‘What will you do with your one wild and precious life?’ Mary Oliver, poet
It has taken me a long time to realize the connection between my relationship with money and finding fulfillment in life.
As a child you have these dreams. Big and small. But you dream.
But then something happens as you become an adult. You outgrow your dreams or you put them on hold, buried somewhere in the back of your mind.
These dreams are replaced by the weight of college, finding the right job, the perfect partner, following that adult script. Checking all the boxes, buying a home, a car, clothes, luxury items, big trips. Life becomes complicated by all sorts of things. And for some of us, we lose our purpose.
We have lost our purpose because our days are filled with becoming so busy, making more money, doing more things, spending more money and for many of us, compiling more debt.
Part of me realizing the connection between money and life was recognizing that the debt I had was preventing me from fully living. It took away my freedom to make my own choices – it held me prisoner.
For years I accepted the debt as something everyone has. Just a right of passage through adulthood. But it wasn’t until I had that ‘aha’ moment that I realized it was this debt that prevented me from fully living into my life. Preventing me from my dreams.
It had deflated and defeated me. I just trudged along. Making money, spending money, paying minimum payments. My confidence and courage to dream was gone.
Money came in and money went out. But I never took the time to see what that really meant. And how my lack of interest in the specifics was responsible for my current situation.
And then I had this epiphany that there has to be more. How could I work this much and have so little. I had stuff all around me but I was drowning.
I decided to write down what I felt were the facts of my current life at that moment.
- I am in debt
- I don’t have enough money saved for the future
- I don’t have enough money set aside for 3-6 months of expenses if any emergency happened
- I am not completely satisfied with my life as a whole
- I don’t feel in control of my life
After finishing this little ‘come to Jesus’ moment I knew that I had to figure out how to fix my relationship with money. Why was this ok? Why was I letting this happen? I was missing so much time with my kids working so much – and for what??
This pile of accumulated crap was holding me back from my dreams. I was literally exchanging hours of my life for things that gave me only instant satisfaction but had no meaning or real value to me. I had allowed spending and debt to hijack my happiness and life purpose.
How did I get here? And where did I want my life to go? I felt like I had been asleep for a very long time. Just letting this money thing have its ebb and flow.
The ‘how did I get here question’ is a big one. This goes back to childhood and how I interpreted money and quite honestly how my self worth fits into my personal finances. I am still doing discovery in this area but have learned so much since I started this journey.
‘Where did I want to go’? Clearly out of this self induced hole I found myself in. But it isn’t that easy. I needed to not only understand what got me here (see question above) but also what were real methods I could use that would radically change this trajectory and bring me to a place where my life’s purpose became central to my relationship with money.
But I had to start with getting out of debt.
Here are the 3 Steps I used to kickstart the journey and get out of debt. They are more like tools that I implemented to help me get started, keep motivated and succeed!
- Write your Intention. It all starts with self motivation. This is a magical tool because it is not just something that you say or write on a piece of paper, it is something that you mean. While this may sound oversimplified it is actually one of the most important things you can do. This determination is what will help you through the long slog to change your ways, get out of debt and obtain financial independence. Remind yourself daily – a note on your computer, a reminder you put on your phone, tell yourself that you have this.
- Create your System to Understand your Spending. I love systems! I started with a budget so that I could grasp what income and expenditures occurred on a monthly basis. But bigger than that was monitoring what I spent every single dollar on. This is time consuming but literally go back and line categorize every single thing you spend money on last month or the last 30 days. This will start to show you patterns of how and why you spend and where you can make changes. I have a much more detailed overview of this very important tool if you click here. This tool alone will change your life.
- Chart your Progress. This is so rewarding and motivating. When I started my journey I not only thought I was a grown up loser who was all alone in this get out of debt, get my finances in order thing but I honestly never thought I WOULD get out of debt and change my life. Keeping a chart is a visual on your progress. It shows you that you are on the right track. Even if it is a tiny step or there’s a month things don’t move forward, over time you will start to see the upward patterns emerging. And once you see that, trust me there is no turning back. Click here to learn more about creating a wall chart.
I needed to transform my moneyself in order for my money to start transforming. I did not like looking in the mirror like this. But I did it. It was difficult and challenging but reflecting was just what was needed. I am now a new version of myself.
By clearing this debt out of my life, I was now free. That heavy feeling was gone and I could now align my lifestyle to my dreams and furthering my life’s purpose.
The journey is still ongoing. But it all started by understanding myself better.
here’s a little ready about Making a Big Life Change