Sometimes when I tell people what I do for a living, helping people with their finances, they say – well why would anyone need help with that? It’s so simple!
Why don’t they just do it themselves?
There’s some truth to that. The actual financial stuff IS common sense. The rules are pretty basic. Spend less than you earn. Save and invest the remainder. THAT’S IT. Nothing to see here.
And we all know this.
Yet we don’t do it. I was the same way. Intellectually, I “got it” that you shouldn’t be drowning in debt. That I “should” have a budget. That I “should be saving more.”
And even though I knew the common sense part of it, I wasn’t following through. I kept recreating the same miserable results, bouncing checks and being hounded by creditors.
So why the disconnect?
The answer is beliefs.
You already know that you have two minds. There’s the conscious mind, that part of you that chatters on and on about how you “should” be spending less and saving more.
Then there’s the all-powerful subconscious mind. That’s what stores your beliefs about finances. Some experts say that most of our beliefs about money were programmed by the age of seven. (So, if you don’t examine your beliefs, you’ve got a 7 year old doing your taxes. Think about it!)
If you want to change your finances and you’ve tried before in the past with little success, it’s time to shift your beliefs. Here’s a quick process to help you change a belief.
1) Become Aware of It. The first step is to become aware that you have unhelpful beliefs around money. When you become aware of the specific messages you’ve been telling yourself, you’re in a much stronger position to change it. Get a trusted mentor, coach or therapist who’s experience in belief change work to help you navigate your thoughts.
2) Question It. Most people get stuck at step one. They say, AHA! I Believe I never have enough money. That’s why my finances are a wreck. And, happy to have “figured something out” they go about their lives as usual, recreating the same patterns over and over again. Meanwhile, nothing has changed. Instead you want to challenge this belief.
3) Replace It. Now that you’ve cast some doubt on this deeply ingrained belief, you can start to ask yourself, what would I like to believe instead? Use your own words so that’s believable to you.
4) Practice It. Now here is where REAL change happens. Because now you’re going to practice behaving as if this new belief were true. And this is where resistance, fear, anxiety, and worry shows up. This is why I recommend having outside help, since beliefs don’t die without a fight. Having support while you push through can make the difference between success & failure.
5) Live It. After you’ve practiced living into this new belief for a while, it becomes second nature. You collect evidence that this new belief is actually true in your life. You’ve stuck to your budget for more than 6 months. Or a year. You’ve got regular savings. You’re paying off debt. The belief is now the new normal.
The fastest way to change your beliefs is to hang around with people that are living examples of beliefs you want to have. A great mentor, coach or even therapist can help you.
Bottom line: beliefs drive your behavior. Behaviors create results. When you change what you believe, the results come effortlessly!