Photo by Boris23; Wikimedia Commons

We may have the best intentions to save more money, spend less, or start a new investment strategy. We know exactly how to do it, but somehow we still feel “stuck.” Could it be a vicious negative cycle or a feedback loop that is getting in our way?

Many people experience a range of emotions when they are confronted with the disappointing reality of their financial situation. Emotions like fear, discouragement, guilt, frustration, and resentment creep up and weigh heavily on their minds. Sometimes it feels like the emotions weigh so much that they drag down their energy, focus, and motivation.

As human beings, we attempt to deal with these feelings by denying the existence of the problem, trying not to think about it, and hoping it will simply solve itself. We continue to behave just as we did before we became aware of the gravity of our situation.

Not surprisingly, our behavior then leads to further damage to our financial bottom line. When we notice the damage, we experience even more fear, discouragement, guilt, frustration, and resentment, which makes the situation even more overwhelming.

Thus begins the  vicious cycle—with negative feelings feeding into unhelpful behaviors, and the consequences of unhelpful behaviors feeding into the negative feelings.

Next week, we will look at pathways out of the feedback loop. Until then, consider this:  Are there any good reasons to ignore or avoid financial problems?