Photo by Nonie; Wikimedia Commons

Last week, I described how you can get stuck in the second stage of change (contemplation). In this stage, you can think of multiple reasons why you should change a given money habit. But you can also think of multiple reasons why you don’t want to. Procrastination and feelings of ambivalence are common.

What do you do if you’re stuck in stage two? Imagine what the future will be like if you do NOT succeed at personal change. Key questions to ask yourself include:

  • What will happen if I continue along my current path?
  • What will my future look like if I do NOT make progress in this area?
  • What aspects of my problem generate feelings of disappointment, disgust, or distress inside of me?
  • How much power and control does my problem behavior have over me, and what positive things am I missing in my life because of it?
  • What positive things will I miss out on in the future because I am refusing to change this behavior in the present?
  • How do I fail myself by refusing to change this habit?

After you’ve painted a detailed picture of the future that focuses on the negative aspects of the problem, design a forward-looking appraisal of how much healthier and happier life will be when you have completed a change. Imagine how you will think and feel about yourself after you change. Picture yourself feeling good about your habits because your behavior is now aligned with your deepest values.

You’ll know you have completed this stage when you have developed a personal conviction about the value of change. Now you are ready to move on to stage three.

Have you ever let procrastination get in the way of a personal finance task? How did you resolve the problem?