It seems that nowadays there is a "hack" for just about everything. I keep stumbling upon articles, Pinterest posts, and books that offer so many shortcuts that can be used to "hack" your life, "hack" your house cleaning, hack your fitness and of course, “hack” your wealth.
I am all for useful ideas and clever tips to create efficiency and smarter approaches - who isn't? What is often NOT useful is the idea that these “hacks” can somehow transform or completely change our lives in the long term. Having a strong foundation, changing our belief system, and our behavior is the only way I have seen successful results in everything from fitness, to money behaviors, to emotional wellness. We can implement all the “hacks” in the world but without having a strong sense of our values, priorities, beliefs and behaviors then these so called “hacks” are only going to get us so far.
Now, if you are one of those people that has a strong foundation, you are disciplined, you are knowledgeable in personal finance, your parents taught you all the right things about money, etc. then feel free to ignore this and move on. But if you are like many of us, who did not learn about personal finance until your twenties, thirties or are just learning now at whatever age you happen to be, then we have a bit more work to do than just implementing a few tips. And yes, it is work.
As with any healthy habit in life, initially, we need to work at it in order to create discipline, adjust behaviors, and create progress. During this process, some unpleasant visitors might pop up such as old programming, hindering beliefs, and destructive thoughts, etc. As we dig deeper to understand where our beliefs/attitudes originated and why we carry a certain approach to money, then we begin to uncover these sore spots and harmful conditioning.
After exploring and opening up awareness around these issues we then decide if they are serving us and our current values/priorities. If not, then how do we make changes? This might look different for everyone. Perhaps some deep seated issues require some cognitive therapy or other types of therapy. Perhaps it's just a matter of talking it out with a friend, doing some journaling, reading a specific book or letting go of physical as well as emotional elements that are hindering our progress. This is where we look for the tools and resources available to us in order to begin making those changes.
I see this time and time again not only with clients but with myself -- long lasting change and healthier habits require a deep look, consistency, and time. These are all matters that many people in our current culture do not want to address since everything is needed NOW, quickly, easily, and without effort. Well, I am sorry to burst your bubble but it's time to go back to the fundamentals! You can't “hack” deep seated beliefs from childhood. You can't “hack” trauma or years of set patterns. It just doesn't work that way and if you have tried to quickly get rich from reading a book or tried to quickly get a "bikini body" by fasting then you will understand that most of these so called "get rich quick" or "get skinny fast" hacks are just that -- simply loud headlines and titles to grab people's attention without actually delivering.
Most people are willing to devote time and energy to those life areas that create meaning and a sense of fulfillment. Think of one event or challenge in your life that required effort, time, and consistency and ended up being one of the biggest life changing successes or experiences in your life. Perhaps it was a meaningful project, graduating from college, getting back in shape after an injury, etc. In the end, how fulfilled, grateful, and transformed were you? Nearly all will agree that those types of efforts are often the most rewarding and impactful for their lives.
If creating a healthier relationship with money is important to you then the work towards it will be worthwhile, challenging, fulfilling, and in the end, much more long-lasting. It's time we let go of these “hacks” or maybe incorporate them in a way that simply adds extra “sprinkles” on top. It’s time to look at how we build the fundamentals of our financial lives. There are no shortcuts and we can't rely solely on tips for long lasting transformation. We must look deep into our values, our beliefs and our behaviors to bring awareness and create positive change around money. This is where the power lies and this is where you can create a valuable impact for yourself.