It seems that sometimes we forget to take accountability for the choices that we make and allow this to affect our financial wellbeing
A few weeks back I was speaking to someone about something unrelated to money. They were physically getting distressed and anxious about their current situation.
When I asked them why they were allowing themselves to feel and be treated the way they were, their reply was “Well, I haven’t got any choice have I?”. I didn’t understand why she believed that she didn’t have a choice, no one was forcing them into the situation that they were in.
This conversation got me thinking about all of those choices that in some way or another have affected my own financial wellbeing and led me to where I am today.
Upon reflection, I came to the conclusion that there have been 10 or even more ways that I have sabotaged my own financial wellbeing and I know that I can’t be alone in this.
So here are just 10 things that I came up with.
#1 Comparing yourself to others
It’s only human to compare yourself to others, whether it’s friends and family or colleagues.
Stop to think though, while you are highlighting what’s so wonderful in others, your energies aren’t being used to make you the best that you can be.
If there is something that you admire about someone, that’s great understand that there is nothing wrong with admiration so long as it doesn’t become obsessive.
Don’t dwell on what you admire about others, instead learn from them, improve yourself, in doing so you might as a result improve your financial situation and be that person that people admire and want to emulate in the future.
#2 Not taking action
Call it positive thinking or the law of attraction, some people actually believe that just by thinking and visualising about what they want in their lives they are going to receive it. Sorry to say it doesn’t work like that.
I’m not for one moment suggesting that there is anything wrong with positive thinking or belief in the law of attraction, I believe that our mindset plays an important role in our financial situation.
Positive thinking and the law of attraction alone isn’t going to change your situation, action is.
You might have a million and one ideas about how you could improve your financial situation but if you fail to take action, they are just that, ideas. ideas alone have rarely made anyone better off financially.
#3 Letting others influence your decisions
I didn’t go to university, mainly because I had people around me telling me that I should get myself out of education and get a proper job and as a result I’ve ended up in a job that doesn’t necessarily give me a sense of accomplishment.
I know that going to university alone wouldn’t have necessarily meant that I would be financially better off or be in a job that fulfils my wants and needs, but it might have given me a helping hand on the career ladder.
Influences might not be so life changing but might still affect your financial wellbeing, friends might insist on a big night out or a trip away. When you are trying to get your finances together it can be difficult to say no for fear of letting others down but this is something that you are doing for you.
You are responsible for you, if things don’t go to plan because you have taken too much notice of others, it is only you that is going to suffer.
#4 Having the wrong mindset
I guess this builds on #2.
It was Henry Ford that said “if you think you can do a thing or think you can’t do a think you’re right.”
Others might tell us that we can’t do something for many reasons, but we are only limited to what we believe we can achieve not what others believe we can’t.
If you have people like this around you maybe its time to take stock of your social circle, their own negatively only serves well to breed a negativity of those around them.
#5 Not taking stock of your current circumstances
No day is the same, one day you might be making a good salary, the next you’re not. My wife and I recently had to deal with a drop in household income.
As the saying goes nothing is guaranteed in this life except death and taxes.
If your wage drops then you obviously need to check your expenses and cut back where you can.
This actually goes both ways too.
A pay rise doesn’t have to mean that you go out and buy a bigger car or dining out at more at expensive restaurants. Instead it come mean utilising it to improve your income, whether that be through investments or savings.
While I’m not saying that a pay rise should just be stashed away rotting in a bank somewhere there has to be an amount of levelheadedness about what your spend a pay rise on.
#6 Fear of change and success
Fear of change and success is a limiting factor in trying to achieve your financial goals.
If you fear that your life is going to change in such a way that you might not want it to your actions will be that of avoidance to the change.
Fears about change and success are real, you only have to read some of the horror stories about people that have come into money or worked to make their life a success, only for their lives to be turned upside down. This obviously might say more about the people around them but the fear is most definitely genuine.
#7 Not setting goals or setting unrealistic goals
Goals give you something to aim towards, they give you an idea about how to get from point A to B and enable you to check whether you are on track to meet these goals.
By not setting goals you are essentially not giving yourself a fighting chance, instead choosing to float without direction, hoping for hoping sake that things just somehow fall into place, the stars align and everything will work themselves out.
If setting goals years in advance isn’t for you, maybe try setting your goals weekly or monthly, then build on these successes.
If you don’t know how to set goals, this article about Powerful Goal-Setting Tips for Creating Your Extraordinary Life might help
#8 Not paying yourself before anyone else
Paying yourself first is not a new financial concept.
It not only assists in building up an emergency fund it all sets you up make better future financial decisions as it allows your money to be used to increase your wealth.
The best way to start paying yourself is by simply taking it out of your own hands. Set up a standing order for an amount to leave your account into another as soon as you are paid.
Start small, you can always change the amount, but definitely start.
#9 Settling at work
It you you can honestly say that you are in a job that you enjoy and one that leaves you fulfilled at the end of the week you can move straight to #10 on this list.
If you are still reading. You are more than likely stuck in a job that you wouldn’t have thought about doing in your wildest dreams.
How many of us have said, about our work. “Well it pays the bills” or “gives me the money I need for my next holiday” or “the working hours are flexible”.
There is nothing wrong with this way of thinking, for some it’s perfectly fine, but the fact you are reading this might suggest that you are not happy with your current work situation.
We are at work a large proportion of our life, and yes there are things that are out of our control, but to be doing something that we probably don’t enjoy that doesn’t pay what you belief we are worth or doesn’t meet our wants and needs is no good to anyone.
#10 Not being grateful for what you already have
Sometimes the grass actually isn’t greener on the other side.
In your pursuit to change your financial situation you could be possibly running the risk of missing out on opportunities that present themselves.
I appreciate that gratitude can be difficult when we see others with what we believe we want or need in our own lives, but how many people are looking at you wishing that they had half of what you had, it’s probably more than you imagine.
So long as you don’t become infatuated with your financial wellbeing, give time to loved ones and your own health, things should work out in the end, it will take time but it will be worth it in the end.
So what’s your next move?
You’ve probably come to this post being in a place in your life, like me, financially that you didn’t expect to be.
The 10 items above are by no means an exhaustive list about why you might not be where you want to be financially, so feel free leave a comment to add to this list.
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