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Master Financial Habits: Conquer Debt with Grit and Determination

A person confidently walking up a path made of dollar bills

Begins with Your Financial Mindset

Let’s start by saying it together: it’s never too late to change personal financial habits. Whether it’s managing expenses, getting out of debt, leveraging debt, or investing wisely, transforming financial habits is possible at any stage in life. Similar to adopting any new habit, nurturing good financial practices starts with self-awareness and consistent effort.

You may have reached a point in life where you’re beginning to understand the importance of habits in guiding personal growth, whether it’s for mental, physical, spiritual, or financial health.

However, knowing and doing are two separate things: despite investing in personal development and knowing the path to be taken, it often takes people months or even years to truly commit to a habit-changing practice. This is the part where you actually do the work or “walk your talk”.

Crafting and Committing to a Plan

Like any substantial venture—getting married, purchasing a new car, investing in a business, or even starting a business—developing a financially sound habit requires a solid plan. A 90-day plan is a common approach where the objective is to regularly repeat a financial action until it becomes second nature.

However, in my experience, financial habits, especially the ones you REALLY don’t like, can sometimes take up to a year or more to get the ball rolling. And that’s perfectly OK!

Think of it this way: just like brushing your teeth or driving, financial habits should be so deeply ingrained that they require minimal active thought. And also like a four-year-old learning to brush their teeth, fully mastering the task may take more than three months.

Your little one might have learned how to do the task within 90 days, but they’re likely not going to stick to it by themselves without you standing around holding their hand. Or if they decide to put on a full-fledged concert while brushing their teeth at 7 AM, that’s okay too.

No judgment, but be kind and realistic with yourself when taking on any new habits you plan to build.”

Embracing Failure in Your Financial Journey

Sounds counterintuitive, doesn’t it? But bear with me. Fear of failure is natural, especially with all the negative vibes around the term. However, it’s labeling failure as a bad thing that holds many people back in their financial journey.

The real issue isn’t acknowledging the possibility of failure. It’s being rigid and unable to adapt when things don’t go as planned.

Remember, even with a well-crafted plan, individuals often stall or fail to take the first step. Why is that? The answer lies in fear—the daunting nature of massive changes and unrealistic expectations. Many people do not anticipate failure within their plans. The absence of room for failure within one’s plan can actually induce anxiety and create an unrealistic expectation of perfection.

So, what’s the takeaway? Anticipate failure, make space for it, but don’t let it be the end of the road. Worry and anxiety won’t help you. Think of achieving financial literacy as an ongoing practice where making mistakes is just part of the process.

Embracing this mindset will help you build resilience and empower you to face the inevitable bumps on your path to financial independence. As long as you remind yourself that failing doesn’t mean giving up, you’re putting in the effort and making attempts. This approach will change your mindset and, over time, make those financial habits second nature. Oh, and no word of a lie, it will be gruesome, but it’s possible!

The Importance of Perseverance and Patience

The key to successful financial habit-building lies in getting back on your feet after setbacks and continuing on your journey. Having a resolve to carry on despite repeated failures is what eventually leads to success. 

Dull and boring perhaps, but it is the way and your path to success. As high-sounding as it may sound, the reality is as simple as that.

Our culture often attributes failure as a sign of incompetence or an inability to perform. However, it needs to be seen from a different lens when it comes to habit formation. Failing in our attempts to build habits simply means that we are trying something new. 

And new journeys are full of stumbling and falling. What matters more is the act of repeatedly getting up. This analogy can be applied to finances as well.

A Lesson from Mini Golf

Let me illustrate this with a personal anecdote. Recently, I had a brilliant conversation with my four-year-old daughter who was upset because she was unable to win at mini golf. 

This was only her second attempt ever and I found myself explaining to her that indeed it’s okay to lose or fail. The game wasn’t about winning in the first few attempts, but rather about persisting till she couldn’t get at it wrong. 

Basically, don’t put too much weight on your failures, rather, keep working at your craft until you can no longer get it wrong! 

This might seem like a simple lesson in learning the ropes of a game, but the essence of the argument stands true for financial habit formation. 

If gaining financial prowess on your very first attempt were possible, we’d all be financial geniuses by now. However, reality demands practice. And with practice comes mistakes, learning, and, eventually, mastery.

The Process of Mastering Financial Habits

Take a moment to internalize this quote: “The master has failed more times than the beginner has even tried“. This isn’t about intelligence or natural talent. It’s about persistent effort, accepting missteps, and learning from them. Repeated failures eventually lead to a point where you just can’t fail anymore.

Building financial habits works the same way. Whether you’re just starting your financial journey or moving to the next level, expect to stumble. Every financial habit, like budgeting, investing, or getting out of debt, will trip you up at first. 

The real victory lies in sticking with it until you’ve practiced enough, mastered the skills, and can’t get it wrong. It’s not about never failing; it’s about failing until you can’t fail anymore.

So, before you get overwhelmed thinking you’ll never get out of debt or reach your financial goals, take a step back. Start these habits, make mistakes, learn, grow, and keep moving forward. 

Embrace the struggle, knowing that each day brings you closer to your financial goals. Remember, the journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. Don’t fear the stumble – it’s just the first step.

Turning Failures Into Success

So, are you ready to embark on this journey? Are you prepared to face the challenges that will arise? Are you willing to experience failure and grow from it? Having a plan is vital, and anticipating setbacks is just as important. 

Many times, your plan may not work out as you initially intended – and that’s fine. Don’t shy away from the word ‘fail’. Understanding this as a part of the process is the first step toward financial well-being.

As we wrap up, remember that financial habits are similar to any other habits – they require time, persistence, and a tolerance for failure. Rather than fearing failure, embrace it, learn from it, and prepare for future challenges. 

At the end of the day, every failure is a step towards success and ultimately, financial freedom. Oh, and I’m here if you ever NOT want to do this financial journey alone. Happy habit building!

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