A new year brings new opportunities for you

  • A new direction: the five key stages of change explained, and also some of the reasons that can lead to relapse. A PDF of this image can be viewed by clicking on Related Media

    A new direction: the five key stages of change explained, and also some of the reasons that can lead to relapse. A PDF of this image can be viewed by clicking on Related Media


You’ve weathered the holidays. You did your very best to affirm and bring good vibes to family, relatives, friends, and clients.

This is your commitment made to your world, and certainly they all had to appreciate your efforts.

Now, it’s time for you to move forward into the new year to continue to make your life as successful as possible.

We all have very different definitions of success. Defining success has always been an interesting conundrum, given the fact that we are all so wonderfully unique and different. Success can be financial, physical, emotional, spiritual, educational; there are so many ways to focus one’s quest for fulfilment.

Is 2020 the year that you decide to:

— go for the big financial promotion or payout at your job;

— start a new business and become self-employed;

— rebrand yourself to change career positions;

— develop a new relationship;

— repair an old trusted relationship;

— relocate to a new home or country;

— send your child off to higher learning possibilities;

— revitalise your get-in-shape programme;

— renew your faith in a spiritual community;

— revisit your emotional bonds with your family?

These are just some thoughts on what the new year may portend for you.

Every single item, and more not listed, involve change — which is an action word that is so very hard for most of us. Let’s face it, over time we often get stuck in a rut and don’t even realise it.

We don’t change because it is comfortable to stay exactly as we are. We like sameness because it means no surprises, no upheavals, no challenging decisions, no stress, no embarrassment or fear of mistakes. Sameness can also mean little to no intellectual or personal growth, or just downright boredom.

Change will and does happen. The world moves on with or without us having a say in the matter. Examples we are witnessing, include:

• Cash being overridden by digital currency

• Investing in capital markets is 40 per cent driven by math algorithms launched on computer models

• Passbook savings books and paper verification are disappearing

• Robots, bots and other fake information interceptors mimic real data news

• Vehicle development is focused on self-drivers

• Intimate and mundane personal living is being tracked by unknown surveillance mechanisms

• Most of our daily living is electronically-heavily dependent upon the 4,987 satellites revolving silently through space

• Vaping is overwhelming the popularity of the tobacco industry, while neither are healthy pursuits. And on and on

Isn’t it better to anticipate, prepare and be willing to change — at least mentally for starters?

But, there is the big internal personal debate. Making change is one of the most difficult things for people to deal with, so much so that psychologists have written treatise models.

Decision time.

You are unhappy with your money management and you want to change this behaviour for the better. You may need to modify how you currently handle your finances to achieve your goals.

That is a very hard thing to do, because it means changing what and who you are now.

We are all afraid of change. We hate to get out of our comfort zone, even when we are not the least bit happy in that zone.

• Change means taking risks.

• Change may mean losing personal relationships — if you decide to say, cut back on party nights out, or going on a diet (to save on groceries), or changing other personal habits that no longer match those of your friends, your significant other or your family.

• Change may draw criticism. You may be called stingy, cheap, and lots of other snide and envious remarks.

The “5 Key Stages of Change” chart demonstrates the steps towards a savings goal.

The path is not a straight line. The key, even if you relapse, is to just keep going.

Here are examples of the five stages of change.

1, you may feel you are not ready to make a change, or that your situation is just too tough to ever resolve.

2, then, the more you think about the goals, the more determined you become to start, but you are still not sure if you want to take the challenge on.

3, a bit more thinking, you are not sure, but then, you decide to layout an action plan.

4, the biggest stage. You start to change your financial behaviour to increase your savings.

5, you are elated. You have changed and put a savings plan in place. You will need to continually work on maintaining that positive can-do attitude.

Change is constant.

Nothing outside of your mind ever stays the same. The pace of change in business today is so fast it is breathtaking.

Even if you don’t want to change, eventually you will be forced into changing your behaviour, your financial habits, and your life. You cannot stop progress.

Here is a big little secret. When you are forced to make changes, you have no control.

Wouldn’t you rather make the decision yourself to positively change to achieve your goals, not let someone else’s decisions dictate your future?

Change means progress. If you keep doing the same things over and over, you are going to get the same old results and end up with the same old frustrations.

Embrace change in your life in this new year. Let it take you to new heights of success.

Happy New Year.

Suggested reading:

• Reference source for the Five Stages of Change: Carlo C Clemente and J O Prochaska to assist psychologists. The model has been adapted over the years to help motivate anyone wanting to change their behaviour, ranging from financial habits, relationships, to dietary, workouts and more. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transtheoretical_model

• Chris Gardner, author of Start Where You Are: Life Lessons in Getting from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be.

Mr Gardner’s remarkable transformation from homeless single father to millionaire is chronicled in his first number one New York Times bestseller The Pursuit of Happiness, available on Amazon.

• Zig Zaglar, one of the greatest salesmen and motivational speakers, said: “You were born to win, but to be a winner, you must plan to win, prepare to win, and expect to win.” https://www.facebook.com/ZigZiglar/

Martha Harris Myron CPA CFP JSM: Masters of Law — international tax and financial services. Dual citizen: Bermudian/US. Pondstraddler Life, financial perspectives for Bermuda islanders and their globally mobile connections on the Great Atlantic Pond. Finance columnist to The Royal Gazette, Bermuda. All proceeds earned from this column go to The Reading Clinic. Contact: martha.myron@gmail.com

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Published Dec 28, 2019 at 8:00 am (Updated Dec 27, 2019 at 11:00 pm)

A new year brings new opportunities for you

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