What’s Your Money Programming?
Are you one of the millions of people who struggle with money either because you spend far too much time worrying about it; find yourself in perpetual debt; struggle to manage your money effectively; spend money as soon as you get it; fight with your significant other over money; or feel anger and resentment towards those who have more money than you?
If so, you would likely benefit from taking the time to explore your subconscious programming about money. The way our mind is designed is that we have a smart, rational part of our mind that’s in our conscious awareness -this is the part of our mind that would theoretically make more intelligent decisions regarding our long-term financial success.
However, we also have another part of our mind that often makes our lives more interesting/complicated and that’s our subconscious mind. Our subconscious mind is the dominant part of our mind, comprising approximately 95% of our mind’s capacity. The tricky thing about our subconscious mind is that, not only is it outside our conscious awareness, but it’s also not smart per se. Instead of using logic and reason, our subconscious mind organizes information based on associations or related themes.
From the earliest moments of your childhood, your subconscious mind began continuously collecting information about yourself, others and the world without you having to pay conscious attention. From its observations, your subconscious mind began forming mental models and then core beliefs related to whatever it was observing. These core beliefs then formed the primary “programming” of your subconscious mind.
The reason it’s so important to become aware of the subconscious programming you may have inherited is that your subconscious mind is using those core beliefs to create your reality – even if those beliefs are dysfunctional. I often refer to our subconscious mind as a database because it functions much like a computer. When you program a computer, it doesn’t have the ability to evaluate the merits of its programming. Instead, it dutifully creates an output regardless of whether it’s creating something beneficial or not. For better or worse, your subconscious mind does the same.
If you are not happy with any aspect of your relationship with money, it is likely that you’ve inherited some dysfunctional ways of thinking about it. Money is a topic that often carries a great deal of emotional charge and people tend to have strong beliefs and entrenched habitual patterns about how they manage or relate to money.
Below are several questions to help guide you toward becoming more conscious about what beliefs/habits you may have picked up from your family/early environment regarding money. I would encourage you to take the time to reflect on each question and write down what you can recall.
- How you manage money
- How well did your family manage money?
- Who took care of paying the bills, budgeting, etc.?
- Were there certain family members who were better at managing money than others?
- Were there frequent arguments about money?
- Would your family members worry about money?
- Would they frequently be in debt? If so, how did they manage it?
- Would they pay all their bills on time?
- What were you taught, if anything, about managing your own money?
- How well did you manage your money?
- How long did it take before you could successfully support yourself and manage your own finances?
Your overall financial success
- How financially successful would you say your family was?
- Did they have a negative attitude toward “rich” people?
- Did they have a “poverty” mindset themselves?
- What financial goals did your family have? Did they meet them?
- What types of statements would you hear about earning money or being able to afford things?
- Was the topic of money intentionally avoided?
- To what extent was financial success tied to self-worth in your family?
- What role do you think financial consideration had in determining what jobs/careers your parents chose?
- When you think of being “financially successfully” what image or picture comes to mind?
- Do you think it’s okay to want to be financially successful?
Once you’ve become more conscious of the money programming you may have inherited, the next step is to review that programming and decide whether it’s beneficial to you or not in terms of what you would ideally like your financial life to look like. If you come across some programming that is making your relationship with money more difficult, the next step is to “edit” this programming. In other words, consciously decide how you would like to approach that particular aspect of your relationship with money. Write this new programming down and keep it somewhere you can see it daily. To change your money programming, you will need to carefully observe your thoughts and behaviors related to money until your new way of thinking/behaving becomes a new habit. While this is not easy, if you stay vigilant you can change your relationship with money and hopefully achieve the financial success and freedom you are seeking.
P.S. There are also many highly talented coaches who specialize in coaching people in achieving financial freedom. Explore TCC’s coaching database to find a coach who’s right for you.
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