was successfully added to your cart.

Monthly Archives

December 2011

New years’ resolutions start from within

By | Advice from Julie Murphy Casserly, Blog | No Comments

Whenever someone says or thinks they need to change, they do some typical change-type things. They get out of a bad relationship. They cut off toxic friends and start looking for new ones. They dump their car or get a new apartment. They change their wardrobe.

People do everything they can to change their surroundings, banking on the idea that different scenery will make them different people. A quick consultation with a go-to feng shui expert and a brand-new wardrobe later, people truly believe that they have changed because they filled their lives with new stuff. After all, “the clothes make the man”…right?

This urge to change is rarely a spur-of-the-moment decision; it happens over a period of time after a series of experiences that force us to re-evaluate our lives and ourselves. Eventually, we want to change because we think this change will make us a better person. Or it will protect us from getting hurt. Or from coming off a certain way. We feel the need change because something’s going on internally that isn’t fulfilling us.

When those unpleasant feelings turn into persistent urges, why do we go for the outside more than the inside? We change externally hoping that it makes a difference for us internally. We’re banking our internal happiness or our security or our safety on external things.

See the problem here?

As we’re all very aware, December is a month of great reflection; and for many of us it’s a primer for great change in the form of a New Years’ resolutions. And they overwhelm us! Advertisers jump on the resolution train offering big discounts to those looking to lose weight, hit the gym, save more money, or get a new look.

And a lot of us get in on the action. We set big goals and we drop serious cash (for the sake of personal development) to position ourselves to achieve them. Then we work really hard at them for a few weeks or months. Eventually, though, we become discouraged at the progress we’ve made, and then we move on to other things. And we leave those big New Years’ resolutions in the rearview mirror.

I talk a lot about you figuring out what’s in your heart space and getting to know your true authentic self. As a financial planner, I of course want you to save money and live a life that’s within your means financially. As an author, I want you to understand why you spend the way you do. Once you figure that out, I want to help you rewire your thinking, get rid of those bad habits, and live the life of your dreams. And as a human being that has walked both of those paths, I can tell you that’s it’s possible to have the life you want. But it must start with internal change.

True, long-term change doesn’t happen when you buy an ab machine off of an infomercial to lose weight. It won’t happen when you fill your closet with new clothes. And it won’t be in the new apartment or new city you move to in search of it. Real change happens when you look within.

In 2012, focus on making yourself better from the inside, out. Seek out the most positive and supportive people you can. Surround yourself with people who radiate happiness. And find people that are truly successful – both personally and professionally – and don’t be afraid to ask them for advice. The more positive action steps you take this year, the better of a place you will find yourself in both now and for each New Year to come.

Christmas shopping anxiety: how does your mood affect your finances?

By | Advice from Julie Murphy Casserly, Blog | No Comments

It’s the season of giving (hopefully, not too much), and December marks the peak of the season of shopping. Long lines and impatient shoppers can put us on edge. These are the times we forget about the true reason for the season and allow the worry and impatience to hover over us like a dark cloud.

Almost instantly, our holiday cheer turns to anxiety. Think about it: when you get stressed during your holiday shopping trips, you act a certain way. Little things may begin to annoy you, like slow walkers or babies crying. Then you get agitated, and not being able to find a gift goes from an afterthought to a frustrating moment.

And then you begin to make bad decisions with your money. You buy whatever you can find just so you can “get the shopping over with.” You want to hurry up and get out of the store, so you spend twice as much than you intend; you can just pay it off after New Years, right? Eventually, your not-so-cheery holiday shopping spree will catch up with you and you’re left to wonder how you let the stress of the season get you in a financial mess.

Instead of beating yourself up about how your holiday shopping went awry, take a moment and consider why you reacted the way you did to the outside stress. Ideally, we roll with the ups and downs life throws at us and we don’t allow the constant curve balls to throw us off our marks. Unfortunately, many of us fall short of that and we find ourselves in an unfavorable situation. In this case, a big bill from Santa.

A good course of action to take this next week is self-examination. When you get a free moment, go somewhere quiet and find your most non-judgmental place of honesty. Then, ask yourself this:

What feelings do you associate with money?

Confidence or anxiety? Happiness or anger? Peace or frustration? Powerlessness or freedom?

You may not realize it, but you do associate very specific feelings with your finances. Just the thought of that word “money” invokes certain reactions, and some of them are stronger than others. This time of year really brings out your core beliefs.  We all spend seemingly countless hours in stores trying to find the perfect gift, and the stress of the season usually reveals our true feelings about our relationship with money.

Any and everything you feel about what you think of your finances is a valid emotion, so don’t judge yourself. The relationship you have with your money is complicated, and our goal this week is to begin the journey of simplifying it. This is an exploration process, and I want you to get to the core of where these feelings are coming from.

They key word here is “feelings” and not “reactions.” Your feelings are your core beliefs, and your reactions are the ways those core beliefs externalize themselves. This week get to the root of why you respond the way you do to stressful money situations. Then next week, we’ll use what you uncovered this week focus on healing relationship with money.

Like this blog? Share it with your friends on Facebook and Twitter.  Also, be sure to sign up for my bi-weekly newsletter Financial Consciousness. And join the conversation on Facebook where we’ve grown together and act as a community to promote financial healing.

Your success story: visualize and position yourself for success

By | Advice from Julie Murphy Casserly, Blog | No Comments

Last week, I talked about what your definition of success was. I went over things we tell ourselves about our success (like how we won’t be successful until something specific happens), and I challenged you to act.

You wrote down three things you tell yourself that undermine the success you have right now, and then you wrote down three counterstatements that reinforced the positive actions you’re taking in your life.

Hopefully, you gained some insight into the way you think about yourself and your accomplishments. This week, I want you to continue on that momentum of reworking your thought patterns of success by doing two things: visualizing and positioning.

Visualize your ideal life

We all have our idea of success; many successes are ones we can celebrate right away (being a parent, building a career, going to the gym, etc.) while others are ones we need to work towards each day. Instead  choose to shift those dreams into your reality. Take the word “dream” out of the equation for a moment and think about what your ideal life would look like. Maybe your financial goals are at the center of your professional pursuits right now, and owning a home is the pinnacle of that. So what does a day in your life look like when you are working towards owning your home and setting yourself up for an abundant financial future?  Remember: Bite size pieces.

Instead of “dreaming” about the things you want, start visualizing what your life would look like if you already had them. Think about the things you need to do each day to maintain your dream – your ideal. Once you’ve established how your life would look if you were living your dream, you should then begin to position yourself.

Position yourself for your desired  future

Many of us associate dreams with things that are unattainable which is why I want you to start thinking in terms of reachable goals. And to attain those goals – your ideal life – you need to position yourself mentally, physically, verbally and emotionally. What does that entail? A part of it is something we discussed last week about you not undermining the success you’ve already created. This stems in being good to you. Remember: Self love.

Empowering yourself gets you further than belittling yourself; instead of saying you can’t have your big dream, design a plan with attainable steps that allow you to move closer to it each day. If your goal is to own that “dream home”, you know you need a down payment. Instead of viewing it as $50,000 you don’t have, consider it $300 a month you do have to put towards that big number.

You are exactly where you are at- embrace it

And that’s the takeaway in all of this. You have all the tools you need to get to the places you want to go. It’s just a matter of devoting your time and energy to what you have right now, and letting go of what you don’t have just yet.

Success is truly a journey, not a destination; it takes work to both achieve the things you aspire to have and to maintain them once they’re a part of your ideal life. As difficult as it is to remember sometimes, always keep in mind that the things you want in life are attainable. Most of the things you dream about are just a series of steps – of mini destinations – away. Choose it!