Making Big Changes, Even When You’re Broke
The past few years have been difficult for many Americans. Jobs have been lost, the future is up in the air, and unexpected changes are all around. The one great outcome of hard times is that we tend to reevaluate what is important and take steps toward creating the life that we want. Of course, having plenty of cash can make big changes easier to accomplish, but being broke is no excuse for complacency. Even if you are struggling financially, make 2011 the year that you take back control and make some big moves in the right direction. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
Design and Plan.
Take a good look at every area of your life – work, health, hobbies, family, whatever – and create a picture of how you’d like your future to be. Think big, as if there are no obstacles to getting what you want. Talk your ideas over with your spouse and close friends and family, but avoid the naysayers and negative nellies – you don’t need to hear all the reasons it can’t work right now! Once you have decided who, how, and where you want to be, develop step-by-step plans for getting from here to there. The more detailed the plan, the better, and be sure it includes steps that can be implemented immediately. Organize your plans so that you are doing something every day that moves you in the right direction.
Make the tough decisions.
The odds are that the exercise of connecting where you are now to where you want to be is going to reveal some serious obstacles. Whether those obstacles are financial (debt, income limits), personal (relationship issues, lack of support), or career-related (hate your job, lack of control), you are likely going to have to make some tough decisions to affect real change in your life. Those decisions might include bankruptcy or moving or taking bigger risks than you normally would, but they must be made to get to the life you want. Be honest with yourself about what needs to be done, then make the decision and go after it. Most of these things are like pulling off a bandaid – if you jump right in it will only hurt for a little while.
One of the best things you can do to put your own life in perspective is to help out those less fortunate than you. Whatever your situation, there is always someone who is worse off and could use your help. Volunteer through a local nonprofit or church and spend a few hours each week doing good. Not only will you feel better about your own life, you will be helping out those who really need it as well. And, if you skip the movies and volunteer instead, you can save up your entertainment budget to put towards the parts of your redesigned life plan that require cash!
Knock off the To-do List.
Most of us have a ridiculously long to-do list in our head. You know, all those pesky chores and projects that pop into your thoughts at the most inconvenient times. Those tasks are a distraction, and if you are serious about making changes in your life, you should get those items off the list. Write them all down, set priorities for completing each task, and knock them off one-by-one as you are working on redesigning your life.
Start a business.
Owning a business is a dream of a great many of us, and there is no time like the present to follow that dream. Business that are started now will be poised to explode as the economy recovers, and there are some incredible deals available to small businesses right now. Commercial space is inexpensive, vendors are flexible, and quality workers are available and willing to work cheap. The recession knocked out the businesses that weren’t well-managed, and there are opportunities in just about every industry, in every part of the country. If launching a business is on your wish list for 2011, don’t wait another day!