As people start dealing with tough situations such as financial issues or overwhelming schedules, they are quick to point out that they can’t make it because of some other failure they might have experienced in the past. If you are dealing with a prioritization issue (too much to do), you might tell me about the four items you didn’t get done earlier, and those items become the entire discussion. If I had the opportunity to follow you around for the entire day, however, I might discover that you worked on and completed twenty other items.
Focus on the accomplishments
Now, you may have had the wrong priorities and worked on some less important tasks, but the fact remains that you did a great job accomplishing those twenty items. In other words, you did a great job completing twenty items, but you are only focusing on the four that didn’t get completed. That is a one-to-five ratio. Another way of saying this is that you were focused on the one out of five tasks that you didn’t get done instead of the four out of five that you did get done.
Look at everything you do and consider the accomplishments. For example, if you say you can’t manage finances, you may tell me that you spent $30 eating out instead of spending $5 eating at home. During that same day, you also chose to use coupons and to purchase some store brands, so you saved $40 on your grocery bill. You also decided not to purchase a new T.V., deciding that you will wait until it no longer works to replace it. While you failed in the area of eating out, you still succeeded in other areas. Don’t focus entirely on the negative. Consider what you did right, and work on correcting the areas you sometimes make mistakes in, but don’t allow your mind to constantly dwell on them. Instead, think about how you succeeded today.
Maybe you struggled in the area of procrastination yesterday. You needed to mow the lawn, but you couldn’t bring yourself to do it. Instead, you finished cleaning the house, paid your bills, and worked on your budget. You failed to mow the lawn, but you did finish some important tasks as well. Focus on the positive.
Don’t allow a few failures among many successes to discourage you. Look at the ratio of failure to success and pat yourself on the back for the accomplishments. Reflecting on the positive will help you to stay motivated and will help you to keep moving toward your goals.
You have a choice, and the choice is yours.
Bryan Cooper – Financial Life Coach
Delaware, Ohio 43015
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