Awareness of Our Actions
Episode #3 of the course Financial wellbeing: How to worry less about money by Maureen McGuinness
We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit. – Aristotle
So far, we have established:
• More money doesn’t equal financial wellbeing
• Finding one reason creates an anchor for change
• Unclear priorities make it more likely that we’ll mimic what those around us do
If I were to ask you what you do in the first hour after you wake up, you’d probably have little difficulty telling me. After all, you’ve likely established a set of rituals over time. Your morning routine may go something like this:
What if next I asked you: what do you spend your money on during the day? Would you be able to answer me as easily? Why not?
Habits of the financially stable
Consider an individual who embodies financial wellbeing. What do they do each day? Each week? Each month? How do their habits differ from yours? Individuals with a strong sense of financial wellbeing have turned the following actions into habits:
• Tracking spending
• Tracking income
• Creating more than one stream of income
• Reviewing their spending
• Reviewing their income
• Delaying gratification
– Planning their purchases
– Considering but not acting on impulse purchases
One small step today
What’s the secret to forming habits that impact positively on your wellbeing? Start small. Take a small, imperfect step today. You can try any of the habits outlined here, but I would recommend just one action to implement in your daily routine:
Write down each of your expenses
To clarify, “writing down your expenses” is not the same as checking your bank statement and looking at the transactions you have made. This means actively taking a pen and noting each expense down.
At first, writing down each of your expenses may seem arbitrary because you may believe that you already know where your money goes. Tracking is powerful, because you inevitably pay more attention to what you’re spending, knowing you’ll have to write it down.
Most transactions, when not tracked, are forgotten as soon as you’ve left the shop or closed your browser. Without knowing how we currently manage our money, it’s almost impossible to focus on what action is most appropriate.
We’ll be using the information you collect for the latter part of this course, so the more accurate the data, the more value you’ll gain from this exercise.
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