The Only Goals You Should Make

Small steps make a big difference...

As I mentioned in December, New Year's resolutions lead people to make big goals that they hope to achieve quickly. Unfortunately, this tactic leaves most frustrated when they don't get the results fast enough.

That's why I like to focus on making small goals throughout the year. That way, I see results, which motivates me to make even more changes.

Some of the small changes I've recommended making are adding berries to your diet, exercising nine minutes a week, and letting your wealth grow on its own.

Today, we're answering some questions from readers on the small ways they're trying to improve.

What little steps have you taken to improve your health and wealth? Share your story with us at [email protected].

Q: After reading the benefits of spices, I began to sprinkle them on multigrain bread with a little peanut butter every morning. My wife says that I am wasting time with this because I am not using enough of the spices to make any difference. Is a little bit better than nothing, or is there a minimum threshold dosage? I've seen the cinnamon challenge on TV and do not wish to participate in that! – M.H.

A: The short answer is... Your wife is wrong. (But be gentle in telling her so.)

We've even seen some studies that show health benefits resulting from less than a quarter of a teaspoon of cinnamon.

If you're a longtime Retirement Millionaire Daily reader, you know that when we look at health claims, we want to know if the benefits can be explained by science. That means that a "mechanism of action" exists. The mechanism of action, at a simple level, describes the process of a substance producing some sort of effect.

Several studies have pieced together some parts of cinnamon's mechanism of action. Cinnamon directly influences insulin receptors and, in essence, "turns on" glucose breakdown and insulin sensitivity. Recall that one of the problems with diabetes is that our bodies lose their sensitivity to insulin.

The bottom line is that cinnamon probably acts as an insulin mimic.

It's likely that if you have a mechanism of action, even a little bit helps. So it seems that sprinkling cinnamon on your toast will help. Putting more cinnamon on your toast might give you more insulin-like response, but who wants dry, strong-tasting toast? (We've talked more about the importance of moderation in Retirement Millionaire.)

So do what I do... I personally use about a teaspoon a day (although not all at once) on toast or in coffee.

And keep in mind that too much of anything is bad, like the cinnamon challenge you mentioned. When I was in high school, my friends and I attempted to break the Guinness World Record for most saltines eaten in a minute. (We failed.)

Q: How do you deal with allergies from your own bedroom? I vacuumed it, cleaned it, washed and aired all bedding – what else can I do? I am pretty sure it is the bedroom, because the worst time is after sleep. I never have had this before, only this year. – C.W.

A: As we wrote in the most recent issue of Retirement Millionaire, new research shows that early morning is the prime time for circadian tissue to release histamine, the neurotransmitter that triggers allergic reactions. So if you feel your allergies are worse right after waking up, that could be why.

If you don't already use one, I recommend getting a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter for your bedroom. I keep one in my bedroom and clean the filter once a week. And be sure to keep your windows closed on high-pollen days.

We'll cover more on allergies and how to combat their symptoms in the coming weeks.

Q: I have been slowly selling some of my stock holdings and leaving the cash in my Scottrade account. What is your suggestion as to the best place to keep them? Is it about the same as putting them in my bank account? – S.T.

A: If you want to make the most of your cash, you could look into credit unions. Credit unions often have higher interest rates than banks.

Some credit unions require you to be part of a specific organization. But we've found seven credit unions that anyone can join.

Q: Just wondering if you have any opinions on getting the shingles vaccine. I am 63 and have seen a lot of ads recommending getting the shot. – M.K.

A: For any readers who missed our discussion on shingles, you can read Part I here and Part II here.

I recommend reading both of those to help make your decision. But in short, as far as we've seen, the shingles vaccine is safe and it cuts your risk of shingles in half. I even plan on getting it myself.

Q: Can I share an issue? – B.B.

A: Of course! Feel free to forward issues of Retirement Millionaire Daily or share our posts through Facebook or Twitter. And you can find a complete archive of our issues at our website, here.

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