It’s been a rough stretch lately —for everyone.
Whether or not you have been personally affected by the pandemic, isolation a slowdown in the economy, or any other factor, you almost certainly know someone who has.
Through all this, I keep hearing others saying that they just want to get back to normal. The place we were at before all the shutdowns, lockdowns and remote working began.
For me though – normal isn’t good enough.
All these changes in the world aren’t happening for us to go back to normal, and maybe it shouldn’t be your thinking either.
This year and this time should be the catalyst to do something extraordinary with your life.
Or It might be your time to think about what improvements you can make in your life that you know need attention.
I’m talking a fresh start. Not the kind where you pack up and sell everything you own, but a way to improve the things you don't enjoy or don't want to do.
Let’s think about how we might start afresh with our money.
It could be giving up on a bad investment, saying no to spending money on something you’d like to stop or putting money into something you know will improve your life (like education or moving house).
Now's the time to throw out routines or systems you’ve been following for years (even decades) and commit to something new.
You don’t need to be stuck on the treadmill doing the same thing the same way. This year is different. You can start new, try something different, and see if it can make things more enjoyable.
Give yourself permission to start over, wipe the slate clean and figure it out differently.
If this makes you nervous then remember – You're not starting from zero, but starting from experience. You know what works and what won’t for you by now.
So if now sounds like a good time for you to do something different, take an opportunity, or reset the way you approach money then here are some steps.
Face the facts
It could be that something might not be working. Maybe you’re struggling to save, seem unprepared for unexpected expenses or always pick losers when investing.
Many of us get frozen when things don’t work out financially, but important to admit it and build something to resolve this.
If it's money you want to review, then simply start taking notes of what you do (or don't do) on a regular basis then mark down if you liked the way you do it or not.
Don't point fingers or play the blame game
Move on from this review quickly. We don't need to dwell on what is, but what can be.
If you are frustrated at how little you save or how much you overspend then that's good to know, but the momentum to improve needs to keep going.
Note also that you don't need to go from 0 to 100 in this. That's unlikely to be possible. Try to focus on how you can go from a 3/10 to 5/10.
Map out what you need to do
Let's get real and come up with a plan right now.
- Focus on one thing you've noted down want to improve.
- Spend 60 seconds writing or typing out the actions you need to make it happen.
- Find the step you can take next
Even if you're not good at making plans make sure you try to get something down in writing. I find that taking notes makes things become so much more realistic and more likely to happen.
Keep working and take it one step at a time
Starting afresh doesn't mean you need to do it all by tonight. Find the one meaningful step you can do first and focus on that.
If you get stuck, come up with multiple ways you can complete that goal.
Most people give up after one go trying one thing and think that it’s not possible. In your plan try and add 10 or so ways you can achieve your goals. Even if you try all those and fail, keep going cause that is just the tip of the iceberg.
If you want to be true to your wishes, then make the time and commit. It might be that you do the thing you want to do at 8pm each night for 20mins. Give up your time on other things to get honest about achieving your goals.
Talk with someone
Announcing to someone you want to do something makes you more likely to do it. Tell your spouse, parents, relatives, or friends what you want to do. I know It motivates me to move because I'd rather not explain to them why I haven't done it.
Remember, there are always 100 reasons not to do something. If you always wanted to take that next step – whether it be saving, spending, investing or life – then why not now?