Would have...should have...could have. How many times have you said those words when thinking about your finances? I've probably said them, oh, about a bazillion times. You could play this game all day long and never really make any progress towards change. It's really easy to look backwards at mistakes and want to throw yourself in a fiery pit of regret. But who wants to do that?
Here are five "auto-correct" solutions to the stop the financial would/could/should-haves for good.
1st Way: Seriously, Forgive Yourself: If I asked you right now to name your top five financial mistakes, how many seconds would you need to complete that list. I say you could do it in fewer than 30. Why? We always remember the mistakes. They haunt us like a scary movie.
Here's an exercise to get you out of the funk. Write them down, all the mistakes. Look at the list when you are done and thank God you don't have to re-live them. Now tear that list up and throw it away. Onward!
2nd Way: I'm Not Sharing: I think that was my favorite phrase as a kid. I wasn't a good sharer. How about you? Did you never want to share your prized toy with anyone as well? Suddenly when we grow up we want to blame others and share our mishaps, especially our financial mishaps.
My advice, own your mistakes like a pro and learn from them. Stop comparing with others. You did the best you could in that given situation. Small steps always lead to big changes.
3rd Way: The Lays Challenge: You really can't eat just one Lays potato chip. Try it. It's seemingly impossible to do. They are just SO good. Sometimes your financial situation can look a lot like the Lays Challenge. Most people get into the pattern of repeating the same mistake over and over again versus tackling the fear and pressing on to a different solution.
How do you do that? First, take the emotion out of your financial situation. It is what it is. Second, write down your process, say for budgeting. What is working and what isn't working. Look at it like a business challenge, and think like a business owner. Take one item from your "what isn't working" column, and change that. Once you get in the groove, take the next item and so on. Before you know it you will be able to eat just one "chip" at a time!
4th Way: Spend Time in the Dirt: How do plants and trees grow? With good soil that is watered and maintained. You grow financially the same way. Get your hands dirty. Read; study others that have made changes financially either personally or in business. Channel the inner 5-year-old in you and become a sponge for knowledge. Apply what works for you, and throw out the rest. Everyone has a different course to chart. Everyone is going to be in a different place than you. But, that doesn't mean you can't learn something from everyone. When you can let your guard down and soak in information, you can really begin to change.
5th Way: Ride the Roller Coaster: You can't ride a roller coaster without going down the dips and drops. However, after each drop there is always another incline and a smooth finish. Hang on and wait for the incline and prepare yourself for any future descents by making smart financial choices. The dips and drops are where you are forced to be brave and do something different. You will be rewarded for your efforts in the long run.
If you find yourself on a roller coaster financially right now, open your eyes and experience it. Don't break your arm hanging on to the bar so tightly. Fear stops positive change and positive change is what will lead you to financial breakthrough.