5 Signs your Mindset is limiting you from achieving your financial goals

It you are having difficulties in your pursuit of achieving your financial goals then I encourage you to take a few moments to answer the following questions?

I’ve formulated these questions based on research completed by Carol Dweck. Carol Dweck is an American psychologist known for her work on mindset and its role in relation to improving the chances of success. One of the best ways to start is to watch her TED talk and if you like that then look at working through her resources including the book Mindset

  • Do you avoid your financial problems? 
  • Do you feel overwhelmed and give up when you try and fix your financial problems? 
  • Do you avoid improving your financial literacy as it seems too complex and you don’t know where to start? 
  • Do you automatically feel defensive when others offer constructive criticism to your financial situation? 
  • Do you feel discouraged when you see someone else hitting their financial goals? 

If you answered ‘No’ to the questions above its likely that you have a growth mindset when it comes to your finances as described by Carol and as a result have a greater chance of success in what you put your mind to. 

If you answered ‘Yes’ to any of these questions, then it may be that your mindset towards all things financial may be fixed and it might be holding you back from achieving your financial goals.  

Why do I want a growth mindset when it comes to my finances? 

People who have a growth mindset regarding their personal finances are wired to: 

  • Embrace the challenge and the steep learning curve that comes with improving their finances.  
  • Keep trying even in the face of financial setbacks (they get back up again and try again).  
  • They understand that knowledge and mastery of a subject such as Financial Literacy doesn’t come easily, and only comes with persistent effort (and incremental learning).  
  • They take on constructive financial criticism from others and try and incorporate it into their lives. 
  • Celebrate and share other people’s financial wins and take inspiration and lessons from them.   

Those with a growth mindset generally reach higher levels of achievement through their mindset’s ability to view the world in a way that tells them ‘that they can do and learn anything they put their mind to’.  

Those with a fixed mindset often struggle to reach higher levels of achievement as their fixed mindset tells them ‘that there are fixed limits to what they can do and learn’. It’s important to note that often these mindset limits may be based on previous trauma, personal experiences, or other factors.  

I’m sure you can now understand why mindset is such an important tool for achieving your financial goals. The good news for those whose fixed mindset might be holding you back when it comes to your finances is that you can change it (yippee!!!).  

So how do you change your mindset? 

First off changing your mindset from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset takes effort, consistency, and time. Carol Dweck states that self-awareness is the key to developing a growth mindset.  

Self-awareness is put simply the act of being aware of your own feelings, actions, desires in relation to our internal values or standards. By being more self-aware and by actively practicing self-awareness you can start to see your triggers and make steps to avoid falling into previous fixed mindset traps.  

Tips for changing your mindset 

These tips are adapted from Carol Dweck’s website, and I’ve put my financial spin on them. 

  1. Be aware of your fixed mindset, identify your triggers and write them down e.g. ‘If seeing someone hit a financial milestone makes you automatically want to spiral and throw in the towel’. 
  2. Know your choices. You always have a choice regarding how you react to challenges, and the things that happen in your life. When a trigger occurs think about the choices you have and write them down e.g. ‘I can choose to let an unexpected $500 financial setback without an emergency fund be a failure, or I can use this as an opportunity to learn and plan to avoid it in the future’. 
  3. Take action today. Once you know your fixed or growth mindset choices in regards to a trigger start practicing what you preach. At the start it will be difficult, but over time you will become more self-aware and choosing the growth mindset choice will become easier: 
  • When you see someone hit a financial milestone reach out, congratulate them, and ask them how they did it (without hesitation).
  • When you hit a financial speed bump and regret a purchase take responsibility and work out what you can learn from your mistake (instead of focussing on it as a failure).  
  • When someone offers you constructive criticism on your finances, take it on board, and try it even though your mindset tells you that it won’t matter that much anyway.  
  • Remember that knowledge on any subject let alone financial literacy doesn’t come easily for anyone even the experts so keep going, don’t stop, and be a life-long learner.  

Further information 

If this subject was interesting and you want to learn more about mindsets I recommend

Or to read about ‘5 simple ways to increase your chances of achieving your financial goals’ check out my article here.

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

5 ways to increase your chances of achieving your financial goals

  1. Track your goals

Have you ever heard the saying ‘What isn’t measured isn’t managed’? Now those who know this saying will know that this statement doesn’t apply to everything. That said I strongly believe that measuring or tracking your progress in regards to your financial goals allows you to visualise your progress better. I believe the ability to track and visualise your progress will increase your chances of sticking with it, and staying the course.

If you are looking to track a financial goal (eg pay off a debt or save money) there are some great digital trackers available including my Personal Budget and Automated Dashboard (with inbuilt debt, savings goal, mortgage, and EF tracker).

If you are looking to track your habits feel free to take a look at my Digital Daily Habit Tracker.

  1. Share your goals

Don’t hide away from your goals, make sure you put your savings tracker on the fridge (or in another visible location). My husband thought I was silly placing our ‘100k in 2020 tracker‘ on the fridge at the start of 2020, and colouring in my progress each pay. Over time he started asking me if we could take turns colouring the progress in, and by the end of it he was 100% on board. We also don’t hide it away when friends come over. I still don’t bring it up, but I’m open to the discussion if anyone asks me about it. I’m proud of our goals, and I’m keen to remove the stigma of talking about finances in the hope that we can all learn and share together.

Use a Savings Tracker like this
(https://frankonfire.com/2020/10/20/free-printable-52-week-savings-challenge/
  1. Make sure your goal is SMART

By this I mean your goal follows the SMART goal criteria

  • S – Specific
  • M – Measurable
  • A – Attainable
  • R – Relevant
  • T – Time-bound

If you’re not familiar with the SMART goal criteria there are some great SMART goal templates here to get you started.

By using the SMART goal criteria you improve your chances of success by ensuing you have an achievable plan for your goal, and aligning the goal to your values. There is no point coming up with a financial goal that is vague – eg: I just want to save money. Or one you can’t achieve financially. Or one that doesn’t have a timeframe. Or one that simply doesn’t align with your own values.

  1. Reward Yourself

I’m a huge fan of the saying ‘Treat Yourself’ once I’ve reached a goal or milestone. I feel rewarding yourself assists with the positive feedback look that progress tracking starts and then helps you gather up the energy for the next goal sprint.

We will be rewarding ourselves with an dinner in one of the best restaurants in town once we reach 100k at the end of the year (and I can’t wait).

  1. Progress not perfection

No journey to any goal is without hurdles. Hurdles come in all forms:

  • Financial – eg. Car breaks down.
  • Work – eg. Job loss or hours being cut.
  • Animals – eg. Unexpected pet bills.
  • Health – eg. Work related burnout or a new or existing health issue.
  • Family Issues – eg. Sudden loss of a family member/or friend.
  • Unexpected Surprises – eg. a new baby.

When these hurdles come (and trust me they will) you need to remember that its okay to take a moment to review and perhaps readjust your goals.

Let me make this clear ‘readjusting your goals doesn’t mean you’ve failed’

Taking a break, reducing your goal amount or increasing your timeline is the opposite of failure.

All progress towards your goals is still progress even if it wasn’t as quickly as you had planned, or in the way you wanted.

Remember ‘Progress not perfection‘ and let it be your mantra.

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