It’s that time of the year where many of us carve out time to reflect on the year that’s coming to a close, while simultaneously beginning to plan and set our eyes toward the new year on the horizon.
As we inch closer to January 1, 2024, what are you hoping for? (If you haven’t taken the time to write this down, now might be a great time to do so.)
I suspect that wrapped up in your hopes are both the desire for something “new” and also something more fulfilling. Whether that is emotionally, psychologically, financially and, maybe, just simply, practically.
I don’t need to see what you’ve written down (though I’d like to), or know what’s in your heart or in your mind, to confidently say this:
In some instances, this role is the driving force; in others, it’s a common, underlying, ever-present factor.
And whenever money is present, so, too, is your relationship with money.
Because not only does this show up in every swipe, every deposit, and every fiscal choice you make, it frequently intersects with your hopes, intentions, and goals, in ways small and large.
And guess what else will play an important role, showing up and taking center stage in subtle and not so subtle ways?
It is sitting alongside your anticipation of and excitement for the year ahead.
Let’s Do Fear, Differently
As you may know, I am not one to suggest you quell your fears.
Especially when it comes to money. (You can read more about that here.)
One of the reasons I take this stance is because fear is a natural and fundamental human emotion. This is what makes fear universal.
So, from my perspective, the goal isn’t to not feel afraid or to discount the money fears you have.
Rather, the goal is to identify the specific nature of your fear and to get curious as to why it is surfacing when it does. This is what makes fear, in general, and with regard to money, specifically, personal.
What Scares You?
Your fears are unique to you, influenced by your experiences, beliefs, expectations, and current financial situation. Addressing these fears often involves understanding their root causes, so that you can take proactive steps.
Here are a few ways to help you do just that:
Identify Your Money Fears
Just as writing down your hopes, intentions, and goals is important, so too is getting clear about what scares you about money and how this might affect you getting what you want?
Are you afraid of:
- Doing something wrong, e.g., making a mistake or the wrong choice?
- Not having enough, e.g.., not having sufficient savings or investments to cover future needs, wants, or emergencies?
- Having too much (yes, this a real fear for some people) – Do you question your ability to manage large sums responsibly, or to hire the right team to help you? Do you worry about how your wealth might affect some of your relationships?
- Working harder for your money than it is working for you?
- Your heirs squandering your legacy, e.g., do you feel they may mishandle what you intend to leave behind?
- Never getting out of debt and, thus, not experiencing the financial freedom you long to have?
Are you afraid you will fall short of meeting a financial goal…again? So you wonder if you really have what it takes to make it happen? (This is one of mine.)
Whether your money fear is noted above or not, please know this: Your fears are valid.
Please don’t feel bad for having them. And also, please take a moment to notice the ways in which your fears impact the choices you notice and the decisions you make (or don’t).
In other words, acknowledge your fears. But, stay in the driver’s seat.
From Paralysis to Action
Instead of allowing your money fears to paralyze or dictate your actions, use them as motivators. Turn your fear into fuel for setting clear goals, in general, and understanding the financial component, in particular.
For instance, if the fear of not having enough resources dominates your thoughts, channel that energy into creating a robust savings and investing plan, or exploring new revenue streams. Sounds obvious, I know. Yet, far too many people stay stuck in non-action.
Transfer Skills; Enhance Your Financial Confidence
Look for ways to “transfer” the confidence you have in other areas of your life and work to your approach to money.
Skills are skills, but often it is hard to (a) see this, and )b) apply them in an area where you feel self-conscious and less proficient because of past experiences and results.
Instead of vague hopes, intentions, and goals, be specific.
Go from, “I want to go on vacation,” to declaring where you want to go and when and the type of experience you want to have. Go from, “I want to pay off debt” to declaring how much you want to reduce your debt by year’s end.
This clarity doesn’t breed certainty, but it does breed focus.
And this focus provides a roadmap for continuously taking action as you move forward.
Remember, Change is Gradual
Change doesn’t happen overnight. Each step, no matter how modest, brings you closer to your aspirations.
You can’t see change whilst things are changing.
But you can notice it when you look back. So, track your progress.
Ask for Support and Guidance
Life and business are shared experiences.
You won’t experience your hopes, intentions, and goals on your effort alone…or in isolation. It simply doesn’t work like that!
So, whenever you feel stuck and/or unclear as you navigate the inevitable ebbs and flows of the new year, remember: You need not navigate this journey alone. Also, you don’t grow in isolation.
Valuable ideas, insights, strategies, and connections might be one innocuous conversation away.
In the pursuit of different and perhaps better, it’s easy to get caught up in what’s lacking. Yet, being grateful for what you have – right now – actually makes room for what you want.
Remember, gratitude isn’t about settling for less than, or denying any challenges or difficulties you may encounter.
It’s about finding moments of appreciation and thankfulness even when things aren’t as you want.
That’s the incredible power of gratitude.
Different; Better, Perhaps
It’s that time of the year where it is customary to set intentions and goals (or resolutions) with hopes that aspects of your life and business will be different. Better, perhaps.
I won’t say it’s time to stop being scared of your money and its role in making what you want become your reality.
I will say it’s time to stop letting that fear control your actions and limit your possibilities.
Taking a stand, in this way, for what you want in the new year can bring you closer to the brighter, more prosperous future you desire – in every way. Which is exactly what I wish for you.
Happy New Year!