If you were given two choices:
1. You could live a life filled with fear, anger, misery, lack, deprivation and everything else that goes with it, OR
2. You could live a life filled with abundance, gratitude, happiness, joy, peace, love, creativity and everything that goes with that.
Which would you choose?
I’m willing to bet that the odds of you choosing #2 are pretty good!
You may be thinking, "Yeah, it sounds great but that’s not my reality."
Here’s the thing….it is your reality! Believe it or not, you DO have that choice…that’s right, it may sound a little cray cray but you, my friend have the power to choose which life you want to live! It’s in YOUR hands!
It’s all about perceptions, basically, what you choose to "see" and focus your time and energy on.
This is an interesting time that we are going through right now, no doubt about it. As COVID-19 does it’s thing, you have to adapt to new ways of performing your regular activities such as work, grocery shopping, exercise, shopping in general, and so forth.
You can look at these changes in two ways:
1. Focus on how it is negatively affecting you.... bitch about the upheaval in your life or how big your arse is getting from sitting in front of the TV (guilty!)....gripe about how you can’t wait for things to get back to normal…and so forth.
(Reading this, can’t you just feel the negative, "dark" energy??)
2. You can use this event, this blip in your lifetime as a teachable moment. What good has come from this? What new (healthy) habits have you created? Which old (unhealthy) habits have you let go of? What great things and lessons learned will you bring with you moving forward, how can you create a better life for you?
(Ahhh…the heaviness is lifting and the light is beginning to shine 😊.)
Instead of complaining about all of the things that you can’t do, take stock of the good things that you have been doing.
- Instead of complaining about all of the things that you can’t do, take stock of the good things that you have been doing. Personally, I now spend more time walking and hanging out in nature, than I have in a long time!
- By not having the same spending "freedom" as you had before maybe you’ve saved some money.
- Maybe you’ve come to realize that many of the things that you "needed" to buy and spend money on before, turned out to be things you only wanted.
- Now that you have been forced to be more creative about how you spend your time, maybe you’ve taken up a new hobby or revived an old one.
I’m not flitting around, wearing blinders and singing "la la la la la" trying to make light of the situation nor am I ignoring the fact that lives have been lost during the pandemic.
What I am saying is yes, these things happened and it’s OK to acknowledge them, and learn from them but the key here is that you don’t need to hold onto them.
You can choose to let go of the 'darkness'.
You don’t need to make it the constant topic of your conversations or spend time listening to every report from a dozen different media sources, you don’t need to give negative subjects your constant focus and energy. …you can choose to let go of the "darkness".
You get to choose your perception of a situation.
The same applies to improving your financial situation. Many people think that following a spending plan or budget could be a light form of torture, depriving them of all things great; putting them in a position where the purse has been glued shut, leaving them to scrimp and save until their debt is paid off.
(Hello "darkness" my old friend….that is, the friend I want to ditch.)
Instead, following a spending plan can be looked upon as a way to help you live a life you love!
Wow! That sounds like a pretty heavy load for a spending plan to carry, right? But it isn’t…
Look at it this way…
First of all, if you have debt, that is one relationship that you need to be getting out of a.s.a.p. because it’s holding you back! The money that you are paying on debts (and interest) could be better used elsewhere. Getting out of debt is probably one of your most important financial goals.
Secondly, while you’re paying off your debt, your life does not go have to go on hold. Realistically, depending on your situation, it may take you a while to get out the debt but this doesn't mean you still can't live a life that you love! As your Money Coach…I want you to be loving your life …right now! I don't want you to make it a reward that you can only access AFTER you kick your debt to the curb.
What?? Can this be??
It sure can, and here’s one way to make it happen: instead of buying things to fill a space (inside of you or outside of you), you create a spending plan based on your values and what’s important to you.
Yes, debt repayment is a part of the plan but when you determine what your values are, you spend money only on the things and experiences that reflect what's important to you ...this is how you start to live a life you love!
How friggin’ awesome is that!??
You DO have the power of choice, it's one of your greatest superpowers!
Obviously there is more to it than that and it does take time to re-wire old thought patterns, but you DO have the power of choice. It's one of your greatest superpowers.
You can choose to live a life filled with darkness ( Fear, anger, misery, lack and deprivation and everything that goes with it) or
……. a life filled with light (abundance, gratitude, happiness, joy, peace, love, creativity, and everything that goes with that.)
It’s much easier for us mere mortals to default to the darkness but by making small changes and being patient and mindful, you can spend more time living your life in the light.
" YOU ARE MORE PRODUCTIVE BY DOING FIFTEEN MINUTES OF VISUALIZATION THAN FROM SIXTEEN HOURS OF HARD LABOUR."
Chances are, at some point or another you’ve spent a little (or a lot) of time daydreaming of the life you desire.
Daydreaming is awesome! Not only do you see the picture of what you want to achieve but you feel the emotion that goes with it. I mean, what’s the point of hanging out in a daydream if you don’t feel some level of happiness or joy about it, right?
But what if your daydreams had a purpose other than that of passing time or escaping reality?
What if you used these daydreams in a more strategic way, as a tool to help you achieve your financial goals and make your desired life a reality?
This my friend, is where visualization comes in, it's a bumped up version of daydreaming or as Bo Bennett puts it, "Visualization is daydreaming with a purpose."
You don’t need a crystal ball to see your future…you can design it instead!
It all starts with your value-based goals and the things that are important to you. Maybe your goal is to get out of debt. That's a great start, but why? What does getting out of debt mean for you?
What does it look like? Be specific, you want to see all of the details. What are you doing? Who is with you? What do your days look like? And so on.
What emotions can you attach to your goals? How do you feel when you imagine achieving them? Are you excited? Filled with joy? Happiness? Pride?
Use your senses in your visualization. What do you see? Are there any specific sounds you hear? What can you taste? What aromas can you smell? Is there anything you can touch?
Write down as much detail as you can. You want to be able to create a vivid mental picture of it, so vivid that you feel like you are living it!
Maybe reading your description is enough to get you motivated and to keep you motivated, but if you want to be more, create something more visual, a drawing, or a painting or a collage of pictures. Or maybe you would prefer to put it in a song!
It’s up to you, let your creative juices start flowing and do whatever you need to do to help you keep a clear mental picture of your goal, with all of the emotion and the sensuality of it!
The next part is to visualize the process of reaching your goal. What steps do you need to complete to reach your goal?
"See" yourself completing each step, how does it feel? Which of your senses is being engaged?
As Frank Niles, Social Scientist puts it, "It is a powerful way to achieve positive, behavioral change and create the life you desire."
Visualization can help you stay focused on your destination, but it alone does not guarantee success in achieving your goals. There is more to the process than just thinking and dreaming about reaching your goals, you also have to engage in the activities that are aligned with them.
So what do you want? What does your desired life look like?
“If you ever find yourself in the wrong story, LEAVE.”
A “money story” or “money script” is a belief about money that guides a person’s financial behaviours.
These are the stories that children learn from their own experiences with money, their parents’ money stories and their parent’s attitude towards money, as well as from other influences.
Whether or not you are aware of it, we all have money stories and they create the financial habits that we carry into adulthood. Good or bad, these stories and scripts play beneath the surface, subconsciously guiding our actions.
In his research at Kansas State University, Brad Klontz, PsyD, financial psychologist, and his team found a link between specific money scripts and lower incomes and net worth.
“Specifically, money avoidance scripts (e.g. ‘Money is unimportant,’ ‘Rich people are greedy’), money worship scripts (‘More money will make me happier’), and money status scripts (‘Your self-worth equals your net worth’) are all associated with poor financial outcomes,” he said.
So what does this mean for you?
A picture of a healthy relationship with money may include spending that reflects your values, being debt-free or having a plan to become debt-free, setting and achieving financial goals and having money to cover your expenses, even the unplanned ones.
If your relationship with money is not the picture of health it may be time to take a closer look at your own money story and do a little rewriting.
Changing money stories will take time and you have to be willing to dig a little (or a lot) and bare your financial soul. These stories can really have a negative impact on people and in some cases, they can be debilitating.
Should you feel this is too much for you to take on by yourself, seek professional help, give yourself a big pat on the back and congratulate yourself for taking the steps you need to in order to improve your relationship with money!
If you feel that this is something that you can do on your own, but you’re not really sure how to start rewriting your money story…here are 9 crucial steps to reshape your money story and improve your finances.
Identify your money story.
Write down all the negative money stories that you are telling yourself and living out. For example: “I’ll never get out of debt.” Or “I only get jobs with low pay.”
Understand where your story comes from.
By understanding that these stories are not yours, but are conditioned beliefs instilled by your parents and other influences, you can begin to separate yourself from them and create your own story.
Find proof that your current money story is not accurate.
Begin by seeking out at least 3 experiences or pieces of evidence that disprove each story you’re telling yourself.
Your self-worth does not equal your net worth.
Your net worth is the value of your assets minus your liabilities. It does not reflect who you are as a person.
Create a new money story and live it.
What is your ideal money story. What purposeful actions can you take to help you live it?
Start with baby-step changes and commit to one at a time.
Change is difficult but if you choose and commit to small changes, you will increase your chances of creating new financial habits and achieving your goals.
Be willing to forgive yourself.
The will be bumps along the road to changing your money story but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t possible. You have to realize that even with a new money story, life is not perfect and you have to be able to forgive yourself if some things don’t go as planned. If you fall, get up, dust yourself off and keep moving forward.
Visualize your habits.
Have a means to “see” what your money habits are and what your plan is. This could be a spreadsheet on your computer or it could be an app or it could be something as easy as using a pencil and paper. The idea is to be able to visualize what you are doing instead of leaving it as a vague thought in your mind.
If you don’t understand the basics of money management, it can keep you from changing your mindset and rewriting your money story. Being afraid to invest in yourself (time, money, or both) will keep you from moving forward. The more educated you are about personal finance, the more confident you will be to try to improve your situation. Read books, listen to podcasts, invest in a coach. Do whatever it takes to get you on the right path.
Your money story is the driver of your financial behaviours and negative ones can block you from achieving financial wellness and success (whatever success may look like to you).
Take the time to reflect on your stories and ask yourself if they are serving your best interest if they aren't, what are you going to do to change it?
When people look to change something in their lives, many tend to go the "all or nothing" route. If they want to lose weight, they want it to happen as quickly as possible but rarely take the time to think about their journey to get where they are.
I don’t know about anyone else, but I know that I didn’t wake up one morning to find that the "fat fairy" had made a deposit to my mid-section! I saw the numbers creeping up on the scales, I felt my pants get tighter but I chose to ignore it until I couldn’t.
It’s the same with debt. There’s no "debt fairy" popping in during the night, screwing with your finances and leaving you with a pile of debt. Chances are, there were signs along the way that you didn’t see or chose to ignore. You knew it was happening but you didn't know how to react to it or how to fix it, and that’s OK…"No Judgment Zone" here…
True, life happens…relationships break down, jobs are lost, health issues or maternity leave mean reduced incomes. But there are ways to create a financial safety net to protect you, just in case…however, many people choose not to do anything until they are forced to.
So how do you start creating your financial safety net?
Well, after you figure out how you "got here" and what’s "keeping you here"…it’s time to make some changes. Yes, that’s right, changes….
C-H-A-N-G-E-S. Think about it, do you really think that you can continue doing the same thing but get different results? It doesn’t work that way.
Change can be a pain and it can be slow. Face it, you will probably screw up and you might want to give up…but don’t; think about why you need to make these changes. What do you want to achieve, what’s in it for you?
You can choose to live a fulfilling life by taking control of your money and spending money in a way that reflects your values. If it doesn’t make you happy, why do it?
Make the changes gradually. Don’t do a money crash-diet, it takes time to build a habit and if you truly want to make more successful changes in your life, don’t overwhelm yourself. Trying to change too much, too quickly is a recipe for failure.
Let’s use the ever relatable weight loss scenario as an example:
You have followed the program of choice, it’s been a long slow process but you’ve learned lots and lost some weight. Woohoo, you go girl!
But what happens next?
You’ve learned and implemented new and healthier habits and "maintenance" techniques. You have also made other healthy changes in your life…. instead of munching on chips and chocolate at work because you are stressed or bored…..you get up and take a quick walk or even a five-minute meditation (or nap) while sitting in the ladies' room.
Chances are that you will continue to keep off the weight and live a healthier lifestyle because you’ve learned how to deal with the situations that send you into the "bad habit zone". No, this did not all happen overnight, but by making small changes gradually, you are able to keep up this lifestyle without feeling deprived and overwhelmed.
Alternately, you followed the latest weight-loss craze, yes it was a bit drastic and you restricted the foods you ate and may have even stopped eating certain food groups, but you did it!! You no longer have to ask "Does this dress make my butt look big?" because you know it doesn’t.
Whew! Success, finally!
Hmm.... OK, well, you can continue restricting the foods you eat....however….
…. a little treat here and there surely wouldn't hurt anything. Right? I mean, you have lost the excess weight and you know that you can always follow the program anytime you want.
So how about a few chips and maybe some chocolate? …. No harm done.
Then it happens, what a blowout at work (or home)! You are fit to be tied. Where is that ice cream?? You are going to teach your boss (or your spouse) not to treat you like that. That’s right, you are going to teach them one heck of a lesson, you are going to sit there and you are going to eat whatever you want, because you can and they will be so friggin’ sorry that they messed with you!
Time passes, the ice cream (treats) are gone and everything is calm again, but ever so slowly you slip back into your old eating habits and before you know it, not only have you regained the weight you lost and more, but your muffin top now looks like it belongs on a shelf in Costco!!
Money problems can work the same way, there are short term (band-aid) solutions that will take care of the immediate issues or you can go gung-ho with the all-or-nothing approach…but realistically, it’s not sustainable. When you start depriving yourself…it won’t be long before the rebel in you breaks out and goes mad-ass crazy!
I mean seriously, do you want to live a life of deprivation? I think not.
Slow and steady wins the race! You are more likely to reach your financial goals by taking baby steps.
None of us are perfect and if you slip up, so what?
It’s OK…you can get back on track and continue the journey!
"YOU WILL HAVE MORE SUCCESS IN ACHIEVING YOUR GOALS BY CHANGING ONE THING AT A TIME."
Quite often when people decide to make changes in their lives they tend to go all out at the beginning. They feel totally motivated and ready to take on anything to get the results they want to achieve. They dive headlong into something with only an idea of what the end result will look like.
This works for a little while but the excitement and motivation usually wear off quickly and can be replaced by negative feelings such as overwhelm and regret.
A great example of this is the gym memberships.
Come January the gyms are flooded with folks looking to cast off the mistakes of the past and live a healthier life. Forgetting that they didn't just wake up one morning and suddenly there they were, lying in bed, out of shape and unhealthy.
Fast forward a few months and many of the would-be health nuts are nowhere to be found. Not because they are losers who can’t stick with anything, but because they took on too much, too quickly and without a plan.
Now let’s look at this in reference to financial health.
The same thing can happen when people try to change too much too quickly with their money situation.
Here’s an example.
You would like to start saving more money so you decide that there will be no more dining out, you cut the Netflix, you start using grocery coupons, you sell off everything that you don’t use, you reduce phone plans and so forth.
For the sake of this example, let’s just say that you aren’t in the dire straights and it’s your choice to save money. (Realistically, there are people in a position that their only options are to either make drastic cuts or find extra income, quickly.)
Here you are, you are making all of these changes at once. It feels great to know that you are in control and you are doing this!
The big question is, "How long can you sustain this?".
You start to get antsy, you want to go out to dinner…you miss watching your favourite programs on Netflix…you regret selling many of the things that you sold…and so forth.
Eventually, you begin slipping back into old habits and patterns and before you know it you are in the same situation you were in before. The only thing that you have achieved is to feel even worse than you did before because now, on top of everything else, you have failed to achieve your goals.
But hey, don’t be too hard on yourself. It's not that you are weak or anything like that…the problem is that you took on too much, too quickly.
Instead of trying to change everything at once. Change one thing at a time.
To be successful at making changes stick, pick ONE thing that you want to do differently today, and do that thing. When you have established that new pattern or habit, choose the next thing that you are going to change and work on that. This will help you to stay focused and achieve what you set out to do.
Remember...it took awhile for you to create unhealthy money habits and it's going to take time to establish new, healthy habits.
If you want to establish new habits:
1. Make a list of the old habits you want to change because they no longer serve you.
2. Make a list of the new habits you want to establish, in order of priority.
3. Choose the most important change that you want to make and do that one thing until it comes second nature to you.
4. Choose the next change that you want to make and do that until it becomes established.
5. Continue to do this until you have gone through the list of changes that you want to make.
Yes, it's going to take time to implement these changes, but you will have more success in achieving your goals if you do it this way. Celebrate the changes you make, and be proud of yourself for doing so!