Welcome to another edition of my Weekly Journal! I use this space to share a bit about jewelry, and a lot about my journey from lawyer to jewelry business owner. In this week's journal entry, I'm again talking about money. Why money? Because it's the #1 block to pursuing your passions! If you have big goals for 2020 and they either (a) require money or (b) involve making money, working on your mindset around money will be time well spent (pun intended). Money mindset is something I've personally struggled with and am working hard to overcome. I just had a lot of negative stories and beliefs around money that weren't true or accurate. I've made some strides (for example, I now earn money from a jewelry business that brings me joy instead of a lawyer job that brought me anxiety) and I love sharing what I've been able to learn. In this week's journal entry, I'd like to share 7 different practical tools for reshaping your money mindset so that we head into 2020 with more abundance and a more grateful heart.
In some ways, improving our money mindset is similar to exercising to feel healthier or lose weight. It requires daily work. It takes practice and it gets easier the more you do it. You'll start to see little results and then those will motivate you to strive for bigger results. You'll fall off the wagon when things get busy and then you'll need to get back on. And even when your money mindset improves, you'll still need to keep up a daily practice to "maintain." When you look at improving your frame of mind in this light, it takes a little of the pressure off. It's a daily habit that will eventually become part of your routine, but in the beginning it's going to be a little tough. So here are some tools that I've used to help steer my money mindset into a more positive direction. I've read a lot of books and articles on the topic, and these are the ones that have worked for me:
1. Educate yourself! You don't go into the weight lifting section of the gym and just start pumping iron. You need to understand what the machines do, learn proper form, and most importantly identify the exercises that are going to help you with your weak spots. It's the same here. A daily practice of trying to improve your money mindset isn't going to work if you don't understand your weak spots. What stories about money are holding you back? Maybe you overspend, maybe you're frugal to the point that it's a real problem. Maybe you earn a lot of money in your current job but you hate the work you do. Or maybe you love your job but you know you aren't getting paid what you're worth. Maybe your parents gave you everything on a silver platter and you don't know how to manage money now, or maybe your parents did not make enough money and now you hoard every dollar you are able to earn. We all have different backgrounds, experiences, and viewpoints around money. I identified some common money stories in my original journal entry on money mindset here and you can see if any of those resonate with you. I also highly recommend reading the book called You are a Badass at Making Money by Jen Sincero (you can find it here on Amazon). It's a funny read with TONS of valuable information regarding the money stories we all tell ourselves.
2. Keep a daily log of all the forms of money that come to you. Track the in-flow of money for a few weeks. Don't worry about the out-flow of cash for purposes of this exercise. This log should include not only your regular paycheck from work, but also things like the dollar bill you found on the street, the free flu shot you received at work (value $40), the $5 you saved on your lunch bill because you used a customer loyalty coupon, the coffee your co-worker treated you to ($2 value), the $2.50 you saved because the meter spot you pulled into already had enough time left in it for you to run your errand. Include everything and I mean EVERYTHING. The purpose of this exercise is for you to realize how abundant you already are. Sure, you might not have a million dollars in the bank, but that's not required to feel abundant. We are all FAR more wealthy than we recognize, especially in comparison to certain parts of the world. This log will help you become a little more grateful for all the ways abundance comes into your life, and we all know what happens when you're grateful -- you become a magnet for more abundance! (This exercise comes from an author named Denise Duffield-Thomas).
3. Say thank you every time you use your debit or even your credit card. Every time you run your debit or credit card through the machine at the checkout line, say "thank you." It doesn't need to be out loud, just say it in your head. The "thank you" is a grateful statement to the Universe or God (or whatever power you believe in) that you have the funds to pay for your everyday needs. Even if you're putting your dinner on a credit card, you are in the position to even HAVE credit and that's something to be grateful for. (I learned this exercise from author Gabby Bernstein).
4. Say thank you every time you pay a bill. Similar to #3, every time you pay a bill or pay your rent, say "thank you." You received housing, water, electricity, etc in return for the charges on that bill. Don't groan, be thankful! We tend to overlook such everyday conveniences, when we really should be grateful for them. This will transform the negative energy you have around paying bills to one of gratitude. The Universe or God responds to a grateful heart! If you aren't appreciating what you have now, why should the Universe give you more?
5. Have a mantra and read it before you sit down to pay your bills. Whenever I sit down to pay my bills, I first take out this little sheet of paper on which I've written a powerful statement. It says something like, "Thank you Universe for reshaping my relationship to money. I release my fears around money and I welcome new abundant thoughts. I am abundant." Instead of groaning while I pay my bills (negative energy), this mantra helps me get into a grateful spirit (positive energy). This little practice can really kickstart a money mindset transformation! (I believe I also learned this exercise from Gabby Bernstein).
6. Respect your money. As a former lawyer, this one was a little challenging for me. I used to make 6 figures with no kids and no house, so I didn't really need to worry about how I spent my money. Don't get me wrong, I didn't just walk around throwing money at people. I wasn't an over-spender and I've never been a fan of designer labels, but I still didn't respect my money as much as I should have back then. If I had, I would have a lot more in savings today. For example, I spent close to $500/month on workout classes when I lived in Chicago (recovering SoulCycle addict here!). I probably should have cut way back on my workout budget and used that extra money towards my student loan debt instead. But, hey, hindsight is 20/20 and that brings me to point number 7.
7. Forgive yourself. It is really easy to beat yourself up for the things you have and haven't done when it comes to money. But those mistakes are in the past and when you know better, you will do better. The vast majority of us did not grow up with parents who taught us how to have a good relationship with money, or even how to manage money. But you can teach yourself now. It is never too late. So forgive yourself for the mistakes you've made, the debt you've acquired, and the low amount in your savings account. Forgiveness will create a more positive energy around money as you move forward and create a healthier relationship with money. So, every time you catch yourself with negative thoughts around money, say "I forgive myself. I am working towards a healthier relationship with money and that is something to be proud of."
I hope these little exercises are easy enough to incorporate into your everyday life. And I hope you start to see tiny shifts in your relationship to money. I sure did! And then those shifts will become larger, until you have a healthy, thriving, abundant relationship to money.
Cheers to abundance in 2020!