Steps To Get Your Life Back On Track If You’re Stuck
Have you ever looked in the mirror and thought to yourself, “Wow, I thought I’d be further ahead by now.” If you have, you’re not alone.
Today, wealth coach and certified financial planner Therese Nicklas shares the one thing she's learned – that she shares with her money coaching clients – that allowed her to help clients go from wanting more to having more, which can help you get back on track.
Lifestyle change: To stay or to go
Big lifestyle changes are unsettling and scary. Even when it’s our idea, that place between where you are and where you want to be is uncomfortable. And who wants to be forced out of their comfort zone: Nobody, right?
Fear of change often keeps us stuck in bad jobs, bad relationships, even bad habits. Not knowing what is on the other side can be terrifying.
Well, the truth is, our real growth happens just outside of that soft, cushy place of the familiar. Like the beautiful butterfly emerging from the bland cocoon, or the gorgeous lotus flower that pushes through the muck, often the only way out is by plunging through.
Where to start to get back on track
Everything in your life right now is a reflection of what you believe you deserve. If you have an “itty-bitty committee” in your head telling you you’re not worthy, that is a perfect example of a subconscious limiting belief.
Studies suggest the bulk of our thoughts are processed in the subconscious. If we are consciously or unconsciously telling ourselves we can’t, or we don’t deserve, or we are not worthy, that becomes reality. And here’s another tip: In my experience, your net worth has a direct correlation with your self-worth.
Easier said than done
I know change is challenging. Standing at the intersection of “what I know and what I don’t know” causes the part of our brain, known as the reptilian brain, to go into fight or flight mode. When this happens, the frontal cortex (the decision-making brain) shuts down. What a double whammy! When we need it most, the decision-making part of the brain turns off.
A confused mind tends to say no.
So while we are in “fight or flight” mode, confusion sets in. Knowing which direction to take becomes so overwhelming, we often decide to do nothing. And so, what changes? Zilch. We are still dealing with the bad job, bad relationship, or bad habit.
This is because we want certainty – and change is the opposite of certainty.
Limiting beliefs and financial self-sufficiency
There are many of us that need to learn how to build our money muscles to be financially self-sufficient. Mary (name has been changed) came to me because, in her mind, she was bad at handling money. She told me how she grew up and shared her painful money memories.
The only way out is through
Mary was “stuck in the muck,” with a negative opinion of herself. The first thing she said to me was “I’m really bad with money.” Once she showed me her credit card and bank statements, I saw her debt balances were higher than her savings and retirement accounts. It was obvious being “bad with money” was a deeply rooted belief.
To eliminate this subconscious thinking, we went through a series of exercises to find the cause. We discovered she was copying her parents’ money behavior – taking care of strangers before herself.
Her parents would give money to charity or a neighbor in need before taking care of their own family. As painful as it was for her to remember, it was essential for her to develop awareness of her subconscious motivation to break the cycle.
Once she became aware, Mary made a commitment to break the familiar patterns and learn new behaviors that would help her improve her finances.
Awareness is not enough
After studying Mary’s finances, I realized her income was much lower than my other clients in the same field with comparable work experience. By engaging with money coaching exercises, Mary could trace back to the point that she developed low self-worth.
By supplying Mary with exercises and tools to change her opinion of herself, she shifted her money mindset and improved her self-esteem. Mary’s transformation was probably the most impactful one I’ve witnessed. Her courage and commitment to doing the work to get positive results inspires me every day.
How determination prevailed in getting back on track
When we started working together, the idea of looking for a better job freaked Mary out. It could help her get her life back on track, but it would be hard. “I’d rather walk down the street naked than go on a job interview,” she said.
By teaching her to focus on “why,” I helped Mary to realize she had to earn more money to break the cycle for herself and her daughter. With a new level of determination and courage, Mary agreed to search for a better job.
By focusing on exactly what she wanted, and acting on leads that fit, Mary replaced her dead-end job with one that was more fulfilling – and doubled her income!
The first step toward financial freedom is clarity
Do you feel ambivalent about what you want? This mindset will keep you stuck. It’s essential to learn to move through ambivalence if you want to create real lasting change.
Here’s an exercise that will help you quickly gain clarity: Think about what you want, ask yourself this simple question, and write your response in your journal:
What about _____________is important to me?
Don’t overthink it, answer with the first thought that comes to mind. For example, if your goal is to start a business, ask yourself: What about starting a business is important to me? Your answer might be “having a flexible schedule.”
Add your answer into the previous question. Then ask: What about having a flexible schedule is important to me? Write the answer.
I ask my clients to repeat this process at least seven times until they get to the core of why this is important to them – it helps the message sink in. You need to really go deep. That is when the magic happens that lets you get your life back on track.
You will have a deep level of clarity that will motivate and inspire you to show up in an authentic way. The buzz will be empowering and make you unstoppable!
Examples of starting questions to help you gain clarity:
- Why is starting a business important to me?
- What about losing weight is important to me?
- Why is improving my finances important to me?
- What about paying off debt is important to me?
- Why is finding a new job important to me?
The bottom line
If you want to get your life back on track by making a change in any area, start by changing your thought process! Make a commitment today to deciding what you want and go for it!
I hope at least one of these ideas helps you gain clarity in your everyday life, and inspires you to take steps to follow your passion!