I’ve mentioned before that I have been watching this awesome new sitcom called Mom. It stars Anna Faris and Allison Janney, and they are daughter and mother—-both recovering addicts—-going through all of the challenges that addicts generally face when working through sobriety. I love this show!
A few weeks ago, Anna Faris’s character Christy realized she was bored. Instead of dealing with all of the craziness she was accustomed to dealing with before and during recovery, she realized her life was going really well. There weren’t any problems to address, nothing for her to fix. So she slept with her out-of-work, homeless ex-husband who had parked his van/home in her driveway—that made things more interesting immediately. Essentially, Christy sabotaged her own progress to avoid boredom.
Self sabotage happens a lot with financial recovery; people miss the excitement of spending whatever they want, or the challenge of accumulating debt and paying it down. The problem is, if you can’t break your addiction to financial excitement, you’re never going to achieve the kind of financial life that gives you peace.
Avoid Self Sabotage
People equate discipline, steadfastness and structure with boredom. But these things are also things associated with success. If you think about a time when you lost weight, got fit or reached another goal, a specific routine was probably part of the equation.
And when it comes to exercise or weight loss, a lot of routines are established to avoid a negative consequence. Like eating the same cycle of healthy meals so you won’t go crazy and eat something really unhealthy. Or doing the same workout several times per week so you won’t just sit on the couch, waiting for inspiration to strike. I’ve noticed that people who are successful at these things rarely do things when they feel like it; they just do them.
Therefore, how can you create more routine with your money? And how can you stay on track when you’re feeling bored or resistant? Here are some ideas:
- Make a list of the reasons why stay on top of your money is important to you – then stick it in your wallet.
- Create a sacred weekly timeslot to review your spending and bank balances
- If checking or credit card balances makes you cringe, tell yourself “this is just data, not judgment.”
- Once per week, list out your planned spending for the next seven days (then compare to actual)
- Give yourself a small reward every week for staying on track
- Invent an audacious spending goal (trip to Europe, new TV) and save money and cut back on expenses to fund it out of cash flow
- Make a list of fun things you like to do that don’t involve spending money–my favorite is watching dogs at the dog park, even though I don’t currently have a dog! And during the holidays, I love to walk around and look at Christmas lights outside of homes.
- Make a list of ways you have self sabotaged your money in the past and list what you now do instead
If you were in financial crisis mode and are trying to get back to more financial stability, it can be hard to shift your mindset and believe that something as mundane as checking your balances every week will make a difference. But it does. Every bit of clarity you gain from a routine reaffirms your resolve to move from financial messiness to financial peace.
Actions This Week
- Book time. Set aside 30 minutes this week in a calm setting to think about what you want your next year to look like financially
- Reflect. What sort of financial routine would help you save more, spend less and do more with your money? How can you improve your financial health?
- Plan. Make a list of all of the things you’d like to accomplish in the next 12 months for your money. Then use your weekly routine to accomplish them!
If you can relate to this, you might like my free ebook, Money Chakra, which starts to help people understand how their attitudes and energy affect their money decisions – you can get that here.