2020 was something else, wasn’t it?
As nurses we had a different perspective from the majority of people living in a pandemic.
Did you ever wonder how we made it through flu season unscathed in previous years? Why hand washing is now a common occurrence for all people after it’s existence for over 170 years? Or why we are tracking deaths all of a sudden on the news?
If you’ve wondered this at all in the last 10 months you are in the right place. Of course since we are a PC world I must give the caveat that I understand that we are in a global pandemic and that this is serious. But, aside from unnecessarily shutting down hard working businesses for longer than need be, the only thing that should have changed this year is that we are wearing masks like people in Beijing on an extra poor air quality day.
Now that I have weeded out people without a sense of humor, common sense and the decency to grant people their right to have their own opinion, we can get down to why we are truly here.
Money, money, money (that should have been read like The Celebrity Apprentice theme song, no judgements, I didn’t vote for him, I just like to have fun).
Just like any good talk about positive changes and improving upon where you are we have to go back to where you’ve been. Reflection is key to laying a solid foundation. I know you may have been drilled with reflection in nursing school and vowed never to use those words in your personal life, EVER.
Sorry Dr. Najar.
But, I fully understand the importance of it now and how it is completely applicable in real life. If you want to do better, you must first look at where you’ve been, how you handled it, and what you can do to learn and do better moving forward.
Take Kevin and I for instance, in the first ten years of our marriage we were debt free multiple times, but we always found ourselves using debt in some way or another even when we had cash to cover expenses like paying for a used car, paying for college, and more. In hindsight we could have been living the dream waaaaayyyy earlier if we only knew. Although, when we realized that debt freedom was a lifestyle choice and we wanted that type of lifestyle we paid off our consumer debt and never looked back. This was over two years ago and now we have savings accounts for anything our heart desires now (but we are frugal so they don’t desire too much).
Therefore, if you are reading this blog post and wondering if making changes this year is right for you, start reflecting on how you have handled money in the past. What you think about when you think about money. Why you make the choices you make regarding money. Who you learned about money from. What kind of habits you have when it comes to money.
Answer some of those questions and BOOM, reflection. You can dive in much deeper but we will leave that for another day.
Next, in order to make meaningful changes in your life, including with your money, you must be mindful. Mindfulness has a place in so many aspects of your life but if you are not mindful with your money you may be frivolous or wasteful.
A couple of ways that I practice mindfulness include, being present in the moment, having heightened awareness of my surroundings, processing instead of reacting (always a work in progress), disconnecting from my phone (a little ironic), and not multitasking (I’ve learned that I am a single-tasking kind of gal).
Don’t get me wrong, these have worked for me and I don’t know everything but I know that if you put yourself out there and Google some shit you will find what works for you and if you are practicing self-care on a regular basis and haven’t looked into mindfulness, this is GOLD!!
You can also look for books at your local library, I started by looking up books on happiness, hygge, and contentment. I LOVE and MISS going to the library.
After working on becoming more mindful you need to make a plan, right now this doesn’t mean that you need to have your money figured out from now until you are retired (but if you do, gold star). This means that you need to write down something, some sort of plan for how you would like your life to go and with that you will figure out where and how money fits into that plan.
Sometimes you may have to readjust your dreams to fit your money, we will talk about Kevin’s ideal dream of retirement and the day that reality kicked in at a later date.
But in all seriousness most people don’t think 5 to 10 years into the future and if they do they don’t think about it in regards to their finances. This is where I come in. I LOVE talking about what your money goals are and how you can achieve them, without cutting corners or dipping into your peace of mind or mental health. This is where some cookie cutter plans and I differ.
I believe that everyone is on their own path and that each journey to financial independence is unique. Sure you can replicate different elements of other people’s paths to achieve your goals and dreams but because your WHY is different, your values are different and you are different then you will forge your own path that suits you best.
Therefore, write down where you’d like to see yourself in 6 months, 1 year, 3 year, 5 years, 10 years, and in retirement. But, remember these are not set in stone, your life is fluid and you too can change any of these plans to best suit the life you want to live.
Second to lastly. Yes I am almost done. Setting goals, this follows setting a plan nicely. Once you have a rough idea of what you want in your near and far future, work backwards to determine what you need to be doing now to get there.
You want a million dollars in retirement, well how long until you retire, where will you put that money, what will the average return be on that money and how much do you need to be saving right now to achieve that? BOOM. That simple. I know not all goals can be that easy to reverse engineer but it was just an example. Give me a break.
Anyways, there are so many different ways to set goals. This is a good time to use your reflections skills that we flexed earlier. Look back on your life and see what goals have you set and achieved and how did you do that versus what goals have you set and failed? Don’t replicate those ones. Learn from your past.
Lastly, I want to talk about being intentional. This is absolutely KEY to succeeding in changing your behaviors. If you are not intentional in every element we talked about above then give up now and don’t waste your time reading any more of my blogs. Just kidding, sort of.
I feel like looking back on as I grew up the term intentional was always used in negative ways, failures, criminal activity, and more. But, it really isn’t until more recently that I have introduced intentional into my daily vocabulary. If I want myself to succeed in all areas of my life I must be intentional with my thoughts and actions.
So when you are reflecting on your past, being mindful of your current situation and choices, setting a plan and goals you are intentionally doing these things to improve your overall quality of life. This is the first step in changing your habits to embrace your values and live your dreams.
To briefly summarize, intentionally:
- Set aside time to reflect on your past
- Be mindfulness of your current choices
- Set a plan for your future
- And set goals to get you there.
Your financially savvy RN,