Ditch New Year’s Resolutions – develop good habits instead

Ditch New Year’s Resolutions – develop good habits instead

Lose weight! Get fit! Start saving! 

It’s that time of year again – the time of New Year resolutions and goal-setting. This year, though, let’s do something different and focus on habits instead. 

Think of a goal as a result you want to achieve. And habits – the things you do regularly without even thinking about it - as the process that will get you there. Of course, goals are crucial in helping you determine the direction you want to do, but it’s far more important to spend time designing the right process. 

With habits, thinking small can be the best way to bring about big change. Behaviour Scientist at Stanford University, BJ Fogg, invented the method of creating Tiny Habits. His philosophy is that motivation is only temporary and the easiest way to make a habit stick is to tack it onto an existing habit. BJ Fogg describes a tiny habit as a behaviour you do at least once a day, that takes you less than 30 seconds and one that requires little effort.

The habit-formation technique of ‘pairing’ is one form of automation that I personally use. When I turn on my computer in the morning, I check my bank account online. It’s a manual action but it’s so ingrained in me now that it’s an automatic habit – I do it without thinking.  

My work as a financial coach is often focused on working with people who want to change their financial results, sometimes having buried their head in the sand with their finances for several years. This usually involves helping them change their behaviour with money and form new, positive habits that requires small and consistent action – small, because it’s more achievable; and consistent, because this helps habits ‘stick’.  

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Could a money coach solve your money problems?

Could a money coach solve your money problems?

Flic Everett, 46, is in debt, has no pension and does not own her own property, so she put her trust in me to help her get a grip on her finances, and to improve her relationship to money. 

This article in the FeMail gives you Flic’s account of what she got out of our sessions and from the work she prepared in advance of us meeting. It also gives you insight into what goes on in a coaching session and some of the exercises I use.

Read the article here

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The gift of giving

The gift of giving

I want to share with you the most profound and inspirational story about one of my clients. She first came to see me just over 3 years ago, having inherited money and wanting to experience self-empowerment. Her wish was to do something with the money which was meaningful to her. To extract purpose and meaning from the money that was not entangled in emotional connections to money in her family. She was aware that over time her relationship with the money had become tense and uncomfortable, sometimes tainted by shame and guilt - she wanted to heal this along the way. 

I'm thrilled by the progress she's made. The way that her relationship with money has changed. How she has carefully and methodically selected the right investment approach, and advice, to have confidence that her money is working well for her and aligned to her goals and integrity. How she is gaining confidence in her understanding of the complex financial landscape. And is standing in her power in so many different ways. 

But, I'm especially proud of ...

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WOW - Women of the World - Festival

WOW - Women of the World - Festival

Happy International Women's Day! 

I'm getting really excited about taking part in the WOW Festival this weekend. I'll be there 3-4pm on Friday as part of a panel discussing risk, exposure and resilience. And also delivering a worksop 'Getting Personal with Finance' 3-4pm on Saturday, where I'll be taking women through the 7 Laws of Sheconomics and answering audience questions.

Passes for the festival are now sold out, but come and see me if you're there! @WOWtweetUK #WOWLDN

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sowing the seeds for financial success

sowing the seeds for financial success

This month our inboxes are overloaded with motivational messages, pinging at you like a hyperactive personal trainer: Lose weight! Get fit! Stop smoking! Start training! Write that book! Sort out your money! I'm advocating a calmer, gentler approach to achieving your financial goals; scaling down intentions to a manageable level. If you set yourself up to succeed, you'll be rewarded with an upward spiral of belief and trust in yourself.

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Finances on separation

Finances on separation

The process of divorce or separation forces you to make big financial decisions at a time of intense emotional upheaval. There is an urgent need for clarity, understanding and clear planning to ensure those decisions are made well, as they could have a big impact on your future.

The financial side of divorce can be a daunting process, especially as many of us struggle to understand where our money goes at the best of times. There may be financial issues – such as pensions, investments, debts or a family business – that you have never really understood, and now decisions need to be made about how to share these. Even apparently straightforward questions, such as ‘how much do you need to live on?’ are complex when on the cusp of a big life change.

Financial coaching provides support and guidance in understanding money, and so can be particularly helpful for navigating the financial aspects of divorce and facilitating discussions between couples.

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Are you thriving or simply surviving?

Are you thriving or simply surviving?

I was interviewed by a journalist recently who wanted to write an article about ‘financial therapy’ - a combination of financial advice and therapy for unhelpful money behaviours - that is currently popular in the US.

The article - Do you need financial therapy? – was published by The Guardian this week. While I don’t describe myself as a therapist, my work often involves helping clients address the emotions they experience surrounding the subject of money and helping shift unconscious patterns of behaviour around money.

As well as interviewing me about my work, we did some work on the journalist’s relationship with money so that she could experience what I do. She’d never before given much thought to her relationship with money.

What was revealing was that she can get herself out of trouble but can’t maintain that forward momentum once it no longer feels like a problem. We did an exercise where I got her to personify her relationship with money, and what came to her was ambivalence, disinterest and discomfort about engaging with money. We realised that her focus was on survival: getting through the month, paying off debts, but not on thriving.

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Coping with money worries

Coping with money worries

The words ‘money’ and ‘worries’ go together so often they can seem inseparable. For many people, their relationship with money is fraught with anxiety. In Sheconomics we talk about ‘Money Anxiety Disorder’ (MAD) – a fixation with money worries and a persistent sensation of simply not having enough. I also come across something I call ‘net worth anxiety’ – where people assess themselves at a certain stage of life and compare themselves to friends or colleagues or to their own expectations, and feel that they’ve fallen behind.

Money worries can leave you trapped in a relentless cycle of anxiety.

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Breathe into fear and make a wish

Breathe into fear and make a wish

“Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear." - Ambrose Redmoon.

I was just standing in a queue in a newsagent where the guy in front of me was buying a lottery ticket, reflecting on a conversation I had this morning with a client. He was telling me about a book called 'The Big Leap' where the author, Gay Hendricks, talks about how fear and excitement create the same sensations in our body, but that we try to get rid of the feeling of fear by holding our breath. Excitement can also turn into fear by holding our breath - just think 'rollercoaster rides'!

Instead, he suggests, that...

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Re-invigorating my ‘why’

Re-invigorating my ‘why’

I've had an exciting few months, which has caused me to be relatively quiet on the Wise Monkey social media front for a while. I took a bit of time out from tweeting and facebooking to take stock and plan my next direction. Some recent tasks and events - updating my website, creating a new video to succinctly explain what I do, regulatory issues and preparing a one-minute speech as well as a teleseminar - have required me to assess what I do and why, and to distill the essence of my work.

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Draw your ideal future

If you want to create changes in your life, I strongly suggest that you watch this TEDxTalk: Draw your future: Patti Dobrowolski.

The talk is both entertaining and inspiring. It shows you how to leverage your power of imagination and visualisation to actualise the desired vision of your future. I've used this exercise personally, and with many clients, with remarkable results.

The act of focusing on what is truly and profoundly important to you, and identifying your bold steps, has a powerful impact. Clearly, you have to take action too. But change always starts with clear, sharp, focus on what you want.

Click here to download her template. 

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What stops you from having the most fulfilling life?

What stops you from having the most fulfilling life?

I’m still buzzing from the Financial Life Planning conference, which took place in London at the end of January. The minute I walked into the conference room it felt like a family gathering. There was a sense of familiarity, warmth and openness there, and I felt a sense of belonging that’s not usual in the world of financial services!

I was also excited about having a chance to participate in a panel discussion covering how I’ve integrated Life Planning into my work ...

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Smoothing your financial ride

Smoothing your financial ride

Suddenly it’s December again and Christmas is coming hurtling towards us in a blur of sparkly lights and parties and last minute shopping, making excessive demands on our budgets. That’s how it often feels – to have come suddenly at us, even though December follows November each and every year.

One of my clients, Anna, is taking Advanced Driving lessons and her instructor had said that the most common word in accident reports was ‘suddenly’: ‘suddenly the van came hurtling round the corner’; ‘the car ahead braked suddenly’. Anna was learning that Advanced driving skills are all about anticipation - looking well ahead, adjusting your behaviour to ensure a smooth ride. Things rarely happen ‘suddenly’ if you’re anticipating well. She realised that ...

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