Want to Start Feeling Better About Money? Try the 3 P’s
There’s a big Catch-22 when it comes to having a better relationship with money: Money can cause so much stress that it’s hard for most people to feel warm and fuzzy about it. Yet in order to have more money, you need to feel good about money first (that’s been well-researched).
Seems silly, right? How in the world can you feel good about money when it just doesn’t feel good to you right now?
The answer is to cultivate a mindset shift. Yes, it takes effort. It doesn’t happen overnight. But those who’ve done it, including myself, know that it works and is worth the effort. It’s something you do from the inside out, and you have to be serious about it if you truly want more for yourself. You can’t do it half-heartedly.
The reason is that when you think differently, you take different actions. Different actions lead to different results.
That’s where the 3 P’s come in. If you spend with presence, purpose and possibility, you can shift your entire experience with money. Here are 3 steps you can take:
1. Presence: Presence means paying attention in the moment, being aware of and observing your thoughts and actions without judgment. Otherwise, your decisions are being made almost entirely by your subconscious brain, which doesn’t usually mesh with the things you consciously want. At the same time, an awareness of where you stand financially right at this moment without judgment is the first step to feeling good about your money. That means getting to know your numbers—what’s coming in vs. what’s going out and what you’re spending on exactly. I can tell you firsthand: The minute you figure out the numbers, even if you don’t like what they show, that’s the minute you begin to feel a shift within. You’re taking control. You’re no longer settling. That’s the moment you get to start fixing. And it’s in a state of presence (again, non-judgment) that you can start to make decisions you feel good about.
Also, try paying attention to how you think and act around money: What type of thoughts do you have, what kind of language do you use, what kind of excuses do you make regularly? Stopping your automatic actions and reactions and cultivating presence can help you make different choices that break you out of a rut and move you forward.
2. Purpose: Make every dollar have a purpose and make every purpose be meaningful to you. That is, spend money toward things that move you toward your heart-and-soul goals and scrimp on the things that don’t. When you feel like money has a meaningful purpose in your life, it’s much easier to save it, nurture it, treat it right and feel good about it. You’ll need to make a strong effort to curb those impulse buys (they are tempting even to a saver) and question any shiny objects calling your name. Ask yourself if they’ll bring sustained happiness and fulfillment, or just momentary joy.
A great relationship with money starts with two things: First, a spending budget so you’re spending with presence and purpose. Take the numbers from Step 1, create a spending budget (remember you’re a person in control) and treat it like gospel. Second, make sure that not one more dollar goes to debt* (because then you’re not taking care of yourself or your money) and that every dollar goes to your heart-and-soul goals, such as the financial freedom to spend more time with family or fulfilling a life-long dream. A friend of mine who wants to retire early to travel never realized he spends hoards of money on eating out—and it’s mostly junk food—until he looked for the first time at his credit card statement. Disgusted by how much money was going in the trash, he now brown-bags it or cooks for most meals. But he still has nice dinners out with family or friends once a week because that’s important to him, while putting more money away for his traveling retirement. When you have a reason for saving that means something to you, it’s much easier to save.
3. Possibility. Having the financial security and life you want is possible for you. But most people wish and hope, make half-hearted attempts, and make excuses (been there). You’ll hear so many people complain about being broke, and then you see them spending money on everything except trying not to be broke. That’s why they don’t get where they want to be. We all have so much untapped potential, yet most of us are held back by our fears and self-limiting beliefs. When it comes to going after the things you want deep down, the more you challenge your excuses and feelings of discomfort, the more you grow and transform.
And if you’ve done Steps 1 and 2, you’re ready to align your money with the things that are possible for you. Start with a simple plan: Write down what you want most in life. Then write down three things you need to do to get there. Look at your spending. What can you cut to make room for the things you really want. Each week, put away as much money as you can in a bank account set aside for that one important goal (it can even be $1 a week if that’s all you have). The idea is to get consistent with saving for what you want. You’ll feel good about it, and you’ll have created a nice habit for yourself for when you do have more money to put away. Every tiny step forward will lead you closer to financial security and help you feel better about your money. And remember, it’s not just about the goal; it’s about the person you become when you reach it, when you realize the sky is the limit.
Have you tried any of the 3 Ps? If so, how has it helped you? Let us know in the comments below. Or connect with us on Twitter.
If you found this article helpful, please Like, Tweet and Share. Thank you for reading!
*Reasonable debt for the purpose of creating income is different from debt that’s for buying consumables.