You have more power over your financial destiny than perhaps you have given yourself credit for. No one can stop you from being extraordinary, well almost no one. The truth is there is one person who holds the keys to your success or failure, your poverty or riches, your freedom or imprisonment. If you are unsure of who I am referring to, look no further than your nearest mirror!
Here are 3 powerful ways to improve your finances by regaining control over the person in the mirror.
Acknowledge the Problem
Few like to admit that they are financially sloppy. In fact, we often go out of our ways to display artifacts that “prove” that we have our acts together. Money problems can evoke feelings of anxiety and strain relationships in ways few other subjects can. Just imagine how many friendships and marriages have been destroyed over finances.
Simply acknowledging that a problem exists with our finances is often a substantial part of the battle. Consider the following three keys about acknowledging financial problems. First, an unacknowledged enemy will flourish. A problem that is denied or ignored will fester and continue to hinder your progress. Acknowledging the problem enables you to pinpoint precisely what challenges (behaviors or associations) are blocking your financial objectives. It could be the lack of an emergency fund, need for instant gratification, shopping excursions with your friends, failure to invest, not investing enough, keeping a dead-end job, or even making too many splurges on family members. Second, it is difficult to be fed up with a problem that you haven’t yet acknowledged. In short, you need what Les Brown calls an “I had it moment,” meaning “enough is enough. I refuse to live this way anymore.” Free yourself from the stigma of not having all the answers. We’ve all made mistakes regarding money. Now, let’s move on to solutions. Third, without acknowledgment, your actions might not deal with the root-cause of the problem. Consider the wife criticizing her husband’s spending habits without realizing that there is an underlying pathology prompting his misbehavior. The true causes of financial problems are frequently masked. For example, debt is often not the problem but rather the symptom of the problem. Accordingly, I recently wrote on how to live debt free by addressing the underlying financial and mental issues causing indebtedness.
Remember, acknowledgment is typically pivotal to effect change. The application is that you can reclaim your power by acknowledging the problem today.
Harness the Power of Focus
Many years ago, I was overweight and learned a powerful lesson regarding focus. I had tried diets and exercise programs, and the only one that seemed to “work for me” made me sick. I decided that I “needed” a new piece of equipment to get in shape. However, I a) was very young with limited financial resources and b) had already unsuccessfully tried many programs and products. I decided that in order to encourage my family’s sponsorship, I needed to prove to them that I was focused on my weight loss this time and that nothing would deter me. I literally read and implemented every sound regimen that I could get my hands on. I utilized all my existing equipment until they broke. I conscientiously moderated my eating habits. Eventually, I did get the new equipment that I requested, and in just 10 weeks, I loss the remaining 40 pounds! This had previously seemed like an impossible feat, but focus made the impossible possible for me.
The implications of this example are not exclusive to fitness. There are many parallels between your health and your wealth. In fact, one study found that 47% of millionaires engaged in jogging or running within the last month, and 23% played tennis within the same period. That’s a tangible correlation. Indeed, the same principle that enabled me to lose my weight quickly also helped me to eliminate all of my consumer debt in my mid-twenties. Harness the power of focus to achieve your financial dreams as well.
Place Yourself on an Increase Fast
I’m convinced that we occasionally need to go on an increase fast. Spend 30 days where you only think about the best, read the best, associate with the best, and hear the best. This is your increase fast. You will allocate some time each day to invest in yourself, and everything that you do during this time will tend to your prosperity and abundance. Concentrating your mind on increase is one of quickest ways to begin reprograming negative thought patterns, to expand your vision, to dream again and to come up with creative solutions to challenging financial problems.
My primary caution is that during and after this period you will likely have to overcome both external and internal roadblocks that suggest that you are being silly or ineffective. Not everyone will appreciate your vision. Nearly every dreamer has faced this. Imagine if Walt Disney had stopped when he was fired for not being creative enough or if Steve Jobs had given up when Apple ousted him in 1985. In Jobs’ case, he referred to his firing as the best thing that happened to him. Just because you face adversity doesn’t mean that you are on the wrong path. Similarly, you may have mental “cow paths,” which are dull and uninspired ways of thinking that are designed to keep you from stretching yourself. Such paths are often self-defeating. These “cow paths” will keep you in your comfort zone financially (and otherwise), if you let them, and will work to any dreamer’s detriment. Recognize “cow paths” in your thinking, and reject every thought containing your vision to that which is common.
The quality of the imagination is to flow and not to freeze – Ralph Waldo Emerson
In summation, there is so much potential within us to improve our financial worlds, but moving past ourselves is often our biggest challenge. The responsibility rests squarely upon our shoulders to acknowledge our shortcomings, silence the critical voice of doubt, set aside time to abandon ourselves to our focus, and stretch our thinking in ways that allow us to achieve success beyond our wildest dreams. Decide whether you are up for the challenge of moving beyond the person in the mirror today. That choice will decide your destiny!
He who refuses to embrace a unique opportunity loses the prize as surely as if he would had failed – William James
Roshawn writes at Watson Inc. on eliminating debt, investing money, and building wealth. Get his free eBook Your Foundation to Wealth by signing up for his email updates (no spam I promise). Get his RSS feed and connect with him on Twitter @roshawnwatson too.