Here's a phrase that rolls right off the tongue: Transtheoretical Model of Behavior Change. Simply put, it gives us a framework to determine where we are in the change process. This theory, developed by Prochaska, DiClemente, and Velicer, often pertains to addiction issues. The six processes of change are pre-contemplation, contemplation, preparation, action, maintenance, and termination. You might be asking yourself why we are discussing a psychology theory related to addiction, but for many, spending can be an addiction.
Ask yourself if your spending has gotten out of control and may need to be reigned in to be able to reach your financial goals. When considering your spending, consider these stages:
1. Pre-contemplation is the stage where you either don't plan to change or do not realize you have a problem yet. A lot of us are in a state of denial and need a wake-up call.
2. Contemplation is the stage where you are becoming aware of the issues, start weighing the pros and cons of your behaviors and begin keeping track of your thoughts.
3. Preparation is when you've decided you're going to change and you start seeking out guidance and advice.
4. The Action Stage is when you finally move forward and implement your plans and make the changes to your lifestyle. Remember, you must keep tweaking any good plan and will need reinforcement to maintain momentum. How many New Year's resolutions died before Valentine’s Day? Stay diligent!
5. Maintenance Stage is where you track your progress and adjust as necessary. Often, you will make more progress in this stage as you become more aware that the things you thought you needed and loved didn’t give you what you believed they did. For me, it has become fun seeing how much I can save. I spend my energy experiencing life, taking more walks, and just living.
6. Termination is when you've locked in your positive habits and lack the temptation to go back to your old ways.
My goal is to share what has worked for me and become the support structure you may need to find your financial freedom. Making changes of this magnitude takes time and discipline but it can provide you with a sense of balance that you've never experienced before. You owe it to yourself to be happy and healthy.
As always, Buffalo, I am here for you because we all deserve a thoughtful plan! Reach out if you have any questions, comments, or concerns or simply want to chat.