Are you struggling with a mound of debt? Are you trying to save money? Sick of living paycheck to paycheck? If you’re finding that taking control of your finances is a challenge, it may be that you need to start letting go of the past.
What if it was possible to take control of your finances in three months? What if you could shift your thinking – “move the ball” to change your perspective on money. And alter your finances for the rest of your life.
Like most challenges in life, the ability to take control of your finances is a journey, and sometimes the hardest part of any journey can be just to get started. Maybe you have a whole bunch of credit card debt, a massive student loan, or maybe you’re just trying to save more money. Regardless, you’re probably fully aware of your situation. And also understand that if you can change the picture, you will be much better off in the future.
But why is it hard to get out of debt and save money?
Why is it hard to even get started taking control of your finances?
Most often, it’s not because we don’t know any better or can’t understand the mathematics behind money. Rather, it’s a function of how we view or perceive the whole process of getting out of debt.
If you’re struggling with your finances, it can be an emotional roller coaster. Stress, anxiety, fear, frustration can lead to exhaustion – it can be a mental whirlwind. The negative emotions can have a serious impact on how we view our environment at any one time, how we view our ability to take control.
In addition to all the negative emotional baggage we are carrying, we spend too much time overthinking the process. Overthinking our situation causes us to procrastinate, and not do anything.
If you want to take control of your finances, ask yourself if you’re spending to much time looking back, or looking forward.
Looking Back – Letting Go of the Past
Looking back is the process of continually beating ourselves up over and over again because of the debt or the situation we have put ourselves in. It’s always looking into the past. They say hindsight is 20/20 and nowhere is it more prominent than with our finances. In our mind, we go through all of the “shouldn’t have” or “I wish” scenarios of how things would have been different if we would have just done things differently.
- I shouldn’t have purchased that 48” TV on my credit card.
- Dining out is so expensive, I shouldn’t be eating out as often.
- I wish I would have saved more of my tax refund.
Even if we can justify some of the reasons for our past decisions, we know we are the only ones we can hold accountable. Sometimes that doesn’t feel very good. Not letting go of the past keeps us stuck today.
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Don’t let your finances or any aspect of your life keep you from getting unstuck. If you enjoy reading a good book, be sure to read Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead, by Brene’ Brown. An FTP great read that will change your perspective on courage, and help you move beyond the past.
Looking Forward – Feeling Like Everything is a Dead End
Looking forward is the process of constantly evaluating our current environment and projecting into the future. All the “what-if” scenarios. If the scenarios were always positive, this perspective would not be an issue. However, most often as it relates to debt, it’s more negative than it is positive.
- If I could pay off my debt, I wouldn’t be living paycheck to paycheck, but it’s going to take forever to pay off all this debt.
- This student loan and car payment keep me from saving money. I won’t be able to save more money for a long time.
- If I had a better job and made more money, I wouldn’t be in this situation, but a better job means going back to school, which means more debt.
Inevitably as we cycle through all of the “what if” scenarios we become so exhausted that we choose to not think about it at all, which of course doesn’t help our situation. Every option, every solution feels like a dead end. Looking forward and the “what if” stories we tell ourselves keep us from changing our future.
Taking Control of Your Finances
Beating ourselves up about the past, and procrastinating about the future creates a level of indecisiveness. Rather than doing something, or changing something – we do nothing. What’s that saying, “I use to be indecisive, but now I’m not sure.” Holding on to the past and worrying about the future, keeps you stuck.
I am a huge proponent of trying anything and everything. (Except if it relates to heights, I have a fear of them) I believe that by trying new things, we gain a new perspective on what is possible, and we learn something in the process. At the end of the day, whether we like it or continue to follow whatever endeavor we choose is always up to us.
This is the primary reason when discussing money with individuals in debt. I recommend a three-month plan. I believe that once you start the process of creating a plan and then implementing it, the results you achieve in just three months will change your thinking. And inevitably your course of action regarding your finances.
Three months isn’t about paying off all your debt or saving $100,000 in your savings account. Three months is about letting go of the past, looking forward scenario. And acting versus thinking about your financial situation. It’s about taking control of your finances for three months. Three months that will eventually lead to a lifetime of financial success.
Getting Started – How to Let Go of the Past
The place to start is to let go of negative roadblocks. First, let go of the past – it’s the past, you can’t change it no matter how much you think about it. Second, stop looking forward and feeling like all roads lead to a dead-end. The future is yet to be written; you can start writing the story of your life today.
Start creating a plan to overcome the looking back, looking forward challenge and change your perspective on your future. Follow the Filling The Pig (FTP) steps to create your plan.
- Create a Five-Year Plan, look forward positively, identify, and write down what you want your financial future to look like.
- Start saving for an emergency so you can avoid taking on more debt.
- Create a simple budget, so you know where your money is going.
- Use the Snowball Method to attack your debt and free up more money to save and stop living paycheck to paycheck.
If you’re not familiar with the FTP four-step plan, signup below and you can download the free workbook. The Workbook outlines each step and how you can use them to take control of your finances and stop living paycheck to paycheck.
Take Control in Three Months
Use these tools to create your financial plan, and then stick with it for three months. Once you start the process of taking control of your finances, your perspective on your debt and saving money will change. You will no longer spend time in “what if” scenarios or wasting time thinking about the past. You will begin charting your course to the future and the lifestyle opportunities that lie ahead.
It’s only for three months. Start today.
- Read more about managing credit card debt here.
- Your Money or Your Life, Vicki Robbin Your Money or Your Life: 9 Steps to Transforming Your Relationship with Money and Achieving Financial Independence
- Emotional Agility, by Susan David, Get Unstuck, Embrace Change, and Thrive in Work and Life
- Credit Sesame – Personal Credit Management – Free Credit Scoring and Monitoring
How do you overcome and start letting go of the past? Comment below.
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