Facing money woes head on can be incredibly intimidating and scary. Instead of sitting down and thinking about the full scope of the problem and the steps you can take to move down a better path, we’d rather allow unopened bills to pile up in the corner and bill collector messages to fill up our voicemail box.
But the only real way to reclaim our power in the midst of financial struggle is to face the issue head on, and determine a plan of action.
Are you avoiding something in particular?
Sometimes when we haven’t taken the time to stop and think about what we’re avoiding in concrete terms, it creates a feeling of being overwhelmed that we’d rather run from than face head on. These issues that tend to reside in the back of our minds are often not as spooky as they seem – once you actually understand them.
So first things first: swallow that ball of anxiety and sit down for a moment to identify the source of your money avoidance. Maybe you’re afraid of determining the exact amount of debt you carry. Or maybe you’re nervous about seeing how far you’ve overspent on your budget the last several months.
Whatever it is, there is power in putting a name and face to the problem at hand. Only then can you find a solution.
Why are you avoiding it?
There are a multitude of reasons why we resort to avoidance when it comes to money issues – fear, regret, guilt – the list goes on and on.
Hypothetically, say you’ve just switched from full-time employment at a company to following your passion running your own business. Now you’ve got to do your own taxes, there’s quarterly self-reporting, and who knows what your new tax rate is. Getting on top of taxes was the last thing on your mind as you were getting your business off the ground, and now you’ve realized, 6 months in, that you might actually owe a fair chunk to the IRS.
Nothing would be easier than just leaving that tax question on the back burner, and nothing could contribute to your money anxiety more. Even though you’ve been squirreling away quite a bit every month, will it be enough when tax season rolls around?
Recognizing avoidance behavior is the first step on the road to beating your money anxiety. In this case, the avoidance is purely because of the unknown. If you were to take a few hours, crunch some numbers, and figure out what you actually owe, you can completely circumvent the nagging, festering anxiety that crops up every time you tell yourself, “I’ll figure it out in April…”
Do you have mistaken beliefs that are playing a part in the problem?
Money beliefs can be a huge hindrance to correcting negative habits and solving financial issues.
Say, for instance, you believe you will never be able to get out from underneath your debt. Or, you believe money management is something you’ll never be able to get a firm grasp on. These cyclical thoughts might not be in the forefront of your mind, but even in the background they will make avoidance seem like the better option.
Now is the time to identify these money beliefs and strip them of the power they exert on your situation.
What’s your plan?
Knowing what you are avoiding and why allows you to establish a solid plan to move past financial struggles and onto higher ground. In turn, a plan combats the need to resort to avoidance in the future – if you know what action you need to take and you are already doing so, there’s nothing to avoid.
If you aren’t sure what this plan should look like, don’t hesitate to ask for help. Talk to those closest to you, seek out information online, reach out to a financial professional – whatever you need to do in order to move forward.