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There must be something extra special about spring if it energizes us to wash windows, remove dead foliage from the planting beds, and complete an assortment of dreaded tasks.

The other seasons don’t motivate us that way.  We often refer to the “lazy days of summer” and the “hibernation effect” of winter.  But spring has always been associated with hope, renewal, and rejuvenation.

How can we bring this energy and life into our personal finance efforts?  We might use some of the discoveries that have been made by researchers who study the topic of “hope.”  Here are some ideas:

(1)    Think of setbacks as “learning,” not failure.  If you think of yourself as having failed at some important aspect of your finances, you will be more likely to procrastinate or avoid the task altogether.  However, if you can reframe your setback as a sign that you are reaching and growing toward something important, you will feel more hopeful and motivated.

(2)    Be compassionate toward yourself.  When you do experience a setback, try not to attribute it to a lack of personal ability (for example, “I must not have what it takes to be an investor.”)  Instead, try to see the important role of effort in your performance, and attribute your setback more to your effort (or lack thereof).  Effort is something that is actually under your control, and by knowing that you can boost your effort, you can maintain hope for the future.

(3)    Find meaning in the financial tasks that may seem meaningless.  For those who deliberately and consciously reflect on the connection between the task at hand and their larger values, they find purpose and hope in the process, and they become energized.

(4)    Relate your financial task to your overall goals in life.  If you can picture your current financial task in the context of your overarching goals for yourself and your life, the task will feel less trivial or aversive, and you will find a reason to get started and work hard!

How do you renew your energy for your personal finance efforts?