Years ago, my money worries were out of control. Money was all I could think about. Every decision I made hinged on the overwhelming amount of debt I had accumulated. I contemplated claiming bankruptcy three times during this period. Twice I went as far as completing the pages and pages of paperwork. Once I was just one phone call away from pulling the trigger.
And then I realized, even to claim bankruptcy, I needed a regular source of income--something I didn’t have at the time. I came to the conclusion I was meant to pay back all the money I owed. I’m still working on that, but now that I’ve accepted it, I don’t think about money every minute of every day. I don’t burst into tears as I’m driving down the road because I don’t know where my next loan payment is coming from.
When I realized I needed a regular source of income in order to meet what the minimum bankruptcy payment requirements would be, I decided to change my thoughts, put a little trust in the Universe and take action.
Train Yourself to Think Differently
Our thoughts can be so pervasive and often destructive. This also makes them hard to change. When I was at my lowest point, thinking that bankruptcy was my only option, it was all I could think about and those thoughts made me physically sick. And then those thoughts made me want to shut down completely. All I wanted to do was sleep. This wasn’t good. I have a family and sleeping all day wasn’t an option.
Every time I caught myself thinking about bankruptcy, I’d have a little chat with myself. It went something like this: You’ve looked at this option, and it’s not going to work. It’s time to move on and find another way.
I had to close that door so I wouldn’t be tempted to go back to that line of thinking. I realized there were also a number of beliefs I had about bankruptcy that simply weren’t true. I thought it was a magic cure and that going that route would make me feel better. Bankruptcy is a legitimate solution for some people and it can bring a huge sense of relief with it, but it wasn’t the best option for me. I needed to embrace that.
Turning my thoughts into positive ones took time and lots and lots of practice. Every time I caught myself thinking negatively, I’d turn it around. If I caught myself thinking about debt, I’d think about all the money that I was earning (or going to be earning) instead.
Changing your thoughts is hard work. Use your journal to help you. Write whatever’s bothering you down then let it go. I wrote a letter to my debt, telling it how I thought of it as gum on the bottom of my shoe. By the end of my letter, I ended up thanking my debt.
Writing my thoughts down helped me realize there are so many things I wouldn’t have been able to do if it weren’t for the debt I had incurred. Of course, it was excessive at that point so it had been restricting my actions, but by writing in my journal, I was able to see things more clearly and let some of my pervasive thoughts go.
Trust that Things Will Work Out
Trusting that things will work out can be equally as hard as changing your thoughts, but it’s key to feeling better and moving on with your life. If you believe in a higher power, then use that belief to help you. Ask your higher power for help.
When you’re in the process of trying to figure things out, it can be difficult to trust that a solution is out there. Search for times in your life when you were struggling and things came to a favorable resolution. Having proof that you can overcome difficult times and come out the other side stronger and happier than before reinforces that it is possible to survive what you’re going through now.
Visualization can help with this as well. Picture things as if you’ve already reached your goal. In my case, I imagined myself living a debt free life with no money worries. Since I’m not debt free yet, I still do this, focusing on how amazing it will feel to have accomplished this goal.
Back when I was thinking bankruptcy was the only option for me, I had to trust there was another way. I had to trust that I would have the money to make my debt payments without worrying about how I was going to feed my family. Once I started thinking this way and creating this sense of knowing that things would work out, I started receiving more freelance work, many jobs at higher rates than before.
Training yourself to think differently and trusting that things will work are both ways you can start taming your money worries. They are important steps you can take on your path to improved financial health. When you take action toward your goals, your higher power sees this and helps you even more.
One thing that has helped me a lot on my money journey is tracking my income and expenses. If you’ve read any of my other Money Matters posts, you’ve heard this before. Seeing where my money was coming from and where it was going was a huge eye opener for me. And recording upcoming payments in my calendar gave me a sense of control back. I could see which payments were coming up and plan my spending accordingly.
Another thing I did to take action was finding more income that fit with my lifestyle. I enjoy the freedom of being self-employed, and I wasn’t willing to give that up. There are several ways to increase your income as an entrepreneur. These include searching out people you’d like to work with and introducing yourself, and even getting a job. Yes, I said the “J” word! There are many part time jobs that fit the entrepreneur lifestyle, giving you the opportunity to enjoy the best of both worlds.
In my current situation, I freelance while working a day job. The job enables me to work from home so I still have some of the freedom I love about being self-employed. Sometimes we need to take action in a way that may not be exactly what we planned but still aligns with our goals. Watch and listen for those signs, and be open to something that may be a little different from what you had in mind.
Affirmations have been a huge help to me with both training myself to think differently and trusting that things will work out. The key to working with affirmations is using them often. Here’s a few you can try:
- I trust the perfect solution will present itself.
- Things always work out for my best interest.
- Money is on its way to me now.
- I create a positive relationship with myself and my money.
Say your favorite affirmations as often as you can. Write them in your journal or on sticky notes so you can place them somewhere you will see them often, triggering you to remember to use them.
Journaling is a great way to process things, anything. For now, focus on your money worries as you write.
Write a letter to your debt. If you don’t have debt, then write a letter to your money.
As you write this letter, really pour your feelings out onto the page. Most of us have a tumultuous relationship with money and writing down your feelings will help you take a more objective look at your situation.
What are you most worried about when it comes to your money? Why do you think this is so concerning?
Writing your worries down makes room in your mind for more positive things. It also helps you see solutions as you write or reflect on past journal entries.
What is one action step you can take today to stop worrying about money?
Now’s your chance to brainstorm. No step is too small. The great thing about small steps is they add up to big results when done consistently. Go crazy and note as many possible solutions as you can think of.
Worrying about money is no fun, but if you take steps to turn your thoughts around, trust that things will work out, and take action toward your goal, you’ll start feeling better and worrying less. No matter what, you always have your journal. WriteON!
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Author bio: Michelle Cornish is the author of Prosperity Planner: Manage Your Personal Finances and Get Out of Debt, an undated planner where she shares more about her personal financial journey and her TREE Method for keeping her personal finances in check.