For several months now I’ve been suggesting ways to put your financial house in order, avoid credit pitfalls, and side-step the money problems that can result in bankruptcy. Something to help you avoid those financial pitfalls and stay on the path to financial success. I’m the only bankruptcy lawyer you’ll ever hear with advice about how to avoid filing for bankruptcy.
You know, the New Year is a great time to take stock of your financial situation and make the resolutions that will make a difference over the next 12 months. Setting specific financial goals for the year can be a powerful tool for actually making a difference for yourself. Here are some suggestions you could put in place now that will put you on track for a sounder financial future.
First, get in better shape, physically and psychology. When you’re in a financial crisis, it’s easy to cut your self-care but it’s actually the most important thing to boost. The better you feel about yourself the better you can do all of these other steps. So make a commitment to get to the gym on a regular basis.
Second, clean up: nothing signals a fresh start like clearing out a space. Do a massive purge and clean of your home or office workspace. You’ll feel amazing and full of energy after you do it. You will also feel energized about handling your money. And, every morning when you wake up and see it, your environment will inspire you to stay on track. Clean it and keep it clean.
Next, eliminate what’s draining your energy: this is huge. There are likely certain people, situations, and dynamics in your life that are draining your energy and, when you’re in crisis, having your energy drained is not an option. It’s time to say “no” to anything that is sucking your energy. This can be a time where you need to take space from certain friends and family. There may be things you are “tolerating” that take so much more out of you than you can imagine.
Fourth, stop wasting time: do you spend too much time on Facebook, surfing the net, watching TV? Consider going on a fast from those things or giving yourself a hard limit of 30-60 minutes a day.
Fifth, get out of any commitments you can to free up your time: this is also huge. Are you on a board or committee that isn’t advancing your life? Are you volunteering somewhere? Look at where you’re spending your time and eliminate anything that isn’t a 100% “yes” to you.
Next, get a part-time job: for some reason, this feels like failure to a lot of folks, but it’s not. Sometimes you might just need a job to tide yourself over. Or you might realize that being self-employed just isn’t your thing–which can be a huge relief. I’ve seen many clients let go of their ideas about being an entrepreneur and go back to a job–and watched them experience an immediate increase in happiness, financial stability and overall well-being. Getting a job when you need to is not a failure, it’s self-care.
Finally, set a goal for 2018 and create a plan to achieve it: sit down with pen and paper and give yourself an hour or two to really get clear on what your goal is around money and how you can best achieve it. Is it to get a job, or a second job? Commit to saving a certain amount each week? Setting up an automatic savings plan? Asking for a raise? Collecting from someone who owes you money? Think big. If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.
Remember, establishing and committing to specific goals is an important part of the gaining power over your finances. Putting even a few of these commitments in place will make a huge difference for you by the end of 2018 and even sooner. Good luck!