I know exactly how you are feeling. Living paycheck to paycheck while trying to take care of you and your family watching all of your hard-earned money going to your creditors each month. The amount of stress you are feeling right now is hard to describe but I will give it my best shot. Every day you are awoken by that feeling in your stomach, especially Mondays, that fear deep in your gut because you are one unforeseen event away from not being able to take care of your family. You don’t want to go to work, why would you? You already know that you can’t possibly work hard enough today to bring home enough money to cover all of your obligations, pay down your debts, and still try to have a little leftover to have some fun with your family. You love your family more than anything but sometimes you end up taking your stress and money problems out of the people you love the most.
You are not alone, there have been many people in the exact position that you are in right now. Some of those people managed to dig themselves out of the hole and have gone on to get out of debt and have been able to give their families the life they deserve. And unfortunately, many people are still in the exact same position and have not done the things necessary to improve their financial situation.
Why? Why do we procrastinate on things that we know we are supposed to do? We know what is right and what is wrong so why do we keep doing the same things but expect a different result?
This is the tough love part of the story. Look, we have to be honest with ourselves and not let ourselves off the hook. We are responsible for our actions and we can’t blame others or make excuses.
“I just never learned how to manage money, my parents didn’t do well with money and they never taught this stuff in school.”
“I have lived my whole life not having anything and so when I get a little money I just want to have and do the things that I have never gotten to do before.”
Why is it not a good idea to make excuses? Because doing that is not getting us any closer to what we want! All it does is make us feel a little better for a little while. If you can’t be honest with yourself then you will never see the real problem and that problem can never get fixed. Self-awareness is so important for us to have if we want to have self-improvement.
It is okay to admit that we have made some mistakes and some bad decisions. You are not a failure, you are not a loser, you are not too old, it is not too late, you can turn this ship around and get the life you and your family deserve. It’s okay for us to be hard on ourselves and tell ourselves the truth.
Let me ask you a question, are you a better friend to someone if you always tell them what they want to hear, or are you a better friend if you love them enough to tell them the truth even if the truth hurts? Exactly! This is the exact same thing but you have to know that you can fix things so don’t get down on yourself! This situation is not permanent and it does not define you, and it does not make you a bad parent or spouse. Your family doesn’t care if you are a millionaire or if you never make a million dollars in your life but I believe we do lose respect for people who do not try and give 100%. We have all said things like “I would do anything for my family” or “I would die for my family”. But if we won’t get out of our comfort zones or make sacrifices for our families’ future then why would our families believe us when we say we would do anything for them?
The number one priority in life is to be happy. If you are living paycheck to paycheck and you are happy with your life then this article is not for you. But you feel stress and guilt and you know that you and your family deserve more. Please keep reading.
If you sat down right now and made a list of everything that you spend money on that you could do without what would that look like? Remember, you have to be honest with yourself? Temporarily giving up a certain lifestyle is tough to do and it is a sacrifice many people are not willing to make. Taking one step back in order to take 10 steps forward is all good until it is time to take the one step back.
“How long do I have to stay one step back?”
“How long until I will be at step 10?”
“What’s it like at step 10?”
“I’ve heard that sometimes the sacrifice is not worth the reward!”
Sometimes you have to tell that little voice inside your head to shut up! This is a scientific fact that we are all programmed to stay in our comfort zones and when it is “fight or flight” time, that voice in our head thinks it needs to protect us from what we are scared of.
Keeping up with Joneses and trying to make ourselves happy with “stuff”
We all do it and social media has made this problem of always trying to keep up with the Joneses 100X worse than ever before. We all show our highlight reels with the perfect filter, angle, lighting, and caption and never show what life is like between highlights. What are we trying to accomplish really by doing this? Do we really want others to feel jealous of us or inadequate because they don’t have as nice of a car or don’t get to go on trips as often as we do? I don’t believe most of us actually want that but that is exactly what is happening. Our culture has gone so far down this road that we are all now trying to impress a bunch of people that we don’t really like and all feeling bad about ourselves because there is always someone who has more.
Tell ourselves lies or believe lies we have heard
It is not a good feeling to look in the mirror and not be proud of what we see. We all have insecurities and when life’s got us down the last thing we want is some else much less, ourselves, kicking us while we are down. So we take comfort in sayings like “Money doesn’t buy happiness”, “The love of money is the root of all evil”, or anything that makes us feel like we aren’t missing out on anything by being financially broke. We should all be grateful for what we have but we do not have to be satisfied with our current situation. You are going to have to change your mindset when it comes to money and finances if you want to change your situation.
Believe they don’t make enough money or that situation is permanent
I bet you $1000 right now that there are tons of people who make the same income that you make and are millionaires. Or they at least are homeowners with no debt and have money in a retirement account. Don’t buy into anything that tells you that you can’t do it or you can’t have what you want!
Have not educated ourselves so that we can make an action plan
Have you avoided taking a class, reading a book, or hiring a professional to help because you really aren’t ready to make sacrifices yet? Do you know that as soon as you learn what to do then you won’t have any more excuses for why you are not doing it? If you are procrastinating right now on something that you know you need to do, ask yourself why?
What is the SOLUTION?
Okay, so we know what our problem is, how it became our problem, and why we have this problem but what is the solution? If it were easy everyone would do it, right? So what must we do in order to want the help we need and for us to gladly be willing to make the sacrifices we need to make in order to reach our goals?
We all have standards. Some people would freak out if they only had a million dollars in the bank, some people would freak out if they only had one hundred thousand dollars in the bank, and some people are fine as long as they have a roof over their head and don’t have to sleep in a car.
Raise your standards and your life will change for the better. Tony Robbins for many years has said that the first thing people must do to create lasting change is to raise our standards and he says that “We meet our must”. We don’t “meet” our “that would be nice” or “It would be great if”. Basically, Tony is saying that we have all said things like “It sure would be great if I could lose some weight”, or “It would be nice to have a house like that one day”. But we will only meet goals that we make a must, no exception, no backup plan, burn the boats.
You need to know your “why” and you need to have goals that are so big that even when you hit roadblocks or have bad days you still keep your eye on the prize and you keep moving forward because you know it’s worth it!
You have to be honest with yourself and you have to be disciplined enough to say no when friends are going out, or when you see something online that you want to buy. Another option is to find a friend that can be your accountability partner. Give them access to your bank statements, let them look at your budget, and call them if you are struggling! Let them remind you of how far you have come and how great you will feel when you reach your goals.
We have to understand the Xs and Os if we want to win the game. A really good place to start is reading about Consumerism. If you only knew how much money corporations spend in order to convince you that you need a new car or the newest smartphone and what all they put into making you an emotional buyer it would open your eyes. It doesn’t feel good to know that we are falling for marketing strategies that keep us unsatisfied and broke! Think about the commercials you see every day, the music they play, the actors they hire, how they make you feel that their product is all you need to be happy. They spend millions and millions to keep you unsatisfied and in debt! Don’t fall for it! Next, learn how to create a budget, how to improve your credit, and the best strategies to turn your life around fast! Make it fun, reward yourself as you reach milestones, and continue to educate yourself more and more each day! One day, you will be able to help others that are going through what you are going through and you will then know how much of a burden is lifted off your shoulders when you become debt-free, there is nothing like it!
Tools and Resources
Don’t put this off and have regrets one year from now when your situation has not changed. You need to take action in the right direction right now while you are motivated to keep the momentum going! Send me an email at [email protected] and just say “I am starting my journey toward financial freedom” that way I can cheer you on and be there to support you and answer questions when you need it.