[Guest Post] Making Changes is Hard [Part 1 of 3]



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Today, we have the return of Mr. CEO after a multi-month hiatus. He had to step away from the blog for a while because of work, family, and other obligations. Today we take a short break from the normal financial post (although that does get honorable mention at the end). Mr. CEO is going to pour out what he has been struggling with a bit lately. This is his first attempt to make the changes he wants/needs to make in his life.

We all have or have had struggles in our lives. And will have struggles in the future. That’s just a part of life!

Without further ado here is one real person to another…

Step your Game up Mr. CEO

OK, I have something crazy to say. You may want to sit down as this might potentially rock your world.

Making changes is hard.

So maybe I was being a little melodramatic. But it is life-changing when you finally stop and admit it to yourself. And I don’t mean just casually say, “Yeah, it’s been tough lately. Maybe I should try and work on doing something different.”  What I am saying is stop what you’re doing, turn the TV off, put your phone in another room, and take stock of where you’re at versus your goals or your plans and truly come clean with yourself – “I am screwing up and have to get back on track.”

Say it out loud.

Write it down.

Text it to a friend.

Post it on Facebook as your status

Here’s mine, “I need to get my priorities in order. I am not balancing things well right now.”

Do whatever it is that you need to do to really, truly, and honestly put it out there.  Between us, I’ve been struggling with it a lot lately myself.  I give GREAT advice to people. I know the right things to say. I know all of the decisions I should be making and yet can’t seem to bring myself to make them.  Now, there are of course days when I listen to myself and think, “Just do it for a few minutes today to get the ball rolling.” And I of course do it and feel great.

But then after a couple days I stumble and I get frustrated because I don’t keep it rolling.

And then I feel a little depressed.

And I top it all off with getting down on myself and making the wrong choice for multiple days in a row rather than just letting one day be the day I lose focus and getting back on track the next day.

It is a vicious cycle that I sometimes struggle to get out of – and lately, it’s been the toughest it’s ever been for me.

I am really struggling to cut myself a break and forgive myself for being human.

I am sure you can all admit that you struggle with the same things to yourself. Maybe it’s about money, maybe it’s about relationships with loved ones. Hell, maybe it’s that you need to learn something new at work that you know is a weak spot for you and you’re just not admitting it to yourself.  And I am sure there are some of you that are even struggling with addiction or truly self-destructive habits that are having an even tougher time.

We all have our demons, right?  So I guess this is my first attempt at really calling myself to the carpet and saying, “Get your crap in order Mr. CEO.”

“Stop only making the easy decisions Mr. CEO.”

“Don’t be afraid to ask for help Mr. CEO.”

I write this because there are a couple things I just can’t keep allowing myself to do and want to use this as a first step in making some changes. But before I can make these changes, I have to really admit the changes I need to make so I can set forth a plan.   Below are the areas in order of importance to me right now. I would love to do them all at once, but I don’t think it’s possible and don’t want to get frustrated and quit like I have lately.

  1. I need to take better care of myself. I have been working a new job for about eight months that’s a little out of my comfort zone – it’s a new company, new systems, new people, etc. But on top of that, it’s a company that’s kind of messy – they lack process and structure and I am trying to do a lot of it on my own as we are a new team. I am a little overwhelmed and have been “eating my feelings” as I like to joke and not taking care of myself with working out as I am at the office a lot more than I had been in previous jobs. I also think that reading more goes hand in hand with this. I wish I was reading a little more so I felt like I was doing something other than just working and then falling into a daze in front of my phone or the TV when I get home every day.
  2. I need to spend more time with my wife and kids without the TV or phone or computer on. I know this and yet seem to continue to let these things distract us. Sometimes I am guilty of it and sometimes the wife or kids are guilty of it. But regardless, it’s something I have to get better at. This may seem weird to be number 2, but it’s not like we have a bad relationship and are on the rocks. I just know it can and should be better. But before I can move to this, I need to get number 1 fixed so I “feel right.”
  3. I need to prioritize my responsibilities and all of the things I am trying to do – I am working full time, trying to write for the blog/edit for the blog and am helping out some friends with a small company as a bit of a “side hustle.” On top of these three work things I have going on, I have a wife, three kids and a dog that need attention. I play hockey and try to work out here and there. I have things I want to do around the house, places I want to go, etc. I need to figure out what’s most important and act like it (and not just say it is all important and half-ass so many different things).
  4. I need to re-set work on the budget with my wife – we aren’t knocking the debt down fast enough. It might seem weird that this is fourth, but I feel like once everything else is firing, this is such a simple fix for us. We had really been making progress but have stopped over the past couple of months and its showing. Most of it is on me, I manage the bills/money and haven’t been saying no enough and tracking our spending in Personal Capital. With how crazy work has been for me, I don’t want to cook most nights and have been spending money on things we want (and don’t necessarily need) because I feel a little guilty about how all over the place I am/how much I am gone.

Wow, that feels really good to say. I write all of this at about 4am in the morning on a Tuesday. I’ve just flown to Australia for work and have a week to myself. I will be at the office everyday but this is the week I am going to make these changes.

Stay tuned…

What are you struggling with? Are there things in your life that you want/need to change? What are you doing about it?

– Mr. CEO

p.s. Thanksgiving is right around the corner, which means so is Black Friday. Our friends over at the Penny Hoarder have created a new section of their site to specifically share Black Friday deals with you all. You can check it out here. You might be able to get some killer deals on gifts you were already planning to buy anyways. #SAVEMONEY, #GETADEAL

Gen Y Finance Guy

Hey, I’m Dom - the man behind the cartoon. You’ll notice that I sign off as "Gen Y Finance Guy" on all my posts, due to the fact that I write this blog anonymously (at least for now). I like to think of myself as the Chief Freedom Officer here of my little corner of the internet. In the real world, I’m a former 30-something C-Suite executive turned entrepreneur turned capital allocator. I am trying to humanize finance by sharing my own journey to Financial Freedom. I believe in total honesty and transparency. That is why before I ever started blogging, I decided that I would share all of my own financial stats. I do this not to brag, but instead to inspire motivate, and also to hold myself accountable. My goal is to be a beacon of hope, motivation, and inspiration, for you, the reader, by living life by example and sharing it all here on the blog. My sincere hope is that you will be able to learn from me - both from my successes and my failures! Read More



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22 Responses

  1. The first step to making a change is admitting you need to make a change and getting it out there in the open. So you’re steps ahead of most people! There are always things to get better at, and to an extent you have to come to the realization that you aren’t going to achieve EVERYTHING you want to. I personally love change with regards to certain things, and hate it with regards to others. Like my daily routine – if someone tried to change my daily routines (I’m really not THAT crazy) I’d probably lose my shit. I just like the structure in my day, and after 27 years of living I think I’ve got that mapped out pretty well. But when it comes to other things such as where I live, I like change. I don’t tend to live in the same place for long. I’ve been in Manhattan for almost two years and am itching for a change. Same thing with hobbies. I’m always looking to try something new. Good luck making your changes!

    1. I definitely understand the daily routine. Up until work took over, we definitely had one. I am working diligently to get back to a more healthy routine. But it’s definitely a balancing act.

  2. Yes, yes, yes. “I’m screwing up and I need to make a change. ” I have very similar goals. I need to take care of myself. I need to spend more time with my family without an electronic. I need to be more mindful of where my time goes. Thanks for the continued motivation. Putting myself out there on my blog has made things more solid in my mind about what I should be doing and provided a good accountability for actually doing so.

    1. For me it helps to de-install all the apps I do not want to use. In the first few days, I still switch on the phone, but when there is nothing installed to distract me, I switch it also off very fast. And over time the habit goes away.

      Similar for eating habits – if I don’t have sweets in the house, I can’t eat them. Also my kids stop asking after a few days, if we have nothing in the house. So I just have to be mindful when grocery shopping, which is usually easier than disciplining myself in front of the chocolate.

    2. The toughest part Adam is that the body doesn’t respond as fast as it used to! I have to really work hard to get the sleep I need, eat the right foods and spend time exercising every day. Skipping it here and there is getting harder and harder as I creep closer to the big 4-0

  3. It takes vulnerability to admit there are things to change – I am sure all of us have experienced this before, and I, too, am also struggling with a lot of what you mentioned! Balance is incredibly important – and it always seems like when I get the ball rolling on one action item, I focus too much emphasis on it and allow other things to fall by the wayside. Sometimes it takes just fixing one thing in order for the rest to fall into a positive place as well (Thank you, Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg). The biggest thing I am trying to focus on is my personal health, because that is essentially the core of everything else I can excel in. Whether that’s better sleeping habits, eating patterns, learning, and working out I’ve got to focus on it. That way I can focus on being my best self in relationships, work, finances, etc. Thanks for your honesty – you’ve got this!

    1. One of the things I noticed out of all of this was that as my personal health was slipping, everything else followed suit. I started to feel badly from eating poorly and not exercising, so I was more moody and was a little more aggressive. I got less sleep and so I wasn’t as sharp as I needed to be. It was a cycle that was going the wrong way for way too long.

  4. Mr. CEO,

    Congratulations on taking the first step and admitting the issues. I’m sure you’ll get on track in no time. For the budgeting, you should take a look at http://www.YouNeedABudget.com. It will let both of you manage the money and keep you on track much easier. Have your wife sit down with you, read about their method, and take the classes together with the free trial. It’s well worth it and should help your relationship just by both of you being on the same page.

    1. Thanks Kevin, I will take a look. We have used a couple different things over the year and it usually ends up being just me that manages it over the long term so I am always down to try something that might be more user friendly for Mrs. CEO.

  5. Very courageous of you to share this Mr CEO – being honest and open about these things is the best way to make change happen. One of the biggest things I’m realizing is that we ALL have feelings like this, at varying times and degrees, but very few are comfortable sharing – even though it’s the most normal, human thing in the world to have these feelings.

    Good luck making some changes in the right direction, but try not to give yourself such a hard time!

    PS – where are you heading to in Australia? If you’re coming down Melbourne way let me know!

    1. I was in Brisbane. I LOVED it there and hope they send me again! HA.
      Your point about not being too hard on yourself is spot on. I think that it’s very natural to be our own worst critic. I do it at work, home, with friends, etc. Remembering to cut yourself a break is definitely important to ever succeed.

  6. Very transparent post. Goals 1 & 2 are hard to rank. It’s not always healthy to put career first, but there are certain commitments & responsibilities that need to be met so I can relate. One good thing is that quality time with the wife & kids can be easier when they help you become a better person. It’s a sense of encouragement for me.

    1. Josh, you know I hate that it came across as work first. But I think that my work has controlled my life a lot lately and has caused a bit of a domino effect onto everything else I touch.
      At the end of the day, I have to take care of the most important person in my life (me) in order to be there (both present and “present”) for the people I care about the most (my wife and kids).

  7. Mr. CEO I love this post! Getting your ‘purpose’ in order is never a finished task. Really like your addressing of priorities. My thought is you will enjoy coming back to review this post of yours in the future, not only to remind yourself of what is important but to see ‘where you were when’.

    One last thing, I hope you are not too hard on yourself going forward. Things like getting takeout or going out to eat may appear to be less-than-efficient for your goal of knocking down debt, but they DO have real value in saving time, and allowing your family to spend time without the distractions. One of my good pals goes out with his family to dinner and the rule is ‘leave all screens at home’! He has also had to come out and have direct conversations with his wife and children, stating that the ‘screens’ might be more fun and compelling in the moment than a conversation with him but he expects them to put in a little effort at human connection with him; the opportunity won’t always be there, and like the “Slight Edge” concept applied, it is easy to spend 10 minutes connecting but also easy to spend 10 minutes not connecting.

    Really looking forward to parts 2 and 3!

    1. JayCeezy we actually instituted a no phone rule at our house about a year or a year and a half ago. Even my oldest’s friends participate when they come over or out to dinner. It’s made for a lot of fun dinner after we had been seeing a trend of sitting at dinner and all being engaged with phones and iPads. And your Slight Edge comment is so true. It’s that little effort we make every day that adds up to that payoff down the road that we don’t even realize we’re working towards.

  8. Mr. CEO,

    I can definitely say I have been through this, it’s not easy. What usually happens for me is I freak out, I look around and realize I’m not doing this very well or that at all and I start to over think on what I’m doing enough of or not enough of. It’s OK to think about that stuff for a couple minutes it means you care about those things and that’s one of the things that makes us all human. You care about your health, family, money, and job that’s all great.

    In the past I have taken a step back from everything, not checking stats or emails, social media, I mean whatever is going on just chill for awhile. After you get that day, week, or month whatever it is you will come back and feel more focused than ever before. It might mean scaling back it might mean something else, but you will know it’s the right thing for you.

    Best of luck and just know it happens to the best of us!

    1. I just had my week of nothing over Thanksgiving and feel totally recharged and re-energized from it. Here’s to going UP UP UP moving forward!

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