Father Sez

From and to parents - parental advice to our children on personal financial management and life.
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Archive for the ‘Self Improvement’ Category

The “counting down the no’s theory” of perserverance

Thursday, February 21st, 2008

Much has been written about the power or usefulness  of just asking for something. After all, the worst that can happen is we get a “no” for an answer.

Sound financial reasons  for asking can be for a raise, better terms, reduction in interest rates, reduction in prices and even asking for the love of our live’s hand in marriage. 

Mrs. Micah has written about this here and Navin’s take is hereSavings.com has also something to say about this.

What about “just asking” from the point of perseverance?

We all know that “perseverance” is a solid asset, as Abundance and Happiness has so eloquently explained. However it is not an easy trait to develop, much less follow.

The best way I have had the manner of developing perserverance explained was by my friend Bala when we were in the Thai island of Koh Samui many years ago.

We were much younger and still single then.  The island was a favourite of backpackers  and we met a number of young people from all over the world, ladies as well as guys. During one of our “philosophizing” about saving the world and all that, the talk somehow turned to asking girls for a date.

Bala laid forth his theory. He said, all we had to do was to count down the “no’s”. Ask this girl, she says no, move on to another lady, she says no, move on and on, until someone says yes. Though the law of probability says that our chances should be 50%, in reality it is a lot less. But it will eventually happen, if only we keep asking enough times.

I have remembered Bala’s theory ever since.

Frank Bettger wrote about this in his “How I raised myself from failure to success in selling”. He noted each and every sales call he made, even though no sales were done. When, say, his 21st call resulted in some sales, he would divide the 21st call’s sales by 21 and get a figure, say $10. His self motivation to continue making sales calls was that for every call, he was making $10, irrespective of whether the call resulted in a sale or not. 

He then found that as he continued and time passed, his $ per call became higher and higher.

(Though the book may be written some time ago, I have serious respect for this book.) 

The need for us to have perserverance and determination is important. It is so easy to feel demotivated once we hit our first wall. The difference between success and failure often lies in our getting up and continuing.

I hope my children understand Bala’s theory of counting down the “no’s”, remind themselves of this theory whenever they feel demotivated and then continue their struggle.

In  seeking betterment in our careers, in generating more sales and in getting better deals for ourselves.

“Consider the postage stamp, my son. It secures success through its ability to stick to one thing till it gets there.” Billings, Josh American humorist (1818–1885)

Giving my elder girls a firmer life foundation

Monday, February 4th, 2008

Recently Madison at the Dollar Plan and some of her blogging friends got together and came out with an excellent series of articles chronicling the financial strategies that should be put into place as we fall into various age bands.

This has made me review my own plans for helping my children lay a better foundation in their own personal finances and lives.

The two eldest girls are now in their final year of undergraduate studies, both of them on Pa & Ma scholarships. Sadly I was seldom around when they were growing up as I was working overseas. Thankfully some foundations have been laid by my wife and I want to see how it can be taken to the next level. Right now, the girls are on course for forming / mixing around with a peer group that takes pf seriously.

I have read and digested Mrs. Micah’s College Money Matters, Cash Money Life’s  Money Tips for the Twenty Something Crowd and Remodeling this Life’s Financial Advice for Your Twenties.

Having these resources have been a great advantage, thanks guys!

What should I focus on now?

a) Further studies

Along wants to do her Masters in Educational or Child Psychology, whilst Azah wants to do her CFP in Islamic Finance.

Should they do these part-time, or should they seek study loans, scholarships or employer paid tuition to pursue these?I have to give some thought to this.

b) Career Plan

This is an area where I have personally failed badly. So I have no intention of not guiding my children. I have to discuss with them and explore their preferred careers, identifying the companies or organisations where they want to work, preparing their killer resume, going the extra mile to secure the interview, preparing for it and then doing well at the interview are all matters that have to be addressed.Then there would be the matter of discussing how to manage their colleagues and bosses.

c) Finance

The first would be budgeting with the paying yourself first element firmly entrenched.  This may be based on the envelope system to start with. I would also like to suggest the “James Plan” of savings with a virtual employer.Then a major discussion on the power of compounding and how it can be made to work for us or if we are not careful, against us.   They also have to be introduced to checking accounts and how to balance their books. 

Then on creating the emergency fund, basic investing knowledge like mutual funds, index funds and ETF’s.  Some background on insurance, mortgages and loans should round it up.

Emily made a telling statement.

To quote her, 

This is the best age to be frugal because living frugally early on is the foundation for the rest of your life and will give you the opportunity to live well while also living below your means.

Unquote

And Trent over at the Simple Dollar reminds us that the age between late childhood to settling down with a family is the best age for entrepreneurship.

This is in line with what my wife and I would prefer. Still it’s the girls’ lives, so they would have to make the final calls. So far they have not indicated any signs of the Donald in them yet.

I have to now think carefully about crafting a series of lessons or posts (as my daughters and their friends read my blog) on how best to achieve this. Lessons that they find acceptable.

After all, the most memorable quote on advising children I have read is (I am sorry, I can’t remember the source now, but it must be from a blog), that the best way to advice children is “To find out what they want to do, then advice them to do it.”

The costly PF mistakes and blunders I have made, and why you should not repeat my mistakes – Part 2

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2008

The three mistakes we have talked about so far are :- 

-         Not paying myself first

-         Not forming or joining a correct peer group and

-         Not having a written budget 

Another mistake that I have made and beseech you not to make is “not managing our career”. 

I got my first job,with one of the then big 5 accounting firms, almost immediately after graduating with a Bachelor’s Degree in Physics. It was as an articled clerk. Most of my fellow colleagues then were school leavers.  

This was “my first formal job” and I had no thoughts about being paid well below what was a graduate’s starting pay. (Thank God for this.) The firm gave us study leave for the accounting exams, and I qualified as a CPA within the given 4 years. By then my salary had also risen to be slightly above the graduate entry levels.  

At this point of time, I should have thought deeply about the choices available and how I should maximize the earnings from my career.  

I didn’t. 

Instead I just joined the first company that made me an offer. (They called me.) It was a bank and I spent only 5 months there. The job which involved reporting to our Central Bank and filling up rows and columns of figures was about the most boring job I have ever done in my life. The only good thing was that I met my future wife here.   

Based on a friend’s suggestion, I joined another company where I stayed for 6 years. Basically after that my career consisted of joining companies at the invitation of friends. Each move resulted in higher take home pays, greater responsibilities and opportunities to travel etc.

There was a brief period where I resigned hoping to do something on my own. This was done with no planning and was a disaster. Luckily another job came along. 

I should have “managed my career better.” 

The best blog resource I have seen on this is Free Money Finance’s series on careers. (He proclaims our career as our biggest asset and it is not surprising that he has a whopping 270 posts under the category of “careers”.) 

Let me compare what I have done against FMF’s great post on managing our career 

Two aspects of a career should be evaluated.

o       Quantitative measurement of salary and employee benefits.

I did not pay enough attention to employee benefits. Benefits like subsidized housing loans, training schemes, and share option schemes would have a mighty big difference financially, even if the take home pay had been lower.

o       The second is a set of qualitative measurements which are even more important. These consist of new skills learnt, social connections we make and harmonization with the rest of our life and goals. I have only gone for those short 1-2 day courses as part of continuing education. Most of the new skills learnt were on the job and reading up on my own.

Whilst almost all my jobs allowed me great contacts, I have never learnt how to strengthen my network.

o       A third issue that I would add is evaluating the employer as one who truly seeks to attract and retain talent.

We are a developing country. Many of the companies in the corporate sector paid only lip service to the fashionable tagline of “people are our biggest asset.”

I have had some “good”, “not so good” and some “not good at all” experiences in this area.

What I should have done

a)     I should have learnt how to write a proper “winning” resume that would have highlighted what I had and could offer to a prospective employer.

b)     I should have identified, screened and shortlisted my potential employers with my list of “must haves”, “good to haves” and “wants”. Then I should have designed my plan for getting my desired position, and worked on it.

c)      I should have learnt about the usefulness of networks and put in a lot more time and effort on this aspect of my life.

d)     I should have considered and evaluated employee benefits a lot more carefully.

e)     With my career properly addressed, I should have crafted proper plans for moving on to the next stages of my life. 

Don’t repeat my mistake, please

Our career is certainly one of our biggest assets.

We spend a lot of time on our careers, often sacrificing once in a lifetime family events like our kids graduating from preschool, their school concerts etc.  

Proper planning and management should be accorded to maximize both financial and non-financial gains from this investment.  

Properly managed, our career may well take care of all our financial requirements, including retirement.

The costly PF mistakes and blunders I have made, and why you should not repeat my mistakes – Part 1

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2008

The lessons that I so wish I had learnt and mastered much earlier in my life are :- 

-         paying myself first and

-         forming or joining a correct peer group.

I have now set myself on a crusade, mostly through this blog, to ensure that my children learn these two lessons much earlier in their lives. 

There have been other mistakes. Lots of them. Perhaps writing about them may help others. The costlier ones will be covered here, in no particular order. 

Mistake – Not having a written budget 

I have never been “broke” since I started working, Thank God. This has not been due to adroit financial management, but thankfully, as a direct result of my background. I come from a poor family. And the early difficult years have been embedded deeply into my psyche.  

Though I have always spent less than I earned, there was no system to it. There were no investments systematic or otherwise.  

I started saving I think, around the time, my second girl was born. Not saving what I should, rather an amount that I thought I could “afford”. I have never done a spending budget, personal or family until recently. 

I now see and have started enjoying the advantages of having a budget 

We may think we know where our money is going, but believe me, we are only fooling ourselves. Though payments like mortgage payments, insurances etc., can be tracked, it is the expenses in the “others” category that end up draining us.    

By drawing up a budget, our expenses can be broken up into several categories and tracked category by category. This way, the management is less complicated and drainers can be identified and tackled.   

For example, my family now knows the amount we spend on phone bills. It is unduly high and is being reduced now. 

Club subscriptions that we have paid for years while hardly using them have been cancelled. 

Petrol bills have been cut down by converting the car into a NGV. 

And so on. 

The danger of not having a budget is that you don’t quite realize where the money is going and blame the wrong people or look at the wrong reasons.   

I used to have some quite messy quarrels with my wife over this. Only after the budget was drawn up and discussed have we both realized where our biggest drainers were. 

We had debt levels that were too high. This led us to seek cheaper financing sources that did not work out. So now we are disposing off our investment property.

I do believe that the actions taken since drawing up our budget will have a lot more positive impact on my family’s financial well being than the steps taken in the last 3 years! 

As an additional bonus, now there is so much better alignment between my wife and me, and in fact, the children in managing our finances. 

Don’t repeat my mistake, please draw up your budget. Monitor your spending. Even if it is only for keeping you informed, do it. 

And if it is “how to budget” or more “why must budget” information that you need, please read this excellent and most timely post by Free Money Finance.  

How can we nurture and reap the fullest dividends from our greatest asset

Monday, January 21st, 2008

Patrick at Cash Money Life wrote that our greatest asset is an intangible, i.e. our ability to generate income. I am in complete agreement with this view. 

In fact, almost all the methods of valuation of businesses are tied, in one way or another, to the ability of the business to generate income.  Even if we do have an asset that generates income by the busloads, it was “our ability to generate income” that resulted in us owning the asset in the first place. 

Pinyo over at Moolanomy has also given his views on how to protect this “greatest asset” of ours. 

How then should we nurture this asset so as to reap its fullest dividends?

Our ability to generate income is largely dependent on :- 

Our educational levels 

This is pretty much self explanatory. Having said that, we have to take proactive steps to ensure that our education is in tune with current day market requirements. This does not just apply to those of us in careers, but also to our ability to generate income from investments, trading, arbitraging etc. The informal part refers to knowledge gathered from books, blogs, trade shows etc. 

And of course, our continuing education. Many Internet entrepreneurs are products of this.

Our Past Experiences 

Our past experiences will have a direct impact on our ability to generate income. Almost all higher level jobs require “experience”.  And we all value the advice of experienced experts in the fields of investing, money management, real estate etc., over the inexperienced ones.  

Mistakes made and the lessons earned hone our skills and ability to generate income. 

Our network of Friends and Family 

Our ability to generate income would be almost directly proportionate to the strength, depth and coverage of our network. A person who has a network of close and trustworthy friends in the banking, real estate, stock broking and investment banking fields would most probably have a far better success rate in investing than one who starts out alone.  

Our travels 

Travel broadens the mind. Even though globalization has made the world a smaller place, not all parts of the world are the same. For example, certain parts of Asia may be comparable to that of the UK, say, 25 years ago. So if someone from the UK visits that particular part of Asia, he / she may think about how the UK has progressed and bring those changes to Asia.  

Let us think MacDonalds in Kuala Lumpur, Starbucks in Jakarta, etc. 

To nurture our greatest asset, we have to nurture these four areas continuously.

Where should we focus our reviews 

When we draw up this list for our personal individual situation and seek to identify a unique opportunity, we should remember the following.   Business opportunities are created when we have a service or product that :- 

a)    makes people money, 

b)    saves people money, 

c)     makes people feel more secure, physically or emotionally,  

d)    makes people feel better, physically or emotionally,  

e)    saves people time.

I am sure, there are others, but these broad areas should be good enough. When you put these two together, we should be able to see that a job or a career need not be our only option.  

Whether we take a job and work on the other options part time is not the issue. The fact is that the door is now open wider, and we should be in a better position to, at least see, how we can generate more income.

For me, this exercise has given me ideas on two book projects.

My 3 rules on dealing with people

Tuesday, January 8th, 2008

We must all have had our share of run-ins with rude, obnoxious and plain pain in the &*@ people. These run-ins spoil our moods, and sometimes, extend to spoiling our days. And sometimes, we end up paying it forward by being rude and obnoxious to others.

I was one of these rude, obnoxious and plain pain in the &*@ people. I have had friends telling me that sooner or later somebody was going to give me a tight slap. And God knows how many people I must have left with nothing but vile thoughts about me.  

Thankfully it did not require a tight slap to make me come to my senses. 

The change came about when I started writing a book on my experiences. This book was meant as a guide to my children. As I was writing, I realized that I was not the kind of person I wanted my children to be.

And I changed, slowly and steadily.  

One of the more significant changes is in my dealings with people. Now I am a lot cooler and kinder, even though I do say so myself.  

I have to thank my 3 rules for this. 

Rule 1 - Don’t judge anyone by our standards.  

We call a person crazy or silly when he or she does something we consider crazy. Who are we to decide what is crazy and what is not crazy? What is crazy to us may not be so crazy to others. And what may not be so crazy to us may be absolutely bonkers to others. 

We are always free to disagree, but we should not judge.  

Rule 2 –     If we are unhappy with a person’s behavior or   manners, just tell ourselves, that his behavior is a reflection of the sum total of his upbringing, education and experience. We do not have to come down to his level. 

May seem to be a long rule, but it works. 

If we walk into a store and see the attendant reading the newspaper and ignoring us, this is the rule to apply.

We do not have to feel unhappy, slighted or anything along these lines. We can walk away and find another store or apply Rule 3. 

Rule 3 -      I shall treat everyone the way I would want them to treat my children. 

I have 5 children. Like any other parent, and I am sure, like my parents before me, I worry about how they would be treated by the “world”. Their employers, their friends, their future spouses, their colleagues and all the countless other people they will come into contact with as they go about their daily lives. 

I want my children to be treated with kindness and with fairness. I want them to be given guidance and if they make mistakes, corrected in a way that will leave them feeling good. 

And I shall treat everyone I deal with in this same manner. 

These are my 3 rules.  

I try my best not to enter into any argument. After all, no one will really care who is right. If I am drawn into some discussion which may not end well, I just smile and say that on matters like these, I am no expert, and walk away or change the subject.  

So far they have worked for me. And the world now seems to be made up of perfectly reasonable people.

How I plan or overplan my year, month, week and day

Sunday, January 6th, 2008

We all have our own systems for time management.

Some of us have checklists, some use diaries, some use electronic whatchamacallits, some just balance everything in their heads. 

I used to make use of diaries but now I use an Excel calendar, and a daily list. I find this system to be so much more efficient. My system is built up like this: 

a)  Year Template 

I have built an Excel calendar for a year. I call this “Year by Week Template”. 

             
Day Main Weekly Goal Monday Tuesday
Date     (Date : A= Blank) (Date: A+1)
             
           
             
           
             
         
             
             
           
             

This is done with a column each for Monday – Sunday, hence representing a week. Since they are in Excel, the columns can be as long as I want them to be.  

The weeks in turn are replicated 52 times to represent a year. 

The dates are all connected by formulas. Since I do not know the date of the first Monday of each year, I leave the date blank. The date for Tuesday is linked to Monday by the formula : +(previous cell) + 1. This formula is copied till Sunday, and the Monday of the next week linked to the Sunday of the week before, etc.  

Day / Date Main Week Goal Mon Tues Wed Thurs Fri Sat Sun
                 
                 
                 
                 
                 

  

Day / Date Main Week Goal Mon Tues Wed Thurs Fri Sat Sun
                 
                 
                 
                 
                 
                 

I have 52 of these. It’s actually quite easy to do, since after doing one week, we copy down and it becomes 2 weeks. These two weeks can be copied into 4 weeks, and then 8 weeks etc. 

And when we key in the date for the 1st Monday, the dates for the rest of the year get filled up. 

b) Filling up the Big Rocks 

This “Year by Week Template” is filled up with the “big rocks”, i.e. dates of the children’s birthdays, our wedding anniversary, other key dates like insurance expiries etc.c)   Starting 2008 by Week 

Sometime around October or November 07, I saved the “Year by Week Template” as “2008 by Week”. So now I still have the “Year by Week Template” and another copy named as the “2008 by Week”. 

I key in the date for the 1st Monday for the year, and the Excel formula fills up the rest of the dates automatically. For 2008, 31st December 07 is taken as the 1st Monday of the year. 

d) Now the 2008 Rocks 

I note the school holidays and other special events, if any, in this 2008 by Week file. This file now becomes my diary for the year. 

e)  Weekly Planning 

Some time is set aside on each Friday to plan the week ahead. Things to do are noted in the respective day of the coming week.  Each week, I also go through the plans that have been made to achieve the goals set for the year. Anything that needs to be done during the particular week is updated in the weekly schedule. 

Each week I print this weekly schedule and use it as my base for my daily planning. Some items need to be repeated, weekly or monthly. For example, balancing of bank accounts etc. These are just copied and pasted in the week or month ahead.  

f)    Daily Planning 

I prepare the daily list for any day on the evening before. Since it is basically a copy of the particular day from the weekly list, this exercise takes less than 5 minutes.  

The daily list is handwritten and I cross out things as they get done. If I need to follow up on something, say a couple of weeks later, it is immediately updated in the particular date of the 2008 by Week file. Things not done just get carried forward to the next day. I do make an effort to settle the “biggest rocks” for the day. 

g)  Long Range Reminders 

We all have long range items, like expiries of driving licenses, passports etc. These are listed in a special section in the 2008 by Week and get carried forward yearly as the case may be. 

I have used this system since 2004, and I have hardly tweaked it, since then. Perhaps those better versed with technology may have easier systems.

But this has worked for me.

My daughter is attending a property investment course

Wednesday, December 5th, 2007

As many other aspiring billionaires, I have read and been fascinated by the many books that espouse theories on making money on properties. 

However my wife and I have never really tried “property investing”.  

A good family friend, Kalai, has tried and made money. He has been a “fixer upper” and made decent money on 2 properties. He has bought and sold properties. He has been a property agent and sold a number of properties. He has also a dud on his hands now. His stories have always fascinated me.  

I accept that property is a major asset class and learning about investing in them can only be a plus in our journey to financial freedom. 

So when a local financial and property “guru”, Milan Doshi, announced his upcoming class, I was interested got up my daughter and nephew to sign up. 

The course promises a number of things, related to improving our financial IQ and learning about RE investment. 

Of course, neither my wife nor I expect our daughter (the second, the first is studying in Wales) to return from the course with Donald Trump’s skills.

What then do we expect? 

a)    My nephew and daughter will get to understand at least some of the nitty gritty and be given an introduction to the world of RE investing and the related matters, like tenant issues, types of property, pitfalls to look out for, financing, calculating returns etc. 

b)    My nephew and daughter will get to meet other course participants who should have the same interests and maybe, form a peer group with some of them. (See this great article on the advantages of peer groups). 

Besides, my daughters forming a peer group is one of my goals for 2008.  

c)     My daughter is close to my nephew and there is no reason why they should not form a 2 member peer group to start off with. 

d)    My nephew is a very sensible young man and I am sure his presence at the course and as my daughter’s peer group member will be of great help to her. 

e)    My daughter is not out of University yet, but my nephew has been working for a few years now. He works with our country’s Central Bank, and thus has his fair share of friends in the banking industry. This should be a plus for them.

f)      I have read Milan’s books and I think he gives a fair representation of the industry. It is not “just buy property and become rich”. It is also about gain knowledge, study your property carefully and buy. And that making mistakes in RE investment can be a long painful affair to unravel.

I believe that my nephew and daughter will get a balanced view of the positives and negatives of RE investing. 

Ultimately, we hope that my nephew and daughter will learn from this course and be more enlightened about the specifics of RE investment.

We hope that they will look up and study a lot more on RE. And we hope they’ll consider RE investment as one of their vehicles in their journey for financial independence. 

Kalai has also talked to my daughter about his experiences, relating both his good and bad ones. He dwelled upon the need to carefully study the property and suggested that she should start with something “small and manageable.” 

I am bristling with so called ideas on what my nephew and daughter should do. I have to and must restrain myself. This is their journey.  

Maybe I should just ask for their idea of a 5 year plan on their RE investments.  

What advise can I give my college going children on forming a peer group for personal finance management?

Tuesday, November 27th, 2007

The power of peer groups to exert influence, both good and bad, on its members has been well documented.  

In one of my earlier posts, I have rated the two most important personal finance lessons I have learnt being:- 

a)    Paying myself first, or Living within my means and 

b)    Forming a peer group with personal finance as an agenda item. 

I have also posted that (b) would be the most important PF lesson I could give my 2 elder girls now.  But, exactly how do they go about forming a peer group?  None of their friends in college are interested in this “oh! so boring” subject.  

Man! I lost almost 15 years of compounding benefits, bumming around and burning off almost all my earnings. Only after my family and financial responsibilities got heavier, did I consciously start thinking about sorting my finances out.  

And as a responsible parent, I have to try my best to make sure that my children do not make the same mistakes I did.  So I have to find a way. A way, which will get my children start thinking and working on bettering their financial position from day one. A way, my children will be comfortable with.  

I believe that advise from the parent may not work. It has to come from people with whom my children are comfortable with and who have the same likes, dislikes and problems, real or perceived.  

I have tried asking them to form their own peer group. This has not worked. 

I have now given them a list of 5 personal finance and personal development blogs, and have asked them to read and start commenting on these blogs.  

I have proposed a fee for every comment of theirs which is accepted by the blogger. My children have to email me the URLs so that I can keep abreast of their comments. 

I have been an avid follower of PF blogs for about 3 months now. The impact on me has been powerful. I have made many changes and adjustments to my financial and personal life, some small, others major.

In fact, I almost feel that I participate in direct discussions with some of these bloggers and have actually formed mental images of some of these people. 

If the blogs have this effect on me, they just might have the same effect on my children.  If they try out this method, they may actually get to like it and start participating, not because they can earn some money from me, but rather because they can and want to learn something. 

Then, by golly, they would have their peer group! 

And if they don’t like the pf blogs, then back to the drawing board shall we go.  

Cool skills to learn/Habits to form for personal development – Rising Early

Friday, November 23rd, 2007

For the longest time, I have had a goal of getting up early and exercising. I am ashamed to admit, that, year after year, this goal has just been carried forward. Sometimes, I’ll rise early, but not exercise. On other days, I exercise but not in the mornings etc. But most days, I’ll get up late. 

I think the best description of the benefits of early rising, is the saying …”early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise”. 

(Though the poor worm may have been caught by the early bird, I tell myself this is the worm coming back from its previous night’s frolics, whilst the bird is part of the “Early to rise……. fraternity.)  

Rising early allows for more productive hours in a day, the early dawn is an excellent time for spiritual rejuvenation, and we can get a lot of tasks done uninterrupted. 

Now exactly how do I make rising early an unshakeable habit? I looked to the blogosphere for inspiration as well as guidance and found ample. I read the following blog posts (by the way, all of whom are down and out fervent supporters of the early to rise habit) and summarized their “how to’s”. 

a) Kronikulz.com’s Being an Early Riser, 

b) Steve Pavalina’s How to become an early riser,  

c) ZenHabits’ 10 benefits of Rising Early and How to do it,  

d) Dave Cheong’s Waking Up early – 15 Tips that work,  

e) Real Women’s Fitness’ How to get up early everyday,  

f) How to wake up Early’s tips on how to sleep well, waking early and what to do then.   

The main factors they had in common were:- 

a)                Get enough sleep / rest. Before bedtime, do something either mentally or physically exerting, so that your body wants to rest.   

Our body has its own inbuilt mechanism to tell us if we don’t have enough sleep. We’ll just feel sleepy. So this should not be a problem to follow. 

b)                Have a good reason/(s) to get up early. Set yourself a morning ritual or a list of tasks that you want to do. Make yourself a promise to get up early and/or use your subconscious mind to remind you of the reason to get up.  

This makes a lot of sense. We get up early without any bother when we have something lined up like an early flight or an important meeting etc. So we have to have a set of things to do, things we can look forward to, so that there is an inbuilt “desire” given to the mind to get us up early. 

c)                 Set the alarm a little away from the bed so that you can’t just shut it up and go back to sleep. Jump out of bed as soon as the alarm rings. No matter what!  

This may be a tough one, as it is very, very tempting to shut the alarm up and then sleep for “ten more minutes”. We all know that this ten becomes twenty and thirty.

But, if (a) and (b) are solidly anchored, I think this can be overcome.  

As I write and read this post, getting up early seems doable.  

For the past five days, this system has worked well for me. I think (and hope) that this habit can be continued.   

And to others, may you rise as per your desired times, with a spring in your step and a smile on your face.  

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