Discouragement plagues all of us from time to time. If you’re discouraged about your situation—be it financial, family, job, or just basic uncertainty about the future—there are some things you can do to counter those feelings and attitudes. The most important is to know this will not last forever.
Let’s say your neighbor just got a fabulous, brand new vehicle. You are overwhelmed by feelings of desire and envy.
There was a time that you would begin immediately to find a way to get a new car, too. But things are different now. You have a new set of values. You no longer make financial decisions impulsively.
The car you have already is paid for and meets your family’s current needs. But still, those feelings are bubbling up. Just as soon as you recognize them, start erasing!
Replace those destructive attitudes with thoughts of paying for your next vehicle with cash; of not making huge monthly payments, not paying triple insurance premiums, not paying $400 for the annual registration fee, not forking over $600 for that 50,000-mile tune-up.
You can choose to counter negative attitudes by replacing them quickly with positive ones. Here are some examples:
I never have enough money. I am so thankful for a regular paycheck.
It’s not my fault. Even though I wasn’t 100-percent to blame, I take full responsibility—I will find a way through!
This is too difficult. This is challenging!
I work hard so I’m entitled to have what I want. I work too hard to let money leak out of my life.
I want it now! Waiting builds my character.
Maybe I’ll win the lottery. I’d rather save $5 a week than throwing it away on the lottery.
It won’t matter just this once. Even the little things add up.
If only I had more money, then everything would be okay. More money is not the answer, managing well what I have is!
If I didn’t have to worry about money I’d be happy. I choose to be happy regardless of my present circumstances.
What’s the use, I’ll never get out of this mess anyway. I am stronger than anyone knows.
They wouldn’t give me the credit if they didn’t know I can handle it. I have the confidence I need to make my own financial decisions.
8 things you can do
No matter what’s going on, things are not hopeless. Consider these eight things you can do starting now—today—to get back on track:
Develop your greatest asset
Your attitude—the way you respond to life and all of its circumstances—is more important than anything. It is more important than the past than struggle or success; than education or experience.
It is more important than how much money you have, how much you owe, what you would like to do or where you would like to go. When you face tough times your attitude will be either your greatest asset or worst liability.
The key to changing your attitude is to reprogram your mind. Whatever you choose to focus on is what you will move toward.
Assess your resources
Figure out exactly what you earn, what you own and what you owe.
What insurance do you have? How long would it take your unemployment benefits to kick in? Do you have enough cash to bridge the gap?
Live below your means
It’s a simple strategy: Spend less than you earn. Stop living paycheck to paycheck. Start swimming against the tide of the consumer credit culture that says you can have it all while making it possible for you to spend consistently more than you earn.
A good rule of thumb: Adjust your lifestyle so that it fits within 80 percent of your income. Start NOW to cut a little from every area of your spending. Take it a step at a time. You will be amazed at how quickly your financial picture will change for the better.
Get out of debt
Is your money being sucked into a compounding interest sinkhole? If you’re not paying off your credit cards every month, that’s just what can happen. The minimum payment on credit card debt is calculated as a percentage of your current balance. The minimum payment drops as your balance is paid, but thanks to the magic of compounding interest you’ll end up paying for a long, long time if you allow the credit card company to determine the way you pay off the balance.
Build a nest egg
No matter where you live or work, the future is uncertain. You do not know when you and your income are going to temporarily part company. Start right now to accumulate cash. Don’t stop until you have squirreled away an amount that will pay your bills for a full three months (six is better). Then leave it alone. Don’t borrow from it or play around with it in any way. This is a sacred sum because it could mean the difference between survival and disaster in lean times.
Put a lid on stress
Stress is not only hazardous to your health, but it can also make otherwise tolerable events of life unbearable.
Stress skews your judgment and makes you more prone to make hasty, stupid financial decisions. Releasing the stress in your life will help to clear your mind so you can manage your finances calmly and intelligently.
For every one thing that goes wrong, there are a hundred blessings. Count them.
If your employer downsizes, some will lose their jobs. And many will not. Make sure you’re one of the latter.
Keep your expense account significantly below your authorized amount. Don’t complain but instead develop authentic gratitude for your job. Don’t whine, demand or play workplace politics. Or Instagram on company time. Keep a low profile. Do more than is required without demanding recognition.
They are the natural outgrowth of a stunted economy. When going through tough times, brace yourself for the onslaught. You’ll be able to paper a small room in your home with all of the pre-approved offers for credit cards, loans and “opportunities” to get rich quick.
Run from anything that promises instant wealth with little work. Shun new credit because it will lead to new debt.
Never forget …
Going through hard times makes us stronger. Tough times don’t last, but tough people do. Get tough!