How do you think about money?
No, really, take a moment to answer this question.
Do you like it, love it, or hate it?
Which of the primary ways in which you use your money – earning, saving, investing and spending it – come easy to you? Or, do you more often feel like you’re pushing a heavy snowball uphill?
Does your relationship with money feel meh, good or great? How about when you integrate a third-party into the mix – like your mate; what aspects of your relationship with money change, then?
If, as you reflect on your answers, feelings of guilt, shame, and embarrassment surface more than joy and pride, why might that be the case?
While I hold to the notion that there really aren’t any right or wrong answers, I do believe there are ideal ones.
Whatever your answers to the multi-layered question – “How do you think about money?” – they matter.
Your answers matter because of the power held within them. Especially as it pertains to how they help you delve into your emotions and thoughts about money.
Your answers matter because embedded in them are clues for how and what you need to push the reset button on if 2017 is truly going to be different than the years before, and, indeed, be your best year yet. Financially or otherwise.
But, be careful of the trap of positive thinking.
You know the kind of thinking that the pioneer of positive psychology, Dr. Martin E.P. Seligman, warned us against because “optimism may keep us from seeing reality with the necessary clarity.”
Hmmm..have you ever done this? Or, perhaps a better question is how recently have you fallen into this trap? If you are a free-spirit like me, this is an on-going challenge!
Your financial success is dependent upon you avoiding this trap. It needs you to be deliberate; it needs you to pay attention; it needs you to be flexible and adaptable as your life’s circumstances and challenges warrant.
Your financial success needs you to cultivate a healthy money mindset. And what better time than now to share ideas on how to do just that!
9 Ways to Cultivate a Healthy Money Mindset
(1) Be actively engaged with your money.
Don’t let being “busy” be the reason you procrastinate when it comes to financial tasks, decisions, and choices.
(2) Find a middle ground.
Always be on the look-out for ways to blend your short-term needs/wants/responsibilities with your long-term needs/wants/responsibilities. Avoid the pitfalls of living so in the moment that you jeopardize your future. But, similarly, don’t be so oriented toward your future that you don’t give yourself permission to fully enjoy the present.
(3) Endeavor to live more by design than by default.
Not sure what I mean? Then do this free exercise to experience what I mean. In short, most of us have been conditioned to live “by default” and it has everything to do with what comes first in terms of your approach to money.
(4) Remember, deserve is not a bad word.
Some people struggle with money because there is a subconscious belief that they don’t deserve to have an easeful relationship with it. Wrong! And if you or someone you love has this belief, know this: if you’ve worked for it; if you make the tradeoffs to get what you want; if you create a plan for it, then you deserve the riches and wealth that come from being a good steward of your money.
Don’t confuse deserve with entitlement. This, on the other hand, is a bad word! An attitude of entitlement is both limiting and very unattractive.
(5) Lead with care – care of others and yourself.
(6) Aim to optimize – everything.
When you look at the many domains of money – saving, investing, spending, getting out of debt, giving (philanthropy), earning, your relationship with money, your relationship with money plus others, be sure to ask: Is this the best I can do here? Or, how can I do even better?
(7) Focus on your strengths.
While it is important to know what is your Achilles heel, focus on your strengths – financially and otherwise. Because when your springboard is from a place of strength (rather than weakness), your power is well, more powerful.
(8) Expect to make a mistake and sometimes fail.
It’s a part of the human experience to make mistakes and sometimes fall short of desired results. When you make a mistake or experience a failure, the goal is to focus on and embrace the lesson. And, remember to forgive yourself! Don’t wallow in guilt, shame, and/or embarrassment.
(9) Have a self-care routine.
Cultivating a money mindset that fuels your financial success requires clarity and boundaries. Yet, it is hard to be mentally and emotionally clear if YOU are not operating at your best. It’s also hard to honor your boundaries if you’re operating on empty or near-empty.
Taking time to rest and get recharged isn’t a luxury — it’s a necessity. So, make sure to have a way, that works for you, to stay connected to you and what’s important to you.
You’ve likely heard me say or read here on the site, you don’t manage money so much as you manage choices. But, your mindset is what shapes those choices.
When you consider those choices, it’s important to remember that your financial success doesn’t need you to think positively. It needs you to cultivate a healthy money mindset. There’s a difference between the two, and it matters – significantly.
Keep that in mind as you gear up to go into 2017. May it prompt you to ask: What about your current money mindset needs to be different in order for you optimize your financial potential?
And once you’ve identified the difference that will make a difference, are you game for doing the work ahead?
p.s. About two months ago, I made the suggestion to use the holidays as an opportunity to initiate a family financial meeting. I’d love to know if you’ve already done this or plan to do so before December 31st! Click here to read (or re-read that post.)