This post was sponsored by Frost Bank
On average, Americans experience 148 days of financial stress each year and 62% of American families say that they are just getting by. I know it sounds like a lot of doom and gloom and it’s so easy to get caught in a cycle of negativity. I’d be lying if I said I’ve always had and always keep a positive outlook when it comes to life let alone money. But one thing I have learned is that it takes as much effort to be positive as it does to be negative and I find that when I focus on positive outcomes, good things happen.
But don’t just take it from me.
According to recent studies, 62% of optimists exhibit better financial health, nearly seven times higher than pessimists (9%). Optimists are reportedly seven times more likely than pessimists to be successful in meeting their financial goals, according to research reported by the Frost Bank Opt for Optimism study. A positive mindset has been shown to not only have a significant impact on overall well-being but it also has helped people make more sound financial decisions. The proof is in the pudding.
It turns out that a positive outlook can not only make you feel better about life, but it can also play a role in positively impacting your bottom line.
Let’s dig into how you can harness the power of “mind over money” to help you as you achieve your financial goals in 2019.
Commit to being a doer
Some successful people are successful because of factors beyond even their control, but those who are usually are because they committed to doing and executing. As you’re setting your financial goals, stop letting doubt deter you from what you believe is possible and from going after what you want. Invoking optimism means focusing on the potential positive outcomes that will result from your efforts instead of the negative ones. When you focus on the positive it gives you more courage to try, which can go a long way on the quest to achieve your dreams.
Everything won’t always workout in your favor, but give yourself more credit in your ability to steer outcomes in a favorable direction. As the Frost survey found, it’s more important to seek progress, not perfection. Step into 2019 knowing that the shot you will always miss is the one you never take.
The more you “do”, the more comfortable you become taking chances creating a pattern of positivity that reinforces your optimism.
Take comfort in the power of knowledge.
Have you ever noticed that you’re able to approach a situation with more positivity when you are informed? While it’s common for people to have feelings of dread when paying bills and dealing with their finances, most people become more comfortable when they have an informed, well thought out plan.
Face your finances and then educate yourself on what it’s going to take to keep your finances intact. In fact, for the optimists in the survey, knowing how to manage their money was the No. 1 reason they were optimistic about their finances. Start small if you need to and build your confidence from there. Increased confidence can lead to increased optimism and one of the best ways to increase your confidence is by taking the guest work out of your finances and knowing your numbers.
What numbers should you be aware of?
The sum of your monthly financial responsibilities are each month
The amount of debt you have
How much money you have in savings
How much money you need in retirement
Look for the lesson
Life is filled with lessons and optimist are notoriously good at finding those lessons and using them to make positive decisions and or assessments. One way I’ve used lessons as learning tools is by asking myself the following two questions:
1.What does this experience say about me?
2.Is there anything I’d do differently next time
There’s always a lesson to be learned in every setback. Even optimists experience setbacks, citing an average of four in their lives. The survey found that one of the things that help optimists bounce back from financial mishaps is to learn from each mistake so that they don’t make the same costly mistake twice. Over time, being aware of what went wrong will help you steer clear of obstacles that have caused you to stumble in the past, leaving a clearer path for you to take significant steps towards meeting your goals.
This process is important as you work toward your goals this year. If you experience a setback in pursuit of your goals, look for the lesson instead of reinforcement that you should give up.
Celebrate every win.
Where others may get discouraged by not making huge leaps of progress, optimists find motivation in even the smallest wins. Remember that progress is progress. The journey to financial freedom is a marathon, not a sprint. This is why the best tips on goal setting often include setting smaller goals along the way. Breaking your larger goals up into smaller increments make them feel less daunting and more manageable.
If you’re having trouble with feeling optimistic about your finances that is okay. It’s important to acknowledge our true feelings and begin to ask ourselves why we feel them. One practice that helps me deconstruct my negative feelings is asking myself why constantly. When I find an answer to a simple question such as “Why am I having so much trouble being optimistic?” I ask myself why. Once I come up with that answer I ask myself why again. This practice often helps you single out the true culprit that holding you back, making it easier to address.
When it comes to your finances I hope you find that you actually have quite a bit to smile about. Optimist aren’t positive because everything is perfect, they’re positive because they know what at the end of the day, everything likely works out as it should. “In fact, Michelle Gielan, a positive psychology researcher and partner for Frost’s survey, describes optimism as the expectation of good things to happen and the belief that behavior matters, especially in the face of challenges.”
As you prepare to improve your finances in 2019, also consider doing a once over of your attitude about your finances. A little positive thinking can actually go a long way.