A few years ago, I was the joyous recipient of a bushel of lemons. Metaphorically speaking of course. That bushel of lemons was losing my job combined with mounting debt.
I could have easily gotten super down on myself. I could have thrown my hands in the air and given up — filing for bankruptcy or running back to a corporate job that would likely kill me.
In fact, I came close. Several times. But I decided to stick it out.
I could have left those lemons there to rot. And fester. And get all moldy.
Instead, I grabbed those lemons and made myself some lemonade. I fought the worry, stress, doubt, and depression and told myself there’s nothing to worry about. I told myself there’s nothing to fear.
Every day I focused on the light instead of the dark thoughts.
I created new habits and new mindsets to help me turn my money situation around.
I became obsessed with making my new life work out.
After all, I didn’t want to go back to corporate. I knew I needed freedom and creativity to thrive.
Why am I sharing this?
Because I know it can be hard to stay focused on creating mindful money habits when you’re wallowing in all the things. And all the emotions.
Let’s face it….it does suck sometimes.
There will be bad days where the stress and worry come back.
So, when you’re in the muck and surrounded by lemons, how do you make lemonade and create more mindful money mindsets?
“What you think, you become.
What you feel, you attract.
What you imagine, you create.”
― Gautama Buddha
Take the emotion out of it.
When we’re stuck deep in the mud and commiserating about how many lemons are being thrown at us, we’re being emotional. We’re getting all down and woe is me. Worry and anxiety become the order of the day.
But the key is this — debt and money troubles are a consequence of poor decisions and inaction. That’s it.
Your debt is not your life story. No matter how you feel now, you don’t have to keep feeling that way forever. It’s a story that can be rewritten. Stop treating your debt like a living breathing thing and instead think of it as a problem to be solved. And everyone knows how to solve problems.
Start by taking the emotion (worry and anxiety) out of your money situation and then take action toward solving the problem. Debt is essentially inaction. It’s a failure to face a problem and take action toward it. Mind blown, right?
Tell yourself you are good with money.
Most of us tell ourselves regularly how much we suck at money. It becomes a narrative and story running through our brains constantly. And when we’re having a tough time, it turns into a full-length Hollywood feature film.
But you know what? That negative inner monologue is the cause of your money troubles.
For as long as I can remember, I told myself I was awful with money. I blamed it on poor math skills. I blamed it on being spoiled as a child. I blamed it on the probable destiny I wrote in my high school yearbook (Be poor or a nun). Ugh. Who writes that?
By constantly running that story through my brain, I was telling myself over and over that I’d never be capable of sticking to a budget or managing my money and that I’d always be in debt.
When I took action toward my debt, started spending intentionally, and told myself I am good with money, things changed. I felt confident I was able to make positive money decisions that would help me create the life I wanted.
Create a new money story.
Do you have a money story, philosophy, or manifesto?
Most of us don’t have one. Instead, we have a constant stream whirling through our heads of all the bills we have to pay.
But what if you flipped that? What if you created your ideal money story instead?
Before, I used to focus on those bills and on all the lack in my life. The story I told myself was I was always going to be poor or in debt and never be able to grow my money.
Now, I focus on the abundance in my life. My new money story is this: money is a tool. It’s a tool for freedom, for helping others, and it allows me to live life to the fullest.
Here’s my exact money story:
- Money is a tool to live life to the fullest. It allows me to live a life of freedom and to help others.
- I spend my money intentionally and only on things I love.
- Every day, I am taking steps to learn more about how to make my money work for me and create even more abundance in my life.
Even now, when I’m still faced with debt to pay and all the lemons are coming my way, this is my money story. I don’t ever waver from it. And you know what? I always have money to pay my bills. It’s always there. I make it happen. No stress. No mess. No worry.
Focus on what you do have.
In a world where we’re bombarded with messages that we need to own more, be more, and do more, we forget to focus on what’s right in front of us. Instead, we carelessly toss it aside for the next best thing. Or because it’s easier to buy something new instead of investing our time to take care of something.
When I took the time to go back to basics and focus on all the abundance I had in my life, my money situation changed for the better.
I realized I had all I needed to survive and thrive. I had a roof over my head, I had a reliable car to get me to and from my part-time job, I had healthy food to eat and clean running water to drink.
My creativity also returned and I found new and interesting ways to take care of what I already owned. I made the things I already owned last.
Focusing on what you do have during tough times will help you realize there’s nothing to worry about. You have all you need to live.
Don’t blame others for your money situation.
Have you ever played the victim? Ever blamed someone else for why you’re in debt?
Come on, confess! I’m sure you’ve done it at least once. We’ve all done it. Myself included. We blame the kid that picked on us in grade five, we blame our parents that spoiled us or didn’t teach us the money basics, we blame the system for not educating us, we blame everyone else but ourselves.
Let’s think about it — who is ultimately in control of your life and actions? You of course!
Loan money to a friend and now you’re in debt? That’s not your friend’s fault, it’s yours for not saying no.
Do you have credit card bills that are becoming overwhelming? It’s not the credit card company’s fault, or the salesperson that said you looked great in that cashmere sweater, or the state of the economy. It’s all you honey. You didn’t have to get a credit card, you didn’t have to buy a cashmere sweater before you had money saved for it, and the economy isn’t to blame when you can do things to earn more or save more.
I know…I’m such a fun killer right now, aren’t I? But that’s not the point here.
The point is this — every action you take directly impacts your future and is a choice. You are in control of your life, your choices, and ultimately all the actions you take.
Taking action and ending the blame game turns those lemons into lemonade!
Struggling to manage your money? Then take time to learn about your money.
When was the last time you learned something new about money, investing, or debt repayment? Did you brush it off as unimportant or not at the top of your todo list?
Why is that?
Whenever someone tells me they wish they were better with money, I ask them, have you read about it or taken time to learn one new thing about money?
And the response is usually this: “No, I don’t have the time.”
Really? You don’t have the time for creating more freedom, for fun, for more time with family, or for what matters most to you?
Huh. That’s funny. I thought we’re all in this together and would love to create a life we love.
Money is a tool to help you live the life you want. One free from debt and stress. Wouldn’t you want to learn how you can be free from debt and stress?
When you’re stuck in the mud, taking the time to learn one new thing about money will make you happier by moving you closer to your ideal money situation.
Have a “Happy to be alive and thriving” fund.
Let’s face it — when your money situation is less than stellar, it can leave you feeling drained. You’re stressed to the max and then you read somewhere that you need to cut back on everything including the fun to get your money house in order.
Can I call BS on that?
You don’t need to suffer. You are allowed to have fun. You need to take care of yourself. By creating a “happy to be alive and thriving” fund and doing at least one fun thing each week, you’ll be a happier human. And it doesn’t have to be much…you’d be surprised how much fun you can have for $20.
No matter how many lemons are being thrown your way, you can change your money mindset to one that’s more mindful. By having a mindful relationship with money, you can reduce your money-stress and learn to use money as a tool to create an extraordinary life.