how much profit I get from my shares. Wonder why? 

Here are investment and finance resources that has inspired me to keep the dreams burning:

Spend some time with them and who knows they might change your life as did mine.

Of Personal Finance

I’ve just recently discovered the awesomeness of personal investing. Yes, I’ve known there are riches to be digged in the stock market, but it’s just now that I’m really appreciating it. It all first started with my desire to pay off all credit card debts and so, I twisted my arms and legs last year just to get me started. I had these feelings of panic and nausea back then every time I think of my total monthly balance and it made me cringe. And so I read all personal finance blogs, Yahoo’s Finance section and any other resource I could find to educate me on how to go about really paying off debt. It was a very unsettling feeling- when I thought I can never get up from the shithole that I was in. Luckily, I had a very POSITIVE influence that I really, really stopped swiping my way to the end of each month while I delivered my salary to the payment centre the day I received it. How did I do it?

  • ·         I lumped my purchases in my Metrobank Card then called HSBC for a balance transfer. Between the two, HSBC had the better rate for Balance Transfer at that time. Then, when it was done, I cut my Metrobank Card so that I can focus on paying for the monthly due on my HSBC card.
  • ·         Of course, there will always be temptations to use that card again for a new shirt or an awesome pair of shoes, but I resisted it by drawing a budget for myself. I added all my expenses in a month, then subtracted it to my total net income. After that, I set a daily allowance for myself. In order to stick to it, I also modified my lifestyle of eating out whenever it is salary day. Well, this will not be a walk in the park I thought but I tried the first month, second month and so on. Although there were times I gave in to temptations, I just regarded it as a setback and then stuck to my budget again.
  • ·         After that, it was going smoothly. However, I actually had budget for spare expenses such as when I really, really need to it out or when I just can’t resist to buy new stuff. This has worked for me because if I get to spend it, then no harm done because I’m still in line with my budget. And if I didn’t get to spend it, I saved it.
  • ·         Now, for saving. I allocated 1K each month to my savings envelope and I never defaulted because I already made it a habit to stick to my daily allowance. In fact, it was not that a big sacrifice actually. I found out that 1K is not a huge deal so I forget about it the moment it was dropped inside the envelope.
  • ·         Finally, when January came this year, I was already looking for other ways to earn or let my little savings earn for itself. With reading various financial articles, I learned that you can actually earn more when you put some moolah into stocks or mutual funds. And so the plethora of research came and I decided to try my first ever investing experience with FAMI- the investing arm of Metrobank. Since their office is near ours, it is convenient for me to transact with them.
  •          Finally now, I’m just waiting for next year to reap the rewards of my investment. With all things bright in the Philippine economy, I’m confident that I will be able to profit from my fund of choice. Although it may not be that lucrative, but still, the earnings of my standby money will be more when compared to just leaving it in a savings bank account.
More posts about investment and personal finance are to come at AT. These are exciting times!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

2012's First Post: Google Adsense Issue

And so procrastination got the better of me last year. I was not minding Avid Thinker at all, content in my thoughts staying as thoughts- without putting them into paper. Shame, I did not even attempt to redeem Avid Thinker when the new year came. Again, there are plenty of excuses why, up to this time, I haven’t posted even just a welcome note for 2012. It actually took a message from Google Adsense that I finally moved my butt and thought of how to remedy the issue:
02:55 (19 hours ago)

to me
This message was sent from a notification-only email address that does not
accept incoming email. Please do not reply to this message.


During a recent review of your account we found that you are currently
displaying Google ads in a manner that is not compliant with our program


Please note that this URL is an example and that the same violations may
exist on other pages of this website or other sites in your network.


COMMENT SPAM: As stated in our program policies, AdSense publishers may
not display Google ads on pages with adult or mature content. While we
understand that it may be challenging to monitor user-generated content,
such as comments, on your site, we require publishers to check that the
webpages containing their ad code complies with our program policies. More
information about this policy can be found in our help center ( ).

REQUESTED ACTION: Please make all necessary changes in the next 72 hours.

If the violations are corrected within the aforementioned time period, ad
serving will not be affected. If changes are not made and/or other policy
violations are encountered during the review process, ad serving will be
disabled to your site.


Your AdSense account remains active. However, if we continue to find
problems, we may disable your entire account. Therefore, we suggest that
you take the time to review the rest of your network to ensure that all of
your other pages are in compliance with our policies.

Issue ID# 12141459

Thank you for your cooperation.


The Google AdSense Team
There and then, I logged into my blogger account when alas! They are now using Tagalog in the profile page. “Is this for real?” I thought, as I frantically clicked sub-menus with Tagalog text still. Oh, I hardly believed it that they automatically translated it to Tagalog! (Wonder why? It’ll be a subject of another post – dialect variations in the Philippines). I tried to keep my calm, and found a way to go to the home account page IN ENGLISH. When I got hold of the comments that made Google Adsense Team call my attention, I deleted all of them. In fact, I tried to delete all the previous comments in my posts but due to time constraints, was not able to erase them all.
When I checked back that particular page, I noticed another malady – the layout had distortions blocking the letters and ruining the overall AT design! Oh my, another issue to address right away! So I looked for a simple, clean design and decided right there and then to implement it. And what wonders it did to Avid Thinker! Now, you can see a brand new look, and a new post that goes with it. To top it off, I’m now ashamed of my procrastination, and here comes the pact to make as much posts as I can starting RIGHT NOW!
Who am I kidding? It certainly remains to be seen.. Hmmmm