How your ‘bad’ money habits help you

The ‘bad’ habits you have with money, are actually trying to help you, here’s how.

No money habit is intrinsically ‘bad’, but you may be reading this because you want to change a money habit that isn’t serving you. Recognising how a behaviour is helping you can be a helpful way to explore why you do that in order to then let it go and create a new money habit.

What’s a ‘bad’ money habit that you want to change? Are you someone who has tried to spend less or save more but it’s just not happening? Do you want to invest but fear or procrastination gets in the way? Have you turned down receiving money, a gift or promotion or just keep giving money away to others and not yourself? Or do you just hate looking at the bills and let your money spiral out of control and then feel stressed or anxious.

These money habits might make you worry more or internally criticise yourself up for not “doing better” and these habits will definitely get in the way of you making, saving or growing more money.

In our last blog post we looked at imagining how your life would be if Free from Financial Fear. This is just one part of the journey, but we also need to approach it from the other side too, exploring the cause of the existing habit, and how it helps us.

How your ‘bad’ money habit helps you

The interesting part here is that the thoughts and feeling and the habit arising from those, is actually trying to serve us.

In one way or other they are helping us. They are our way of responding to stay safe, to be part of a group, to stay in a familiar comfort zone or to reward or distract us from something even more uncomfortable.

Understanding how they are helping us and what we gain from that habit is a key component to clearing them, so we can make space for a new habit that helps us even more.

Now lets explore the benefit of your money habit

Grab a pen and paper or your phone.

Take a moment to pick just one money [habit] you currently have that you’d like to change.

Record your thoughts to the following questions:

  • How does [this] help me?
  • What are the benefits of having [this] habit?
  • What do I gain from doing [this]?
  • How do I feel when I do [this]?
  • What else do I feel when I do [this]
  • What have I experienced that is positive from [this]?
  • Does [this] keep me safe from something else?

Take a moment to look or listen back to all of the benefits you’ve identified. This is helping you in one way or another so don’t criticise yourself for the habit.

All of these benefits don’t mean we want to keep that impulsive-spending, over-giving, never-looking-at habit though. So lets reverse it!

  • How does [this] hinder me?
  • What are the downsides of having this habit?
  • What do I miss out on from doing [this]?
  • How do I feel after I do [this]?
  • What have I experienced that is negative from [this]?
  • What would happen if I didn’t do [this] anymore?
  • How would that look, feel or sound?
  • If I could not fail and had no fear, would I let go of [this]?

They say good habits are created, bad habits are fallen in to. Habits can be changed however they’ve arisen, and even if fallen into they are their for a reason.

I work with people to explore the money behaviours that don’t help them, to shine a light on them and then let them go. This makes space for new habits that support what they want in life, with money and for their dreams and families.

So next time you agree to the social date you know you can’t afford or you are browsing online at 2a.m, just take a pause and ask yourself, “how is this money habit trying to help me?” And “If I changed it would that help me more?”

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