Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Some Tips for Changing Your LIfe

First, a question. Why are we bothering to change our lives anyway?

I can't believe that I would actually quote Ayn Rand, but here it is. Even people I disagree with will say, often on a regular basis, things that can't be argued with. She said, "You can avoid reality, but you cannot ignore the consequences of reality."

And if the reality is that you need to change your money-handling habits, you'll be suffering the consequences unless and until you change. To put it another way, if we continue to do what we've always done, we'll continue to get what we've always gotten. Fear, and self-loathing, and out-of-control bank charges.

However, if we change, we can work towards a new life free of the fear and limitations and degredation caused by our poverty. So we're going to change.

But change is hard, and the process can take a long time, and we aren't, as a race, hard-wired for waiting.

Plus, change HURTS. Because we have to face the fact that much of what we learned from our beloved (or maybe not-so-beloved) parents about how to handle money was WRONG. We have to admit we've been making mistakes, mistakes that have cost us dearly. And as humans, it goes against the grain for us to admit we're anything less than almost perfect.

Changing your money habits is not going to be easy right from the get-go. You WILL be knocked off your feet a few times. If you can accept this, and realize that the only way you can truly fail is if you give in, give up, and go back to your old way of life, then you'll be well on your way to succeeding.

Some tips that won't make things easier, but will make it more likely you'll eventually succeed:

1) Don't give up. How many times did you fall down as a toddler when you were learning to walk? Many times, and yet unless you were born with a physical disability, you learned how to walk at some point in your first two or three years.

2) Don't expect perfection right away. When you learned how to walk, first you sat up, then you crawled (or scooted on your bum). Then you stood up, with help. A few steps towards mommy's open arms, and soon you were walking. Within days, maybe even hours, mommy couldn't keep up with you any more. Another image: airplanes navigate by approximation. They head in the general direction of their destination, and it's only as they get close that they get more exact.

3) I'm suggesting things in this blog that have worked for me. If one or more of my suggestions doesn't work for you, try something else. There's nothing "wrong" with you or how you're doing it--you're just different from me, and require different techniques to overcome your difficulties. Read up on learning and personality theory, and identify how you learn and interact with the world. We're all different, and we all approach the subject of money differently. That's okay.

4) Expect resistance. From your family, your friends and acquaintances, co-workers, banker, creditors. They wll resist not because they want and need you to stay the way you are. They will resist because we humans instinctively shy away from big changes. And if one part of an equation (in this case, you) changes, then in order to maintain equilibrium, all of the other parts (them) have to change as well.

Here we have a very important learning: You cannot directly change anything or anyone other than yourself. You cannot change your spouse, your children, your elected officials, your community, your country, the world. You can only ever change you.

But if you change yourself, everything and everyone you have contact with will have to change with you.

Perservere. Make a new, happier life for yourself. You deserve it, and so does everyone else who will choose to remain in your life.

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