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How to Get Unstuck in Your Personal Finances

How to Get Unstuck in Your Personal Finances

Transforming one's personal finances is a complex process. While originally created for a different purpose, Dr. Mary Lippitt’s complex change management model is highly applicable to financial change.

This particular change model illustrates each essential component of complex change and the problem that results when that component is missing. This makes it particularly useful in diagnosing the reasons why previous attempts at change may have been ineffective.

Here is how you can apply the complex change management model to your personal finances to finally make lasting changes.

[Related: Habits, Routine, and Lasting Change]

Lippett’s complex change model.



When we combine goals and values, we get vision. A crystal-clear vision of where you want to get financially, and how that relates to your personal values, is absolutely essential.

This step is often skipped or abbreviated, because authenticity values discovery and goal-setting can be challenging. This typically causes people to flounder due to confusion.

However, the clarity and resulting motivation that come with being able to articulate our authentic values and goals can be life-changing.


When it comes to personal finances, there is foundational knowledge that is essential for success: an understanding of the financial options available and how those options apply to your own financial situation, combined with a basic understanding of household cashflow.

Our beliefs and attitudes about money shape our behavior, and by extension, our ability to apply our knowledge. The combination of knowledge, self-awareness about our money attitudes, and healthy financial behavior equates to skill in the realm of personal finances.

[Related: What Do You Do Brilliantly?]


Financial planning is about building a satisfying life and balancing the needs of our current selves with our future selves. There have to be incentives built-in along the way.

The downfall of some financial plans is a lack of balance. Where there is a focus on financial goals - such as retirement or debt elimination - to the exclusion of all else, it becomes hard to stay focused and make progress. Incentives help us stay motivated and keep our progress on-track.


The resources needed to successfully create financial change can come in many forms. One could be having access to the optimal financial instruments to implement the plan.

Another type of resource could be access to the right experts. A financial planner, a lawyer, an accountant, an investment advisor, or an insurance advisor would all be potential candidates, depending on your needs.

Action Plan.

Very often, people may have all of the other elements in place, but aren’t clear on how they come together into a coherent strategy.

The piecemeal approach often results in many restarts and switches in direction mid-stream. An action plan with clear, achievable steps is vital to ensuring that you are moving in the right direction with your finances.

If you feel stuck with your personal finances, chances are that your key to getting on-track lies in one of these five components.

[Related: Why Women Need to be Wealthy and What We Can Do to Get There]


Natasha Knox is a Certified Financial Planner professional. She serves on the board of directors for the Financial Therapy Association, and she’s the owner of Pax Planning, a fee-only financial planning practice specializing in helping people take control of their money matters by addressing the behavioral and emotional side of their personal finances.

Have more questions? Follow up with the expert herself.


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