Finding your financial mojo

Finding the motivation to get your financial habits on track is easy if you find the write tools to motivate and inspire your financial goals. Alex Brooks wrote this for financial payments website Acreis.

Finding the motivation to sort your finances

Budgets, savings plans and financial goals are something we should do – but, like eating vegetables, we don’t always do it or enjoy it.

Whipping out the credit cards to get through a short month is so easy, right?

Finding the motivation to take charge of our own finances – which makes it easier to afford those credit card payments – seems to run last on the To Do list.

Yet being in control of your economic destiny is the first step on the path to financial security. As circus master PT Barnum once said, “Money is a terrible master but an excellent servant”.

For some people, financial planning comes easily. For others the mere mention of the word ‘budget’ or ‘financial goal’ is enough to make them tear their hair out and go shopping to improve their mood.

No matter which type of person you are, motivating yourself to take charge of your finances isn’t as hard as you think. The motivation to look after money can only come from one person: you.

GETTING STARTED: WISHFUL THINKING

The sensible side of our brain knows that tackling financial housekeeping allows you to:

  • prioritise your financial commitments in a way that suits you and your lifestyle;
  • be less vulnerable to financial crises;
  • tailor your lifestyle to your hopes and dreams rather than lurch from week to week;
  • stay out of debt – or even get you out of debt;
  • explore more effective ways to spend your money.

But if you’re one of those laissez faire spenders that prefers to let life – and money – happen at whim rather than to a strict plan, what can you do to make your finances easy?

Motivational consultant Gary Haseldine, author of Imagination Power: Success Is Only A Thought Away, says your own mindset is the best tool to take control of your finances.

Whether you want to start saving for a house or have a simple desire to get your finances under control, it all starts with a little wishful thinking – literally. Imagining what financial security can bring to your life is the first step on the path to goal-setting.

Letting your mind wander into the realm of financial fantasy allows you to formulate goals in a non-threatening way.

“Those goals will be individual for everyone. Most of us think we don’t deserve money in our lives. We do. We all need it. We don’t all need a lot of it. But we need it,” he says.

FINDING YOUR FINANCIAL PATH: BE INSPIRED

Not all of us want to pay off the mortgage in five years or have a million-dollar share portfolio. Yet most of us would prefer our money works for us rather than the other way around.

Mental Resilience coach Kamal Sarma says the key to walking a secure financial path is to be inspired rather than motivated.

“The word motivation is usually driven by fear but being inspired is driven by caring,” he says. “For example, I want to look after my finances because I’m inspired to look after my kids rather than motivated by the disaster that could happen if I don’t. Finding what inspires you to look after the financial area of your life is the key – then you’ll stick with it.”

Inspiration is a powerful tool to start you on the first steps of a solid financial future. Inspiration is motivated by positive hopes rather than recoiling from what you don’t want.

Some ideas to stimulate financial inspiration could be:

  • a dream to start your own business;
  • a wish to live in your own home;
  • a goal to buy gorgeous antiques or artworks;
  • an aspiration to give up work and live from investments;
  • a hope to own the newest and best technology;
  • a yearning to travel the world;
  • a desire to attend university to study great thinkers;
  • a plan to buy a fast sports car.

FINANCIAL GOAL-SETTING: THE KEY

Once your mind has settled on its own inspired financial path, it’s worth creating a goal that will automatically take you there, according to psychHaseldine.

There’s no need to fidget with time-consuming income and expenditure plans if that’s going to turn you off the idea of looking after your finances.

Haseldine says goal-setting is the key to taking your economic life to a new and unexpected level. “Your mind doesn’t know the difference between a real or an imagined experience. A goal is what will trick your mind into acting in your own best interests,” he says.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Take a piece of paper, write today’s date on the top.
  2. Create a goal that uses the positive, present tense and frame it as an affirmation. He suggests something like: “I am in full control of my finances. I seek advice from people with a proven track record of success and continue to put this into action.”
  3. Haseldine says the art is in creating a goal specific enough to give you focus and impetus, but general enough not to thwart you. “Don’t get into the nitty gritty of a goal,” he says. “Just create a goal that is measurable and realistic.”
  4. Decide whether you want to achieve your goal in a week, a month, three months, six months or twelve months. “Don’t set goals for any longer than 12 months or your self-image won’t let you achieve it,” Haseldine warns. “And don’t set more than one goal each day.” Write an end date on the top of your goal sheet.
  5. Make sure your goal is just out of reach, but not out of sight. Work out which stepping stones are just right for you. Remember, baby steps are easier than giant steps.
  6. Haseldine suggests writing the goal and saying it to yourself each day. It takes 21 days to form a habit and “eventually your subconscious will simply trick you into automatically working towards the goal”.

REWARD AND CELEBRATE SUCCESS

The path to success is not smooth and easy. “Most of us may only ever achieve 80 per cent of our goals, but it’s better than not setting them at all – then you don’t achieve anything.” Haseldine says.

“Havoc will happen and you will think it’s all going wrong – but don’t believe it. That’s just your old self-image trying to stop you from achieving success. Stick to your goals and you will get there.”

Haseldine and Sarma insist it is vital to celebrate and reward yourself as you achieve success. “Go out to dinner, buy yourself a small gift – do something to acknowledge how well you are doing,” Haseldine says. “You must always reward yourself, otherwise you will go flat and stop achieving.”

The other key to rewarding success is to continually set new goals. “Always create a new goal once you have achieved something – it will keep you going,” Haseldine says.

“In the end, it’s not money that will make you happy – it’s the goals people set and achieve for themselves.”

 

 

Category
Finance