Excerpt: 'Lighten Up' By Peter Walsh

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If you know anything about me, you know that I tend to think a little differently than most. This book is no different. Most books that offer traditional financial advice and get-out-of-debt programs are a little like diet books. Everyone buys one, everyone reads one, pretty much no one has anything to show for them. Just like fad diets, their lessons are quickly forgotten. The problem is these books often shove the how-to at you without exploring the whys underlying your financial distress. It's like the first week of the New Year. We've all been there! You intend to exercise more, to eat better, and to get organized. All goes well for a few days until you hit the first hurdle: a late dinner with friends and one or two drinks more than you intended. The next morning you're too tired to get out of bed to exercise. Suddenly all those resolutions go south! We've all been there—probably many times. Without a realistic plan, a clear understanding of what's likely to trip you up and—most important—an honest assessment of why you want to make these changes in your life, change is unlikely. I want to teach you a lifestyle tuned to the optimal way to live within your means that will keep your life clutter free (and I mean that on every level of the word "clutter"—emotional, physical, financial, and spiritual).

Taking baby steps toward change will slowly alter how you feel, how your financial life looks, and how well you really are. In Part I, we'll explore what kind of life you imagine for yourself and where you think you derive your happiness. I'll challenge you to create a realistic vision for your life, reassess what the words "abundance," "needs," "wants," and "entitlements" mean to you, and help you to sketch out a mental blueprint for living out your newfound vision each and every day. Part II will help you use three personal audits to gather information about your situation to instigate changes. This won't necessarily be easy. I'll ask you to face not just the physical stuff and concrete dollar signs, but I'll also ask you to excavate your

emotions and address those psychological underpinnings to your habits and attitudes. You'll be challenged to confront your family members, establish tough boundaries under the limits of your family's means, engage the participation of your children even if they are young, and become fully attuned to your own shortfalls and weakness, including the excuses you tell yourself every day just to "get by."

"Just getting by" doesn't work anymore and you know it. It's time to get clear, get real, and get going. Sounds scary? Good! Exciting? Even better! I'll be arming you with all the tools you need to do this, including scripts to use with your partner and kids, specific To-Dos that you can put into practice immediately, exercises for helping you to learn the ropes to living a life of abundance on less, and practical information to create a real, achievable, and personal plan of action. Part III will then give you a checkup and maintenance plan for staying on track with the vision you have for yourself in the real world.

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