Recently I talked about how you can think your way out of debt. Put briefly, literally changing the things you tell yourself and the words you use surrounding money can help change your behavior.
You can go from a debtor mentality to someone who’s solidly on the path to becoming debt free. So how does thinking your way out of debt work? For starters, you’ve got to find the right words.
It starts with awareness
We’re all in the habit of talking to ourselves & others in a certain way. It’s such a habit, in fact, that only rarely do we actually stop to listen to ourselves — let along check to see if what we’re saying is actually true.
Have you ever told yourself that you had to do something? Most of us say that kind of thing all the time. For example, you might say that you have to get to bed because you’ve got an early day tomorrow.
Things like that are almost never literally true though. If an emergency came up, you’d be able to stay up later. No one’s actually forcing you to go to bed early. Talk like that is pretty harmless much of the time.
But get in the habit of telling yourself that you “have” to things that involve debt, and you may actually start believing yourself. You may stop looking for alternatives, or thinking things through.
Stop and think
So the first step is to become aware of what you’re actually saying in relation to your money. Listen to yourself, and then stop and think about what you’re saying.
Next up, of course, is correcting yourself. You don’t “have” to do things. You choose to do them. (Sometimes you’re choosing between the lesser of two evils, but you’re still choosing.)
Once you know you have options — and are no longer automatically believing everything you tell yourself or hear — you can make choices that are more in line with your end goal.
It starts with finding the right words.
Find your new words
Here are some common limiting beliefs, and some suggestions for replacing them.
|I had to/have to [fill in the blank]||I choose to/decided to [fill in the blank]|
|I need to…||I want to…|
|Oh I could never do that||Maybe I could do that, if I really want to|
|I’m never going to get this thing paid off||Right now it feels like I’m never going to get this thing paid off, but I will eventually|
|Every time I make a little progress, something happens to set me back||It used to be that every time I made a little progress, something would happen to set me back. But now I’m taking steps to be better prepared if [whatever] happens, so now I still make progress, even if it’s not yet as fast as I’d like.|
Consciously give it a try for a few weeks, and see how your thinking (and then behavior) starts to change.