As a Financial Gym Trainer, it is my job to help my clients get financially organized and optimized. I am a true believer that personal finance is 50% mindset, 50% strategy.
The beginning of the process is often the most difficult, because we have to take a look at the hard facts. Oftentimes the numbers on the page don’t reflect someone’s “will power” or “lifestyle choices,” but more so a tragic event, a horrible break-up, or a medical condition.
Because of this, I strive to be as empathetic as possible, but also hopeful, because truly any financial mistake can be fixed. The issue is that our memories hold onto the pain of perceived failure far longer than necessary, and most often, far longer than what is in our reality. I call this your “Money Story.” We all have an intricate web of stories and beliefs we create to support our view of personal finance.
If you are reading this and feeling shame or embarrassment about your financial past (or present) and are wondering if there is any way to feel empowered and confident, here are 4 foolproof steps to develop financial forgiveness so you can finally move on and begin your journey to financial health:
1. Write Out Your “Money Story”
Write down your money story from beginning to end. Start with your first “Money Memory.” Was it nice? Was it traumatic? Slowly build it out by writing down popular “money phrases” that you have picked up from family or society. You will start to realize that your relationship with money has been shaped and formed for a very long time, and so have your shame triggers.
2. Set Boundaries & Be Proactive
Our relationship with money is our own, but there is a lot of overlap between our personal relationship with money and the other relationships in our lives. Setting boundaries with friends and family around money can be really helpful on your path to financial forgiveness. By being proactive, you avoid future money mistakes like trying to people please, or keep up with the Joneses. Having a plan for what to say to folks if they are overstepping your boundaries will keep you in the driver seat and future-focused, instead of dwelling on the past.
3. Cultivate Compassion for “Past You”
By cultivating understanding and compassion for your past financial mistakes, you are one step closer to forgiveness. Remind yourself that financial health is progress, not perfection, and at the time you didn’t know any better. When you know better, you do better!
4. Embrace Financial Literacy and Personal Growth
By embracing financial literacy and personal growth you are focusing your energy on your financial future and goals, and not leaving much room for doubt or reflection on your past. This is so powerful because the brain will work to create new neural-pathways and positive associations with your relationship with money. Read financial literacy books, journal on your progress and new improved habits, get support from a friend or your own Financial Trainer so you are grounded and guided on your journey!