What type of emotions come up when you think about your finances? Money might seem like a pretty straightforward mathematical thing, yet money is such an emotional subject. In fact, money is the number one cause of stress for most Canadians, especially so after over a year of living in crisis mode.
If you’ve experienced financial stress, the simple idea of a positive approach to your finances might seem laughable and actually somewhat offending. Trust me, this is not the intention of this post. I understand clearly that the weight of external circumstances beyond your control likely play a big part in triggering negative emotions around money.
It’s not easy to shift to a positive approach to your finances. It requires showing yourself plenty of kindness and compassion. I’m not here to tell you that you should pretend all is rainbows and unicorns to take control of your finances.
In this post I’ll describe what I mean by a positive approach to your finances, how you can start building up this approach and how you can then put in place the first step to take control of your finances.
What is a positive approach to your finances
When a subject brings up negative emotions, we tend to want to avoid that subject at all cost. It’s no wonder that a lot of people prefer to avoid discussing finances.
Just think about the limiting beliefs we tell ourselves around managing our finances:
- “I don’t want to know how much debt I have because I will feel discouraged.”
- “I’m not at the right place to look at my finances right now.”
- “What’s the point? I know I’m not good with money/math/etc.”
- “I’m too old to start pursuing financial independence.”
- “I’ve tried X,Y,Z before and it just didn’t work.”
A common thread in these thoughts is that there is a focus on weaknesses, negative emotions and struggles.
Studies on positive psychology have demonstrated that there is huge power in shifting a negative perspective to a positive approach.
“This is the focus of many techniques, exercises, and even entire programs based on positive psychology because a relatively small change in one’s perspective can lead to astounding shifts in wellbeing and quality of life.” Source
Let’s reflect back on the focus we saw in the list of limiting beliefs above and try to identify the appropriate shift in perspective to reach a positive outlook.
Instead of focusing on weaknesses, negative emotions and struggles, you would want to highlight strengths, successes and positive emotions like life satisfaction, gratitude, and aiming for great.
And why exactly would you want to do that? Well firstly, just this shift in focus is much more likely to lead to a feeling of well being. More importantly, a positive approach to your finances will give you a higher chance of success and living your best life.
Indeed, from a review of 225 studies, the authors of this 2005 Psychological Bulletin article, found that the evidence suggests that positive affect– experiencing and displaying positive emotions — may be the cause of many of the desirable characteristics, resources, and successes correlated with happiness.
Kindness & Compassion
So how do we get to that place of experiencing and displaying positive emotions around your finances?
Well most importantly, the process begins with self compassion and kindness. You may not be at an ideal place with your finances right now but beating yourself up won’t change that. As we’ve learned above, looking at your finances through strong negative emotions may in fact hinder your success.
Your past behavior with money may have served you well in some other aspect of your life than your finances. Perhaps that big medical bill gave you back your health or even saved your life. Those student loans contributed to opening up career opportunities for yourself. Even that credit card balance may have resulted from giving yourself a break from cooking while you were caring for your young children and trying to balance it all.
It’s okay to acknowledge how your behaviors with regards to money may have served you well in the past while also recognizing that some of these will need to change in order for your finances to support your future goals and objectives.
Perhaps your finances are in great shape despite a past negative approach. Yet, you are exhausted from the pressure you’ve been putting on yourself. Maybe shifting to a positive approach to your finances is just what you need to open yourself up to different opportunities to live a life that you love.
Building up a positive approach to your finances
Once you allow yourself to approach this task with compassion, you’ll then need to identify all of your limiting beliefs surrounding finances. Feels counterintuitive to dig into those beliefs that may result in negative emotions right?
The thing is, without digging into what these are, you have no way of transforming them into empowering beliefs that feel true to you. If we just ignore them and pretend all is fine, our internal perspective won’t truly have any significant shift.
“An important finding from positive psychology research is that forcing people who are not naturally optimists to “just think positively” can do more harm than good; unrealistic optimism is detrimental, along with intense pessimism.” Source
The next step is putting in the effort to transform each limiting belief into an empowering belief. Using the perspective shift mentioned above, you’ll want to highlight strengths, successes and positive emotions like life satisfaction, gratitude, and aiming for greatness.
For example, “What’s the point? I know I’m not good with money/math/etc.”, could become “There is so much to gain by having financial clarity. I’ve found strategies that work for me to use math in different areas of my life and can find ways to support my progress with my finances.”.
Want to learn more about transforming your limiting beliefs into empowering beliefs? Jessica from The Fioneers and I will be holding a FREE Workshop on April 7th @7h30PM ET all about:
- Why limiting beliefs keep us from reaching our full potential
- How to identify your limiting beliefs
- Strategies to help you transform your limiting beliefs into empowering beliefs
- Why building a supportive community is a game-changer
Sign-up here for our FREE Workshop : Transforming Your Limiting Beliefs on April 7th!
Finally, once you’re equipped with these empowering beliefs and a positive outlook, the task of looking at your finances and getting organized might not seem as big of a mountain to climb.
The First Step to Taking Control of Your Finances
The first step to taking control of your finances is knowing where you’re starting from. That begins with having all your financial information well organized for you to know at a glance what your total value of assets and debt load is in order to estimate your net worth.
I’ve designed a FREE tool to support you in this first step to taking control of your money. I don’t know about you but free things always bring up positive emotions for me 😉 . Hopefully this does the same for you, and you can start taking control of your finances fueled with a positive outlook.
By signing up in the form below to receive this guide, you’ll also be getting a copy of the accompanying Financial Clarity spreadsheet for your own use. It will allow you to get a fresh new view on where you currently stand. Furthermore, you can use this sheet to estimate your monthly spending and obtain an approximate budget based on your last year’s overall spending.
The accompanying bonus 6-day email course offers all you need to identify the gaps between your current situation and your objectives, and start supporting your progress towards your goals.
As a final word, I encourage you to be patient as you work on shifting to a positive approach to your finances. It takes practice to overcome the strong negative emotions that are often tied to money and plenty of self compassion and kindness.
While you begin to take control of your finances, be mindful of observing the data without judgement. A good way to sustain a positive approach to your finances at this point is to tackle the task with curiosity, engagement and hope.
Finally, keep up the positivity by rewarding yourself as you continue making progress. In fact, my monthly spending review is always done with dark chocolate at my side and relaxing music to keep those positive emotions flowing.
Do you have any tips on approaching your finances with a positive outlook? Have you had success in overcoming limiting beliefs around money?