There’s nothing quite like that giddy feeling you get when Christmas carols start playing at the mall. That’s usually the biggest sign that the holidays are in full-swing. Everyone smiles a little more, everyone’s ready to party a little harder, and there’s just plenty of love in the air. It all feels like a delightful dream until the dread hit’s you with a gut-punch – you totally forgot to budget for gifts this year. If this dilemma sounds all too familiar, don’t panic. It’s not too late to pull off a Christmas miracle as long as you’re willing to bootstrap a little bit. Here are twelve easy money-saving tips that can help raise a little extra cash for the holidays… whether or not you end up using it on gifts:

Shop Smart:

Most people naturally have very wasteful shopping habits. Instead of hunting for bargains, we opt to spend based on branding or store proximity. Rather than shopping just to feel good, shop with the central aim of meeting your current needs economically. For example:
Take time to plan and compare prices.
Use coupons and read through junk mail for special offers and sales.
Use a shopping list, and stick to the plan.
Sign up for Rewards Programs.
Shop online, especially for electronics.
Don’t use large shopping carts for quick trips. You’ll only end up filling them with extra purchases.
Don’t shop on an empty stomach. You’ll end up spending too much money on food.

Go Green:

The entire point behind environmentalism is conservation. This conservation has the wonderful consequence of saving money. The more you do to be ecological, the less cash you spend in the long run. For example:
Switch off every light bulb and electronic device in your home if it’s not being used. This will lower your power bill.
Buy rechargeable batteries and you won’t have to keep replenishing them once they’re exhausted.
Use cloth napkins instead of paper towels and you won’t have to spend money resupplying every month.
Find a recycling center that pays cash for recyclables like scrap metal, bottles, cans, electronics, printer cartridges and so on.

Get Smart about Smart Devices:

Allowing mobile devices to operate unmonitored not only consumes electricity, it also inflates data usage charges. If a smart device has an inactive screen, make sure the entire device is actually idle with precautions like these:
Switch off the Mobile Data or Wifi if you aren’t using them.
Shutdown all apps completely instead of merely exiting the screen.
Turn of location settings unless you are actively using GPS.
Use power-saving modes to keep the device charged for longer.

Review your Subscriptions:

If there is anything you’ve ever spent money on that needs periodic payments to maintain, think about whether you still actively use it. If not, terminate these payments in order to lower your financial burden every month. For example:
Magazine or newspaper delivery services are redundant considering you can access all the information you need online.
Owning a credit card with an annual fee is unnecessary when there are plenty of free options available.
Evaluate which of your entertainment services you actually use and commit to just one. For instance it makes no financial sense to simultaneously maintain subscriptions like Netflix, Cable, Satellite TV, Hulu, and so on, when in practice you probably only watch one hour of TV every day.

These are just a handful of ways you can cut costs and save on cash. The options are endless provided you’re willing to take a serious look at where every dime you earn goes. If you notice any wastage, make some minor changes and it will surprise you how far you can stretch a dollar. Check out more of RISE Programs’ Blogs for helpful advice on healthy living, and remember to spread the word by sharing this post. If you like what you just read from our blog, you’ll love our many informative workshops and events listed on Eventbrite: Join RISE Programs any time to learn how to break past your daily struggles and start soaring in success.

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Responsible leadership is defined as governance or management that considers the impact of decisions on every possible stakeholder in a business environment, not just those who benefit from a given decision. Responsible leaders therefore, are leaders who don’t just seek to make as much profit as possible out of employees and consumers, they also seek to safeguard these people’s well-being and interests. Responsible leadership is courteous in nature. It is informed by ethics and upholds integrity as the most important trait a leader can exercise. Responsible leaders do not hesitate to do what’s right, even when what is right stands in conflict with what’s lucrative. Here are four important principles of responsible leadership that every leader should personify:

  • Understand the Difference Between Right and Wrong:

Without a moral compass, there is no limit to the amount of damage a leader can inflict on innocent people. Based on their authority alone, leaders are always entrusted with power and resources. The more a leader is entrusted with these elements, the more important it is for said leader to be incorruptible. This can only happen if a strong sense of right and wrong exists in a leader. At the very least, every leader must have a full grasp of three ethical precepts before exercising power over others:

      • Universal Moral Law.
      • Statutory Codes.
      • Organizational Codes of Conduct.
  • Stand up for What is Right:

It’s not enough for a leader to know what’s right and what’s wrong. Leaders also need enough of a backbone to be just. They have to relentlessly fight against pressures or negative influences that goad them towards unscrupulousness. It is extremely easy, almost instinctive even, for people to abuse power selfishly. However when a leader can consistently look past personal interests and always act for the greater good, they stand a good chance of leaving an enduring legacy at the conclusion of their tenure.

  • Understand who you’re Accountable To:

If responsible leadership can be compared to a house, accountability represents each and every brick of that house. Weak accountability makes for an irresponsible leader whereas strong accountability produces wise leadership. Leaders should always remember that they exist to serve. They exist to serve the consumers who rely on their products and they also exist to serve the subordinates whose collective effort endorses a leader’s authority. When a leader loses sight of this dynamic, they begin to impose unrealistic expectations on the very people who support and rely on them.

  • Understand the Consequences of Transgression:

Abuse of power isn’t just a problem, it’s a betrayal. It’s a betrayal of the trust that is placed in a leader, and it always has victims. This is a fact that should exist in the consciousness of every person who calls themselves a leader, regardless of how prominent their role. When leaders break the rules, it’s more than a violation of protocol or red tape. It could end up causing financial loss, personal injury and diminished quality of life to people who don’t deserve to suffer.

20th century author and activist Helen Keller once said, “I long to accomplish a great and noble task, but it is my chief duty to accomplish small tasks as if they were great and noble.” This statement is one of the most succinct ways to describe what responsible leadership is all about. Not only do the little things matter, but paying attention to them makes a difference. Leaders who understand how to take responsibility for every facet of their mandate, not just what is glamorous, inevitably position themselves to achieve greatness. Check out more of RISE Programs’ Blogs for helpful advice on leadership, and remember to spread the word by sharing this post. If you like what you just read from our blog, you’ll love our many informative workshops and events listed on Eventbrite: Join RISE Programs any time to learn how to break past your daily struggles and start soaring in success.

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Did you know that pancakes are a delicacy that has existed since the Stone Age? Researchers trace origins of the pancake back to prehistoric humans who would mix crude flour from cattails and ferns, then blend it with water and bake this batter on heated rock. Generation after generation since then has improved on this basic concept to yield the delicious treat we now commonly recognize as pancakes. If you’re trying to eat healthy this holiday season, or you’re just looking to mix things up with some new flavors, here’s a recipe for Flaxseed Oatmeal Pancakes that’s sure to amaze your taste buds:


1/3 Cup of Whole Wheat Flour.

3 Tablespoons of Quick-Cooking Oats.

1 Tablespoon of Flaxseed.

½ Teaspoon of Baking Powder.

¼ Teaspoon of Ground Cinnamon.

1/8 Teaspoon of Baking Soda.

1 Pinch of Salt.

1 Separated Egg Yolk/Egg White.

½ a Cup of Buttermilk.

1 Tablespoon of Brown Sugar.

1 Tablespoon of Canola Oil.

½ Teaspoon of Vanilla Extract.

  • 20-Minute Preparation Time.
  • Recipe Makes 4 Pancakes.


  1. Sift the Flour, Oats, Flaxseed, Baking Powder, Cinnamon, Baking Soda and Salt into a container.
  2. Whisk and blend the Egg Yolk, Buttermilk, Brown Sugar, Canola Oil and Vanilla Extract in a separate large mixing bowl.
  3. In a separate bowl, Whisk the Egg White until stiff.
  4. With a large wooden spoon, stir all the wet ingredients into each other, then stir all the dry ingredients into the wet mixture until a viscous pourable batter forms.
  5. Heat up a pan or griddle to 375 degrees Fahrenheit (5 Notches on a Gas Stove), and glisten it with a very thin layer of vegetable oil or cooking spray.
  6. Pour a ¼ cup of batter onto the hot griddle to form a round cake and let it cook until bubbles from on the top.
  7. Once bubbles evenly cover the top of the cake, flip it over to the other side with a spatula and let the second side cook until it turns golden brown.
  8. Stack each pancake onto a plate and serve when ready.

Check out more of RISE Programs’ Blogs for helpful advice on healthy living, and remember to spread the word by sharing this post. If you like what you just read from our blog, you’ll love our many informative workshops and events listed on Eventbrite: Join RISE Programs any time to learn how to break past your daily struggles and start soaring in success.

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The Problem:

It’s torture. Blinking your eyes in rapid-fire just to stop them from clamping shut. Nodding profusely to seem like you’re listening, even though every word coming from your boss’s mouth sounds like a stifled mumble. Struggling to concentrate because every muscle in your body is shrieking at you to fold over and take a quick nap. That afternoon crash happens to everybody. It happens every day, and it always feels like complete torture.

The Solution:

Most people’s instinct to remedy the afternoon energy slump is to grab a quick shot of caffeine. We drink countless gallons of coffee and energy drinks every day – completely ignoring the fact that this slump isn’t a chemical issue, it’s a biological one. The human body has an internal clock that regulates various functions such as sleep, digestion, immune responses and other processes. When our bodies become accustomed to a specific routine, our energy levels fluctuate from high to low depending on how fatigued we are within a 24-hour period. Energy levels typically dip dramatically right before we sleep at night, and usually after having been awake for half a day.

Stimulating your nervous system with caffeine or sugar might feel like you’re fixing the problem, but all you’re doing is forcing your body to overexert itself under the influence of a chemical substance. In the long run, this can disrupt the natural functions of your body by creating dependency. Instead of handling this problem with a quick shot of stimulants, handle it the right way with the following preventative measures:

  • Get Enough Sleep At Night:

The more of a sleep deficit a person has, the more fatigue experienced during the afternoon slump. Our bodies need adequate rest in order to metabolize efficiently. If you force yourself not to sleep, your internal clock will kick in instinctively regardless of whether you want it to or not.

  • Do Some Portion-Control:

There’s a reason why they say breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It’s because a hearty breakfast provides the nutritional foundation necessary to sustain the body throughout an entire day of activity. Instead of eating a small breakfast and a heavy lunch, have a heavy breakfast and a light lunch. This has the benefit of giving you more time to burn calories, and also prevents your body’s metabolism from diverting energy towards increased digestion after lunch.

  • Get the Right Nutrients:

The majority of sugar you eat should come from complex carbohydrates. Simple sugars, which mostly come from processed foods, flood the body with glucose which may rapidly generate energy, but is also metabolized quickly which results in an equally rapid plummet of energy. Skip that donut and replace it with some whole grain food, starchy vegetables or legumes.

  • Get Some Fresh Air:

A big part of that energy dip is plain old boredom. If you’ve been looking at a computer screen all day, break up the routine and get some fresh air. Go for a walk and think about something other than work for a while. Your brain needs to reset just as much as the body does, which can only happen if you take a little timeout.

  • Hydrate:

Water is as essential to vitality as solid food is. If the majority of what you drink has caffeine, electrolytes, sugar or sodium in it, that means your body is actually draining water away from its own cells just to digest it. Water is necessary to flush out toxins from our bodies and support every feature of our physiology. Drink it in plenty, and drink it often.

Our overall energy completely depends on how well we conserve our bodies. The more you take care of your body, the more your body will take care of you. It’s just that simple. Check out more of RISE Programs’ Blogs for helpful advice on healthy living, and remember to spread the word by sharing this post. If you like what you just read from our blog, you’ll love the many informative workshops and events listed on our website: Join RISE Programs any time to learn how to break past your daily struggles and start soaring in success.

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Did you know that you have a superpower? You have the ability to level any mountain, and scale any obstacle. You can overcome any threat, and achieve any goal you set your mind to. It doesn’t matter what you’re facing, or who stands against you. It doesn’t matter where you’re headed, or what you’ve been through. Every new day is an opportunity to win. It’s an opportunity to strengthen, and execute, your natural power to succeed. All it takes is one simple choice – have a positive attitude. Optimism is the key to survival. It is often the only weapon we have against the menacing grip of depression. It might not seem like it in the heat of stress, but a positive attitude actually prevents your problems from overrunning your life. If being optimistic sounds easier said than done, here are four quick reminders of how to refocus your thoughts and become more positive:

  • Visualize:

Instead of endlessly contemplating your various problems, start thinking about conquering them. Whatever task you’re faced with, or whatever project you have to complete, imagine yourself having thoroughly accomplished these goals. Don’t do this just to daydream, but do it to embed a sense of triumph in your consciousness. Visualizing success gives way to effective decisions and consequential actions.

  • Forget the Haters:

If you’ve ever tried to chase a dream in life, there’s a very good chance that someone you know didn’t believe in you. If your dream was a meaningful one, there’s an even bigger chance that critics made their contempt known. Before you rely on anyone else’s validation to prop you up in any way, learn to believe in yourself. Mute any voices of disapproval from your mind and concentrate on your own path.  

  • Watch your Words:

Death and life are in the power of the tongue. In a world full of people itching to judge your efforts and put down your work, you must never ever add on to their slander with your own negative speech. Words are powerful. They are powerful enough to transform into self-fulling prophecies. Make a habit of using positive affirmations to remind yourself of your worth and program your attitude towards achievement.

  • Don’t be so Hard on Yourself:

Unless all the wealth and success you’re working for has materialized, you have to accept the fact that your life is still a work in progress… and there’s nothing wrong with that. As long as you’re trying your best to make things happen, don’t waste energy condemning yourself for your shortcomings. Nobody’s perfect. Instead of putting yourself down, take pride on what you’ve managed to get done. Instead of comparing yourself to others, commit to outdoing your past accomplishments step by step. In time, you’ll look back and wonder why you were ever worried about making it.

Every dream is a seed. When that seed is planted in the soil of initiative, it takes the water of hard work, and the sunlight of optimism to cultivate that seed into a towering tree. Don’t ever let the clouds of sadness blot out the life-giving power of a positive attitude. Check out more of RISE Programs’ Blogs for helpful advice on healthy living, and remember to spread the word by sharing this post. If you like what you just read from our blog, you’ll love our many informative workshops and events listed on Eventbrite: Join RISE Programs any time to learn how to break past your daily struggles and start soaring in success.

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Have you ever felt like you’re just stuck in a rut? As if you’re dealing with the same problems over and over again? As if you spend more time making goals, than you do actually accomplishing them? All people struggle with this frustration on some level. We passively watch one hour blend into the next, and the next, as we promise ourselves that tomorrow will be the day. Tomorrow will be the day that we start eating healthy. Tomorrow will be the day that we start saving money. Tomorrow will be the day that everything’s going to change and we’ll start living life the way we know we should. But then… tomorrow never comes.
You owe it to yourself not to let your dreams slip through your fingers. You owe it to yourself to turn every ounce of potential within you into success. Instead of pledging in vain to do things tomorrow, do them now. Don’t wait for New Year’s resolutions or some life-changing epiphany to jolt you into action. Do it now when there’s no pressure. Do it now when there’s no expectation. Do it now and the momentum you build will last. Here are four easy tips on how to create enduring healthy habits in life:

Stop Procrastinating:
Understand that in most instances, the word later actually means never. Procrastination is poison to progress. This is why you must abandon every excuse, and eliminate every distraction that prevents you from acting on decisions in the moment. If you think to do something, simply get up and work on it. It’s as simple as that.

There’s a reason why they say knowledge is power. Knowledge opens the mind. Knowledge reduces uncertainty. Knowledge provides a solid foundation upon which to make effective and desirable decisions. Always embrace knowledge and use it to your advantage. Learn from your mistakes. Learn from your past experiences. Learn from others as much as you can, and you will discover that knowledge inspires healthy transformation in your life.

Make Time:
Healthy decisions always demand time. If a goal you seek is actually worthwhile, you have no choice but to sacrifice and work for it. It might mean giving up certain habits or friends. It might mean changing your routine. It might even mean adding a little more muscle to your hustle. Whatever it takes, make the time to chase your dreams instead of standing by the wayside as opportunity fades.

Stick to It:
Life is a marathon. Don’t get caught up in the excitement of thinking up something new, only to give up on it at the first sign of resistance. Once you start a journey, fight to finish it. Pace yourself if you have to, take breaks if you have to, but whatever happens, don’t stop.

Whether or not the healthy habits you desire are personal, or professional, they can only become a reality if you adopt a deliberate mindset and act on your plans. Your effort doesn’t even have to be monumental. It just has to be consistent. Start with a crawl, turn that crawl into a walk, then turn that walk into a sprint that carries you past the finish line. You just might end up surprising yourself. Check out more of RISE Programs’ Blogs for helpful advice on healthy living, and remember to spread the word by sharing this post. If you like what you just read from our blog, you’ll love our many informative workshops and events listed on our website: Join RISE Programs any time to learn how to break past your daily struggles and start soaring in success.


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You’re at the office, clocked in and ready with your morning coffee. Before you know it, five o’clock has rolled around and you can’t help but wonder where the time went. What was supposed to be a productive day flew by with little to show for it. Often, the noise that surrounds us can derail our focus before we even realize it.

As a result, we lose track of our goals, projects take longer to complete, and it gets harder to move forward. The good news is that there are solutions! Check out the following tips to get rid of those distractions keeping you from progressing:

  1. Get rid of the clutter:

Physical Clutter

Are you really going to work on that budget analysis right now? If not, you’re probably not going to touch that stack of books anytime soon. Though we might think having these things out in the open will serve as a reminder to get them done, they may actually be hindering your productivity. There may be items on your desk that get you visually overwhelmed and though you might be focusing your eyesight on a specific area, something will still draw your attention. Visual distractions can be reduced by clearing your desk, your walls, and your home of unnecessary possessions. Cleaning up at the end of each day helps you remove clutter and improves your focus.

Digital Clutter

Alright, so you’ve gotten rid of your desk clutter so we’re all set, right? Not quite yet. Organizing your mind means organizing everything! Desktop icons, backgrounds, programs, apps, along with other digital distractions get in the way of getting your work done. Organize your files into the fewest possible folders and keep your computer desktop as clean as your actual desk.

  1. Be smart about your e-mail notifications

We’ve all wasted time focusing on that unimportant email that somehow ends up setting us back in our whole day . You figure you’ll stay on top of everything by enabling email notifications on your desktop and next thing you know, your whole day is spent dismissing notifications – or worse – shopping that “ONE DAY ONLY exclusive sale” that ends in 4 hours, hurry before you miss out! Don’t let email takeover your life. Minimize the distractions by:

  • Turning off automatic email notifications for everyone and allowing them  ONLY for important contacts that you can’t afford to miss
  • Checking your email at specific times throughout the day
  • Having less than two email accounts
  • Unsubscribing from advertisements and newsletters that are no longer of value to you
  1. Schedule phone calls

How many days have slipped out of your hands because you were bombarded with phone calls? Yes, you’re working but by constantly answering your phone, you’re taking time away from crossing out tasks on your to-do list. Avoid taking every call you receive as it comes and instead, establish a specific time each day to return calls and messages.

  1.  Organize your environment:

We mentioned clearing your desk of clutter but if you want to take it one step further after you’ve done this, organize your entire environment! You’re only leaving a few things on your desk at this point, so make the most of them. Organize everything in a way that will improve your productivity. For example:

  • Position important documents or supplies within your reach
  • Label your shelves
  • Use folders for different articles and files instead of having them loose in your drawers
  • Store any books or magazines in a box or a drawer
  • Sort your mail by topic or sender

Investing a little effort into organizing your workstation will save you time in the long run. The more organized your desk is, the less time you’ll spend shuffling through piles of paperwork and the more time you’ll have to actually progress in your career!

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We all do it. We all like to build castles in the sky and imagine what the future will be like. We envision fame and fortune. We dream of limitless wealth or having the perfect body. We stand ready to sacrifice everything, and work tirelessly in the name of transforming into the best possible versions of ourselves. There’s nothing wrong with dreaming. There’s nothing wrong either with having the gumption to turn our dreams into reality. However there’s one essential ingredient to this process that many of us take for granted, yet we shouldn’t. We forget the value of investing in ourselves through hobbies.

The Stats

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, people spend an average number of five hours per day on leisure activities. This might sound impressive, however, out of all this time, roughly three hours is spent watching television while a microscopic fraction of the remaining period is dedicated to wholesome activities such as socializing, meditation, or physical fitness. Ignoring constructive hobbies is one of the biggest reasons why people get tangled in sedentary lifestyles. Even when we choose to rest, we do it glued to TVs and computer screens rather than rejuvenating ourselves through the right relaxation. Leisure time is meant to be food for your soul. It’s meant to reclaim your life from the demanding daily grind. In case you haven’t paid much attention to your hobbies recently, here are five important reasons why now is a good time to start.

  • Stress Relief:

Hobbies are in intrinsic way to release stress. Thinking about work, family, school and life in general subliminally burdens people with tension that causes fatigue. When we take the time to escape this cycle of preoccupation with lighthearted leisure, it allows our minds to reset and prepare to take on future challenges.

  • Creative Exercise:

Beyond making it possible to zone out, hobbies also allow people to engage their creative side and flex their imagination. People spend a majority of their lives conforming to rules, expectations and procedures. Hobbies offer a chance to forget all this structure and just let your thoughts run wild. Not only is this fun, it’s also healthy because it can spark inspiration that carries over into your daily routine.

  • Growth:

Choosing to engage in constructive hobbies isn’t just entertaining, it can also bring about growth and development in a person’s life. To illustrate, a physical hobby such as golf helps keep the body fit. Beyond this basic benefit, interacting with fellow golfers can end up establishing close friendships. It can even create networking opportunities that end up impacting one’s life beyond the golf course. The possibilities are limitless if you choose the right activity to engage in.

  • Intellectual Stimulation:

There’s nothing more enjoyable than having curiosity for a hobby that you are passionate about. A simple hobby can transform into an opportunity to learn new things that broaden your knowledge and provide a sense of intellectual satisfaction. For example, taking up photography can end up teaching you about graphic design, publication, studio design, and much more.

  • Confidence:

When you figure out how to engage in a hobby and do it well, this instills a sense of achievement that no other activity can produce. It makes you feel capable, it makes you feel special, and it makes know that you can excel at something outside of the confines of work. This might seem trivial, but for many who are stuck doing work they have no passion for, the simple opportunity to shine at something with enthusiasm can erase the drudgery of life’s hardships.

Few investments in life are as important as the investments we make in ourselves. If you find yourself overwhelmed by stress, it may surprise you to discover just how much something as painless as a hobby can make you feel on top of the world. Give it a try and you won’t regret it. Check out more of RISE Programs’ Blogs for helpful advice on healthy living, and remember to spread the word by sharing this post.

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