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Old habits die hard
The reality is that to continue doing the same thing in the hope of getting a different outcome is one of the signs of madness, writes Peter Ellen.
July 18, 2013 10:38 by kippreport
Although I’m not a Muslim, Ramadan is shortening my working days and thus, giving me the opportunity to reflect on my life. In so doing, it also allows me to think about changing my habits, some of which may not be serving me as well as they should.
Change, of course, is not easy. Although most of us would profess to ‘liking change’ (for example, we change where we live, our cars and, especially, our mobile phones on a regular basis), few of us find it easy to change our behaviour. We live by routines — habits — and habits are often hard to change. Hence, the saying, ‘old habits die hard’.
If there is a reason I behave as I do at present, then I need a new and stronger reason to behave differently. If that stronger reason is to ‘get a better result’ (and maybe that is linked to being more successful in some way), then that change will be connected to my self-image and my very beliefs about who I am.
Think about it. If you want a better relationship or a better job, it’s much easier to believe that someone or something other than yourself has to change than to believe that you have to change what you’re doing. It’s not comfortable challenging your own self-image and belief system. However, the reality is that to continue doing the same thing in the hope of getting a different outcome is one of the signs of madness. Well then, I guess we’re all mad to some extent.
Now that’s why I come to my finances. I would like more money left over at the end of the month, because I would like to save some to help with my grandchildren’s education. The least uncomfortable solution to this issue is that I get paid more, so would have more to start with. But, when I look at my life, I know I am earning more now than ever before and yet, I still don’t have enough left over at the end of each month. Don’t get me wrong – I do have some money left over at the end of each month, it’s just not very much. But, my expenses tend to rise in line with my income, and I don’t think I’m alone in this.
To change that substantially will mean a big change in my behaviour and that challenges my whole belief system. I need to change from being someone who spends when he needs to in order to enjoy his current life and save what’s left over to being someone who saves in an attempt to fulfil an important long-term goal and then, lives on with what’s left over.
That’s a massive challenge and will require a re-appreciation of my whole future, i.e., a felt need to change that is compelling and irresistible, a long-term commitment to a new set of goals, access to a mechanism through which I can save regularly, including support from someone who can sympathetically and objectively review my position from time to time (to overcome that inherent resistance to change that sets in soon after the euphoria of making the decision to change has passed).
All I can say is that I’m grateful that Ramadan happens only once a year.
Peter Ellen is Operations Director at Nexus Insurance Brokers www.nexusadvice.com and has extensive experience in the area of sales management and leadership, sales and sales management development and operations management. He has worked in the industry for 28 years in senior management positions and as a consultant, working with regulators, product providers and distributors. To contact Peter for advice with any insurance and investment advice please email him at [email protected].