At the risk of veering off into a bit of mysticism, our limiting beliefs about money and our ability to earn it can keep us stuck where we are. If you simply hate the idea of budgeting, it will cause you to keep pushing off the task. If you resent wealthy people for their ability to seemingly make tons of money without much effort on their part, this can lead you to harbor resentments about them and money itself.
Why would you seek to make lots of money if it means becoming like those people you resent? This isn’t about the law of attraction.
Rather this is about shifting your ideas about money so that you don’t break out in hives, or give yourself a panic attack every time you need to bring out the budget sheet. If you and your partner both had healthy ideas about money, do you think you’d have fewer arguments about the subject?
If you felt confident in your ability to teach your kids the right way to handle money, do you think you’d feel less guilt and shame whenever the kids talked about getting something they wanted but were too expensive? Mind you, this isn’t about supplying your kids with their every whim either. This is about recognizing your true capabilities with money, and how not to shy away from it.
Like it or not, the current situation you find yourself in with regards to money may be a reflection of not only how you perceive earning it, but also how you perceive your own ‘deservability.’
Budgeting is a tool to help serve you on the way to a better life. Sometimes, getting to that better life requires a shift in thinking.
Study What You Think About Money and How You Use It
You can study your own mind by taking a look at the thoughts and feelings you have surrounding money. What immediate thoughts come to mind when you think of earning your living? What feelings arise in you when you realize there’s not enough money for what you want, or even what you need this month?
Getting good with money isn’t just about learning the how-tos as we’ve been doing so far. Since we were kids, our parents have taught us the value of a dollar and that it’s a good idea to save money whenever possible. However, our parents themselves can struggle with keeping more money than they make.
Additionally, we understand how crippling and disheartening being in debt can be. Yet, we know from statistics that most Americans still struggle with it and are now beginning to live from paycheck to credit card to paycheck! We may know what we should be doing with money on a fundamental level, but somehow as a nation, a part of a first-world society, our efforts don’t seem to be enough.
If you know what you ‘should’ be doing, really ask yourself why you don’t do it. What are your recurring mental thoughts and feelings when faced with potential solutions? What makes you so hesitant to change?
Think back to the different feelings or ideas that worked through your mind as you were reading this article. Were you feeling dread or boredom? Did you find you were talking yourself out of hunkering down with a notepad, calculator, and some coffee to just do the darned thing?
Not only should you be looking at your mindset when it comes to money and the way you personally go about earning it, but you should also study yourself when you’re faced with solutions. With so many resources and mentors available to us nowadays at little to no cost, why isn’t it that more people aren’t succeeding financially?
You may think you’re unworthy in any sense of the word—you may feel inadequate at work or unwanted at home. If this is the case, what are the odds of you asking for a raise or for that promotion you were promised a while back? Would you really search out better life circumstances for yourself if you felt like you didn’t deserve them to begin with?
If you feel defeated or hopeless looking at your budget sheet, this doesn’t mean you have to quit. This just means that you’re coming face-to-face with what’s been holding you and your finances back. Whether or not you’re able to stare down whatever that is will determine your continued success going forward.
Best Ways To Improve Your Money Mindset
When you change the way you think about something, you can change your mood. You’re not powerless to your emotions, but just like money, we don’t often learn how to navigate and hone our feelings, nor do we learn how to take responsibility for them.
Beginning to analyze how you feel about money and why you feel that way is the beginning of taking ownership of your emotions. Deciding what you will then do about them is being proactive and responsible.
1. Think Of Money As Nothing More Than a Tool
To piggyback on the idea of loving or hating money, both are wrong. Money as an idol or reprobate is either way, giving it more power than it deserves. Money is as useful a tool as a hammer. You can use a hammer to help build a treehouse, or you can use it to seriously injure someone.
The intentions you hold when you use money are more important than the money itself. Does it pass through your hands without much thought or appreciation? Are you especially relieved when you get a hold of it? Are you resentful when it leaves your hands again?
You wouldn’t feel overly emotional about using a hammer. It may take some time and a lot of mental exercise, but try to give money the same amount of attention you do any other tool. You appreciate the fact that you can use it to build or acquire things with, but you don’t get overly emotional about it otherwise.
2. Focus on Prosperity
Focusing on prosperity isn’t simply about thinking positively, but about refraining from thinking about your life within the context of debt. Yes, you may be in debt, and it may even be scary and frustrating.
That’s no less true even if you try to think positive thoughts. However, is your debt who you are? Can you focus on some of the things you are doing to get out of debt? You’re reading this book, for example; you may not be prosperous yet, but you’re a lot closer to achieving it than if you had decided to binge a show on Netflix instead.
You don’t have to repeat to yourself, “I have a million dollars in my bank account,” every day until you do. This, in fact, might do more damage than good, because in reality you know you don’t have that kind of money, and contrary to popular belief, your subconscious can’t actually fake it until it makes it a reality.
It’d be more helpful to your subconscious if you told yourself something different instead: “I may not be a millionaire yet, but having paid myself first this month, I’m now closer to a million than I was yesterday.”
3. Don’t Let Your Bank Balance Determine Your Happiness
This might be extremely difficult at the beginning, but you can’t let money dictate your moods or your stress levels. Yes, you may feel like your life is buried by bills and debts, but how you react to the adversity is much more important than how the adversity initially makes you feel.
This is similar to focusing on prosperity rather than debt. Okay, so you’ve been hit hard by another unexpected financial emergency.
What are some productive things you can do to begin rectifying the situation? Additionally, what next productive move can you make in order to prepare for the next obstacle or to secure the next goal? Let your emotions rest on the fact that you are steadily going in the right direction. You may not be out of the woods, but at least you’ve figured out where you’re going.
4. Don’t Compare Yourself
Leave comparisons behind—they do no one any good under most circumstances. A little friendly competition isn’t bad; it may push you to see how far you can go. You may discover that you had more in you than you initially thought.
The key there, however, is to look within you. If comparisons only lead you to zoning in on what you don’t have in comparison to someone else, then you are focusing on the things not only that you can’t control but that also have nothing to do with you.
If you’ve already figured out what financial freedom means to you, and why you want to go after it, then there’s no reason to poke your nose in what someone else is doing. What you have, and where you’re going with it are more than enough to push you ahead.
5. Recognize What’s Sabotaging You
Have you got a handle on your money mentality yet? Have you analyzed what triggers you into losing your temper when your spouse brings up anything to do with money? Your thoughts and feelings around money generally determine your behavior when managing it.
If you want to stop engaging in retail therapy, have you discovered what emotional state you’re usually in before you wind up spreading yourself thin at the mall?
Is there something else you can do to soothe that emotional state of mind or stop the incessant thinking that comes with this urge? Everyone has their triggers and subsequently their go-tos for soothing those triggers. Ask yourself what you can do to stop them, or at least create a different go-to.
6. Focus on Gratitude
Like prosperity, being grateful helps you control your reaction to the things in your life that may not be going so well. Be careful to not exercise gratitude in the hopes of gaining something in return. True gratitude needs no follow up.
The law of attraction is appealing to so many, because the people who have commodified it profess that wealth will walk into your life if you simply feel a certain way.
However, the law of attraction is nothing more than creating for yourself the right frame of mind in which to do your work. It’s a lot easier to work extra shifts when you’re grateful it pays for your home, for example. Being grateful for what you already have can help you realize how much you don’t actually need.
7. Forgive Your Past Mistakes
Ruminating on the mistakes that have cost you so much is another mental bad habit that will keep you from being proactive. This is especially difficult to shift from if you’re still paying for that mistake.
That’s the thing about money mistakes: They can be costly, and keep you stuck where you are for a long time. Forgiving yourself doesn’t have to be an overly religious experience either. This is about accepting the fact that you can’t take back the mistake you’ve made; you can only work to correct it now. There’s no use looking back at your past unless it’s to learn a lesson that will help your future.
8. Every Problem Has a Solution
Many of us may be intimidated by the simple use of the word ‘finance,’ but finance is just a fancy word for money, and money is simply about handling the basic mathematical formulas that come along with it. You may not like math, but thankfully what you need in order to succeed with money doesn’t require expert knowledge in calculus.
The bottom line in all of this is you. If you don’t believe you’ll find a way out of your situation, then you’ll likely stop looking for a solution.
Even if the only solution for you to survive is to move out of your home or to even declare bankruptcy, this doesn’t mean you have to be labeled a failure. Yes, you’ve gone through a terrible time, but what’s so bad about having to start again? You get the chance to do things better this time around.
9. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help
In all things, don’t be afraid to ask for help, especially if this is something you’re new at. No one does anything noteworthy without any help, and if they tell you they did it all by themselves, they’re probably lying to you! In the entrepreneurial and business-building arena, it’s common and even expected for someone to seek out a mentor, and for mentors to make themselves available to people who are looking to excel in their field.
You might not be able to afford private mentorship or go to financial seminars, but you don’t have to do all of those things to gain a high level of financial literacy.
Doing a bit of research online or reading through finance books from notable industry leaders is enough to get you started. There’s plenty of free knowledge readily available for anyone to use. You have to be ready and willing to seek it out and, most importantly, use it.
10. Don’t Take the Little Things for Granted
The little things you do to make your way toward financial independence shouldn’t be taken lightly or brushed away. If you think that reading a finance book for 20 minutes a week isn’t much and won’t get you far, then you’ll be less likely to carve out the time to do it, because you think it’s unimportant.
Don’t take the power of growing a little bit every day for granted. Eating a salad for lunch and doing some yoga in the evening might not make you centered and flexible by tomorrow. However, doing this every day or at least every other day will definitely make you more centered and flexible by the end of the year.
You may choose to procrastinate doing this one more day, and it wouldn’t make a difference, but continue the habit of procrastination, and you’ll be just as frazzled and stiff as you were a year ago. The same goes for building wealth.
You may decide to start putting away $25 a month, and you know that this isn’t going to be enough for building a retirement fund, but it’s more than you were doing last month and may lead you to start saving more down the road.