And that's exactly what we're going to do together in this book. In the same way that I conquered clutter in your home (and on your butt and in your mind) in my previous books, Lighten Up will help you to wade through your financial mess, and clear a path to financial health and emotional harmony. I can't guarantee you instant happiness but I am going to show you how to live a life of abundance on less in a way that doesn't plunge you deeper into misery and despair, and my suspicion is that with a changed mind-set will come a sense of calm, authentic personal identity, and . . . yes . . .happiness. Your well-being doesn't have to be measured by monetary wealth. I'll show you how to capitalize on where you derive happiness, and help you to realize that your truest sources of pleasure and joy are actually free. I'm also going to help you see that what you already have is more than most people in previous generations ever dreamed about having, and with a little bit of mental and, in some cases, physical rearranging and reprioritizing, you can come to view
your life from a completely different place. To that end, I'll show you how to psychologically transform your pain, anxieties, and anguish into a spring of courage and action no matter how much you've lost or had to give up.
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