Look back before you try to move forward: The best way to take control of your financial situation is to learn from your mistakes. This can be frightening – it’s tough to face the music and realize we’ve wasted a lot of money on things we didn’t need – but figuring out what you have been doing wrong is the only way to start changing your financial behaviour.
In her book Debt-Free Forever, Gail Vaz-Oxlade writes that the only way you can gain control is to start off by analyzing at least three months of your spending.
“The only way to truly know where you are now is to get completely familiar with where you money has been going. This is the step that separates the responsible from the immature, the committed from the wannabes the successful from the failures. Skip it and you might as well just go shopping!”
Mistakes are not a reason to be miserable. Goof ups shouldn’t be cause for teeth gnashing. We need to value our mistakes and realize that they are just as important as our successes! It’s impossible to be successful without making a few blunders along the way. Winston Churchill said it best: “All men make mistakes but only wise men learn from their mistakes.”
Handling mistakes with the right attitude can teach us lessons that will often stick with us for a lifetime.
How can a Personal Financial Trainer help you?
Looking back at past mistakes is the only way to create permanent change going forward.
One client we had spent an exorbitant amount on clothes. There were other “expenses” in her life as well, but she had no idea just how much was going towards her wardrobe. If we hadn’t helped this client take a look at her past mistakes, she would have continued down the same path, literally ruining her retirement.
When she did examine the situation, and saw how much she was overspending, she recognised the need to change and it inspired her to completely turn things around and take control of her spending in all areas of her life. As a result, in one short year she moved out of her negative cash flow situation into a position where she was saving thousands. She is now on track for a very secure retirement.
This kind of turnaround it tough to do on your own. (For a lot of people, I’d say it’s impossible to do without help.) Surround yourself with a team and a process that will support and empower you to embrace your mistakes and make the right financial choices going forward.
Celebrate your mistakes. Become encouraged by them. You need to believe wholeheartedly that realizing your errors today will only help you in building a better tomorrow.