Each year thousands of us start the new year vowing to commit to a health kick or to get their financial house in order. Each year many of us fail. Why is this? The short answer is because when it comes to implementing lasting change there is no quick fix. These are a few of the common pitfalls.
The trick is being realistic in setting goals. In many ways we are our own worst enemy: we like to challenge ourselves, but often beyond the point of reason. It is almost as if we have a desire to fail. Cutting out sugar altogether or planning to visit the gym every day is more far fetched than cutting out sugary snacks or exercising three times a week.
After a few weeks being “good”, our resolve might start to fade and it’s not uncommon to crave what we’ve been missing. Whether it’s the divine double chocolate chip muffin with your latte or that gorgeous pair of red patent leather shoes, temptation can be hard to resist.
At this point we have two options. Take the sweeter option and walk away from our goals, or, take the bitter pill and get back on track. Whether you’re attempting a new way of eating or investing it is important to find someone you can confide in and, most importantly, someone who will be supportive. It might be a friend, a personal trainer or a financial adviser. Keep them close.
Be prepared to face your demons and let your chosen ‘therapist’ put a mirror up to your bad habits. Until you face them, how can you change them? We all have our weaknesses, and we need to find ways to remove these from your life.
For example, if your Achilles heel is overspending on the credit card, live on cash only for a month.
Failure in most cases is a result of fear of the unknown. Your financial past does not have to determine what your future holds, any more than your earlier lifestyle choices have to shape your health. You are in control. But it takes confidence, determination and the willingness to face your fears head on to succeed.
Ask for help
Putting your hand up and saying ‘I need help!’ can be a difficult step to take. Walking into a financial planner’s office with your money in disarray is not dissimilar to meeting a personal trainer for the first time when you are unfit or overweight. You feel like you will be judged.
The truth is, you are about to meet with someone who has your best interests at heart. Someone who wants to see you succeed and can share with you their skills and expertise to set you on the right path. Best of all by facing your fears you will be in charge of your future.
As far for being skinny or rich? I say it’s best to be confident and in control.