In looking at the New Year, I am planning a 12 part educational series on financial planning. In January I will have few articles on resistances/motivation meant to kick start those New Year resolutions. Resistances play a key role in financial planning because they may keep people form pursuing their financial dreams by avoiding to plan. Many times resistances are overlooked and instead a person just plows through them with determination to succeed. Sometimes determination gets them to where they want to be; other times no matter what they try resistances get in their way.
I was talking to a new client the other day about her financial situation. For a year, we had discussed talking about her situation, yet her schedule kept on getting in the way (too busy). It really it was not her schedule rather her resistance to doing a financial plan that got in the way. In the meantime, she went through a year of financial stress. She was trying to get her business off the ground and she kept on barely paying her bills on time. The stress kept on building on when the next client check was going to come in to pay her bills. The stress from not having a financial plan, kept her in the cycle of just getting by. All the stress from living day to day, kept her energy focus on the bills rather than expanding her business. Thus, it was a continual cycle of chasing after the next check to pay the bills which kept her trapped.
She actually got a cash infusion from an investor a few months back, yet without a plan, the money was quickly spent and she was right back stressing where the money was going to come from to pay for materials for a bunch of orders she got. Thus, when we finally meet a few weeks ago, she was still stressing about where money was going to come from, yet feared looking at developing a financial plan (resistance). We sat down and came up with a budget for 2007 and in particular, the first quarter. After doing this, she felt a lot more at peace and calm. She was able to ask a few friends for a short-term loan to produce a few large orders she had coming up. She is now committed to getting an emergency fund in place so that she does not need to waste energy with stress and worry about paying her bills that robs her of energy for building her business. She reported back later that she is a lot more enthused about her business now that the stress of looking at her finances and wondering where the money will come from has passed.
The moral is that people make excuses of why they do not want to look at their finances, yet delaying a financial plan is just keeping them in a cycle of financial stress that can be overcome by moving through the resistances. Resistances can be the belief that you do not have enough money or knowledge about personal finance. Yet, this just keeps you stuck where you are instead of moving forward and learning along the way.
There are two ways to move through resistances:
1) By force and determination
2) By looking at the resistances and remove them
I know of people who have succeeded with each. For me, it makes sense to look at the resistances and try to remove them or at least ease them. It is like trying to roll a bowling ball. Would you rather try to roll a bowling ball on a yard (because it is where you are currently standing) that has a lot of resistances which slows the ball down or find a wood surface that has been properly waxed (e.g., bowling alley) where the ball moves a lot easier. Yes, you can find someone strong enough to roll a ball anywhere, yet would you rather find a way to make it easier (e.g., find the proper tools to use – e.g., a hard surface) or to roll the ball where you are at (in the tall grass) with all the resistances. Yet, many times, people try to do a financial plan without looking at their resistances and wonder why it is too hard to do and many times give up because they get too tired and frustrated.
Thus, it is important to know your resistances to developing and following a financial plan to ensure you have a prosperous new year. Stay tuned for other articles this month on how to do this.
If you have any stories about your resistances to personal finances or how you have overcome them in the past, please comment. I am sure others would benefit from reading them.