Make Annual Payments

When I realized that I was paying an extra $5/month for the “service” of paying for my car insurance monthly, I was surprised. Even worse was thinking about how long I had been doing this without paying attention.

Paying for six months of car insurance isn’t any easy thing to just rip out of most of our budgets without warning. Instead, I saved an extra chunk of money (about $20 at first, then $40 in time) in my “Car Insurance” bucket every month that would roll over to the next month, where I would continue adding money in that would roll over. Eventually, I had 6 months worth of car payments sitting there!

I was energized after that, where else could I find missing money!?

As it turns out, lots of places.

  • Runkeeper Subscription $10/monthly vs $3.33/month up front
  • Headspace $12.95 vs $7.99/month annually, $6.24/month biannually, or $419.95 forever
  • YNAB $5 vs $4.17

I increased my monthly Runkeeper Subscription budget to $15 (saving an extra $5/month towards that $40), Headspace to $15 (I should increase this), and YNAB to $10. YNAB only offers annual subscriptions now, though, so keep that in mind.

Some others I’ve seen

  • OnStar
  • Prescriptions by mail (check your insurance site)

I’ve actually increased this habit into other areas, like groceries, after HelloFresh ran a Black Friday promotion to buy 6 boxes up front to get 2 free. FREE FOOD DELIVERED TO MY HOUSE. All because I had been slowly hoarding extra money in places.

Any other ideas on things that are better annual payments?

Clean Teeth, Strong Legs

I was lamenting to a former boss years ago that I was terrible at climbing hills on my bike – okay, on my own feet, too. It hurt which meant I hated it, so I avoided hills.

His response: “If you hate it, then you should be doing it more”

He was used to the fine-you-win eye roll I gave in return and therefore forgiving enough to offer a suggestion: do squats while you brush your teeth.

While trying to perfect the posture of squats was outside of my realm, I did find a perfect alternative in the wall sit.

Wall Sits are great in that you can build up your strength quickly, so you’re fed encouragement early on in the process. I’ve stopped and started this process over the years in the days leading up to an intense hike or the weeks before a tough backpacking trip and was immensely rewarded with an ability to climb mountains way faster and with very little leg exhaustion. I even smiled some. Oh, and I could talk for a good bit of the journey.

Talking! Up a hill!

This was a great new life ahead of me.

And it’s still great.

I’ve now gotten in the habit of doing this every morning. I tried morning and night, but it was really difficult to get into a schedule with both, so I opted to start small with just the morning and eventually work up to both once that habit was solid.

It was tough to make it to 30 seconds on my first attempt, but I’ve been consistently hitting the full two minutes for a couple months now.

There’s a lot of marks your hitting with this habit:

  • Wall Sits…
    • Build endurance (translation: hills and stairs get easier)
    • Focus training for your brain
    • Strengthen the muscles around your knees (Runner’s Knee sufferers, rejoice!)
    • Are an isometric exercise (meaning lower resting heart rate; therefore lower blood pressure)
    • Are weight bearing (strong bones, here we come!)
  • Dental Hygiene
    • Seriously who actually brushes for a full two minutes otherwise? (If your electric toothbrush “counts” for you, consider yourself excluded)
    • All the stuff your dentist says about gingivitis and other dental maladies affecting the rest of your body
    • Saving yourself on dental bills and, therefore, insurance costs
    • Okay, those procedures don’t just cost money, but time away from work or a million other things you would rather be doing
    • Acknowledging that future “you” will
      • want to eat hard foods as long as possible
      • avoid dentures

Hopefully you’re sold, so when you get ready to brush your teeth tomorrow:

  • Grab your phone and open your stopwatch app
  • Find an open wall, press your back into it and lower down as far as you can without experiencing pain, stopping if your thighs and calves are perpendicular to each other
  • Start the timer and begin to brush your teeth, starting in any quadrant you like (I tend to start with the top-right portion of my mouth)
  • Be sure you keep your stomach in – focus on breathing through your nose and from your chest
  • Try to make it to 30 seconds before you stand up
  • If you’re doing okay, then move to the next quadrant
  • Continue until you simply can’t go on or at 2 minutes

I believe in you! Report back and let us know how it went.

Introducing Micro Moves

We often vastly overestimate what we can do in one year, yet underestimate what we can do in ten. It’s as if we’re programmed to “dream big” at the end of December and only for duration of January 1 – December 31.

I’m not here to hate on New Year’s Resolutions. I think reflection is extremely important. So important, in fact, that I think we do it far too rarely. My birthday is my one of my favorite times for reflection, but so are the mornings. Once a year isn’t enough.

So yeah, I will trash all the #NewYearNewYou posts for being so unaccommodating.  This culturally-cemented idea of when to reflect and change has got to go.

Frequent reflection is one of the many things I’ve picked up on through being exposed to different perspectives over the years and this blog is my taking a stab at passing them along to others.

It’s become standard pep talk mumbo jumbo to nudge people to do something today towards what they want. Frick, I’ve already done it myself. Still, I look around at so many people who just, well, don’t ever do anything towards any of their goals – and that’s if they’re lucky enough to even had made the time to reflect on goals.

Our inactivity toward aspirations doesn’t hit us quite as visibly as compound interest and calories do over time, but I’m here to tell you they hurt even worse.

In an effort to keep myself from feeling overwhelmed with the idea of only writing amazingly perfect and insightful blog posts, this is the first step in my first series: micro moves.

Micro moves will be small thought experiments or life hacks that I’ve found in my own life or from the perspectives of others (be it those I know personally or through other posts/podcasts). Nothing lavish.

They are concepts that I would have passed on to one of my friends during our weekly chats as something I’m trying or simply something that is interesting. They’ll be given in a style that is just as casual as those phone calls.

Again, I’m working on my own goals here, which means taking what I’m writing seriously and starting where I am. For some perspective and my own reflection, I’m going to share, first, the vague ideas of where I think I want to be followed by what my start line looks like.

“There”

  • Regularly sharing ideas and perspectives, no matter how insignificant.
    • Stretch goal: people are actually challenged by them.
  • Fear of eventual failure does not keep me from writing
  • Fear of seeming like a silly girl that writes
  • Fear of rejection does not keep me from being vulnerable
    • Stretch goal: I don’t filter because of this either
  • Regularly being challenged in my perspective
    • Stretch goal: Increasing some empathy in the world
  • Encouraging others to be a public beginner

“Here”

  • My track record of initiating and quitting blogs feeds my fear of eventual failure
  • I worry what others who actually know me will think of the things I say
  • I’m fearful of making an attempt to showcase something only to make it worse or leave a bad taste in someone’s mouth that could have eventually come around to seeing things in a new light
  • My own past judgments as well as hearing those from others feeds my fear that I will be seen as a stupid little girl that just writes fluffy things for attention on the internet

Well, I started writing this just before heading off to an REI class with the intention that I couldn’t over analyze the post. If there are any other perspectives of this starting place of mine, I’m going to allow myself to utilize the “edit” button and that’s completely okay.

I encourage you to share some of the details of your current starting place or one you may have had in the past. Your insight would help me to better realize some points about my “here” that I haven’t noticed yet.