Resolutions always seem judgmental to me. A lot of them are built on the guilt and shame over having done something “wrong” that got us to a place we don’t want to be. So the resolution is supposed to “fix” us or the issue. Instead, I propose using questions to create a new paradigm for your money.
Resolutions are the end of the process, not the beginning
Questions are different than a new year resolution. A resolution is an external result you seek (usually), such as “I want to pay off my debt,” or “I want to save more toward retirement.” The thing is, resolutions don’t have any juice unless you understand how the resolution attaches to your thinking about the status quo. If motivation comes from guilt or other negative emotions, the motivation only lasts until you find something else to feel more guilty about.
Here are some questions that some of my clients have found helpful as we close out the year:
- What worked for you and what did you love about the past year?
- What didn’t work and what frustrated you this past year?
- What do you see as some recurring themes in your life, either with money, people or otherwise?
- Are you ready to let go of past disappointments and forgive?
- What is one short-term goal you have around your key frustrations?
- What would you like to see or feel change in the new year?
A huge part of changing your dynamic around money (or anything, really) is letting go of the past and forgiving yourself—and others—for not being perfect.
We can’t beat ourselves up for not letting go sooner…we let go when we are ready to let go. Once you’re ready to let go of the old ways of doing and thinking, your decisions to move forward are energized with different motivations.
A new money paradigm
To get better with your money, you need to start defining behaviors that contribute to your financial health. And as you start identifying what those are, ask yourself: Is this a behavior that you can live with for the next few years? if it isn’t, then it’s not going to stick.
A new money paradigm should start with the understanding that building wealth is an ongoing process, and when you surround yourself with the conditions you need to support this, choices and habits come more easily. You won’t be perfect 100% all of the time (and who is?), but if you view everything as a trend, then incremental improvement counts. There is no judgment, just what is.
You can’t build a new, lasting paradigm on shame, resentment and regret. It only works with love, acceptance and compassion. My guess is, most people could use more of these things in their lives. You can start by giving it to yourself.
One thing that is totally in line with this philosophy is my Money Boss program. You should check it out and see if this is a resource that can help you get ahead of your money in 2016!
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