This is a guest post from personal finance blogger Chris Holdheide.
One question I’ve often pondered was how do I get to that next step financially? This is the question I asked myself in early 2008. I was living paycheck to paycheck, I had no savings, and all I wanted to do was to be able to enjoy life and not have to worry about money for once.
At the time I was working part time in financial services and full time for my father’s business. However even with my two incomes and my wife’s income we we’re still just getting by. For the longest time it felt like no matter what I did nothing would change. Then one day all this changed because of a revelation I had.
So in this article I’m going to share just exactly why this could be happening to you and what you might be able to do to fix it.
Why You Can’t Change
The easiest way for me to explain this revelation is to give you an example. Think of your life as a thermometer, and at 80 degrees is where you feel comfortable in life. It determines everything about you and what you do in life, from what you eat, to what you wear, the money you spend, to the people you hang out with.
However, let’s say that life has all of a sudden given you 120 degrees and things have gotten really good for you. Maybe you’re up for a promotion at work, or you have all of the bills paid off with cash to spare, and you finally feel like you’re ahead of things for once in life.
Then something happens, because you are comfortable with things at 80 degrees and not at 120 degrees things begin to slowly fall back towards that point at which you feel comfortable with things. In fact, you may not even realize you are even doing it.
Maybe some unexpected bills come in, or you start showing up late for work because you’re stressed out at home, or your boss is all over you about getting something done. Whatever the reason maybe it’s because you see yourself at 80 degrees and not 120 degrees, and no matter what you do, you will continually fall back to that comfort level.
So now you might be wondering, how do I increase my comfort level to 120 degrees and make that the new normal?
How To Make The Change
Now I wish I could say it was easy to make this change but the reality is that it will take time for all this to occur. The reason for this is because you are going from one perspective to a new one and it will take time for that to happen, a lot of time. In fact it’s taken me nearly 4 years to make the changes that I have made and I’m still not done, not by a long shot.
Recognize the Change
The first thing you need to do to make this change is to recognize it. If you can’t tell yourself that a change needs to be made you will never change and things will always remain the same. This is what I failed to do for years but the best part about recognizing this change is that it lifts a certain weight off your shoulders.
Once I did this things began to change not because I was trying to force it but rather because I allowed them too. Forcing a change in your life, especially a financial one, typically never works and only adds more stress to the situation. I know that sounds strange but it really works and it’s helped me a lot.
The next thing you can do immediately is read books. Now I’m not talking about fiction books but rather books that will encourage the change you want to make. Books are also a great way to learn from other and improve your skills at a much more rapid pace.
Over the last several years I’ve managed to read a lot of books from Think and Grow Rich, How to Win Friends and Influence People, to Rich Dad Poor Dad. These books have come to change everything about me and the way I do things. So start by reading books and continually expand your library of knowledge.
Note from Jason: Check out the resources page to find some of my favorite personal finance books.
Consider the People around You
The next step is a bit harder to do but is a very necessary step to getting to that next level financially and that is to reevaluate the people you know and trust. To do this, write down the top 5 people you are around all the time.
It’s been proven that the people you spend the most time around determine the habits you have and what you do in your life. One good example of this is when I use to smoke. Now I wasn’t a big smoker but I really wanted to quit but I found the only way to break this habit was to change the people and places I spent my time at. As a result I haven’t smoked in years.
Get A Mentor
Finally, the last thing you need to do that really improve your situation and get you on the fast track to moving to that next level of your life is to have mentor. A mentor is someone who has already achieved what you want to achieve, and can be the best person to teach you how to improve. Whether it’s Dave Ramsey, Anthony Robins, or someone you know personally, these people can keep you on track to making this change.
In fact, I’ve been implementing this strategy for several years now, with mentors to help me grow my online business and build a stronger more successful financial future. What’s also great about this is that I’ve been able to work with these people on a one on one basis to help critique me along the way.
Note from Jason: Crown now offers MoneyLife mentoring to help you get your finances on track.
As a final thought, consider where you are on the thermometer of life. Are you at 80 degrees and want to go to 120 degrees? If so, take the time to follow my simple strategy to boosting you to that next level and know that even though it may take time for you to achieve this, you’ll least be on the path to financial greatness.