Web Time Wasters

Doesn’t this sound like 1997?

What’d you get up to this week, friends? I finally saw Bohemian Rhapsody, warmed myself at the Como Park Conservatory, and celebrated filing our taxes with a meal at The Red Stag Supper Club. I hope your week was also filled with flowers, movies, and good food.

Links for you

I’m an under-buyer and I’ve had this $30 item in my Amazon cart for LITERALLY A YEAR. I finally bought it and, yes, it’s as amazing as I’d hoped.

Somewhat related: over in the Money & Happy Facebook group, we’re having a really great, honest conversation about family financial support and it’s very illuminating.

YES.

Two cheap, easy recipes I’m going to try: roasted buffalo chickpea bowls + crispy baked tofu with broccoli

This is why we need The No Grocery Challenge! ?

Why People Wait 10 Days to Do Something That Takes 10 Minutes
As any good chore procrastinator knows, the drama doesn’t simply end with deciding to do something later. For Gloria Fraser, a caretaker from Massachusetts, that’s where it just begins. She’s always considered herself a prompt, efficient person in her professional life, but the emotional baggage of housework makes personal chores more difficult. “There’s the negative tape going on in my head that I should have done something, and why did I wait until it got this bad,” she says. “So that’s piling up, and instead of doing it, I’m thinking about all the times I should have been. So I end up kind of catatonic over not doing stuff instead of doing that stuff.”

Somewhat related: 5 business tasks you’ve been putting off that, yes, you need to do

And also somewhat related: If the open rates of your business’s newsletter have been going down, you’re not alone! Deliverability rates have decreased across many providers.

Accurate.

I appreciate Cup Of Jo’s interviews with stepmoms 

I am extremely co-signed on Captain Awkward’s advice to this woman
I just want you to keep in mind that “shopping for symbolic jewelry items” may not come “naturally” to your chosen spouse, but he had and continues to have choices open to him. Some of these choices are: 1) Goobingle it 2) There are many step-by-step guides! 3) You can make the decision/ask the question about becoming engaged and save the whole darn jewelry bit for later, 4) Or use a silly/fun/cheap stand-in prop if the ritual is important 5) You can ask for help, like“Can we take an afternoon and sort this out together?” 6) You can ask for specific suggestions, like: “Here is my approximate budget, can you show me some examples of rings you might like, or would you like to pick something out together?” 7) You can set/manage expectations: “I haven’t mentioned it before because I saving up so I can get you something really nice and I wanted it to be a surprise, but it doesn’t have to be a surprise if waiting is stressing you out so much!”  IF PEOPLE WANT TO MARRY YOU, THEY HAVE MANY WAYS TO LET YOU KNOW. You told him this particular step/symbol was important to you more than once, so it shouldn’t be a mystery that it’s important to you.

Also totally co-signed with this: Let’s Stop Making Excuses for Our Spaces (and Love Them As-Is)

A cute idea for gardening this spring!

I love Wendy’s ideas for different ways to style what you already own.

Ha!

Related: The unpleasant truth behind why we “can’t” break bad habits

The Truth About Changing For Someone (+ Why It Probably Won’t Work)

Trying to change for someone? It might not work. Click through for habit change tips and goal-setting tips you haven't read before!“I’m sort of shooting myself in the foot here, but no. I don’t think you should buy it. I can’t, in good faith, take your money.”

I laugh awkwardly as my friend squints at me over her laptop.

We’re co-working in a pretty, light-filled coffee shop downtown. I’ve been telling her about my course Make It Stick Habit School and (shameless brag!) how it’s helped people build writing habits, gym habits, better sleep routines – all kinds of stuff.

And her very sweet response was “That sounds like something my husband needs. I’m going to buy it and make him take it.”

I was incredibly flattered that she had so much faith in my methods that she wanted her husband to benefit from them. I loved that she wanted to support the work I do! What a great friend!

But here’s the truth: Change is hard enough when we’re trying to do it for our OWN reasons. It’s DAMN NEAR IMPOSSIBLE when we’re trying to change for other people. Click To Tweet
Think about it. Which is more motivating: Changing your spending habits because you’re ready to live that roommate-free life? Or because your mom keeps shaming you about your credit card debt? 

Is it easier to build a running habit because you know it’ll help you sleep better or because your partner nags you about your blood pressure?

Are you more likely to break your nightly happy hour habit because you’d rather put that money towards a vacation? Or because your best friend makes “jokes” about how you’re a lush?

Sure, we’ve all made choices to avoid shame, embarrassment, or nagging. This is why I dig all my chip crumbs out of the dip before Kenny gets home from work! And why he speed cleans for an hour before I get home from any trip!

But.
Making big changes to our daily lives from a place of obligation or negativity is unsustainable. We can’t shame ourselves into lasting change. Click To Tweet

This is why I wouldn’t let me friend buy my class for her husband; I knew it wouldn’t work for him.

In fact, in the ‘before we get started’ module of Make It Stick Habit School, we talk about choosing one habit to work on for the next six weeks. Then we double – and triple! – check that we’re all changing these habits for the right reasons.

Because our friends are doing it? Nope.
Because our partner gets annoyed about it? Nah-uh.
Because our parents wish we would? Keep going.

But a change we really, truly want to make? That we’re excited about? Ding ding ding! There we go! That’s a habit worth changing!

Change that sticks is change that’s motivated by self-love and commitment and an understanding of how we’ll benefit. We need this understanding to fall back on when we’re tempted to skip our daily meditation or swing through Target for some mindless shopping. Shame and obligation make for poor support systems.

And if you can’t find way to get excited about changing something you ‘should’ change? Take a step back and give yourself some space. Life is long and no one has to be great at everything. You’re allowed to change the things you want to change and leave some parts of your life gloriously un-perfected.

I want to hear from you! Have you ever tried to change something or make/break a habit out of shame or obligation? How’d that go?

Photo by Charles Etoroma on Unsplash

Web Time Wasters

How was your week, friends? I just got back from another week in Costa Rica leading a retreat for Fit & Fly Girl. I’m weirdly looking forward to having at least two months of flight-free time in my future. Sometimes you just need the time and space to really dig into your life and get some momentum going, ya know?

Links for you!

Breakfast and beauty routines in The Netherlands

Some truth about why it feels weird to break long-term patterns

Related: 5 reasons your good habits don’t stick!

Where I’ve Lived: Eight homes of a 13-year-old former foster kid
When he was 8, Logan moved in with his last foster parents, Shasta and her husband, Ben. They adopted him in 2016. “I just remember going into my room, and it was really cool. I had this fort between two couches where it was warm and squishy. It felt good, like I finally was going to stay somewhere.”

Agreed! Kevin WAS the hottest Backstreet Boy!

Ghost apples

FASCINATING: The lonely life of a yacht influencer
“I used to feel all messed up about my career,” he continued. “I was a short-haul truck driver in the Bronx, and I guess I caught the yacht bug. I’d go to a bookstore, grab a table and read everything I could about yachts. Then, on the very first weekend after I downloaded the Instagram app, right after Instagram became a thing you could download, I went to a luxury boat show and took some of pictures of the yachts. I added some hashtags, and pretty soon I had 800,000 followers. But the quantity doesn’t really matter to the folks who pay me, it’s the quality. Influential people follow me, Gulf state princes and Russian moguls who might actually be able to buy these yachts.”

One of my absolute least favorite things is when people talk about saving a lot of money in a short period of time and then you find out that they a) lived with their parents b) don’t have school debt. ANYBODY CAN SAVE A LOT OF MONEY IN A SHORT PERIOD OF TIME IF THOSE THINGS ARE IN PLAY.

I will absolutely be making these mushroom ‘scallops’ for a future No Grocery Challenge!

I was on the Life Rebrand podcast talking about redefining happiness for yourself. If you have a podcast, I’d love to be on it! Drop me a line at sarah@yesandyes.org and let’s get a date on the calendar!

I use Canva for pretty much everything – my blog post graphics, Instagram graphics, project proposals. Now they’ve added a whole bunch of new, free stock photos called ‘Natural Women‘ and they are GREAT. Super inclusive and free.

A $700 kitchen makeover!

Hope you had a lovely week!

When To Start A New Habit (and when to keep plugging away at the old ones)

Wondering when to start a new habit? Or if you should keeping working on solidifying an old one? Click through for tips on goal setting, building good habits and breaking bad ones!

I see the question pop into the chat box, followed immediately by three thumbs up emojis.

And then a “Yeah, I was wondering that, too!”

And a “YESSSSS.”

Which is how I realized I should probably write a blog post answering one of the most common questions I get when I talk + teach about habits.

One of the most common questions I get from Make It Stick Habit School students (enrollment for the live version opens March 19th!) is “How will I know that I’ve built my habit? How will I know that it’s ‘done’ and I can move on the next one?”

Which is a great question, right? Because we all want to believe that if we do our morning pages or work out or drink green tea for, like, five days we have a new habit!

But that’s not how it works. If you’re wondering when to start a new habit – or if should keep strengthening an older one – this post is for you.

When To Start A New Habit (+ when to keep plugging away at the old ones)

1. When in doubt, work on your new habit for longer than you think you need to

Have you ever done that thing where you do something good or productive for, like, seven days in a row and then you high five yourself over your new habit? And then you take on another new habit on day eight?

Yeah! Me, too! That’s called “The first two weeks of January, 2002 – 2015”.

It feels good to tell ourselves that a habit is ‘done’ or that it’s solidified! But the truth is that ‘21-days-to-a-new-habit’ thing is total B.S. Psychologists says it’s actually closer to 66 days. And it can vary from 12 days to 265 days (!!!) depending on the person and the habit.

When we tell ourselves that our tender, fragile new habit is firm and ready to face the challenges and temptations of the real world, we’re setting ourselves up for failure.

So here’s my rule of thumb: work on one new habit at a time, for at least 65 days. If you’re not sure if your new habit ‘took’? Work on it even longer.

Habits – just like most things in life – take longer than we’d like. In fact, a truism I’ve come to accept is: Pretty much everything takes twice as long and costs twice as much as we’d like. But if we know that we can budget our time, money, and energy accordingly. Click To Tweet

2. You’ll know your new habit is ‘set’ when your life feels weird without it

I have a nearly-set-in-stone set of morning habits. I’ve been doing them for so long that if I miss one of the habits I feel off balance and incomplete. If I don’t read fiction on the couch? If I don’t make my bed? WHO AM I EVEN I DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO WITH MYSELF.

That awkward incomplete feeling? That’s how you know that a habit is ‘set’ and that it’s truly taken root in your life.

If you feel strange when if you don’t meditate, don’t text your mom, don’t drink a big glass of water with every meal – congrats! You’ve developed a habit that’s part of your life. Go forth and prosper! Enjoy the benefits of a nearly-on-autopilot habit what will make your life awesome without you having to think about it!

But if you feel sneaky or relieved when you skip a habit – like you’re getting away with something – that means you’ve got a ways to go before it’s really part of you life.

But I want to hear from you! Do you try to convince yourself that a habit is solidified way too early? What habit are you working on right now? I’m ‘saving’ my habit for the next round of Habit School so I can work on it alongside everybody!

P.S. How to strengthen your good habit muscle!

Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

Web Time Wasters

How was your week, friends? We had YET ANOTHER giant snow storm here in Minneapolis. We’ve had to dig trails around the yard so our little dog can go outside! As you read this, I’m back in Costa Rica, leading another retreat for Fit & Fly Girl. Lucky, right? You can follow along on Instagram if you need photos of beaches in your life!

Links for you 

After 20 years + 38 countries, 7 travel tools I won’t shut up about.

Such pretty necklaces!

Every time I share a photo of our dog Loretta in her bright pink, full-body snowsuit people want to know where we got it. Now you know!

A NYFW Street Style Gallery Dedicated to Plus-Size Women

Ooof. Yes. I’ve been here SO MANY TIMES. Get in the water.
“Get in the water,” says my hut. “You love being in the ocean more than anything. You will not regret it. You will feel so alive. Go! Dive in! Just get in for one minute! This is your one and only life! What are you waiting for?”

“But it’s a little cloudy today,” whines my brain. “Also, it might be cold. And besides, you’re not even wearing a bathing suit. You didn’t pack a towel. You just blow-dried your hair. It looks like it could rain. You have a lot of emails to answer. You have a meeting starting in an hour. And what about sharks?! Today isn’t an ideal day for swimming. Come back tomorrow. Not today.”

I love this 20/20/20 rule.

I found my first grey hair last year and I don’t intend to do anything about it (mostly because you can’t really see grey hair on blondes). But I loved this story about women who have gone completely grey and love it!

A great idea if you’re sentimental AND a minimalist.

Real, actual LOL.

If you’ve ever wanted to see me politely fight with people in Instagram comments….

How to feel unproductive and worthless in one easy step!

Why Are Young People Having So Little Sex?
I was told it might be a consequence of the hookup culture, of crushing economic pressures, of surging anxiety rates, of psychological frailty, of widespread antidepressant use, of streaming television, of environmental estrogens leaked by plastics, of dropping testosterone levels, of digital porn, of the vibrator’s golden age, of dating apps, of option paralysis, of helicopter parents, of careerism, of smartphones, of the news cycle, of information overload generally, of sleep deprivation, of obesity. Name a modern blight, and someone, somewhere, is ready to blame it for messing with the modern libido.

A good Netflix recommendation!

A tour of a pretty 350-square foot apartment. Love that sofa!

Did you sing along to Baby Beluga as a kid? Apparently, Raffi is the world’s nicest hardass.
Onstage, Raffi’s persona is avuncular and avowedly apolitical. But on social media — yes, even Raffi tweets — he has become something of a lightning rod, frequently trolling Trump with impish abandon. Recent entrants in the endless Raffi drag: “The word #emoluments sounds oddly exotic. crazy language, English.” and simply “#ResistFascism.” If this feels like a shocking twist for a man seemingly obsessed by the various motions of bus parts, it’s not. Raffi is a folk singer, in the mold of Pete Seeger and Woody Guthrie, whose guitar sported the famous sticker, “This machine kills fascists.” That’s not precisely what Raffi’s machine does, but it’s not far off.

I do not have a toddler, but this made me laugh.

Raise you hand if you’ve fallen into this trap: feeling obligated to turn a hobby into a hustle.

 

Web Time Wasters

How was your week, friends? I had tons of coffee dates with tons of friends and Kenny and I celebrated Valentine’s Day with a long lunch at Caffe Biaggio. I extremely recommend the Valentine’s Day lunch! Cheaper, calmer, and so much easier!

This time next week, I’ll be back in Costa Rica again – leading another retreat for Fit & Fly Girl. So I’m doing my monthly No Grocery Challenge to use up all ‘my’ food before I head out. I don’t want all that cauliflower to go bad while I’m gone! You can follow along and see what I make here.

Links for you

Want to protest Trump’s emergency declaration? Here’s a script for calling your elected officials.

A great resource if you’d like to share more diverse books with the kids in your life!

FACT.

Fellow bloggers and Internet People: Everybody tells me I need one of these. Discuss.

This book is seemingly about Instagram but, honestly, it’s about so much more. Finding your voice as a creative, discovering art and beauty in daily life, community. So good!

Salted maple pie! I think I could make this during my next No Grocery Challenge!

Is less scheduling the secret to happiness?
We schedule activities back-to-back for fear of not accomplishing them all. Malkoc — who has an expertise in how people perceive and consume their time — links the over-scheduling of free time to the value that we place on achievement over contentment.

“The focus on productivity is so widespread that people even strive to make leisure productive and brag about being busy,” reads the paper.

So we do more and enjoy less.

“When scheduled, leisure tasks feel less free-flowing and more forced — which is what robs them of their utility.”

Related: How to figure out what makes you happy so you can add more of it to your life

How to get over a heartbreak

You don’t build a new brain–or a new life–just by giving it time. Time is not enough. You also need action.

Action. Movement. Forward momentum. Even the smallest step–taking a breath, opening the window to let in some fresh air, trying on a new shirt, checking out a new book from the library–begins to reshape the architecture of your mind.

Action is the medicine that brings you back to life.

I agree! This $2.75 was one of my best travel purchases!

A game to play with the kids in your life (without getting up off the couch)

How educational debt shapes our lives and choices
Debt forms us just as radically as a university curriculum does. As bills mount, debt becomes a guiding force in our lives, directing our decisions about where to live, where to work, how to save and spend, and what we imagine possible. The anxiety, regret, and shame over one’s inability to determine one’s own life shapes our souls as well.

Related: did you know I host a free, private Facebook group called Money & Happy where we talk about stuff like this? Join me an 4,400+ smart, kind humans having honest conversations about money!

Hope you had a lovely weekend!