Mindset matters. If I’ve learnt anything from my trips to Africa with The Hunger Project and helping people in abject poverty to turn their lives around, it’s the importance of our mindset. Mindset drives every part of our lives from our wealth and happiness to achievements and relationships.
If the words ‘financial planning,’ ‘budget’ or ‘money and finances’ leave you feeling bored or disengaged, it’s time for a change of mindset. You are the one who can change your financial future. I’ve met many professional and successful people who put ‘money’ on the back burner and hope it’ll take care of itself somehow.
But, only you can decide to become interested in your finances. It’s the first step in making any progress and can happen as quickly as you decide to become interested.
And it may not be suddenly being interested in ‘finances’ but again, working out what makes you happy.
If an annual holiday where you can ski, dive or relax with a good book in a hammock is really important to you, you will find ways to make it happen. If paying down the mortgage or getting rid of credit card debt is important, then setting goals and taking an interest in their outcomes if the first step.
Goals based financial planning is much more effective as it’s tied to outcomes. You’re getting to set the goals and constantly achieve them. It’s much easier to give up a night on the town or drinks with your mates if you know that the $100 you spend now, will be a dive on your trip, or ski hire for a day.
Setting our intentions is paramount. ‘I want to save $5, 000 for a week in Thailand or $10,000 for a driving trip down Highway 1 in the USA by this time next year means’ we have become very clear on what we want and when. ‘Someday’ and ‘one day’ don’t cut it when planning. Attention to detail helps us to reach our intentions.
Depending on our upbringing and thought patterns, money or the thought of it, can trigger emotions. If the thought of doing a budget or having a certain amount set aside makes you happy, then great! But if you are getting knots in the stomach at the thought of sitting down to examine your finances, it might be time to examine your thought patterns more closely.
If you do feel that you trigger a particular emotion when dealing when money or react to something when the subject comes up, take time out to examine your reaction. Is what you think really true or could there be other possibilities? Learning to insert ‘thoughts’ between triggers and emotions can take time. Seek professional help if you’d like to understand more about your triggers and thought patterns and feelings.
Some are brought up to believe that ‘money is the root of evil’ yet the original text states that ‘the love of money is the root of evil.’ There’s a very clear distinction here between ‘having money’ and greed. It may be worth examining some other strongly held views.
If debt is a problem, the same theory can apply. “I want to eliminate my credit card debt entirely in the next two years” helps us to focus on an outcome that will make us happy and feel much more content.
What’s a goal that you’d like to start working towards today? And when would you like to achieve it by? I’d love to hear from you!