Can you afford to be green when you’re not rich? I kept a diary to find out

Politicians and corporations have placed the burden of environmental responsibility on the consumer but how easy is it to go green when youre barely getting by?

How easy is it to go green, to construct deliberate, eco-friendly selections when you’re barely getting by? Can you be green and poor, as I am?

This is the question I ought to have mulling as politicians and corporations have placed the burden of environmental responsibility on the consumer: stop using plastic straws, carry reusable shopping bags, recycle everything.

I live in an environmentally conscious place: a rural town with flourishing local food businesses, a farmers’ market and many organic farms. But it’s also a small town in central Appalachia, in the poorest county in my country: Ohio. Many people here go hungry. They can’t afford food, let alone organic food. A gas station is the closest source of “groceries” for some people without autoes. You can’t stroll everywhere if you live in the country.

For a week, I kept a diary with some of the choices I made toward being green.



I make my son’s lunch for camp. I got rid of most plastic in the kitchen several years ago- I don’t buy disposable plastic bags, plastic wrap or plastic storage containers- but reusable cloth bags don’t hold much, and most don’t maintain food from going stale, even for a few hours. There’s mold spotted on one of the cloth purses I take out of the drawer, even though I rinse, bleach and dry them. Any disposable plastic bags I have- because my mom sends snacks in them for her grandson, for example- I clean and carefully dry.

I bought my parents beeswax wrap, which I love: reusable, washable food wrap that molds around leftover food, utilizing the heat of your hands, and recently my mommy purchased newspaper and aluminum drinking straws. But it’s been a bit of a struggle to persuade the older members of family to induce green choices: it’s new to them, and it seems like extra work, because it often is.

My son, a rising third-grader, told me that his school can recycle cans only if the cans are totally empty. But there’s no place or opportunity to dump the liquid in the cafeteria, and he doesn’t have enough time in his 15 – to 20 -minute lunch period to drink a full can of seltzer or juice without chugging it and getting a stomachache. This is an issue of anxiety for him, so I stopped packing cans.

I feel that most mothers are trying to do their best, despite our often-difficult circumstances in this region, but it’s hard to balance children’s needs, finances and eco-consciousness.

It’s hot the summer months, usually intense and early, even for swampy Appalachia. Camp is just a 10 -minute drive away, but we couldn’t stroll it in this heat and with an eight-year-old who is already not thrilled about going to camp so his single mom can work. The rainfall cools things off enough to open the windows.

Today’s expenses: beeswax wrap, $18.99 for three wraps


Illustration: Dev Murphy

So many of my decisions are made by time. There’s a bus station by my house, but the bus comes irregularly, and I merely have so long before my son returns from his second day of camp, hungry and wanting dinner. I drive 10 minutes to the small Aldi.

Shopping at a discount grocery like Aldi constructs it difficult to meal prep because you can’t really plan on what’s going to be there. But when I was laid off from my full-time job in March, I swore I would mainly shop there, or a similarly priced store. Doing so has cut my grocery bill by at least $ 40 a few weeks. I haven’t been able to find full-time work yet, and I get by with a lot of freelance writing and editing, which entails I need to keep my grocery bill low.

But Aldi doesn’t have everything I need, like breakfast burritos and tofu for my largely vegetarian kid, so I have to made Kroger, too. Fortunately it’s on the way back home. I’m not squander gas, only time, but I do spend a lot of fund for simply a few items at Kroger: the eco-friendly dish soap that is not available at the discount store, the recycled paper towels.

I spend $50 at Aldi for the largest proportion of our snacks for the week. And I expend $59 at Kroger for merely … things. I’d like to buy local meat- I feel it savours better, has fewer hormones, and I like supporting local farmers- but to do so, I would have to go to yet anothe r grocery store, this one clear across town. This third, smaller store has issues with shelf stability: items don’t sell quickly enough not to go bad sometimes.

Often, I shop at the health food store. It’s expensive but locally-owned, and along with herbs and vitamins, they have organic food, frozen meat and vegetarian food. My son and I can walk there, and usually do. Merely a few months ago, another, much bigger health and organic food store opened, which is even closer to our house. I’ve only been in the new store once. It looks like a mini Whole Foods and is priced as such. What this community needs isn’t another pricey organic food store; I worry it could set the older, more established local health food store out of business, and it still doesn’t bring affordable, fresh create to the people who need it most.

I bring my own reusable purses to Aldi, which is a requirement and it helps- if you have to buy or bringing shopping bags every time, you will remember to bring them. And I use another of my own purses at Kroger. After unpacking groceries, I return the suitcases to my car and keep them there.

Today’s expenses: $59.28 at Kroger for 11 items , $50.06 at Aldi for 21 items


My son and I live alone in an old house, over a hundred years old, which I rent. As a renter, there isn’t a lot you can do. My house has new windows on the top narrative, but the original ones on the bottom, most of which don’t open. In the winter, I seal the windows to keep in heat, and seal the drafty kitchen door, closing it off for the season. I change the furnace filter regularly and have blackout draperies on many of the windows, which can help keep the house warm or cool.

But in the summer, like in many old homes, the downstairs is OK and the upstairs sweltering, too hot to sleep. I have two window air-conditioning units, given to me used. I feel terrible about running them, but am forced to sometimes to escape the high humidity, and 90 -plus degree heat we have had this spring and summer.

One of my neighbours has a fantastic, almost full-roof display of solar panel, but she owns her home. I can see her panels glistening in the sunlight from my porch.

Today’s expenses: blackout draperies, $34.95 for two; furnace filter, $36 for two


Illustration: Dev Murphy

I am someone who was raised in the country, and while I don’t think I ever really made it into the middle class as an adult, my circumstances certainly lessened when I became a single mom, then lessened again when I was laid off. For me, having a dishwasher would be a marker of success. I’m not there yet.

I have thought about buying a standalone dishwasher, but our older kitchen is extremely small. I don’t have the counter space for a counter dishwasher. So, even though I have read a dishwasher can actually use less water, I have to wash dishes by hand.

I wash all of our clothes in cold water in the washing machine. I don’t wash my own shirts or jeans every time I wear them, both to conserve water and electricity and to extend the longevity of clothes. But my son’s clothes, stained with dirt, grass and paint, I have to wash often.

I hang most of our wet clothes to dry, which is another time-suck and one of my least favorite chores, but prevents the energy utilization of the dryer and maintains some shirts from shrinking.

Today’s expenses: hand washing dishes: about 50 pennies a batch ; washing clothes in cold water: about $1.50 a loading


My son and I are traveling this weekend: flying, which is not an environmentally conscious thing to do. We don’t travel often, but this is a special, long-planned trip to visit family in Colorado, route too far to drive with a small child and my 18 -year-old Honda. I would love to replace my vehicle. I know a new model would be more gas efficient, but it’s not possible for me right now financially. A hybrid, or any new or utilized vehicle, is simply out of my reach.

One of the impacts of our current eco-consciousness is some people feeling bad for decisions largely out of their control- and many people not feeling bad for actions they can control. I feel guilty for flying to see loved ones. Do executives at Coca-Cola feel guilty for their massive plastic pollution?

Somehow I doubt it.

The inventor of Keurig K-Cups, a source of mounting plastic pollution, did publicly express remorse for his invention. I was gifted a Keurig coffee maker, but utilized the refillable attachment, putting in my own ground coffee rather than the plastic cups. When that coffee maker broke, I started employing a simple French press.

You can purchase carbon offsets to try to mitigate some of the environmental damage done by flying. The notion is to invest in green options, like gale farms. This is not something I have done before, and I have to admit, it’s a little overwhelming and confusing, especially as many carbon offset companies work directly with airlines and other corporations now.

We’re taking a direct flight to Denver, which helps cut down on more unnecessary traveling pollution, and we carpool to the airport. I bring empty reusable water bottles for myself and my son, and fill them up after security.

I’m disappointed to see the recycling and trash can at my airport appear exactly the same: the recycling can is overflowing with trash. Some airlines mention, as the flight attendant collect items after the drink service, that they recycle those cans and little plastic cups. But do they?

Today’s expenses: glass French press for coffee, $28.00


I haven’t buy much new dres for years. Proportion of that is out of necessity. Not merely can I not afford it, I live in an area without many shopping alternatives. We have a mall, but more storefronts are empty than occupied. The closest Target is across state lines. The biggest clothing retailer in my township is Goodwill, and all my friends and I shop there, and at other, local charity-based thrift shops.

It’s normal in my town to wear utilized things- something I believe should be normalized everywhere : not to be sporting the latest trend, but to be wearing a piece that meant something to someone you know, that has a story or history. For an item to take up space in this rapidly filling world, it should really matter.

It’s so typical to wear employed clothes where I live that my friends and I hold clothing swap parties, where we bring bags of clothes that don’t fit any more or household items that we no longer need, and shop one another’ closets. Once, it would have mortified me to be out wearing a dress that a friend pointed to and said: that used to be mine . Now it’s a source of pride. Clothing connects us. It’s more than only fast fashion. That shirt brought me luck , person said when I held up a red T-shirt at a clothing swap. Maybe it will bring you luck too .

I didn’t buy anything new for my journey to Colorado. My sneakers are several years old. I rinse them carefully, and replace the laces. I do have to buy new shoes for my son often, as kids grow quickly. I sometimes buy items from ThredUp, an online resale garb shop, and I sell clothes to them as well, usually saving up credit for trade so I don’t have to expend a dime.

In Colorado, after eating at a eatery, I feel nervous asking for a box for leftovers, fearing the most difficult: Styrofoam. But at every restaurant in Colorado that we patronize, the carryout boxes are recycled or recyclable cardboard.

I don’t think we talk enough about how the America consumer’s attempts to go green involve so much uncertainty and absence of agency. Starbucks, for example, gives me a plastic fork for a sandwich I order and certainly don’t need a fork to eat with. They don’t ask first if I want a fork, and should. I leave the fork unwrapped and dedicate it back. But will they just throw it away?

Small choices like this feel huge- but many of them aren’t even selections we as individuals can construct. I can’t bringing my own takeout receptacles to local eateries in Ohio – it’s a health hazard, according to the restaurants. On our Colorado trip, my mom was amazed at a store that sold soap and shampoo by the barrel – you bring your own containers to fill. There are no stores like that near me.

There are no bins or instructions about recycling in the Airbnb we have rented. So we pitch all the empty cans, bottles and cardboard into a couple of grocery suitcases, and at the end of our trip, trek them back down the mountain to my boyfriend’s mother’s house in the city( sorry, Judy ), where they can be recycled.

Today’s expenses: a pair of kids sneakers, utilized, about $16 ($ 35 -4 0 new )


A couple of years ago, inspired by several classmates, my son decided he was going to go vegetarian. Recently, he has started eating some meat again: chicken fingers, pepperoni pizza, but for the most part, we only eat meat two or three times a week. This does a lot, both for health- my dad’s physician commended my son for getting his grandpa to eat less meat, and my dad’s subsequent weight loss and lower cholesterol numbers- and for the environmental issues.

But eating vegetarian isn’t always easy, especially in rural Appalachia, and it isn’t always cost-efficient or healthy. Many of the meat substitutes I have bought my son- soy bacon, bean burgers- expense more than meat, and are much harder to find, requiring special trips.

Which means more gas. And more time.

Time is a resource, especially for women, people of color, people who are incapacitated and people who are poor, and to ignore the impact of time on environmental choices is to ignore the reality of many people’s lives. People have to work multiple jobs, have to travel for run or groceries, don’t have recycling available, don’t have enough childcare to spend precious hours hanging laundry or cleaning plastic bags.

A lot of things aren’t easy in my Appalachian home: finding work, procuring and affording a place to live. Why did we believe being green would be any different?

When it comes to the environment, I am not alone in feeling a predominating sense of remorse and concern. I have felt this a lot of the time, since I was a child and first heard in school about the depletion of the ozone layer.

We live in a time of such dreaded. We walk with and through dreaded constantly. Dread is our companion in 2019, and also the feeling of futility. So many news sites have tossed about data and studies on how long until we run this planet into the ground. The dates vary, but it’s not long. Not long at all. It’s overwhelming to suppose the burden of maintaining the world alive remainders on the shoulders of consumers. And frankly, it shouldn’t. Not entirely.

People need help from the companies that got us into this mess in the first place with their products and pollution. People need incentives- but also, assistance on how to be green. You have to offer and clearly label recycling bins, for example. Fresh, affordable produce needs to be available before we can focus on organic.

In order for people to construct eco-conscious choices, there has to be an eco-conscious choice available for them to stimulate . For many places, especially in rural and impoverished America, those choices simply don’t exist , not yet.

Today’s expenses: veggie hot dogs, $5.79 for four

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Herbalife Forced to Retool After FTC Review Sought by Ackman

Herbalife Ltd. agreed to pay $200 million and induce sweeping changes to its business to settle U.S. claims that the nutrition company deluded customers with get-rich-quick promises.

Carl Icahn
Photographer: Victor J. Blue/ Bloomberg

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission stopped short of hedge fund administrator Bill Ackmans call to proclaim Herbalife a pyramid strategy and to shut it down, but it described the companys business in harshly critical terms and said it must restructure and stop falsifying how much fund its members are likely to make.

Herbalife claimed that people could cease their jobs and earn thousands of dollars a month by selling its shakes and nutritional supplements even though the great majority earned little or no fund. These practises caused substantial economic trauma, relevant agencies said in a statement Friday.

An Illusion

At a news conference, FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez wouldnt call Herbalife a pyramid strategy but also wouldnt say that it wasnt one. Our focus isnt on the label, she said.

The company promised people a dream: a chance to change “peoples lives”, discontinue their jobs and gain financial liberty, Ramirez told. But that dream was an illusion, she said.

Investors cheered the settlement, bidding up Herbalifes shares 9.9 percentage to close at $65.25 in New York. But the agreements long-term consequence on Herbalifes results and recruiting are unclear. The FTC is forcing changes that could make it more difficult for distributors to make money. Herbalife will have to depend on retail sales, which are to be verified by receipts, instead of bulk buys by members.

They will have to demonstrate retail sales, told Tim Ramey, an analyst for Pivotal Research Group. Ramey is one of the few analysts still covering Herbalife and has defended the company throughout Ackmans onslaught. I dont believe Herbalife would have agreed to a deal they couldnt do. But the proof is in the pudding.

Herbalife remained confident. The settlements are an acknowledgment that our business model is audio, Herbalifes chairman and chief executive officer, Michael O. Johnson, said in a written statement.

Ackmans Pershing Square Capital Management expend more than $50 million on a public campaign to expose Herbalife as a pyramid scheme and make good on his$ 1 billion bet against its shares. The attempted takedown has captivated Wall street since December 2012 when Ackman presented his thesis at an investor meeting. He would subsequently say the company was a fraud on the scale of Enron Corp. All the while, Herbalife defended itself.

For a QuickTake explainer on short selling, click here .~ ATAGEND

Pershing Square said in a statement that the FTCs findings constitute a pyramid scheme.

We expect that once Herbalifes business restructuring is fully implemented, these fundamental structural changes will cause the pyramid to collapse as distributors and their recruits cease the business, it said.

The FTCs statement backed up many of Ackmans asserts. It said that the business was driven by member recruitment more than retail sales; that the companys distributors misrepresent how much fund new members can stimulate; that a large number of its members lose money; and that the company doesnt adequately disclose the risks of membership.

The agency also said the multi-level marketing companys compensation structure was unfair because it rewards distributors for recruiting others to join and purchase products in order to advance in the marketing program rather than in response to actual retail demand for the product.

Herbalifes Defense

Herbalife has said there is real demand, although women hasnt provided much proof. The company sells products to its distributors and says that after that it cant be sure what happens. It has instead pointed to surveys that it paid for showing it had almost 8 million clients in the U.S.

In its complaint, the FTC used to say the small minority of distributors who do make a lot of fund are compensated for recruiting new distributors, regardless of whether those recruits can sell the products they are encouraged to buy from Herbalife. After realise they cant make money, they abandon the business possibility in large numbers. Nearly half the Herbalife distributor base discontinues in any devoted year, the FTC said.

The settlement affects only Herbalifes practises in the U.S ., where 80 percent of marketings will have to be from real marketings to real users, Ramirez said. The $200 million will go to compensate consumers.

Icahn vs. Ackman

As Ackman railed against the company, he squared off against billionaire activist Carl Icahn, who became Herbalifes biggest shareholder and installed five board members, pitting both his money and inner circle against Ackmans effort to bring down the nutrition company. Short marketers like Ackman aim to profit from a declining stock by borrowing shares, selling them and then buying them back at a lower price.

Icahn declared victory on Friday. Simply stated, the shorts have been completely wrong on Herbalife, he said in a written statement.

Ackmans campaign continued this week — Pershing Square released its 18 th video on Thursday in a series criticizing the company online. The billionaire, who told early on it was a certainty Herbalife was a pyramid scheme, took extraordinary measures to influence the outcome, including hiring investigators to dig into Herbalifes operations and making videos of unhappy distributors.

This is the highest conviction Ive ever had about any investment Ive ever built, Ackman said in 2012.

For a look at Betting on Zero, a documentary about the Herbalife-Ackman battle, click here .~ ATAGEND

The dispute boiled down to whether there is legitimate demand for Herbalifes weight-loss shakes and supplements by actual customers, which is the FTCs test for a pyramid strategy. Ackman said there isnt such demand. He tells the companys revenue is derived from sales objectives it defines for independent contractors who must buy products from the company. Few of the contractors achieve those goals, Ackman contends.

Independent Contractors

Herbalife products arent sold in traditional stores. Theyre distributed by independent contractors who marketplace to household, friends, neighbors and just about any stranger they come across, typically in that order.

The distributors can make money by buying products at a discount and selling them at a markup. The bigger payoff arrives when distributors broaden their reach by recruiting, training and coaching a downline marketings squad that sells products to friends, neighbors and strangers and then earn royalties and bonuses from those sales.

Also on Friday, Herbalife said it had appointed Jonathan Leibowitz, a former FTC chairman who is a partner at the law firm Davis, Polk and Wardell LLP, as an adviser.

( A previous version of this story was corrected to reflect Leibowitzs role as an adviser .)

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50 Ways Happier, Healthier, And More Successful People Live On Their Own Words

1. Stop eating caffeine

Although people think they perform better on caffeine, the truth is, they truly dont. Actually, weve become so dependent on caffeine that we use it to simply get back to our status-quo. When were off it, we underperform and become incapable.

Isnt this absurd?

With healthy eating, sleeping, and workout, your body will naturally make far more and better energy than caffeine could ever offer. Devote it up and see what happens. You will probably get withdrawal headaches. But after a few days, youll feel amazing.

2. Pray or meditate morning, mid-day, and night

In a recent interview at the Genius Network mastermind event, Joe Polish asked Tony Robbins what he does to get focused. Do you meditate? What do you do? Joe asked.

I dont know that I meditate. I dont know that I want to meditate and think about nothing, Tony reacted, My goal is clarity.

Instead of full-on meditation, Tony has a morning routine that includes several breathing exercises and visualization techniques that get him to a state of clarity and focus. For me, I use prayer and ponder( my version of meditation) as the same vehicle.

Whatever your approach, the goal should be clarity and focus. What do you want to be about today?

What few things matter most during the next 24 hours?

Ive gotten the best results as my morning prayer and meditation are motivational; my afternoon prayer and meditation are strategic; and my evening prayer and meditation are evaluative and educational.

3. Read 1 volume per week

Ordinary people try entertainment. Extraordinary people seek education and learn. It is common for the worlds most successful people to read at least one volume per week. They are constantly learning.

I can easily get through one audiobook per week by just listening during my commute to school and while walking on campus. Taking even 15 -3 0 minutes every morning to read uplifting and instructive info changes you. It puts you in the zone to perform at your highest.

Over a long enough period of time, you will have read hundreds of books. Youll be knowledgeable on several topics. Youll think and consider the world differently. Youll be allowed to induce more the linkages between different topics.

Reference # 19 on this list if you feel youre too busy to read one book per week. There are methods to make this task highly easy.

4. Write in your journal 5 minutes per day

This habit will change your life. Your publication will 😛 TAGEND Clear your emotions serving as your personal therapist Detail your personal history Enhance your imagination Ingrain and enhance your learning Help you get lucidity on the future you want to create Accelerate your ability to manifest your goals Increase your gratitude Improve your writing skills Lots more Improve digestive efficiency Increase mental clarity Increase physical and psychological vigor Remove toxins Improve vision Give a general impression of well being Being a better planner Being holistically healthier as individuals Getting better sleep More optimistic, satisfied, and conscientious Increased memory Longer life Decreased inflammation Increased creativity Increased attention and concentrate Decreased fat and strengthened muscle mass with workout Lower stress Decreased dependence on stimulants like caffeine Lessened hazard of getting into accidents Decreased risk of depression Eat at least 40% of your breakfast calories as protein Do it with two or three whole eggs( each egg has about 6g protein) If you dont like eggs, utilize something like turkey bacon, organic pork bacon or sausage, or cottage cheese Or, you could always do a protein shake with water It boosts HDL( good) cholesterol and simultaneously blocks LDL( bad) cholesterol buildup It has special fats that help you burn more fat, have more energy, and maintain healthy weight It fights aging and keeps you seeming and feeling young It reduces fever and acts as an anti-inflammatory It is antibacterial and thus wards off possible maladies It improves memory and cognitive operate( even for people with Alzheimer’s) It can boost testosterone for both men and balance healthy hormones level for both men and women Help protect against cardiovascular disease, cancer and various inflammatory diseases Guard against oxidative cellular injury from everyday cellular maintenance and exposure to chemicals and pollution. Faith is the starting point of all accumulation of riches! Faith is the basis of all miracles and mysteries that cannot be analyzed by the rules of science! Faith is the element that transforms the ordinary vibration of thought, created by the finite intellect of man, into the spiritual equivalent. Faith is the only agency through which the cosmic force-out of Infinite Intelligence can be harnessed and used. Faith is the element, the chemical which, when mixed with prayer, devotes one direct communications with Infinite Intelligence. $11.85 trillion in debt An increase of 1.4% from last year $918.5 billion in charge card debt $8.09 trillion in mortgages $1.19 trillion in student loans An strengthening of 5.9% from last year In a free-market economy, anyone can make as much money as they want. Your background, highest level of education, or IQ is irrelevant when it comes to earning fund. The bigger the problem you solve, the more fund you stimulate. Expect to build lots of money. Suppose BIG: $100,000, $500,000, or why not$ 1 million? What you focus on expands. If you believe in dearth, youll have little. If you believe there is unlimited abundance, youll attract abundance. When you create incredible value for others, you have the right to make as much money as you want. Youre not going to be discovered, saved, or built rich by someone else. If you want to be successful, you have to build it yourself. 71 percentage of bed makers consider themselves happy While 62 percentage of non-bed-makers are unhappy Bed makers are also more likely to like their jobs, own a home, exercise regularly, and feel well rested Whereas non-bed-makers dislike their jobs, rent apartments, avoid the gym, and wake up tired.

The 10 New Year’s Resolutions That Will Guarantee Your Best Year Yet

The best part about the New Year is that its a clean slate. Theres a sense of convenience in leaving the past behind, feeling encouraged to let bad habits end with 2016, and becoming motivated to construct positive changes in 2017.

The reason why New Years solvings can actually run, is because theres something about a fresh start that not only drives us to be better, but us that its possible to wipe our slate clean and change our ways.

The mentality behind a New Year equals a fresh start is incredibly powerful and motivate. Theres a reason why January is the busiest month of the year at your local gym. People are more likely to take action and put in effort towards achieving their goals when something external has represented a new beginning.

The best thing you can do is construct specific New Years solvings, rather than just make a mental note that youd like to exercising more often or spend more time with the family. Here are 10 New Years Resolutions that will ensure your best year yet in 2017 😛 TAGEND

1. Put your phone down during lifes important moments

Millennials are missing out on whats all around them due to a decision to observe life through a small screen. How can you fully enjoy a special occasion if youre on your phone documenting it via Snapchat and Instagram the entire time? Justin Wells of Westwind Recovery points out that social media addiction is a major problem 😛 TAGEND

Rather than taking in a special moment, millennials feel compelled to continually document almost every aspect of “peoples lives”, which significantly minimizes the enjoyment of any particular momentous occasion.

If you learn to put down the phone during memorable moments, youll take up and enjoy whats happening much better. When youre on vacation at a stunning mountain resort, take it all in and keep the phone in your hotel room for a few hours while you go out investigating with only your eyes. When youre out with friends, enjoy their company by putting the phone down. In general, your best year yet will be 2017 if you are able violate your addiction to your smartphone.

2. Pursue your passion

One of the most important goals to have is to work towards a career that involves you use your gift and seeking your passion. A great goal to have for 2017 that will help you work towards your dream job is to start a passion project. A passion project can help you stay focused on your passion, practice your skills and use your gift in order to hold you on track and to maintain you motivated.

3. Get your finances in order

Getting your money in order can lead to financial liberty, which was an integral part to a happy and healthy life. You must be specific with your fiscal objectives, though. Rather than telling yourself you want to save more money in 2017, you must instead lay out specific expensive habits that you want to cut down on, and have a goal in intellect as to how much of each paycheck you want to put into a savings account.

Getting your finances in order also entails paying your bills on time, managing your credit card balances, and caring about your credit. In a recent Capital One credit confidence study, over 70 percent of the 2,300 respondents maintained a notion that having good credit is the gateway to the American Dream.

If you want to improve your credit, and youre dedicated to this New Years Resolution, then pay all of your bills on time. That means settling your phone bill, energy, cable, vehicle pays and other bills their due date. Late payments could show up as negative activity on your credit profile, and too many delinquencies could significantly lower your credit score.

4. Find someone to be accountable to at the gym

Every year, millions of people have get fit or lose weight at the top of their New Years solvings list. What you need in order to achieve this resolution, though, is a specific scheme that will actually work. You need external accountability. You require someone to answer to, a person who had keeps track of you and someone who motivates you.

A personal trainer, for example, is person you will be accountable to. This is someone you wont cancel on. When I have a developing conference booked at Steve Nash, I know that its not something I can duck out of it even if I dont feel like going. Im to my trainer. Unlike a group fitness class, when you volume a one-on-one session with your trainer, you cant exactly get away with pulling a no-show. If you have one specific weight loss resolve for 2017, it should be to

5. Meal prep and watch your alcohol and narcotic intake

If weight loss is one of your New Years resolves, exert alone wont cut it, but dont start some silly diet in 2017. Instead, meal prep. Its the most effective ways to ensure you wont feed crap. The reason we feed unhealthy fast food is because we abruptly realize were starving and we have nothing prepared. Meal prep changes all that, and its a great habit to get into come 2017.

If you want to watch your weight, though, youll have to watch your alcohol intake too. And monitoring your alcohol consumption is a great New Years solving in general not just for the sake of saving calories. Just as smoking Marijuana has some health benefits, some might argue that a glass of red wine has health benefits also. Sure it does, but all in moderation. A glass of red wine every now and then wont hurt you, and neither will the odd joint. Binge drinking and all day stoner conferences, though, will. As long as youre mindful of what foods and substances youre putting into your body, youre on the right path.

6. Plan one solo journey each year

Even if its just a weekend away to a nearby ski lodge, solo trip-ups are fundamental to personal growth. You require day away, by yourself, on your mountaintop to re-charge, get creative and get inspired. If you can, scheme an extended trip-up somewhere by yourself in 2017, and use that valuable time to focus on your wants and needs.

7. Get out of your convenience zone and take advantage of opportunities

Be more social, learn new abilities, attend meet-ups and stop concealing out at home. Many of us feel that were safer when nobody can see us and thats why we stay in so much. However, get out of the house( and therefore getting out of your convenience zone) more often will truly pay off. Possibilities can get you everywhere, but they wont fall into your lap. Youll have to get outside, satisfy new people and experience more of life in order to run into beneficial, life-altering opportunities.

8. Be less of a couch potato

Prolonged sedentary periods are bad for your well-being and bad for your health. In 2017, try to watch less TV and be more active instead. Instead of pressing that continue watching button on Netflix, go to the gym instead. Find excuses to be active whenever you can. If a friend invites you out for dinner to catch up, suggest going for a walk together and catching up that route instead. Youll feel better at the end of each and every day if you were active that day.

In fact, get off the sofa and make a point of getting outside every evening at the least for half an hour. You should commit to spending time in nature every single day, because studies have proven that spending time in nature is linked to happiness, higher self-esteem, and a reduction in depression and nervousnes. Its important to spend time away from TV screens and laptop screens, because too much screen-time is unbelievably bad for your well-being.

9. Tidy up and revamp your home

The New York Times Bestseller, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing brilliant volume that explains why tidying up and redecorating inspires a healthier overall mindset. It can even cure nervousnes problems and help us feel more relaxed, as though a weight has been lifted. If you take the time to read that volume, tidy up your space, and get more organized, the positive effects of this wont run unnoticed.

10. Practice gratitude and positivity

Theres a famous quote by Maltbie D. Babcock that sums it up wonderfully: Better to lose counting while naming your bless than lose your bless counting your troubles. So instead of focusing on what you dont have, concentrate your energy on gratitude towards what you have. Youll make yourself miserable comparing yourself to others or focusing on the negative all the time. Just as easy as it is for you to complain about whats going wrong, its equally easy to celebrate whats running right. The option is yours, and the positive mindset instead of the negative one will guarantee your best year ever. As soon as you learn how to be more grateful, your whole life could change not only your year.

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Weight Watchers sees the ‘Oprah effect’- but it may not last

The businesswoman has bestowed the Oprah effect on the company just as she did for bestselling volumes. But Weight Watchers fiscal future remains unclear

In a single tweet, celebrity Tv host Oprah Winfrey earned for herself more fund than most American households will see in a lifetime.

The drama unfolded on Tuesday, when Oprah posted a video on Twitter celebrating the fact that she has lost 26 lb since last summertime thanks to her Weight Watchers diet. Best of all, the daytime television diva proclaimed, she did it while eating bread yes, bread! every day.

Oprah Winfrey (@ Oprah) January 26, 2016

Eat bread. Lose weight. Whaaatttt? #ComeJoinMe https :// jUgpk9ToXY https :// xtnB5 3EwSf

News that Oprah, whom Forbes ranked as the worlds 12 th-most-powerful woman, was pushing the virtues of Weight Watchers sent the companys shares rising $2.17, or virtually 20%, to make $13.29 apiece.

The Twitterverse explosion. Apple stock is getting killed on news that the iPhone6 does not assistance Oprah lose weight, quipped @canuck2usa. Does anyone know Oprahs current weight? I need it to accurately model the price of$ WTW, came the urgent plea from @Financialtailor.( WTW is the symbol for Weight Watchers stock .)

Meanwhile, media watchers are scrambling to calculate the net benefit to both Oprah and Weight Watchers of her very, very public proclamation of her shrinking waistline. The conclusion? For every pound of weight she has lost, Oprah has made about $2.4 m.( That doesnt include the value of her option awards .) She first bought a large block of stock in October at the price of $6.79 a share( she also has the option to buy a lot more at the same cost, well below the current share cost, which would instantly enable her to double her money ), giving her a 10% stake in the company. She also joined the companys board of directors.

It hasnt been too shabby a deal for Weight Watchers, either, which has insured the market value of the company as a whole rise about$ 6m per pound lost by Oprah since last October, in spite of what has been a tremendously volatile ride. The stock has topped $25 but lately has been heading south to pre-Oprah levels.

Its all very entertaining. But its also deadly serious business, for Oprah, for Weight Watchers and for you, to the extent you get caught up in the excitement.

The fact that there is an Oprah effect shouldnt come as a great shock to anyone. Remember the Oprah book club? Of the 70 books that got her seal of approval, 59 attained it onto the New York Times bestseller list; even Charles Dickens revisited the bestseller listings, to the awe of English teachers worldwide.

But none of us should need any reminders that expending isnt or shouldnt be about amusement. Or rather: allow yourself to be entertained, but for heavens sake, dont mistake the media hype for solid investment advice.

Its altogether logical for Weight Watchers to turn to Oprah Winfrey for help turning around what has become a struggling business model. It isnt that Americans have stopped including a pledge to lose weight among their New Year resolves; its merely that new technologies( thank you, Fitbit !) and free apps off all kinds( such as MyFitnessPal) have displaced some of what Weight Watchers and other old school diet centers offered. The company is struggling with a hefty debt load, declining membership numbers and a big, fat image problem.

But now, as part of the companys rebranding, it has landed Oprah as a spokeswoman and who could be better? After all, this is the woman who has dieted over and over again, losing weight and gaining it back, all while in the public eye. After one dramatic 67 lb weight loss in 1988( on a liquid protein diet ), she even wheeled a wagon loaded with that sum of fat onto the stage of her talk indicate to exemplify just how much she had shed a few moments she afterwards called her biggest, fattest mistake.( She began regaining the weight virtually instantly .)

The deal itself was public and straightforward: Weight Watchers advised the Securities and Exchange Commission and we know all of the details. Well, most of them. As it turns out, Oprah signed off on the deal in August, several months earlier( or so she afterwards told Ellen DeGeneres ), but opted to wait to make sure that the companys financials didnt deteriorate before unveiling her involvement, leaving herself a way out as well as making sure that she liked the points system. Thats the sign of a very canny, prudent businesswoman.

Now lets consider the timing of the tweet heard round the world. While the proclamation that Oprah had become a major stockholder( embattled hedge fund director Steve Cohen is a fellow investor) caused the stock to double, that initial upsurge didnt last. At least some of it likely received from a short squeezing: the kind of buying that happens when short marketers folks who have borrowed stock to sell it, betting that theyll be able to buy it back more cheaply in the future “re going to have to” hurry to buy it back as the stocks cost rises, or have to post more security with their brokers.

Once that short-covering rally was out of the way, and without any more news to help buoy the stock, it sank. Indeed, in November, the company announced a 41% drop in earnings for the third one-quarter. Still, that was nothing that a tweet from Oprah couldnt help, as it turned out

The real test, of course, is whether Oprahs tweets, and her ongoing endorsement, will convince enough of us to imitate her just as we did when it comes to reading books and sign up for Weight Watchers programs. The problem, of course, is that a Weight Watchers program is more costly than the typical paperback, even before the price of food is included, and some members report that the organization is pushing members to commit to longer terms, either by paying up front or having the funds automatically deducted from their bank account: no more indicating up for sessions and paying your $12. That attains sense from a business perspective( and may be good for your diet, too ), but it removes some financial flexibility that members might need.

If Weight Watchers works well for Oprahs physical and fiscal health, Im delighted for her. But anyone who tries to ride the volatile rollercoaster of Weight Watchers stock by betting on her ability to get the weight off and keep it off needs to consult not a diet doctor but a psychiatrist. Thats risky speculation of the most ridiculous kind: do you see yourself planting spy cameras in the room where Oprah will go for her weekly weigh-ins, in search of clues to the contents of the next tweet? Similarly, if you need to lose weight and want to pursue a weight loss program, pick the one thats right for you and your lifestyle , not the one that has the shiniest celebrity endorsement.

Do what Oprah did , not what she says. Before promoting Weight Watchers wildly and buying the stock, she tried out the weight loss system personally and scrutinized its financials very carefully. Her $43 m investment in the stock, at the time she made it, was a mere 1.4% of her estimated 2015 net worth of$ 3bn the equivalent of play money. So if you do feel the urge to pull an Oprah, keep your stake to within those limits: 1% or even less of your total investable capital and not only your net worth( because, since youre not a billionaire, your losses will matter more ). And before you sign up to a multi-month commitment with Weight Watchers, take a long, hard look at what youre committing to like Oprah did and see if its something you can live with.

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