There is no stress like money stress. The anxiety, fear, or dread that you feel when your money world is out-of-whack is the most uncomfortable and frightening feeling! It connects deeply to our survival instinct and our need to feel safe. But it also taps into our social fears: what would others think? I must keep up with the family, friends, or self-perceptions of success. Then there are the constant stream of “should’s,” “must’s,” “need to’s,” and “should have’s” that haunt our thoughts and disturb our dreams.
Very few people are perfectly comfortable in their money world. There are some, of course, and if you are one of those folks, I applaud you and want to be you when I grow up. If you aren’t one of those people and money stress is a reality in your world now, hang with me, and let’s create a plan to cope with that stress today.
- Face the truth
- Write down what you have and what you owe and when you owe it,
- Come clean with your spouse about anything that needs to come out of the closet,
- Forgive the past and take positive action today.
- Identify and define clearly where you want to be: debt-free, have savings of $X, earn $Y, etc.
- Be very specific about one thing – just one thing. It might be one credit card bill, one expense that you can eliminate, or one savings transaction.
- Write it down! Put it where you can see it, reflect on it, and absorb it.
- Make a plan to get there.
- For example, if you have a savings or debt-reduction goal, you have to identify a specific way to make that goal happen. “I will only take out $40/week in cash rather than $60 and I will transfer that $20/week to my savings account/credit card.” That is doable; that is action.
- List all the things that have to happen – change the amount of the ATM withdrawal, transfer the money (when? Weekly? Monthly? How do you do it? Online? At the ATM?)
- The more specific you are, the more real it becomes and the easier it is to do it.
- Take small actions every day to execute the plan
- We want the grand “fix” but that isn’t usually possible – many small steps will take you anywhere you want to go!
- “5 buck” your way to success – put down the 5 buck item and put 5 bucks in your savings account. Little amounts add up to big amounts when repeated frequently. It happens at the grocery store and it can happen to your savings account.
Knowledge is power so face the truth and get clear on where you are. Knowing the ideal creates a vision; it creates hope – what is more powerful and uplifting than hope? Clarity on what steps need to be taken creates feelings of power and competence. And best of all, action kills fear. The action of getting knowledge, envisioning the ideal, identifying the steps, and taking action combine to start a transformation. Continuing to take a step, any step, in the direction of your vision increases your confidence and feelings of competence and eliminates feelings of fear and stress. It is that simple and that hard.
Truth * Vision * Plan * Action