Hitting Rock Bottom
Often, things get worse before they get better. That’s a blessing in disguise, because it pushes you to bring about the changes your life is begging for.
I was never any good at holding on to money. It’s been seven years since I graduated and six since I quit my first job. Whatever I have earned over the years, I have let slip through my fingers - at times by wasteful spending, but mostly by careless non-saving.
Only in recent months I have been able to understand my dysfunctional relationship with money and take steps toward fixing it. Where I had mentally glossed over the details of my finances in the past, now I keep track of every penny. I’m in debt, and probably will be for some time to come. The good news is that I’m not ignorant or negligent of the weakest spot in my life any more.
Which Area Of Your Life Is In A Shambles?
At various times in your life, only after you hit rock bottom do you find the will and courage to turn things around. That’s okay. As much as you regret letting things deteriorate in a certain area of your life, it is still possible to make your way back.
But you have to want to.
Till that time, whatever you’re struggling with will continue to keep you miserable. Your worries will not disappear when you decide you want to achieve a certain goal. They might even increase, but when you want something badly, you begin to see opportunities where there were none before. When you acknowledge that you have a problem, it is half the battle won.
How I’m Learning
What I love most about the Web is that it drives home the fact that you’re not alone in your struggles, and that there’s a way out no matter how bad your situation is.
I’m reading blogs like Get Rich Slowly to understand where I have gone wrong with my finances and how I can improve them. Accordingly, I’m making tiny changes wherever I can. The money tips given by Leo Babauta of Zen Habits have helped me tremendously, because they gel well with my own philosophy of simplicity.
Here are five simple things that have engineered a slow but steady and positive shift in my financial sitaution:
- Maintaining a spreadsheet to monitor where my money’s coming from and where it’s going.
- Paying myself first
- Focusing on clearing debts and paying bills before budgeting
- Paying this month’s bills from last month’s income
- Deciding not to buy a credit card
I have a lot to learn and a long way to go before I can build up a healthy financial cushion. The factor that is different now is my desire to acheive this goal. I’m no longer stuck in a bubble of detachment and denial, refusing to acknowledge my monetary failures because they’re painful and frightening to consider.
A Fresh Start
Knowing that your efforts are making a difference is heartening to see and motivates you to continue putting one step in front of the other. But for your efforts to bear fruit, you have to start somewhere, and starting somewhere small is best.
Whatever it is that you’re relegating to the back of your mind, you need to face it head-on even if it feels like the scariest thing in the world. It probably is, but not as much as you imagine it to be.
Know and remember that you can transform any area of your life by taking baby steps. It’s how we all learn.
- March 7th, 2014