I've had many discussions with people about how they can change their financial situation.  Sometimes it may be a passing conversation.  Many times, however, the conversation can get really in depth if they want to make serious changes to their financial life.

One of the common threads I've discovered when talking to people about changing their financial habits is that many times the already know what they need to do in order to change, but they're just not doing it.  They haven't converted their knowledge into actions that produce results.


Change Doesn't Come Easy

It's because human beings don't change easily.  Our minds and bodies are resistant to doing new things. We like the comfort of those familiar things that we are used to doing.

For instance, if you don't normally exercise, or you change your workout routine to a new one that is totally different, what happens? 

Your muscles are sore the next day.  That soreness can last for days, and can make you resistant to doing it again. 

Even though your body is resistant, you know that changing your exercise routine eventually leads to benefits such as weight loss and better health, and that if you stick with it will eventually get easier.

Change is difficult!

Your Brain Resists Change

The same thing happens when you try to change your habits with money.  When your brain realizes that change is coming, it becomes very resistant.  Your brain will attempt to sabotage you at every turn when you're trying to start budgeting, get out of debt, and improve your financial habits. 

When any obstacle stands in your way, your brain want you to continue doing what you have always done. 

It wants you to buy that beautiful outfit or that sweet home theater system with a credit card because it's comfortable.  It's what you've always done. 

Doing familiar things brings your brain comfort and pleasure.  But it only lasts for a short time (until the credit card bill arrives). Your brain resists new actions and new ways of thinking, even though those new things may be beneficial in the long run.  This is because way back in the deepest parts of your brain, change is perceived as a danger to the status quo.

But at the front of your brain is a cool thing called the frontal lobe.  This is the part of your brain that will help you overcome the emotional child in the deeper brain that wants everything right now. 

So when you're trying to get out of debt, save money, change your spending habits, or whatever else you need to do to change your financial life, you have to work on making a conscious effort to get that frontal lobe working. 

Your Mind is a Battleground

When you need to change habits, your mind becomes a violent battleground.  The combatants are the primitive areas of the brain dealing with emotion (some call it the inner child) and the frontal lobe that's more responsible for logic and reasoning (the inner adult). 

These two areas are constantly at battle with each other, each one trying to get the upper hand.  But if you want substantial change to happen in your financial life, you have to work hard to use that frontal lobe to overcome that emotional child that's inside. 

The frontal lobe will help you make good long term choices.

Let the Adult Win

When you see that neat electronic gadget that helps you communicate with 5,000 of your closest friends and brings you endless entertainment, all for 3 easy payments of $29.95, you have to make a conscious effort to use your frontal lobe to overcome the emotional child deep inside your brain. You have to overcome that child that is reactive instead of proactive, that wants only pleasure and has no plan. 

You have to force yourself to take a step back from the "I want it now" emotional reaction and use the reasoning in your frontal lobe to ask questions like "Is this something I really need?  Is this a short term want or a long term need?" and "Is this something I can afford without getting into debt?"

When you start using the "adult" part of your brain and think about your actions before your inner child has a chance to get emotional, it's so much easier to change your finances, your habits, and your life. 

So when that emotional child says "I don't want to pay off debt, that's not fun!" start thinking about WHY you're changing your habits and getting rid of debt.  Think about the lower stress levels you'll have because you have no payments weighing you down.  Think about the financial freedom allows you to have more options in life. 

Think about how it will change your family tree.

Let the adult win.

Guest personal finance expert Jason Cabler blogging for leading provider of careone services, inc. Dr. Jason Cabler is a Christian personal finance blogger, author, and speaker.  He teaches how to get out of debt and live a debt free lifestyle through his Celebrating Financial Freedom blog and self study course.  His new book "How to Budget- The Quick and Easy Guide to Making a Budget That Works" is now available (more info here).  He can be reached for interviews or  speaking engagements by email, and can be found on TwitterFacebook, and Google +.