Starting a New Routine

IMG_20150516_112424623While routine may sound boring to some people, it is a key element in getting our finances in order.  Sure there are more fun things to do with our time like watching TV or hanging out with friends. But, if we took just 10 minutes and spent it analyzing our finances each day, by the end of the month, we would have spent 5 hours of quality time devoted to creating a healthier relationship with our money. Not only is 10 minutes not a long time, but it will feel seamless and not like a chore. We could become aware of how we spent our money and there wouldn’t be the question, “Where did my money go this month?”

According to the ratings company Nielsen, in 2014, the average American spent 4 hrs and 51 minutes watching TV per day. This doesn’t include time spent on computers, iPads, or smartphones. Instead of being up to date on all the celebrity gossip, sports scores or our favorite TV shows, we could be up on our spending habits. In one month, we could begin to track our expenses and develop a budget, implement a strategy on eliminating our debt, or better yet, generate a successful savings plan. All this can be achieved, by shutting off the TV.

Yes, at the end of the day, all we want is to eat dinner and relax. Just the word “Finances” can generate agitation and frustration.  Who wants to think about money after getting home from work every day? But, if we take a closer look, money is constantly on our mind. It is probably one of the topics which we are mostly concerned with; however we do it absentmindedly. By setting 10 minutes aside, we could begin to think about our finances with complete awareness.

It is important, however, when doing this exercise, to be aware of our body and mind.  How does our body react to finances? Where in our body do finances reside? What are our thoughts? By becoming present, we can develop strategies to help us cope with the anxieties which arise. Taking deep breaths can relax us.  Journaling can help if our mind becomes too scattered to focus. If all else fails and we become overwhelmed, a mindful walk can soothe the body and mind.

When starting this routine, it is important to set a fixed time everyday to do it. This will create a healthy habit.  There is a pitfall, however, of becoming consumed by the task and spending more time than needed. If we spend more than 10 minutes, it will become a chore. We will end up spending hours and losing sleep over it. The remedy is to set a timer. When the timer goes off, we put everything away and do something else. We can pick up where we left off the next day.

So, for the next month, instead of complaining about our finances, why not put down the remote control and take this time to create a routine which will be more beneficial than watching TV. In one month, our state of mind will become more relaxed, our attitude will improve, and we will establish a healthier environment for ourselves and those around us.

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