Change is hard. For example, change requires living differently and overcoming unproductive habits. On your path to change you will naturally face several setbacks and failures along the way. Consequently, long-term change is more likely when you make it a lifestyle change and not just a phase you are going through.
Losing weight is a perfect example. If you are like many people, you go on special diets to lose weight. However, the weight almost always returns soon after quitting the diet. These diets never work because few people can maintain them for very long because they are overly restricting. Quickly losing weight is painful. Moreover, they are not lifestyle changes.
Financial Fitness also requires a lifestyle change. Therefore, increasing your financial IQ by reading books and listening to CD's is critical, but it doesn't do much good unless you take action. Use your judgment because some financial advice will do you harm.
Chris Brady and Orrin Woodward in their book Financial Fitness, talk about the difference between informational reading and transformational reading. They say school mostly teaches you informational reading but not transformational reading. Passing a test is what school teaches you, but it falls short of applying knowledge. Using knowledge is the whole point of transformational reading.
How do you apply knowledge?
Always have something to write down your thoughts and ideas, because they come at random times when you are on the go. That is why writing is an essential aspect of applying your learning.
The After Action Review (AAR) is a powerful self-improvement tool that will help you change and improve.
The military heavily relies on the AAR to improve operations. After every mission, the military asks what the mission was, what they actually did, what they did good that should continue doing, and what they should do differently the next time.
You won't find a better tool for real change because it forces you to face up to your true self. This tool rips off all personal masks. Living in self-deception won't last very long doing this.
How can you use the AAR?
Create a template with whatever word software you use, such as Microsoft Word. Write down your weekly, monthly, and yearly goals. Additionally, record your fundamental values, objectives and changes you need to make. Also, don't forget your daily to-do list. Consciously thinking about each day and how it could have been better and what you could have done differently is key to personal growth.
Paying yourself first is a fundamental financial principle, which can be tough if you are in terrible debt. However, Chris and Orrin strongly suggest you pay yourself 10% first before you start to pay off your debts.
Financial Fitness: The Offense, Defense, And Playing Field of Personal Finance, by Chris Brady and Orrin Woodward.
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