There is peace on the other side of acceptance. There is stress in any other state.
– Sylvester McNutt
According to Brene Brown, it’s not possible to just numb one emotion. If you numb one, you numb them all. So when we numb stress and shame and disappointment about our finances, we also numb joy, gratitude and happiness. What happens then is we start to feel miserable and we go searching for purpose and meaning, and then we feel unvalued and the cycle continues.
If there is emotion, there is truth. If you’re feeling something, listen to that. Give your emotions some space. Take a moment now to just sit with your finances for a couple of minutes. How does it make you feel? If you’re having an emotional reaction, there is probably some truth there that you need to explore. Have a think about it. Grab out your MOneyJOurnal (MOJO) and write it down.
- A time when you were really good with money – what was that like;
- The thinking and behavior that brought you to your current financial position;
- Any thinking and behavior that might need to change.
Have a think about how it will feel when you are 100 percent satisfied with your finances. Write that down in your MOJO. Put it on a Post-it Note or sticker and put it in your wallet to remind you of your new financial goals and how it will feel when you have paid off your credit card, started a regular savings plan, and made regular contributions to your retirement savings. If you need to, print a label that says ‘I’m saving for a new home’ or ‘I have a goal to pay off my credit cards’ and stick it on your debit and credit cards. It might help you when your brain starts rationalizing why you should buy a new bag or spend money on a dinner out. A visual reminder can be a really powerful prompt.
In your MOJO get in to the detail around the small steps that will need to be addressed like;
- Habits that need to change
- New systems to support new habits
- New routines and lifestyle
In a recent Think Big video1 Amy Cuddy says, that we fail at our goals because we set the bar too high and then focus on the bar, instead of focus on the hundreds of tiny steps that are needed to get us to the bar. Instead of focusing on being a millionaire, focus on making it through the day without overspending.
Tips on getting on track and reducing financial stress:
1) Set yourself small daily challenges. I have “say ‘no’ to myself days and ‘no spending days’, just as small challenges to see how I go. Its all about increasing your awareness around spending. When you increase your awareness around your spending all sorts of things will start to change and grow
2) Giving an emotion some space.
3) Make an action plan.
4) Start with small steps. Repeat until they are habits.
THINK – PLAN –ACT