A Mindset Hack That’s Obvious But Underrated
So many of us have felt this burden, like we’re not living the life we envisioned for ourselves. Or like we never have enough time, energy or money or we just can’t seem to get to a comfortable financial level even while making a good income and trying to save more.
Twenty years ago, I found myself in a situation where I had to improve my life. As a journalist, that meant really digging in and doing research. I studied everything I could get my hands on in the fields of behavioral science, personal finance, psychology and the science behind people who thrive. What I learned helped me make significant changes.
There was one piece of advice I got that was so obvious it sounds almost ridiculous to be called advice. In fact you may think ‘Really? Is that all you’ve got?’ While it’s obvious, it’s a huge piece of the puzzle many people still don’t apply.
If you’re not where you want to be or feeling good about your progress on your financial and life goals, you could be overlooking this. Because as unprofound as it sounds, it helped me change my money habits, health habits, relationships and everything else.
So here it is: Decide.
That could mean:
- Decide how much money you need to save to feel financial secure.
- Decide to save more, and how much to save each month.
- Decide to not rack up any more debt.
- Decide to make a change in an area you’re not happy with.
- Decide to fix the cash flow issues in your business.
- Decide to start a side business you love.
- Decide and define what you specifically want in your life (to create your richest life).
- Decide to write a detailed plan for going after your goals and dreams.
- Decide to take at least one step every day to make progress on your goals.
- Decide to say ‘no’ to the things that don’t align with your heart and soul or financial and life goals.
- Decide what to say ‘yes’ to very carefully (because when you say ‘yes’ to something, you’re invariably saying no to something).
- Decide to feel good about who you are.
- Decide to feel worthy of the things you want.
Of course, you want to follow through as well.
So why is this actually profound advice? Because the definition of decide is to make a choice, to select a course of action. Conscious, purposeful action.
A lot of people get stuck in a sort of inertia. Meaning they don’t decide to plan out the life they want, or decide to fix their finances or habits so they can have a better life. They figure that somehow it will all work itself out (I know this because I have been there and thought that). They may want change and wish, hope and plan something out in their mind, think about doing it in the future, but they don’t make a decision and act on it. Since we’re not wired for change, change doesn’t happen easily. So we’ll keep repeating the same patterns and habits every day if we don’t consciously interrupt them and take different actions.
A friend of mine grew up in a family where it was expected he’d go to business school, get an MBA and work in corporate America. He blindly followed the path, and was living what looked like the perfect life. He did well, but inside he wasn’t happy. An otherwise easy-going guy, he found himself angry a lot. His work life was so far from his personality. Even though he wanted out, he didn’t want to disappoint his family, especially because they had put him through school. So he stayed. And then one day, he decided. He would take whatever the consequences were. He left the corporate world, told his family, and began creating the life he wanted. Today he has an art studio and loves his life.
I have seen many stories on both sides of the coin—people who stay where they are in their work or finances even though they’re stressed and unhappy, and people who’ve changed despite seeing big hurdles in their way.
Sometimes circumstances do make it difficult to change something. But a lot of the time, it’s just a matter of deciding. You can create the life you want or move closer to it. Once you put your most valuable resources of time, energy and money toward your heart-and-soul goals—when every dollar has a purpose, every action has a purpose—your life begins to take shape according to your blueprint.
An Action Step You Can Take : Make a list of three things that if incorporated into your life would make it great. Next to each of those three items, write down one action step you can take toward making it happen. Take one step forward this week, and see how it feels. Even baby steps will drive you forward.
Taking a step is the best way to “decide.” If you keep doing the same thing, nothing changes. If you’re taking steps toward your goal and you find out they’re not working or it’s not the right path, you can switch course. Even then, you’re moving forward because you’ve learned what doesn’t work or what you don’t want.
At the same time, taking action can lead to more action. Because it builds your confidence muscles like nothing else. You get to see what you’re capable of achieving and you get a sense that your dreams and goals are possible.
What decisions have you made that have transformed your life? How did you go about it? We’d love to hear from you. Your comments can also inspire others.
If you found this post helpful, please Like, Tweet and Share. Thank you for reading!
Next post: How to find money in your budget for investing without earning more. Plus simple ways to invest.
(Posted 4/6/17. Edited/updated 4/9/17.)