Great Savings 60 – Embrace Change

Change is inevitable and yet we resist it. Sometimes we resist it with every fiber of our being. If you feel stuck financially or otherwise, it’s worth asking the following question: “Are you resisting an important change you need to make due to some underlying emotion?”


This is Great Savings Tip 60 - Embrace ChangeOur ability to change is intimately tied to our ability and willingness to handle whatever feelings may be associated with the change we seek. Why is that? When we fear change, the fear becomes an obstacle that keeps us in a holding pattern. Until we deal with the fear, we may not be able to pull the switch that sets the change in motion. And let’s face it: For many, embracing a new change with unknown consequences is hard for the simple reason it’s unfamiliar. Let’s look at two examples to see how underlying emotions can get in the way of making change:


A wad of cash.

Mark gambles far too much of their earnings. Karen’s tried everything. She’s at the end of her rope.

On many levels, Karen still loves her husband, Mark, but he’s incredibly irresponsible and selfish when it comes to money matters. Mark is constantly charging up their credit cards no matter what agreements are in place between them. Mark also likes to gamble on football or other sports so will inevitably be tied to watching games and then be completely depressed when the wrong team wins, which is more often than not. Mark has also promised to go back to school to finish up his degree—the one thing his boss insists on before he’ll consider a promotion—but Mark comes up with an excuse every time. Thus, their joint income continues to suffer since he’s locked in a low-paying job.



For some, it’s not just an underlying fear, but an addiction that keeps them locked in an unworkable situation.

Samantha loves shopping. In fact, given a choice she’d probably pick shopping for new clothes or shoes over just about anything else. Unfortunately, all of Samantha’s credit cards are maxed out from past purchases. That means she’s been steadily approaching bankruptcy. Fortunately, she has a decent paying job, but at the rate she is going, even if she stopped buying clothes altogether it will take several years to pay off her debt.


Do you face a financial situation that feels out of control to you? Is there some part of you that already knows the answer to your problem, but you fear taking the steps to change things?


In the case of Karen and Mark, Karen is fed up with Mark’s lack of responsibility and the only real out she sees is getting a divorce. Yes, Mark can still be fun at times, but she’s worried they will never be able to afford having kids and she’s worried they haven’t had any extra money to put aside for retirement. The thing is, Mark has promised again and again to change his ways, but it’s all been for naught. Every time she looks at another credit card statement or checks their bank balance online she realizes it’s all a lie and she is worse off than ever. Still, she fears what getting a divorce implies. Her dad has always told her she’s a failure. Won’t this just prove it?


For Samantha, the issue doesn’t involve another party. It involves a huge shift of internal priorities and delving into some feelings she’s been avoiding. Samantha says she loves shopping, but if she is honest she would readily admit every closet in her apartment is stuffed to the gills with past purchases. There is no way she can wear all the clothes she already owns. In fact, many clothes and shoe purchases have only been worn once or twice at most. Deep down, Samantha realizes that more clothes or another pair of shoes won’t solve a thing, but she fears what stopping means. In truth, Samantha is very lonely and has been depressed ever since her mother died a dozen years back. If she stops filling her time with shopping it will mean dealing with all that mental muck ready to rear its head.



Are Karen and Mark, or Samantha really that different from the rest of us? Sooner or later, don’t most people end up with a problem that continues to get worse over time because they’ve put off dealing with an underlying issue?


What may seem hard to grasp at first glance is this: The change we secretly long for is an outcome and in order to get there we first must face the underlying fear or issue at hand. Once we do that, the rest falls into place. Are you ready for real change? Are you fed up with things the way they are? Then maybe it’s time to take the steps in our action item below.


Writing ideas on paper.

Maybe it’s time to put your ideas down on paper. Don’t hold back. This is just the first step.

Action Item: Identify a significant financial problem or money issue in your life that you just can’t seem to get a handle on. Now, get a pencil and paper and write down all possible solutions to solve it. At this stage it’s important not to hold back on an idea just because it seems impossible or sounds silly. Instead, no matter how scary or crazy, if your idea offers a potential way out (and as long as it’s legal) write it down. Now, start ranking the potential solutions from best to worst. Again, try not to let your fears get in the way. For example, if Karen really thinks divorce is the best solution to her problem with Mark, she should rank that her number one choice.


Now, for the moment of truth: As you scan down your list are you going to eliminate any choices for the simple reason your fear in taking that action is currently too great to overcome? If it is, that’s okay. It just means you’re not ready yet. Thus, cross it off your list and keep reviewing the rest, until you are left with choices you feel you can make right now.


Don’t despair if you’re not ready to make a big change immediately. Instead, give yourself credit for taking an honest look at the situation and doing what you can. For some, small incremental steps will be necessary before bigger steps can be taken. And if you end up feeling there are no real options left, it’s a good indicator it’s time to get help. Why not ask a trusted friend for advice, or better yet, make an appointment to see a life coach or counselor? Remember: Change can’t and won’t happen, until you’re ready to take the steps and that means dealing with your underlying feelings.


For more on the subject of change read our posts:

The Difficulty Embracing Change

Time To Shift My Paradigm?


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