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8 Mar 2010

Batting Left Handed: or why Budgeting can be difficult to learn

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by Jesse Mecham

When I was growing up, all the kids in my neighborhood used to get together during the summer days to play wiffle ball. I admit I was a bit of a tomboyand LOVED playing backyard ball. I have to say, I was pretty much the star hitter. I batted left-handed and could hit that wiffle ball pretty far. As I got older, my eyesight started to get worse. As my eyes got worse, so did my hitting.

I started striking out. A lot.

It was frustrating because I loved playing, but I hated feeling like I couldn’t control my hitting. so I decided to do something about it. The way I saw it, I had another option – I could just learn to bat right-handed. So I set my mind to do just that.

But boy it was hard, and I just could not figure out why. Everyone else said it was easy, but it took me a long time to get the hang of it. When you’re 12 and it’s summer and you aren’t playing, life is not good. But I stuck with it, and after hours of practice, and drill and repetition, I did manage to learn to bat right-handed.

So why was it so hard? It was hard because it felt so unnatural and it wasn’t what I was used to. In reality the hard part was learning NOT to bat left-handed. Just as much as I was learning a new thing, I had to let go of another thing that I was far more comfortable with. Plus, I had to do all this in the middle of the season. It’s not like there is off-season training in Maine for 12-year-old wiffle ball players.

Sound familiar? After working with YNABers through private coaching and webinars for over a year now, I’m convinced that there are two main reasons why people have a hard time getting started with YNAB.

1. Learning YNAB isn’t necessarily hard, but UN-learning the way you were managing your money is.

Think about it. About the time you come to YNAB you’ve probably been handling your money one way for a long time – maybe decades. That’s a fairly strong habit to break. I’ve heard it said it takes 21 days to create a new habit. When you are feeling frustrated that’s a long time.

2. When people come to YNAB, things are not going well financially.

Let’s be honest, no one looks for a budgeting or financial solution if your money situation is going great. Often folks are in crisis, stuck in overdraft, mired in credit card debt, in danger of losing their homes. It’s difficult to learn a new skill in the middle of all of that.

It’s like learning to swim while you are drowning. Can you imagine how hard that would be? Of course, if you’re drowning, it’s imperative that you keep kicking so your head stays above water.

But honestly, if you had to learn to swim while you were drowning, you’d take all the help you could get. If someone threw you a life-preserver, you’d grab for it wouldn’t you? I’m sure I would have learned how to bat right-handed much sooner if I’d had help or instruction.

So to those of you who may be new to YNAB, don’t be afraid to reach for a life-preserver. We have many free resources available to you. There’s no question it’s hard to learn this when things aren’t going well financially, but we at YNAB are glad to help.

Batting right-handed did increase my batting average and learning to manage your money with YNAB will definitely increase your bank account balance.

Keep swinging!

YNAB Coach

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Remember, budgeting is not restrictive. You won’t be spending less, you’ll be spending right. You can do this! Today. Right now. What do you have to lose? Except all that debt and stress. (Ok, so kind of a lot.)


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