I recently led a “change group” for individuals who were attempting to modify a habit of their choosing. When we reached the last meeting, group members reflected on their experiences, identifying what they found most helpful to their change efforts.
Several group members discovered it was most helpful to take the time to be truly honest with themselves. They felt that their “default” setting was to fool themselves into overlooking or minimizing their problem areas, when what they really needed was to expose the problem areas to the light of day.
If you wish to be more honest with yourself when it comes to your personal finances, here are three questions you may ask yourself:
(1) What is it that I’ve been gaining by NOT making the financial change I know I should make? In other words, what needs have been served, or what reward has been achieved by staying stuck in my present pattern? For example, if I have been overspending, am I rewarded by a sense of freedom, autonomy, power, or status? If so, how can I meet these needs AND still build good money habits?
(2) What is the price I am paying by NOT changing my behavior? If I consider the negative effects of my behavior and then imagine these effects multiplying over time, what scenario am I creating for myself five, ten, or twenty years down the road?
(3) What are the most exciting things I will gain by making this change in my financial behavior? When I picture myself living out this change into the future, what will be new, fun, and different about my life? What will I gain when I exercise good money habits on a consistent basis? For example, will I have greater peace of mind, a fun-filled retirement, or the ability to give my money to a worthwhile cause?
What other questions do you need to ask yourself in order to be more honest about your money habits?