We have already established that engaging with your financials on a regular basis tends to reduce anxiety, and comes with other perks like fueling your motivation and the super-power to correct course and really achieve the goals you set for yourself.
But there's a reason over 60% of Americans don't even have a budget, forget reviewing it regularly or otherwise. Financials have a bad rep of being daunting, complicated, and depressing. And sure, they can be. But avoiding the numbers won't make them any more pleasant to look at.
Here is my theory: reviewing both your big-picture money goals and your everyday cash flow should be EASY and ENGAGING. It's possible. Truly.
How do we make it so? Two key components:
Component 1: Use a good system (making it EASY)
It could be a favorite app (I listed my picks here) combined with a decadent pepper-mint caramel latter with whipped cream and cinnamon during a weekly review. Or a chart on a huge piece of clear plexi-glass on your wall, where you draw circles and arrows with dry-erase markers. The specifics matter far less than your level of comfort with the interface. Here are some guidelines to choosing a solid budgeting solution.
Component 2: Numbers are stories (making it ENGAGING)
Here is where things get really interesting, especially if you have an aversion to numbers in general and to spreadsheets in particular. Instead of looking at your budget and seeing dry arithmetic, let's frame the numbers into a narrative, where you are the hero.
Here's an example: Gordon planned to make $3500 from his face-painting e-class sales. He made just $2370, and now is understandably disappointed. If Gordon takes the conventional approach, that's it. Dry number and disappointment. Plus some conscious or subconscious resentment toward his spreadsheet.
If, however, Gordon sees himself as a protagonist of the story, he just hit a road-block (a plot twist, if you will) that he, the hero, needs to overcome.
Now Gordon examines previous chapters: did he build a big enough audience? Was his copy on-point? Maybe the tech he used was confusing? Or maybe his content was too broad and shallow?
He creates a plot line that includes changing the platform/firing his unreliable VA/tweaking his curriculum, that can lead him to the win.
See what happened here? Gordon sees his sales number as a piece of a narrative, a figure that tells a story. This story would inspire action and become a part of a larger plot.
Another example: Gerda was aiming for to sell 430 units of her lavender-bacon beard soaps. (Yes, lavender-bacon is gross. But memorable). She sold 621 pieces. Apparently, bacon sells everything, including lavender beard soaps.
In her story, the sales "dry number" just indicated a win for the heroine. A conclusion to a plot with obstacles she overcame and money she spent along the way - these numbers are also pieces of the narrative.
A victory to celebrate, to learn from, to lovingly store in a feel-good compartment of her business and her psyche.
When you process numbers as stories, you ENGAGE.
Mentally and emotionally.
When a process is engaging, you're way more likely to repeat it,
creating a habit of controlling your money flow.
Want a step-by-step guidance to this process for your business or your household?
Check out my MONEY GOALS 3-6 service.
See you next post!