On a recent flight home I was caught in the all to common situation on the plane. Yes, being next to someone who is overflowing on your side is not fun, but that wasn’t the biggest thing. It was the battle for the armrest. You know what I am talking about, the battle to see who gets to have their arm relaxed for the entire flight on the armrest. It’s not that everyone wants the armrest the entire flight it is the moment when you think you can have the armrest, do you or don’t you take it? It’s the “mind battle” I call it, in your mind playing out what you should do.
You play out in your head as I did, what will happen if you take it, then you play it out if you don’t do anything, suddenly it’s agonizing and exhausting thinking through these scenarios. Yet, through all this I was still frozen to act, trapped by my own self doubt.
The sad part was, I didn’t realize until about halfway through the flight that I was thinking about all the different angles of this dilemma (no pun intended).
In a strange way this scenario gets played out not just on an airplane, but everyday. In finances and in our daily routines, I began to think about other things that are constant mind battles. It’s that moment you should save money instead of spend it. It’s that moment you go out to dinner instead of cook something at home. It’s the moment when you say you will start tomorrow or next week, and on and on.
All the mind battles we have shape our finances. They force us to make decisions in our head, so that we end up making them through our wallet.
How do you get over a mind battle and win?
Recently I have been thinking about routine. Breaking a routine is hard, I mean it’s really hard. Just trying changing your routine when you get ready for bed. Could you change the steps you take?
Changing our routine or habits is a 3 step process. Cue, Routine, Reward. It’s this routine that keeps in the cycle of doing the same things again and again.
Changing our financial routines is the same. Until we win the mind battles in our head, we won’t commit to changing our routines. But, once we do make a new routine, it becomes, uh… routine.
Take saving money, how hard is it to start saving money? It can be extremely hard, but by breaking the routine of over-spending we can train ourselves to save. It takes the understanding that initially it will be hard, in fact we may fall back into our old routine. But, if you really want to change, you have to develop a new routine.
Set a goal to save $100 a month for whatever reason. From there, see how you do the next month and the month after that. Suddenly, it will become your new routine. From there take it to the next level, how much more can you save? Routines are hard to break, but you will be amazed how easy it can be to establish a new routine, once you get over the initial hurdles.
What would you like to make a routine? More often then not that voice in your head will tell you, you can’t do it. But don’t be afraid of change, because everyone can share an armrest, in fact most people would gladly let you have it if you asked!