18 Jan 2010

This Will Help You Change Your Spending Habit

Every day while commuting from and to work I use the blissful 25 minutes on the train to read feeds from over thirty different blogs, covering most of my interests: from personal finance to positive psychology, from I-will-teach-you-to be-rich blunt self-promotion to academic Harvard business review bog.

Recently I stumbled upon an HRB blog post that I first thought was one of those nice sounding self-help coaching bla-blas. Interesting to read - impossible to follow…

But when I got to the last paragraph of that post I had to admit that I might've been lucky to find something actionable.

So I wanted to share it with you.

The post talks about a group exercise that helps people change their behaviour. Nothing groundbreaking, rather boring because of its simplicity. It goes like this:
Five to eight people sit around a table, and each person selects one practice to change. One person begins the exercise by saying: "When I get better at..." and completes the sentence by mentioning one benefit that will accompany this change. For example, one person may say: "When I get better at being open to differing opinions, I will hear more great ideas."
You suppose to go at least eight times around the table, identifying more and more of potential benefits.

Yawn! Heard that one before, facilitated similar staff myself …

But than Marshall described how this exercise can be tailored to an individual rather than a group and used in the day-to-day life, rather than in the corporate environment. He suggests:
Complete the sentence: "When I get better at..." over and over again. Listen closely as you recite potential benefits. You will be amazed at how quickly you can determine whether this change is worth it for you.
My gut feeling is that this might be a very useful stuff. So here I am, giving it a go...

When I get better in controlling my spending habits:
  • I will get a feeling of being in control
  • I will start saving money for things I really, really want
  • I will stop feeling guilty all the time
  • I will stop eating stuff to make me feel better after I felt guilty for buying something I wasn't able to really afford in the first place
  • I will feel mindful of my emotions
  • I would have mastered something that was very difficult to me
  • I will free up energy to do other things rather than focus on "not spending, not spending, not spending", which doesn’t hep anyway
  • Chances are I will feel happier because of less money-related stress
If you decide to give this exercise a go - drop me a line to tell how you felt about it!

Image: Salvatore Vuono / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
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