As human beings we get fantastic ideas, have the energy and excitement to implement them only to find ourselves struggling a few weeks or even days later. And such is my journey to financial freedom that I’m sharing with you. Understanding the five Stages of Change has been helpful for me to have compassion for myself when I’m slipping or not going as fast as I want to. So, let me share the juicy goodness with you.
Pre-Contemplation This is the thinking about thinking about change stage. You have whispers and thoughts of change that float in and out of your mind. This is when you have the idea that you can change but it’s not necessarily an intentional thought.
Contemplation is the stage when the whispers transform into concrete thoughts that you create. You spend time thinking about the ways that you want to change, the benefits of change and also the cons of changing. This is where I landed for a long period of time when it came to changing my money habits and relationship with money. For months I was in my head thinking about all of the ways my life would change if I let go of some old money habits.
Preparation is the planning stage. This can be particularly fun for those of us who like to make plans and create lists. This is where the idea of change comes outside of your head and into the world. You begin researching whatever you need to make change. For me this involved reading financial blogs, a book by financial expert Glinda Bridgforth and personal writing about my relationship with money (using the 32 Questions handbook) so I could better understand what I needed to change.
As someone who is often in her head I also knew that I had to be vulnerable and start sharing my thoughts with others. I needed to tell a few trusted friends that I’d had enough with old money patterns and I was ready to do it differently!
Action is when you’re ready to bring it all together. After many months or even years of considering the change, planning the change, getting excited and then being scared of the change it’s time to do something. It’s time to take action and do what you need to to move closer to the life that you want to live.
Maintenance for me and many people is the most challenging stage. I can think and plan all day long. And then when I get past my own fears and insecurities I can take the leap into action. But sustaining the change and not backsliding too far is where it gets hard. When I first fell off my financial freedom plan I was disappointed in myself. But unlike in previous years rather than beat myself up I remembered that it’s part of the process. The places where old habits crept in were the places in my Action plan that weren’t very strong and needed to be revised. And so now I have a chance to revisit the Preparation and Action plan simulataneously to set in motion a stronger plan that will work for me. I’m sharing that process and journey with you. Next time we’ll talk more about creating a personalized Preparation and Action plan.
Share you journey and experiences with change. What has worked for you? What hasn’t?