Getting unstuck: How to live the life you want with the money you have

By Sheila Walkington, Money Coaches Canada

Special to the Financial Independence Hub

Money does not buy happiness. You’ve heard that before. Many studies of happiness have shown that relationships, a positive attitude, working towards goals and helping others, are at the core. Even exercise and pet ownership are considered contributing factors. How much money is in your bank account doesn’t even make the list.

On the other hand, constant struggle and worry about money can certainly rob you of happiness. Luckily, whether or not you struggle with money has less to do with how much you have and much more to do with your mindset. That’s why being a Money Coach brings me so much happiness. I have the opportunity to help people stop struggling and gain mastery over their money.

I also have the opportunity to dispel the misconception that money mastery is synonymous with giving up all the fun stuff you enjoy, and thinking only of a distant retirement or being prepared for a “rainy day.” As a Money Coach, I don’t set your priorities; I help you determine what matters most to you. The approach Money Coaches Canada, co-founder Karin Mizgala and I developed in our book Unstuck, is focused on the concepts: Dream, Plan, Live.

We believe that to live the life you want, you need a clear vision of what that life will look like. Once you have a dream, you develop an action plan with steps you can take immediately. In that way, your dream isn’t some far off wish; it becomes an active part of your daily life and you are able to recognize—and celebrate—the progress and victories along the way.

Here are some ideas to get you started living according to your goals.

Use your dreams to set your priorities

What do you really want in your life? More travel? Early retirement? More time with your children? To start a business? Of course, there is no right or wrong answer. It’s your life. Never assume that the life you want is out of your reach. A clear vision of what you want is an amazing source of motivation to make things happen. Because once you have uncovered what you really value, you can take actions that support your dreams becoming reality.

Taking the time to dream gets you excited about possibilities, and once you believe something is possible you are more likely to give it energy and focus. In other words, it becomes a priority. When you establish what two or three financial goals are most important, you can create a plan to achieve them, and then set out your next two or three goals. Priorities don’t deprive us; they give us more of what we really value. That may even include a daily latte. That’s up to you.

Create a plan and begin taking action

A dream becomes reality through action. You could take haphazard action toward a goal and make some progress, but a well-considered plan, one that understands that you need to take care of the present while moving toward your dream, is your best chance for success.

I really enjoy seeing the change in my clients’ energy and optimism when they develop a plan that motivates them. Wouldn’t you rather skip that second glass of wine while out to dinner, if it means more money for a dream trip to Italy — and drink wine there? Would it be worth brown-bagging your lunch three or four days a week, if it put more money in your kitchen renovation account? Being clear on what you really want makes it easier to forgo the things that aren’t quite as important.

There is a mistaken belief that creating a plan is all about doom and gloom. In reality it’s energizing, because the focus is on all the positive things you want to bring into your life. Creating a framework that can help you realize your dreams is easier with a Money Coach on your team, because helping you find your way through challenges is our specialty.

Live your dream everyday

Success is not just the moment when you realize your goal. Every single time you consciously take action towards your dream is a moment of success. You’ll feel good about your life; you’ll know that it’s just a matter of time until your vision is your reality. Every positive step builds momentum.

No one gets excited about negatives. That’s why, as a Money Coach, I don’t spend time encouraging my clients to spend less on dining out, shopping, or any other area of their lives. I encourage them to spend more on the things that truly matter to them.

Negativity, fear and avoidance are the perfect storm for getting and staying stuck. Focusing on the positive things you want to have in your life — especially the things that felt out of reach before you had an action plan — is the surest route to success.

I have seen success stories over and over again. They all have the same simple narrative: uncover your dreams, make a plan to support them, and live that dream everyday by taking action.  Give it a try; you’ll quickly realize that the life you want to live is yours to create.

I hope this article has been helpful and provided some practical advice on how you can improve your financial well-being. Contact one of our Money Coaches today to learn how we can help you live the life you want with the money you have!

Sheila Walkington is co-founder and CFO of Money Coaches Canada and co-author (with Karin Mizgala) of Unstuck: How to Get Out of Your Money Rut and Start Living the Life You Want. This blog originally appeared on the Money Coaches Canada site on August 2, 2017 and is republished on the Hub with permission. 

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