Single Steps Strategies Blog

Packing and Unpacking our Thoughts

Removing Negative Thinking 

By Lisa Purk 
I like to travel.  Sometimes it’s going to places I’ve been before and rediscovering the things I enjoyed the first time.  And I like the familiarity of it.  Other times, it’s the adventure of going somewhere I’ve never been and discovering new places and things to do.  Either way, there are two things I must do:  pack, and unpack.   
I don’t enjoy either of these activities all that much.  Making several days’ worth of “What do I want to wear” decisions taxes me.  And I am an over-packer.  Every time.  But at least when I’m packing, I’m looking forward to time away.  Unpacking is easier because there’s no decisions to make. But I’m home, my vacation is over, and everyday routine is looming.  And there’s all these pieces of stuff that need to be put away.  I admit it can take me days. 
As I am continually on the look out for how everyday experiences teach us something about life, so it is with packing and unpacking.  It speaks to me of thoughts. 
Life is often compared to a journey and our thoughts are something we must take along with us.  It’s non-negotiable.  And just like choosing what to take on my trips, we get to choose what thoughts we take on our journey around life. 
If I take my favorite summer dress on a trip where I’ll be biking and hiking, well that doesn’t serve me very well.  It makes much more sense for me to pack my favorite hiking boots, cargo pants and options for variations in weather that provide what’s needed to fully enjoy my vacation or weekend escape. 
It’s the same with our thoughts.  When you habitually carry thoughts of not being “enough” in some way, e.g., smart enough, young enough, or disciplined enough, you are not serving yourself well.  Other defeating thought patterns that might ring through your mind are, “It’s not meant for me;” “If only I had the time (money; support….);” or “I don’t have the right education.”  The variation of negative thoughts is vast.  All of them will hold you back from pursuing your most fulfilling life whether it’s a new adventure, education, opening a business, or writing a book. 
Alternatively, when you cultivate a habit of believing you already have – or are intelligent enough to gain – the skills, talents and resources you need, then you’ll pursue that which offers you the most satisfying life.  It takes being intentional and it doesn’t happen overnight.  If you want to pack a more positive thought habit, you can begin with what you’re infusing into your mind through what you read and watch and the company you keep. 
Travel involves packing and unpacking that which will serve you well for your trip.  When you view your life this same way, you’ll be intentional in unpacking what isn’t working.  You’ll pack in what does. 
Even if you over pack, you’ll be sure to have what you need for your journey. 


Lisa Purk is the Owner of Inner Fire Coaching.  She coaches women who want to develop the confidence to align their lives with their authentic self and pursue their creative passions. 
You can find out more about Lisa through her blog, Your Morning Purk, on Facebook and on Linked In.

Bad Money Habits to Break

Behaviors worth changing

Provided by Christine E. Musuneggi, CRPC®, CLTC, LACP

Do bad money habits constrain your financial progress? Many people fall into the same financial behavior patterns, year after year. If you sometimes succumb to these financial tendencies, now is as good a time as any to alter your behavior.

#1: Lending money to family & friends. You may know someone who has lent a few thousand to a sister or brother, a few hundred to an old buddy, and so on. Generosity is a virtue, but personal loans can easily transform into personal financial losses for the lender. If you must loan money to a friend or family member, mention that you will charge interest and set a repayment plan with deadlines. Better yet, don’t do it at all. If your friends or relatives can’t learn to budget, why should you bail them out?

#2: Spending more than you make. Living beyond your means, living on margin, or whatever you wish to call it – it is a path toward significant debt. Wealth is seldom made by buying possessions; today’s flashy material items may become the garage sale junk of the future.

#3: Saving little or nothing. Good savers build emergency funds, have money to invest and compound, and leave the stress of living paycheck to paycheck behind. If you are not able to put extra money away, there is another way to get some: a second job. Even working 15-20 hours more per week could make a big difference.

#4: Living without a budget. You may make enough money that you don’t feel you need to budget. In truth, few of us are really that wealthy. In calculating a budget, you may find opportunities for savings and detect wasteful spending.

#5: Frivolous spending. Advertisers can make us feel as if we have sudden needs; needs we must respond to, or ones that can only be met via the purchase of a product. See their ploys for what they are. Think twice before spending impulsively.

#6: Not using cash often enough. No one can deny that the world runs on credit, but that doesn’t mean your household should. Pay with cash as often as your budget allows.

#7: Thinking you’ll win the lottery. When the headlines are filled with news of big lottery jackpots, you might be tempted to throw a few bucks at a lottery ticket. It’s important, though, to be fully aware that the odds in the lottery and other games of chance are against you. A few bucks once in a while is one thing, but a few bucks (or more) every week could possibly lead to financial and personal issues. 

#8: Inadequate financial literacy. Is the financial world boring? To many people, it can seem that way. The Wall Street Journal is not exactly Rolling Stone, and The Economist is hardly light reading. You don’t have to start there, however. There are great, readable, and even, entertaining websites filled with useful financial information. Reading an article per day on these websites could help you greatly increase your financial understanding.  

#9: Not contributing to retirement plans. The earlier you contribute to them, the better; the more you contribute to them, the more compounding of those invested assets you may potentially realize.

#10: DIY retirement strategy. Those who save for retirement without the help of professionals may leave themselves open to abrupt, emotional investing mistakes and other oversights. Another common tendency is to vastly underestimate the amount of money needed for the future. Few people have the time to amass the knowledge and skill set possessed by a financial services professional with years of experience. Instead of flirting with trial and error, see a professional for insight.

Christine E. Musuneggi, CRPC®, CLTC, LACP
Financial Planner

This material was prepared by MarketingPro, Inc., and does not necessarily represent the views of the presenting party, nor their affiliates. This information has been derived from sources believed to be accurate. Please note – investing involves risk, and past performance is no guarantee of future results. The publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting or other professional services. If assistance is needed, the reader is advised to engage the services of a competent professional. This information should not be construed as investment, tax or legal advice and may not be relied on for the purpose of avoiding any Federal tax penalty. This is neither a solicitation nor recommendation to purchase or sell any investment or insurance product or service, and should not be relied upon as such. All indices are unmanaged and are not illustrative of any particular investment.

Securities and Investment Advisory Services offered through H. Beck, Inc. Member, FINRA & SIPC 2440 Research Boulevard, Suite 500 Rockville, MD 20850. (301) 944-5900. H. Beck, Inc., Single Steps Strategies, and The Musuneggi Financial Group, LLC. are not affiliated.


Clutter Do’s and Don’ts

Thanks to Sandy Kutchman of Discover Organizing for submitting this wonderful insight on de-cluttering! You can read more about Sandy in her recent Step into the Spotlight article

Watch a discussion of Discover Organizing Inc.’s Organizing Tips with Sandy Kutchman and Jill Yesko on their number one tip for tackling clutter: capitalizing on your energy. See the full list of clutter do’s and don’ts below.


Jill’s Clutter Do’s and Don’ts


  1. Do work when your energy is good, and put some music on!
  2. Do get help – call a professional, a good friend, or a family member – it forces you to focus, and to make decisions you wouldn’t normally make.
  3. Do set the timer – have a beginning and an end to your decluttering!
  4. Do set up bins and receptacles – Keep, Toss, Donate, Sell, & Not Sure
  5. Do work on one area or room at a time. Set things near the door that need to go somewhere else, and take them there only after you are finished organizing the space you are in.
  6. Do work left to right, “reading the room”, then top to bottom.
  7. Do use the OHIO technique – Only Handle It Once.
  8. Do determine Need, Frequency, & Value of each item.
  9. Do contain and label everything that you possibly can so every item has a home.
  10. Do make ONE more pass through your Keep items before you are done, and repeat monthly afterwards!


  1. Don’t organize when you are tired or hungry!
  2. Don’t try to not tackle big jobs (attic, garage) alone.
  3. Don’t buy any new items (except food) until you are finished with your organizing project. 
  4. Don’t allow interruptions (phone calls, texts, emails) to distract you. Turn off your phone notifications or turn off the sound altogether.
  5. Don’t criticize yourself for having “so much stuff”, just keep moving, and be proud that you are doing something about it NOW.
  6. Don’t worry about not knowing how to organize – it is a skill, and it CAN be learned!
  7. Don’t think that because something is old, it cannot be used by someone else – donate it.
  8. Don’t run around the house giving items a new home once you have them in your hand – this will only distract you from the space you were in.
  9. Don’t put things in the attic or basement “for now” – they will be forgotten about, and they might get ruined if they are valuable.
  10. Don’t hesitate to ask for professional help if you cannot stop hoarding and collecting things out of fear.

Download Jill’s list in PDF format