How My Checkbook Changed My Life
Do you have things in your life that you hate doing, yet you have to do them? I have never liked housework or laundry or keeping track of the money in my checking account. Because I tend to not do things I should do when I’m tired, and since I am often tired, I had a difficult time managing things like the checkbook and diabetes. When I thought about doing either of these tasks I would feel annoyed or worse, and I would put them off.
Coaching other people changed that. When I began to coach people to overcome their own obstacles it occurred to me that I had a number of my own obstacles I needed to change. I started with my checkbook because it seemed a might easier to tackle than taking on diabetes. Using techniques for helping others find their trouble spots, like stopping to drill deeper on the issue, and looking at it from a different angle – things that change your perspective – I changed my paradigm about my checkbook!
Why do I hate it? It’s tedious. It’s math. I usually don’t like the results, and it’s depressing. I tend to put if off for a month or two, at which point it’s a total mess. Plus, my husband hates it even more than I do and he’s not good at it, so it has fallen to me to do. And why am I stuck with it anyway? But what would happen if I liked doing it?
If i Liked it I Wouldn’t Put it Off
So, what is there to like about it? Well, if I do it every week it will be a lot more manageable and it will take a lot less time. And I will know before spending money our exact financial position. So, I will manage my money a lot better. That would certainly make me more aware and thus more responsible for where our money is going. Besides, my husband doesn’t want to do the checkbook but he mows the lawn and shovels snow and loads the dishwasher. And he is great at laundry! So, if I appreciate all that he does it seems like no big deal to be responsible for the household money. And he appreciates me for doing the checkbook.
How well do you think my household finances were doing when I didn’t have control of them? They were controlling me. So, having a new habit of managing my money better could turn things around in that respect.
A Little About Habits
Habits take a minimum of 21 days to change because of the way the brain works. You have to repeat the new habit over and over to change from the old habit to the new one. Then you have to support it with your thoughts, actions, and emotions, to be able to stick to it. The best process for wanting it more is to look for the benefits of the new behavior or thought.
Fortunately for me the new way to think about my money motivated me to keep my agreement with myself. It became more “do-able” as I felt the new emotion of triumph I began to associate with my finances. And I started balancing my checkbook weekly and taking responsibility for where my money goes.
How This Applies to Other Things
But that was just the beginning. What I didn't know was, once I found I could change and then learned how to do it, I looked around and saw that I wanted to change the way I was looking at other things. Like how hard is it to make the bed? But when it’s made it makes the whole room inviting and pleasant.
And I started to really face and deal with my procrastination. It’s in my DNA, I’m quite sure, so I’ll always have a tendency to procrastinate, but I’ve gotten out of the habit of it. So now when the thought to put something off comes into my head I’m aware of it and the consequences. And it helps keep me focused.
Once I changed a few simple things I decided it was time to step up and take responsibility for diabetes. I can tell you it wasn’t easy. It has always been a monster and we all have difficulty facing our monsters, much less tackling them.
But I was motivated by how much better I was already feeling about my life and my ability to change my future, and more positive in my feelings about my future. My energy was higher than it had ever been. I could see that I had a good chance of actual success. Success always brings our energy up.
Application to Diabetes
When I decided it was time to take on diabetes all the tools, systems, and support I could possibly have needed showed up. Not that it wasn’t there all along either. I could see it only when I opened myself to the possibility of it.
The result is that it’s still a journey, complete with a rocky road. I’m not perfect with my diabetes control but I am at least ninety percent better than I was. And I am authentic about diabetes, and authentic in everything in my life. It was my checkbook that helped me become a person who is able to be authentic in life.