It’s New Year’s Eve and the pressure is at its peak to set resolutions for the next year. We can do this any day of the year, of course, but today is a good opportunity to reflect.
Unfortunately, for many, this is a time for harsh self-criticism. It is an exercise focused on listing our perceived flaws, faults and failings and setting resolutions to change them and ourselves in 2022.
I’m not keen on resolutions as they can feel shame-inducing and are riddled with judgment. They feel like punishments and reminders of where I am not good enough.
I try to take a more empathetic and positive approach – one without self-criticism – and so I look to areas where I’d like to grow, build on and push myself outside my comfort zone. I prefer to set intentions and goals, not resolutions.
So today I will set positive, results-focused intentions for how I plan to live my life and what I hope to achieve in 2022.
I am a personal and business finance coach so naturally, I will set money goals for 2022. Most crucially, I will assess my goals for any “shoulds”. I will reflect on them to ensure they are personal to me and rooted firmly in my values.
They will not be what I feel I should be doing based on other people’s expectations or standards. They will be achievable so I can stay motivated and not give up halfway through January or at the first obstacle.
Do you set money-related resolutions such as “I will be better with money” or “I will spend less money”? I suggest rewording this to" “I’m going to improve my financial literacy by ‘insert books to read or course to take’."
Doesn’t that sound more positive and motivating than “I will spend less”? Increasing your financial literacy and improving your money habits and relationship with money can have surprising peripheral benefits.
Many people tell me they feel more confident with money and had other parts of their life improve after they face up to and resolve their financial fears.
They save more with less effort. They sleep better due to less stress, they lose weight due to reduced stress-eating but also because they decided to be more conscious about their expensive food habits. Because they are eating better and sleeping more, they have more energy and feel more motivated to exercise and are often more present parents. But the benefits don’t stop with the individual.
In 2021, I was frequently asked for advice on how we can instil positive money habits and values in our children. I hear parents worry about how materialistic their children are around Christmas. It seems to be a time of the year that highlights our values and puts a spotlight on our relationship with money.
The best way to instil good spending habits in your children is to model good spending habits. The best thing you can do for your children is to heal your own negative money habits and change your relationship with money. Our children learn best by observing our behaviour.
Speak to your children honestly about your struggles with money, in an age-appropriate manner. Be honest and let them see you make mistakes working on improving your habits. Celebrate your successes and talk about how you achieved them.
Maybe a 2022 goal could be to upgrade your financial literacy levels and understand your money mindset. When you educate yourself, you can talk to your children confidently about financial concepts such as how credit cards work, how interest is calculated and why saving is important.
We cannot ensure our children don’t make the same mistakes we do. But we can do our best to model positive behaviours. Be open and honest and talk about money in a positive manner so they don’t absorb your fears, insecurities or negative money habits.
Even if you have healthy saving habits or don’t overspend, you can still pass on negative associations with money to your children.
Being too thrifty can create a scarcity mindset or negative money associations in our children’s minds. Be mindful of how you speak about money in front of your children. Keep it positive and solution-focused, without judgment of yourself or others and most importantly, let them ask questions and keep the dialogue open.
So with that in mind, Happy New Year to you and your family. I wish you all an abundant, wealthy year full of growth, happiness and love.
Carol Glynn is the founder of Conscious Finance Coaching