Do you skip workouts, phone-in conference calls, or only half listen to your spouse? Most of us are guilty of one or more of these transgressions, periodically. You may not realize it, but these actions may be causing more harm than you realize.
Your waistline may expand, your boss may be disappointed, and your spouse may be mad. Even worse are the habits you're building when you cut life's corners.
How you do anything is how you do everything.
To achieve excellence in one area is a great feat. Even more significant, though, is that the work teaches us how to develop excellence. And that's a skill that can be transferred to all areas of life.
What's at the Root of Poor Habits? Often, it's Fear
Take a look at your money management habits, for example. Women are overwhelmingly frightened about their financial futures, even those who are appear financially secure. Twenty seven percent of women who earn more than $200,000 per year fear they'll end up destitute and alone on the streets, as discussed in this Huffington Post article. According to the same piece, almost 50 percent of all adult women overall -- 60 percent of whom self-identify as their household's primary breadwinner -- are afraid they could end up a bag lady.
The thing about fear is that it often causes us to make poor decisions. When afraid, our brains shut down and we act on impulse, without taking the necessary time to think through the long-term consequences of our actions. Fear can create a self-constructed prison that can often lead to a self-fulfilling prophesy. In other words, if those women with the six figure incomes are unable to overcome their financial anxiety, they might end up exactly in the place that they most fear.
How to Change Your Money Patterns (and the Rest of Your Life)
The solution to all our money problems isn't that we start counting pennies and cutting coupons (although, if you enjoy those activities, go for it). There's a benefit to budging, of course, but before you start cutting expenses, you need to take a serious look at what you ultimately want out of life. Only then can you identify where you're misspending your money and how it can be used to better serve your ultimate life purpose.
Knowing your real life purpose -- and not the path you've been following in order to please those around you -- can be the key to overcoming financial fear. How? Because knowing where you ultimately want to go gives you the power to take control of your money and spend it in ways that are consistent with your overall aims.
By creating a distinction between what you want -- and what others want for you -- can allow you to admit where you're wasting money. Perhaps you recognize that your career is off track. You can stop paying for continuing education in your current field and start investing in the area of your true desire. Maybe you'd been saving for a kitchen renovation. An assessment of your true desires may uncover a deep dislike for cooking. In whatever area you've been unconsciously funneling your funds, a deep dive assessment of your fears can help you renegotiate the assumptions you've previously made so you can get yourself off the wrong track -- and onto the right.
If you live in a perpetual state of money fear, chances are, you're in a constant state of fear about other things, too. Because how you do anything is how you do everything. For many, the path to financial freedom often comes from working with a mentor who can help uncover the root cause of those fears. Whether it's by working with me or with someone else, uncovering fear is the first step to learning to overpower them. Only then can you start to take charge of your life and develop excellence in the art of mindful wealth.