Using Optimism and Forward-Thinking to Get Past Financial Hurdles

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Financial setbacks can feel devastating. They impact our lives in so many ways, and it doesn’t feel good. However, no matter what happened, you can move on to take control over your financial life. You can do this with both psychological and practical ways. Here’s how:

Be Kind to Yourself

No matter what may have happened in your previous financial life, forgive yourself. Maybe you blew your budget, had multiple medical emergencies, became unemployed, or underwent a bankruptcy or foreclosure. These are all hard problems, but if you keep beating yourself over it, then it’ll be harder for you to move on as well.

It’s not to say that you shouldn’t let yourself mourn. Financial emergencies often come about through loss. No matter what, you are not a failure.

You are not your financial life.

You are much, much more.

Forgive yourself no matter what happened. Do it over and over again. It’s not an easy process, but it’ll help you in the long run to put your demons at rest.

Set Your Goals

Determine what your goals are, and set a deadline. For instance, you want to save money. Okay, great. Put a number and a deadline on it: “I want to save $5,000 by December 2014.” Put it in your calendar and check in on how you’re doing regularly.

Another important aspect of setting financial goals (or any goal, really), is determining why you want to hit this goal. Taking my example above, you might want to save $5,000 for your emergency fund. But the real underlying reason is financial security and being able to meet any emergency without stress and worry.

Our financial lives aren’t separate from our emotional lives. In fact, they are often deeply intertwined. It’s vital to acknowledge your emotional landscape around money and take it into account when you’re talking about your financial strategy.

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Build a Team of Supporters

It’s much easier to move forward with your financial goals if you have support. That might be a trusted friend or family member that you check in with to see how you’re doing. That might be an entire support group that meets regularly to discuss how this is looking for the group members as a whole. With a team, it’s much easier since you can get feedback and support, especially when financial woes can feel overwhelming.

Many people choose to do this by blogging or participating in forums. We also offer stories of folks who have overcome their debt.

Celebrate Your Wins

It’s important to celebrate your wins, even if they are small ones. Let’s say you stayed within your budget for the week. That’s a win! Celebrate that in a way that means something to you. When you hit a major financial goal, tell family and friends about it. Treat yourself to a nice dinner or something you’ve been saving up for. Make it feel special to you.

It’s amazing how motivating acknowledgement and validation from your peers can be. And who knows, perhaps you’ll inspire someone to make strides in their financial lives too.

Image Credit: Mikael Nyberg

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  • David @ Simple Money Concept

    Great tips! I always tell myself that sometimes in life what appears to be an end is really a new beginning!

    • http://www.twitter.com/bwfeldman Benjamin Feldman

      That’s a great attitude! And often it is true that positive things come from events which at first seem only negative. Thanks for your comment.