Despite my active campaigning to have it removed from the English language, the word ‘should’ permeates so many of the conversations I have with my members.
“I should be focusing more on my money,” is a standard opening line to any catch up.
I’m fascinated not only by the ‘should’, but also by the ‘more’. Where is this belief coming from?
I suspect we think there’s some ‘optimal level’ of financial-focus that leads to optimal results. People imagine this is the effort that financial gurus put into their money, then like magic, everything works.
Perhaps I’m perpetuating this vision myself as a loud-and-proud financially healthy person. Do people think I’m always thinking about my money? That I always know what my investments are doing? That I hit budget every single month?
In theory, that sounds fabulous! (OK, possibly a bit boring). In reality, that’s not how life works.
While constant dedication of our energy, attention and time towards our money would be ideal, it’s never going to happen.
If we hold ourselves to that standard, we’re setting ourselves up for a crash.
Balancing consistency with kindness
Consistency is important for anything that requires time and energy to accumulate.
Do you want to drop your body fat percentage? You can’t have two days of #cleaneating and think you’re done. You want to run a marathon? A week of training will not cut the mustard. Your exam is tomorrow? OK...the jury’s still out on whether a night of cramming will get you through.
To accumulate strong and sustainable results in any of these areas, we must be consistent over extended periods of time.
But that doesn’t mean going hard 100 percent of the time. Like when we cut sugar from our diets, the occasional Tim Tam isn’t going to ruin you, and can in fact keep us on track for the bigger picture.
Run, walk, rest, repeat
Have you ever had to haul your ass to catch the train?
I have, countless times. And I now have it down to a fine art. You don’t run the whole way. Particularly not in heels or slip on shoes.
You hustle, then walk, then stop at the lights and take a breath. Then you hustle again.
It simply doesn’t work to always be on the go. Periods of inactivity or rest are often what create the fuel for go-times. Sometimes we need to stop, or go slow, in order to go fast.
So what does this mean for our money?
When we’re engaged and excited about our money, it’s the ideal time to get stuck in.
We can update our budget, play with our forecasts, learn about investments, sort out insurances, and research better deals on living expenses and financial products.
Then when we’re not feeling it, we can trust that the hard work we did earlier will hold us in good stead until the next burst of energy.
When you’re running, run hard.
But when you’re resting, own that. Don’t think there’s more that can be done, or should be done, or things that other ‘fancier’ people are doing.
Rest, recover, and then when you run again, it will be stronger, easier and faster.