The big day is finally here – my book, Soldier of Finance, has officially launched.
My book has already been in stores, but September 9th was the actual release day.
I’ve been blasting it all over Facebook – can you blame me?
I think what was most surreal is when my wife and I stopped by a Barnes and Noble in the St. Louis area and found my book right next to Dave Ramsey himself. Now that is freaking legit! Haha…
Thank you for everyone that have already bought the book. I’ve already made it to one of the best sellers list on Amazon. I couldn’t have done it with you!
If you do pick up the book, I’ve got some awesome goodies that you can find here. Trust me you’ll want to check that out.
And of course, you can buy the book on Amazon. As of right now, there are 29 positive reviews. Thanks so much if you were one of those!
Below is an excerpt from the book to give you a sneak peak of what you’re in store for. Enjoy!
Excerpt from Soldier of Finance
A lot of the problems we experience with self-discipline are essentially a matter of bad habits. Take a look at your credit report; from the information contained there, you will be able to identify some of your bad financial habits.
Bad habits are very difficult to break, but they’re not impossible. Just don’t expect to change them overnight. As Mark Twain said,
“Habit is habit, and not to be flung out of the window by any many, but coaxed downstairs a step at a time.”
The positive side of this is that a good habit is just as difficult to change as a bad one. The trick is identifying your bad spending habits and replacing them with good ones. Aristotle said,
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”
It is often said that you can change a habit in 21-days. That number can vary, depending on how ingrained the habit is and what you replace it with, but in general, it’s a good rule of thumb. Pick a bad financial habit and focus on it for 21 days. That’s just three weeks.
Change one habit at a time.
Don’t try to take on more than you can handle and set yourself up to fail. Realistically, one habit will take all of your focus. The habit might be as simple as deciding that you will stop eating out every day. Perhaps you spend too much on credit. Decide you will not add to your credit card debt for 21 days. Do you go clothes shopping daily? Perhaps you need to curtail that habit. Determine what you spend too much money on and focus on it, one at a time.
Here are some basic guidelines that will help change your habits:
- Step 1. Write it down. You are setting a short-term goal in every sense of the word, so treat it the same way. Identify the habit you want to change in detail. To help clarify your goals, write down exactly why you want to change that habit. Give yourself the strongest motivation you can.
- Step 2. Plan a support system. No military operation should ever be executed without utilizing every available resource. Discuss the habit with your Battle Buddy and be certain you will be supported and held accountable.
- Step 3. If you miss a day or two, don’t beat yourself up. Simply start again, right away. Persistence is the key to setting new habits. Keep at it and you will succeed.
Warrior Task 8-1 Breaking Habits
- Select one bad financial habit, such as eating out every day.
- Focus on that habit for 21 days.
- Write down what the habit is and devise a plan for changing it
- Get your Battle Buddy to check with you periodically to keep you accountable.
Dealing with Setbacks
No matter how much you plan, there will be things that you can’t predict ahead of time.
When I went to Basic, I believed I would finish without a problem, and continue on to collect my GI benefits and go to college. Once I settled into the routine, I felt fairly comfortable with the whole process. I knew I could handle the training and I managed to stay (mostly) unnoticed by the drill sergeants and I didn’t get smoked too often.
Sometime in the first month or so, I began to feel pain in my legs. It started as shin splints that got worse every day. Eventually it escalated to the point where I could not walk without pain.
I was determined to stick it out—Basic lasts for three months, if you drop out due to an injury, you have to start over from the beginning. The last thing I wanted to do was repeat my training. I kept my mouth shut and endured the pain, finally hitting a point where I couldn’t take it anymore. We were on a five-mile run and somewhere in the second or third mile, I knew something wasn’t right. It was more than shin splints and I had to stop.
Of course, the first sergeant was on me in an instant, screaming every name in the book.
I tried to defend myself, “First Sergeant, something ain’t right.”
“Oh, you’re a doctor, now? Now you’re telling me how everything is?”
But I couldn’t run anymore. I ended up on the back of a five-ton truck with everyone else that dropped out. Not exactly the place I wanted to be. As soon as we got back, I went to sick call to see a doctor, who diagnosed a stress fracture in my leg. I had been running for weeks on a broken leg. I limped out of there with a full-leg cast.
Devastated, I was only five weeks shy of finishing Basic. I certainly didn’t want to repeat the first seven weeks. Reporting to my drill sergeant who was a little surprised when he noticed my cast; not that he would say, but I suspected he felt bad for me. After looking at it for a minute, he said, “You know, you could go as far as you can with the cast. That will increase your chances of not having to go back to the beginning.”
The remaining five weeks involved many tasks I could do, it would be challenging, but it was worth taking a shot. A lot of the training required firing different weapons in order to qualify for them. I didn’t need to run to fire a grenade launcher; I just had to get to the firing range.
I gained a lot of respect from my drill sergeants when they saw me hobble up to the range on two crutches, dragging my cast along. Showing up for field maneuvers, lugging an M-16 along with my crutches, I completed every element of the training that my cast allowed, and it worked.
With this newfound respect, I got the okay to sit out the beginning of the following training cycle and allow my leg to heal; and I was able to pick up where I left off and complete the training. Basic and Advanced Individual Training took six months instead of three, but I made it through and earned a great deal of respect in the process.
Not everything will go as planned, but setbacks are not an excuse to give up on your plans or goals.
The setback in Basic training affected more than just my time there. By the time I finally healed and returned home I had missed the opportunity to enroll in a full load of classes.
I managed to take some courses at Santa Monica College that summer, and I avoided parking tickets this time! After that first semester, I moved back to the Midwest and finished my associate’s degree at John A. Logan College in Southern Illinois. It took me four years to finish a two-year degree. But I got the degree and I was that much closer to my life goals.
Review the Mission
During our pre-deployment training at Ft. Dix New Jersey, we were put through a ton of different exercises and drills. Many times the instructors set us up for failure. Not for their own satisfaction (although it definitely felt that way at times), but to see how we would react under pressure.
Our squad failed miserably at times. If would have been easy to be hard on ourselves, but after each mission we would do a recap of all the items that went well and all the items that need to be improved. This was the called the After Action Report.
The After Action Report (AAR)
The concept of an After Action Report is to analyze what happened, what worked and how the next operation can be improved. In both the military and business worlds, such analysis is practiced frequently and consistently.
As a Soldier of Finance, frequent AARs give you the opportunity to constantly improve your financial strategy. If something is not working, adjustments can be made. Flexibility plays an important role in success.
Table 8-1 After Action Report
1. Mission Name:
a. Goals that were met:
b. Goals that were not met:
c. Reason for failure:
Table 8-2 Go/No Go Accomplishing Your Goals
Are you ready to begin working toward the first goal on your list?
_____ Go _____ No Go
Have you developed a plan for achieving your goals?
_____ Go _____ No Go
Have you identified changes you can make in your lifestyle that will help you accomplish your goals? What are they?
_____ Go _____ No Go
Do you need to learn specific skills or information to accomplish your goals?
_____ Go _____ No Go
Have you identified bad habits that are keeping you from your goals?
_____ Go _____ No Go
- No matter how much you want to succeed, nothing happens until you begin to act.
- Keep your goals fresh in mind by reviewing them regularly.
- Automate your plan as much as possible. Set up automatic payments. Arrange to have savings taken directly out of your paycheck.
- Make changes in your lifestyle to provide more money to accomplish your goals, such as eating at home more often.
- Watch for opportunities to reach your goal sooner. For example, if you have dead time in your schedule, use it to read material that will help you grow toward your goals.
- Identify bad financial habits and work toward changing them, one habit at a time. Write down what the habit is. Plan a support system to help you and keep you accountable. If you miss a day, start again right away.
- Everyone meets with setbacks. Do not let a setback stop you from persevering. Adjust as you need and persevere toward your goals.
Are you ready to take charge of your money and invest in your future? Pick up your copy of Soldier of Finance today.