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The crabs in your bucket: what’s keeping you off track?

We’ve all been there. Everything is running smoothly in our lives. We’re looking and feeling our very best. Our friendships are positive and encouraging. Career-wise we are focused on a goal. And we are involved in a wonderfully healthy relationship with our finances.

Life is peaks and valleys. When we are in a good place, the difference between those two are negligible. We put bad days into perspective by brushing ourselves off and getting back into the swing of things as soon as possible. But then we find ourselves back in familiar surroundings with people who may not have our best interest in mind.

I’ve been there.

When I returned home after I completed college, people I’d grown up with and been friends with all my life called me a traitor for driving a new Honda, for living downtown and even being slim and healthy. Their reaction fed my insecurities to the point that I gained weight and fell back into old habits.

Because I didn’t recognize them as crabs in my bucket, doing what comes naturally, I allowed my loved ones to take control over my personal power. I was so concerned about what everyone else thought and felt about my actions that I got away from my authentic self. I gained weight, got back into debt, and returned to the same emotionally abusive cycle with my finances.

Getting off track

Being around my family and friends from home was rough for me. They triggered my insecurities and made me feel ashamed of all that I had been proud of accomplishing – a degree, a healthy life and a great job and apartment downtown. And I see this so often in my financial practice. If this is happening to me and my clients, I bet it just may be happening to you as well.

So what’s keeping you off track? It may seem like the crabs in your bucket are negative friendships, toxic family members or an over-bearing boss, but it just might be a little closer to home. You could be keeping yourself off the track the track that you want to be on.

When I got back from college and got off track from my goals, I thought it was my family and friends who were pushing me back into old habits. I realize now that the issue was me. At the time, I wasn’t able to hold boundaries with others, and I allowed their attitudes to affect me.

Action step

Is that a pattern you’ve noticed in your own life? Do you find yourself blaming the crabs in your bucket for the choices you made? This week, take a closer look at the true crabs in your bucket. When I realized that I had a part in my own financial and personal issues post-college, it was much easier to eliminate the bad feelings and create the life that I wanted.

Figuring out what’s keeping you off track is a process. You may need to journal your spending, thoughts and feelings for a few days. You may also need to bounce some ideas off of someone you trust and respect. This is an exercise in finding out what’s in the way of you becoming your best self. When you invest in yourself this way, you will see an immediate difference in your thoughts, feelings and actions.

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