Workout Time for your Change Muscle!

Chances are, that anyone you know or cross paths with, has gone through a long list of difficult life changes.

Perhaps they have suffered personal tragedy – lost a loved one, endured a chronic illness or injury, nursed someone through ill health, suffered from depression, ended a life partnership, had a miscarriage, or unsuccessfully undergone various IVF procedures.

Sometimes, the issues are financial – they’ve lost a job, been stuck in a career they hate, been ripped off and lost their savings or their home, made poor investment decisions, or had to start over financially after a major change in health or circumstances…

Tragedies are an unfortunate part of the human experience.  But also an opportunity in some instances…

Sometimes it seems ‘it never rains but it pours’ and we undergo more than we ever thought we’d have to bear.  And, it’s highly likely you have faced some of those challenges too.  Maybe even quite a few!

So, what’s the hardest change you’ve ever had to face?

Can you remember if there was something specifically that got you through the experience?  Was it time as a healer?  Your faith?  Friends and family?  Better educating yourself?  Charitable work?

Although not part of our physical anatomy and you never learned about it in school, you have a “change muscle.”  It’s a part of you that is able to handle any change and has actually already worked out handling the myriad of life experiences you’ve thrown at it in the past.

You’re likely to be much more resilient and better at change than you believe you are. Just like real muscle, the change muscle remembers every change you’ve ever been through.  Muscle memory is a real thing and grows stronger through repetition.

Don’t underestimate your ability to handle the change you’re currently facing, whether personal or financial.  There’s bound to be more ahead, and the more you work it, the better you’ll become at it!

I’d love to hear what challenges you’ve faced, and how you’ve been able to embrace the changes and move on.  How did you work out your change muscle?  Can you use those lessons to get through challenges that are currently facing?

Do you have an Upper Limit?

My mother was a great fan of the expression, “I’ve had it up to here!” indicating somewhere above her head in exasperation at her three children up to their usual tricks.

By this stage, all of her 4 foot and 11 inches were well and truly ruffled and we were left in no doubt that we’d met the ‘upper limit’ of her tolerance in this instance.

What you may not be aware of however, is that some of us put a limit on how much money is ok for us to have.  And to that end, we can self sabotage.  We find ways of not making enough, losing it or spending it so that we don’t go beyond our self-imposed limit.  This limit has often been unconsciously led by our personal negative beliefs or even unspoken family loyalties.

It might just be time to ask yourself whether you really give yourself permission to have more money… even a lot more money.  Are you capable of earning and receiving more?  Do you feel worthy enough to attract more wealth into your life?

You might be surprised to find that you’ve set an unconscious upper limit for yourself!  And just maybe it’s time to take stock and challenge that belief.

I’d love to hear if you’ve found that you share this belief and what you’ve done to overcome it?

Shake it up!

Most of us have issues with change… out brains are wired to keep us safe, in comfort.  Often, we’re particularly challenged with changes needed on the financial front – unless of course it’s a big fat pay rise and promotion heading your way!!

A reluctance to cut your losses and sell down a losing investment is one thing, but have you ever felt resistant to any form of financial change?  Bucking at the smallest tweaks you know are necessary?

Maybe you just really don’t want to sit down and do your budget, perhaps you don’t want to put extra funds into your retirement savings, you don’t want to cut out that unnecessary expense, or take the time to research that new credit card or loan that might offer better benefits at a lower interest rate.

This behaviour is pretty widespread, and what behavioural economists classify as the “status quo bias.”  While you may not want to upset your emotional apple cart, at times it’s definitely in your best interest to do so.  And like in all areas of change, starting in baby steps is always a good idea.

Shouldn’t you cancel that gym membership you never use, but keep paying for anyway because you figure maybe someday you’ll be motivated enough to go? Perhaps, instead of cancelling your membership outright, start off small by freezing your account for one month.  See how much you really miss it and if you’re motivated to start heading back and hitting the weights.  Otherwise, why hold on?

That morning heart-starter coffee you stop by your local for every single morning, can you cut it back to three days a week, then two… maybe even as a weekly treat?

Not only are incremental steps less likely to trigger your worry of regret or fear of the unknown, but they allow you to assess your feelings along the way to see how you’re coping with the change.

If after a month you prefer to revert to the way things were, there’s really no harm done, although you may also find that making smart, small and calculated changes isn’t as scary as you thought it would be.

As for big picture changes—like reworking your superannuation savings plan or assessing your investment progress, pick strategic times of the year to analyse your strategies.  The new financial year in July may be a good time to revisit your options.  Should you then review your health insurance or salary sacrifice arrangements?  A new calendar year may call for a simple new resolution.  Easter holidays may be a time to revisit what you’ve set in motion.

What works for you?  And shake it up and keep it interesting!  That’s the best way to stay on track.

Accountability issues

We all have good intentions around our wealth and money.

And yet, most of us never get to reach our goals. Other things  tend to get in the way and we get to another January 1, review out New Year’s Resolution, get into gear, and give it our best shot once again for a couple of weeks.

One of the best things you can do for yourself however, is find someone to be accountable to.  Can you think of a friend, colleague, professional or family member who is not going to let you give up on your goals and will keep you accountable?  Who do you know who will check up on you, getting you to raise your standards and reach those goals you’re setting?

People who get to reach their goals, often will set up consequences for themselves should they not achieve them.

For example, if you don’t start the regular investment plan you wanted to by a certain date, tell a friend you will donate some money to their favourite charity and make it painful! $1,000 not $10.  Drastic times call for drastic measures!

Set a goal and set the time frame.  Just pick one thing that’s been on your financail bucket list for a long time.  Should you pay off a credit card?  Can you put extra on the mortgage? Start saving for that holiday you’ve always talked about? Will you start an education fund for your kids?  Find that investment property you’ve been talking about?  And by when?  You need a realistic deadline to achieve your goal!  One month?  One year?

Choose one goal in the area of your personal wealth that you’ve wanted to achieve for years.  Then decide, when you’d like to achieve it by, and who is the best person you can ask for help from. Send them an email or call them today and have a chat about what you’d like to do.  Maybe it’ll work both ways and there’s something they’d like to be kept accountable for too.

How’s that for a win-win?  I’d love to hear what you come up with.  And if all else fails – I’m here.  Tell me and I’m happy to keep you accountable!