Today I have a guest post from Brian Fourman. Brian is a former private school teacher now turned stay at home dad and personal finance blogger. His hobbies include rental real estate, running, cooking and sports. In his down time, he loves hanging out with his four kids and hearing his wife talk about all the cool things CPAs do at work. You can check him out providing encouragement and inspiration on his blog at Luke1428.com or by connecting with him on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter.
Tonya, the owner of this blog and I share an affinity for physical fitness. Her go-to activities are beach volleyball and more recently running, while mine are biking and running. Neither of us trains for competition at a world-class level. Our efforts are solely designed to fulfill our enjoyment, keep us fit and produce energy to tackle our respective daily activities.
Accept when they don’t…because we get hurt.
Her injury bug was a bum shoulder that kept her from playing beach volleyball awhile back. My most recent ailment was the dreaded plantar fasciitis, a foot injury common to runners that affects the tendons in the heal/arch of the foot. It typically occurs due to overuse – which was my case I’m sure after running 1,700+ miles in about two years.
The actual injury occurred last August during a marathon training run. Of course, like a typical stubborn runner, I didn’t get it examined. Rather, using a combination of ice, stretching and generous amounts of KT Tape, I continued to train through October until I completed the Baltimore Marathon- in a personal best time no less.
Then came the doctor visit…and the diagnosis…and the layoff. The…ever…so…long…layoff.
I started training again two weeks ago, 8 months after my diagnosis. Ugh!
There Is Always Pain in Starting Over
After such a long layoff, I knew what to expect once I returned. Pain. The workouts, even though short, didn’t disappoint.
Heavy breathing. Muscle fatigue. Stiffness as I crawled out of bed the next morning.
It reminded me once again that anytime I’ve started anew, the process is met with pain, setbacks and frustration. Nothing ever comes easy during times of revival. The difficulty of the task challenges our very desire to move on.
Like the time in high school where I took all summer to re-learn how to properly shoot a basketball…
Or when I left home for college…
Or when I really left home after college – moving out of state with my new bride to new jobs and a new life…
Or when our first child changed everything by coming into the world…
Or when the whole dynamics of family responsibility shifted when my wife changed careers…
Or when I started blogging.
Each new stage of my life was characterized by levels of internal and external resistance I had to overcome. There were barriers to breakthrough, routines to change, scary situations to face and emotional pain to endure as I altered behaviors. If I had not met those challenges with dogged persistence and discipline, success would never have come.
Your Money Is No Different
So do you think starting over and gaining control of your finances will be any different? It won’t. In fact, starting over in the money management process might be one of the toughest challenges of all.
There are some qualities of money that make it uniquely difficult to manage. For one, it’s a necessity in our daily lives. We need it to supply ourselves with goods and services. However, it’s also finite, which in basic economics terms means it’s limited. There is only so much of it to go around and only so much of it we can get our hands on at any given time.
Because money is a necessity and finite, we tend to get extremely emotional about it. That emotion over money regularly creates very poor decisions when it comes to its use. The equation ends up looking like this:
Lack of money + emotional pressure + poor decisions = a financial mess.
No doubt some of you reading this post right now are facing some serious money issues. Your situation may have you feeling discouraged, upset at yourself and fearful. There literally seems to be no hope in sight. You’ve thought to yourself, “What’s the point? Starting over is impossible because a) I don’t know where to start and b) it would require too much effort. I’ll just keep muddling along and hope for the best.”
If you feel that way I’m here to tell you today it can be done. Many who have gone before you have faced similar circumstances and turned it around. It wasn’t easy and yes, did require some painful choices to be made. But they had something that kept them going that you need to produce for yourself.
That thing was a vision.
Why I Endure the Pain of Starting Over
Why am I willing to start running again? It’s because I have a firm vision of what this will do for me. It goes beyond the basics of staying fit and healthy. That’s only a small byproduct of physical exercise for me. My vision is much deeper than that.
I run for my wife and kids. I want to be around for them as long as possible and I believe staying physically fit will help me accomplish that goal. It’s a long-range vision for sure but one that keeps me going.
Several years ago I had a similar epiphany when it came to managing money. I realized my spend-it-all-till-it-goes-away mindset wasn’t a healthy one and was leading me down a path with drastic consequences for my family. So in order to do right by my wife and kids I decided to attempt turning around my spend-a-holic nature.
With small baby steps at the beginning my nature began to change. It received big pushes along the way like this “Ah-a moment” where I resisted buying a second pair of shoes that were on sale. Moments like that taught me that I could tackle this spending monster inside my soul and create some discipline in my life. When I realized that my money management began to change.
All through the process of change though, there was a vision of why I was on the journey…to provide a better life for my family. That kept me going through the most difficult of times.
What’s Going to Turn You On?
You absolutely can win with money! The trick will be finding that one thing inside that turns you on. There has to be a force driving your turnaround or more than likely the attempt at change will be short-lived.
Look deep inside yourself today and discover what is going to move you forward. The final destination – that thing which inspires you most – will be worth it when reached in the end.
What is the biggest financial challenge facing you now? What is stopping you from tackling it? How has emotion over money moved you into making a poor decision? For those who have come through some financial difficulty, what big thing keyed your turnaround?
Image courtesy of Toa55 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net