It’s true that we can make changes any time of the year. There’s nothing magical about the coming of a new year that will help good habits stick or bad habits disappear. However, it is a time that many of us commit to these “resolutions.” Maybe there’s something about a fresh calendar year that inspires us to believe these previously illusive changes are now possible, or perhaps it’s just become a tradition. Every January we can count on lists of top resolutions popping up in our newsfeeds; and while they do vary year to year, there are three that usually land at or near the top. They are health/weight loss, organization/decluttering and saving money/getting personal finances in order.
In this episode, we get sound and actionable advice from experts in each of these fields.
Keri Lappi is an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, author and owner of Energetic Wellness Coaching. She gave some tips in our last episode on making it through the holidays without overindulging in “Health Hacks for the Holidays”. This time we focus on getting a January jump-start to healthier living, especially if we gave in to those holiday temptations and need to really get it in gear.
Deana Yates is the founder and CEO of Wannabe Clutter Free and the host of the Wannabe Minimalist podcast. We get tips for de-cluttering AND how to maintain organization in our homes as we re-visit part of “Easy Ways to Stay Organized.”
Kembala Evans, a Financial Coach, author and speaker has wise words on why it’s important to up your savings and how to do it no matter what your situation is. She’ll also guide us through some other priceless personal finance tips including how to deal with debt. She’s one of our favorite guests, most recently featured on “Don’t Make These Money Mistakes.”
Always remember resolutions aren't so much about fixing flaws as tapping your potential. Whether you’re making them, or you just want to increase your knowledge, click play for some sage advice you can use any time of the year.
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Lanée Blaise [00:00:02]:
Welcome to imagine yourself podcast. I am Lanee here with Sandy. We want to, of course, wish everyone a happy New year and we also wanted to make sure that we're kicking it all into gear just right.
Sandy Kovach [00:00:16]:
So we took the three top resolutions which are health and or losing weight, organizing and or decluttering and getting your finances straight. We have some great guests that are going to help us do that. First we're going to go to health. Now. We had Keri Lappi our last episode. Keri is from Energetic Wellness Coaching. And first of all, thanks for coming back for the new year and let's pretend I'm coming to you as a client. And obviously you gave us some great advice on how to get through the holidays and tactics not to gain too much weight. Well, I was not a good listener or I didn't follow through or whatever happened. I put on way too many pounds over the holidays and now I'm desperate and I'm coming to you. Help me carry. What is the first thing you would say to me?
Keri Lappi [00:01:05]:
Honestly, the first thing that I would tell you is don't panic. When we get kind of in those places, you feel a very strong urgency to go crazy. But just like my book. The title. Just one thing. So we just take it one thing at a time because that's actually sustainable, not Sandy. You know what you can do is just drink two gallons of water every day, run a marathon and only eat carrots. Okay? That's not a sustainable behavior. So I want you to have a sustainable take one thing and kind of walk that back. So the first thing I would say is, all right, let's check. How much water are you drinking? Number one, when you wake up in the morning before you drink or eat anything else, 16oz of water before you ever coffee. Are you a coffee person?
Sandy Kovach [00:01:55]:
I am, but I learned that you have to hydrate before you caffeinate. Why 16oz? That's quite a bit.
Keri Lappi [00:02:02]:
So one of the things that I would love to have people get to so if you take your weight in pounds and you divide that in half, that's what I'm hoping for people to get in ounces of water daily. And that could be a lot, right? It's like hold on, you think of like a water bottle as 20 ounce. 24oz. How many of those are we drinking? Get it started in the morning with 16. The reason to do it in the morning is because it flushes out your system from whatever else is in there. Like you're going to start your day fresh, you're going to have your brain, everything getting kind of cleared out. And with that one small thing, there's a psychological component to that too. Because if you've successfully done 16oz of water, which really isn't that difficult, you already have a win. So then when you come to your breakfast or your lunch, you're like, you know what? I am basically a health guru. I drank 16oz of water already today. I am on a roll. I am going to have some extra greens with my lunch. Because you have that mentality already of I'm doing the thing right. Like, it wasn't you woke up and had a doughnut. It was like, no, I'm moving this forward. I have my 16oz of water. So that is the first thing that I would say is make sure that you're getting your water. The second thing that I would kind of peel through and look at what's going on is how much liquid sugar are you getting in your day? Things like Starbucks or fancy little fru fru drinks or pop. I am on a just absolute mission to eradicate that from people's lives because it is so detrimental for your brain, for weight gain, for it's addictive. It is just a huge problem.
Sandy Kovach [00:03:55]:
And you're not even talking about just regular pop. Diet pop too, right?
Keri Lappi [00:03:58]:
Diet pop is worse. I obviously don't want my clients to have either diet or regular, but I will fall out of my chair less if they tell me that they're a regular pop addict. If they tell me they're a diet pop addict, then I fall into the chair really hard because why is that? This is just mind blowing for how this can even be allowed. But things that are labeled diet, those chemicals, like aspartame for example, the things like splenda, all those little packets that you see, the pink, the yellow, the blue, they actually cause more weight gain with people having the same amount of food and calories, like even the same diet. So, for example, if you have two groups of people, they do studies where they're drinking a diet with those chemicals in it and everything else is the same. They're having the same amount of breakfast, the same lunch, et cetera. But their body responds to storing fat differently because of that chemical and it causes weight gain and it usually causes weight gain around abdomen area.
Sandy Kovach [00:05:08]:
Keri Lappi [00:05:09]:
Which is sort of diabolical, right? Because it's labeled diet. The person who's thinking that, they're like, oh, I'm going to try to do a little bit better. I'm going to go for the diet. And that is not the case at all.
Keri Lappi [00:05:21]:
The other thing is the attitude of crowding out. This is one thing that is very helpful if your focus is on if I tell you, do not picture a pink elephant. You have already pictured a pink elephant in your now it's and it's our best friend now, so what's up? Right? So if I tell you, OK, Sandy, I do not want you to have any cookies. Absolutely no cookies. Cookies are off the table. Don't even think about cookies. You'll be like, the only thing I want is a cookie now. Right? So what we do, we leveraging biology and psychology if your focus instead is, you know what I'm going to do today? I am going to focus on some micro wins. I'm going to have 56oz of water. I'm going to have five to seven fruits and veggies and I'm going to make sure that I get protein at every meal. If you do those things and that is your aim, you sort of inherently crowd out those other things. And when your mind is on the positive instead of the mentality of deficiency or neglect or punishment or starvation, right, that's not a good place for us to be. We want to go forward. We want to have positive things and kind of move in that direction. So that crowding out mentality is something that's huge. And those things, if you add in a couple of those things, right, avoiding liquid sugar, making sure you're getting your water and finding a couple of those things to crowd out behavior, you are going to be on your way to a sustainable weight loss and getting back to feeling more like yourself.
Sandy Kovach [00:07:11]:
I like it. It's three things Linnae.
Lanée Blaise [00:07:13]:
Three things that you can eat and it starts your day off right. And I like feeling like I'm winning instead of feeling like I'm losing.
Keri Lappi [00:07:22]:
You have no idea how much that resonates with me. I love that little kids like that too.
Lanée Blaise [00:07:28]:
It's kind of like instead of saying all the things you do wrong and what you can't do, let's focus on what you can do and what you did do right and what you are aiming for.
Kembala Evans [00:07:37]:
I love that.
Lanée Blaise [00:07:37]:
And then you make sure that you specifically pick things that are good and healthy for you also because not everything that's good for all the trendy people is what's necessarily good for you.
Lanée Blaise [00:07:51]:
Kind of learned that the hard way.
Keri Lappi [00:07:53]:
One of the things that was a little bit surprising to me when I got into coaching was when I first meet with a person, I do a health history. I just sit down and kind of talk and see where they're at, where they've been, where they want to go. The last question that I always ask everyone is tell me three things that you right now are not doing for your health but you should be doing for whatever reason. I have never had a person not be able to tell me three things. So the problem is not that I have absolutely no clue how to eat or that I should be drinking water or that I should be exercising or sleeping. We know sort of in general those things. Maybe we don't know all the science behind it of exactly why it works. But there's something that will stand out to you and say I know that I'm not getting enough sleep or yeah I didn't drink any water or I need to cut back on the sweets and have some more veggies. So that's where we can kind of aim for that crowding out.
Sandy Kovach [00:09:01]:
I love it. This is a good start to our new year.
Lanée Blaise [00:09:04]:
Sandy Kovach [00:09:05]:
Yeah. I feel like I can do it. We needed it.
Kembala Evans [00:09:07]:
We needed a win.
Keri Lappi [00:09:09]:
You can do it. You can do it.
Sandy Kovach [00:09:11]:
Lanée Blaise [00:09:11]:
And like you said, we don't have to run a marathon or anything like that. We just take little small steps. Just one thing here and there.
Sandy Kovach [00:09:20]:
And Keri's book is "Just one thing: simplifying the Mystery of a Healthy Lifestyle." We'll put a link to that in the show, notes and an Imagineyourselfpodcast.com and also her prior episode on Holiday Health Hacks is full of great information, not just for the holidays, really, but for any time of the year. Now let's go to the number two resolution. And for this one, we're going to feature some highlights from a guest we had on in September, clutter Free Living expert Deanna Yates. And it was a podcast called Easy Ways to Stay Organized.
Deanna Yates [00:09:58]:
Well, I will give you the quick and dirty declutter. Let's just do it. Let's get right into it. I love tactics, so trust me, I'm always like, here's five steps. Here are seven things you got to do if you want to declutter quickly, here's the best way to have success on your first time out, because you will get better every time you do it. Your first time is going to feel really weird. Just think about the first time you did anything. First time you kissed someone, it felt really weird too, right?
Deanna Yates [00:10:23]:
The first time you do anything, it's weird. Give yourself some grace for that. But you need four things. A phone, because I want you to take a before and after picture and I want you to set a timer. You need a box so that you can put your donation things in it. That way you can, when you're done, fold it up and put it in the car. A bag for trash. Anything that's unusable worn out isn't going to be useful. Like a donation center is not going to be able to resell it. That's going to go in the garbage and you're not going to feel guilty about it. And if you do, you're going to say, okay, I'm going to use this guilt to not buy so much stuff in the future. And then the last is a laundry basket. You are going to put anything that doesn't belong in that space that goes somewhere else in your house. You're going to put it in that laundry basket because this is going to make you be able to get through it real fast. So you're going to take your before picture and you're going to pick one spot. When I say one spot, I mean one shelf. Your entertainment center, one drawer, your nightstand. I'm not talking about one room. I'm talking like one little area. And if you finish faster, great. You can use the rest of your time to go to a different shelf or something, but I want you to start small so that you can actually make progress. Take your before picture, set your timer, sort through all the stuff. If it belongs in that space, put it back. If you want extra credit, wipe down the shelf before you put stuff back. But it's so not necessary if you don't have time. And then you take your laundry basket and you walk around your house and you put all the stuff away into the place where it should go.
Sandy Kovach [00:11:55]:
I love that.
Lanée Blaise [00:11:56]:
If you decide to do your drawer in your bedroom, if there's measuring spoons in there, put it in the laundry basket and then head over to the kitchen and drop those off there.
Deanna Yates [00:12:05]:
Exactly. And a lot of people ask me that, how do I know where things belong? And it's like, well, I like to assign a purpose to every room, my family room, that is where we gather. So it's going to have blankets and pillows, and it's got the TV, some books for us to read, but it doesn't have, like you said, my kitchen spoons. It doesn't have all of my daughter's toys, because that's not what I want to see when we're in that room. That doesn't help us be together. That was not to say that she doesn't bring toys in there, and sometimes they get left there. We're not going for 100% perfection, but on a whole, that is not their home and where they live.
Lanée Blaise [00:12:46]:
What is that one thing that anyone listening really needs to consider doing if they want to live intentionally when it comes to a clutter free life and home?
Deanna Yates [00:13:00]:
Watch the inflow. Watch what you bring in. Once something comes into your house, it is so much harder to get it out. It's much easier to say no when you're in the store than it is when you're trying to go through that declutter session and say, oh, but I spent money on it. It's cute, but maybe it doesn't go with all the stuff you have.
Sandy Kovach [00:13:23]:
Ask yourself, do you really need it and why? And all those questions, I think that's.
Lanée Blaise [00:13:29]:
Applicable again across the board when you make your schedule for your life. Women, you take on a new position or a new club or organization or whatever. Watch the inflow.
Deanna Yates [00:13:40]:
Anytime someone asks you to put something on your calendar, you say, oh, okay, let me check and I'll get back to you. I try not to have an immediate yes, even if I really want to do it. I'm an extrovert. I'm a people pleaser. I'm a nurturer. I want to just give, give. And I found that I was doing that too much, and so that's my new default. Oh, that sounds really amazing. Let me check my calendar and see if I have time for it or see if it works or let me just check.
Sandy Kovach [00:14:07]:
Could we do that with a purchase too? Absolutely. Wait 24 hours and see if I really want it.
Deanna Yates [00:14:13]:
Yeah, and one of the fun things is if you're on Amazon, you can put stuff in your cart, but don't buy it until the next day. Then you go back and you say, okay, do I really need that? Or look around your house, where are you going to put it when it comes in? Does it have a place to live? Or is it just going to kind of shuffle around because you don't really have a place for it, you just wanted it because it looked fun and.
Lanée Blaise [00:14:36]:
It was an impulse buy that you might forget about altogether. You might put it in the little wish list or in the save for later, forget all about it and realize you never needed it in the first place.
Deanna Yates [00:14:48]:
Happens all the time.
Sandy Kovach [00:14:50]:
And that's a good money saving tip too. And it's a perfect way to segue into our next topic, which is personal finance, the number three resolution. But first, let me just say that if you haven't listened to our chat with Clutter Free living expert Deanna Yates, she is the founder and CEO of Wannabe Clutter Free and the host of the Wannabe Minimalist podcast. We will put a link to that episode in the show notes email@example.com really good information. But now we're going to hear from financial coach and author Kambala Evans and highlights from our podcast with her called The Biggest Money Mistakes.
Kembala Evans [00:15:32]:
Sometimes we limit ourselves through what we're saying, through our thoughts and of course our actions follow that. When we think about even today, how we started our day, I'm sure you had in mind, okay, I'm going to wear this, I'm going to do this, I'm going to do that. And then all your actions followed that sequence. That's where your mind is so powerful when it comes to personal finance. If you are saying to yourself, I can never save something, well, you're not going to save it because you're going to find every other use for that money. But saving what I'm going to say for those people that are struggling, saving because I've worked with people that told me they can't save anything. I think what we want to first start with is understanding the money that you have right now. So when I say understanding the money that you have right now, I'm saying look at your income, how much are you bringing in every month? And then let's take a step back, let's go old school like Lanee likes to do, right? Pen and paper, right? Pen and paper. How much are you bringing home every month?
Kembala Evans [00:16:35]:
What do you have to pay every month? What are those necessities? What are those utilities? The electric bill, cable, cell phone, et cetera. List out what those are and how much you spend on that. And then once you do that, you also want to look at what are your savings for, say, an emergency savings account. When I think about COVID and the impact, there were so many people that didn't even have $400 saved for an emergency. And when it came to the job situation and the jobs that were hurt the most, those people were really in a tough situation because in many cases they were interacting with people in their jobs and those businesses shut down. So having an emergency savings is very important. So when we talk about savings goals, that's going to be at least six months of all of those needs that we just talked about. So if you have rent, you have utilities, insurance, et cetera, do you have in your savings account liquid, meaning that you can go get it right now? I'm not talking about your 401K. I'm talking about a savings account that you can go to, say if the tire blows on the way to work and you need to replace the tire, say the fridge goes out and you need to do something about refrigerator. Do you have that money accessible?
Sandy Kovach [00:17:52]:
Do we as a culture rely so much on credit that we're not even thinking about stuff like that? Do you think that feeds into it?
Kembala Evans [00:17:59]:
I think sometimes credit can make you feel numb to the amount of money that you have. The first thing that I do when I'm talking and working with people is I understand, how did you learn about money? And then we go through that exercise that I was just talking about, looking at your income and looking at your expenses. And then through that lens we can see if credit is the problem. If I'm just paying that minimum payment. It's been very eye opening. So many people do their gas, they do their groceries, all of this on a credit card, but then they're going to do the minimum payment. To your point, it's an excellent point. Credit can, if you allow it, cause you not to see the problem. And that's why I want you to remember I'm not saying credit, I said your income. So I need you to look at what you are bringing in and what you are spending. So let's look at that and is that negative or is that positive where you have something left over? And let's be honest with ourselves, you said something earlier about honesty. We have to be willing to see the problem in order to fix the problem.
Lanée Blaise [00:19:11]:
A lot of that is the problem as well. People tend to want to bury their heads in the sand and think that they will either win the lotto one magical day or that they will one day just get some influx of money that will make things change. And I wonder how many people are really even willing to do that first paper and pen exercise to really get it all down. Because it's not, in my opinion, that part of the exercise is not intimidating. I like basic again, I don't expect anyone but you, Kembala to have the actual expertise level. What about those people who kind of like Sandy said, want to continue to do the credit card thing and want to continue to think they'll just win the lotto? As opposed to making some shifts and changes in their habits?
Kembala Evans [00:20:05]:
They have to be willing to make the decision that they want to change. Sometimes it may be, I want to be a homeowner. There's different goals that we may have that our current habits are putting us in a bad position for realizing those big ticket financial where they're really going to look at your credit report and stuff like that and how you're living. And I think that that can be a wake up call. The first thing you need to do in order to fix any problem is be willing to ask for help. So you have to see that there is an issue and that you have to be willing to ask for help. I do want to talk a little bit about the lottery, because when I was at this conference and I had the pleasure of hearing from Dick Gregory where he was talking about in the city of Chicago, when they look at who's playing the lottery the most, it's the poorest zip codes that are playing the lottery the most. Because we're putting all of that hope and that dream on that windfall. What's very interesting of people that do win the lottery is a lot of them end up broke anyway, because what's very important is that you have that fundamental skill and how to manage your money. So I really feel that in order to drive change, we have to be willing to look at everything the way it is. And instead of taking that money to play the lottery, why don't we start funding that emergency savings account? And what I find very insightful is when people build that first $1,000, the sky is the limit. Then they feel like, oh, my gosh, I've done so much. So instead of I want to challenge your listeners, those that are loyal lottery players, to just not play the lottery this week and take all that money that you're spending on lottery tickets. You know how many times you look at that lottery ticket and you're like, dang, I have not even one number. This is crazy. These are dollars. These are real dollars. So take that money that you are spending on the lottery ticket and start to build your savings account.
Sandy Kovach [00:22:08]:
I love that. That's awesome. Now, personally, I'm not a lottery player, but a lot of people that I know, friends and family are, and that could go for anyone. So let me ask you, especially as somebody who's written this book, drop the Debt Weight, we've got the emergency fund and we've got paying down the debt. Are these done in parallel ways or do you think the emergency fund is something that you want to get people started on first.
Kembala Evans [00:22:33]:
I feel that it's very important to have that security. So you want to have a total approach to doing both. If I'm a person that has credit card debt, when you look at your credit card statement, there is a little graphic there that tells you if you continue to pay this minimum payment, how much time it's going to take you to pay off this debt. So what I want you to do is just look at that one time. Then I want you to look at that going back to getting all your income, getting what your necessities are. And if I've been paying a $30 minimum payment, let's try to drive that up to $50. Look at your budget and see is there a way that I can do that while building this emergency savings account? Because it's very important to have money set aside for emergencies, because that's another way people get in debt. They get in debt because they don't have that savings account. And debt can be quite costly because say someone misses a payment, that credit card can jump up to 30 something percent in interest, which that adds to a lot of dollars. Later on when Lanee was talking about people burying their head in the sand, I'm going to say I'm a little older. I remember watching Fred Sanford when he used to get his belts, and this is from "Sanford and Son", which is a sitcom, and he used to just put them in the drawer. He has not opened these belts. There are real people that we are in the absolutely do that because they don't even want to see it. And I try to stress to them the importance of checking that bill because the bill could be inaccurate. And you can have all this debt and someone ran up your credit card bill and it wasn't even you. So let's be willing to open that and look at it. Another thing that I think is eye opening is when you have people look at their expenses. Sometimes I've had people that are paying for multiple internet providers, they didn't know they were doing that. So there's some money here. Oh my gosh, I was paying for this and I didn't even know it. People put everything on auto. Some people are paying for gym memberships that they never use. So let's look at the finances. Let's look at your statement. What are you paying? That could be your emergency savings account if you just do some due diligence and looking at where's this money going.
Sandy Kovach [00:24:55]:
If you would like to hear more from financial coach, author and speaker Kembala Evans, check out the full episode, we'll link it firstname.lastname@example.org. And also in the show notes there you'll also find information on her books. Get your money right and drop the debt weight. Hope these tips on health, organization and finances were helpful to you. Drop us a line anytime. Or check in with us on social media.
Lanée Blaise [00:25:21]:
We want to thank you for listening. We want to hope that everyone has a wonderful, happy, blessed, beautiful New Year overall. Everyone, just imagine yourself as you want to see yourself. Imagine yourself winning. Don't beat yourself up anymore. Imagine the good things. Focus on the positive. And Happy New Year from Sandy Lanee and everyone at Imagine Yourself Podcast.