Mindful Finances: How Noticing Your Feelings Can Change Your Results
- Make a budget and stick to it
- Save 10% in a fund you don’t touch
- Give 10%
- Spend less than you make
These are the simple basics. So why do so few of us actually do these things?
- I can’t afford to save or give
- Budgets aren’t realistic
- I can’t be confined to rules like these
- I deserve to have the things I want
- But what about my needs?
While we like to call them “reasons,” these are all just excuses and I’m guilty of using all of them.
These “reasons” are all driven by feelings and emotions we have that usually have nothing to do with how we’re about to spend our money.
Our financial situation is a reflection of our self-image and self-esteem.
This is one of the lessons of the saying: “You are the average of the five people you spend most of your time with.”
Most people spend most of their time around the people with whom they’re comfortable, people who don’t threaten or challenge their self-image or self-esteem.
I think it’s time we start pushing the boundaries of our comfort zones. Feel the fear and do it anyway kind of thing.
feelings around money
How do you feel when you spend money? Obviously it depends on what you’re spending the money on so consider your feelings when you spend money on:
- housing (mortgage or rent)
- your career or business
- medical expenses
Each category probably stirs up different feelings, some strong and some almost non-existent. Notice them.
Do you take a moment to notice those feelings right before you commit your life energy (money) to that thing? I think most of us would probably make different decisions if we took a moment to notice and consider such questions as:
- How do I feel right now?
- Am I buying this to placate my feelings or am I fulfilling a real need?
- How will I feel about this purchase tomorrow, next week, next year?
- Does making this purchase take me away from fulfilling other goals?
- Can I wait to make this purchase?
Each dollar spent today is more than a dollar we take from our future.
make a different choice
I challenge you to make a different choice in how you spend your money for one week.
First of all, try not buying things you normally buy. Things like lunches or dinners out, coffee, clothing. Think of alternatives that cost less or nothing at all or go without.
For all the things you probably need to buy, like groceries, pay in cash. Not with a debit card or anything else that resembles plastic. Just cash – bills and coins. You’ll think about the purchase differently.
At the end of the week, notice if you spent less money and, if so, how much less.
More importantly, notice how you feel about yourself and your finances at the end of the week.
Tweak it a little based on what you learned and try it for another week. And one more week. Twenty one days makes a habit.
If you need support, turn it into a challenge among you and your friends. When you feel like breaking the rules, call one of your participating friends and ask them for support.
back to the rules
After noticing your thoughts and feelings about your daily financial habits, consider your thoughts and feelings about the rules of money. What comes up when you slowly read each rule?
What is the origin of those thoughts and feelings?
Did you choose them or are they just part of the programming you received growing up?
Given the choice, would your freely choose them or something different?
You have that choice.
You can change your thoughts and feelings that create your actions that create your results.
As Steven Covey would say: Begin with the end in mind. What kind of result do you want? What actions would create that result? What feelings would create those actions? What thoughts would create those feelings?
Make yourself have those thoughts. Write them down and put them everywhere: on your bathroom mirror, on your refrigerator, on the dashboard of your car, in your wallet, next to your bed, on the ceiling above your bed, everywhere.
Say them to yourself as you’re waking up and as you’re going to sleep and many times throughout your day.
And, most importantly, make sure you’re feeling good as you’re having those new thoughts. Do things you enjoy. Look at or think of beautiful people who you love. Envision all the things for which you’re grateful.
Your financial future really has no relation to your financial past. There are plenty of examples of people who have gone from homeless to incredibly wealthy. It’s a choice. Your choice.
Help me to help you by writing your comments to this article with your thoughts. I genuinely value and appreciate your feedback. I’m here for you. Thank you.