It’s a New Year. It’s a Monday. It’s the beginning of the month. All of these are reasons to embrace a fresh start for your finances and your future.
But is this a good approach? And if so, why?
It turns out there is enormous power in starting something new on a fresh turn of the calendar page.
In Dan Pink’s book When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing, Pink writes about “temporal landmarks.” Temporal landmarks are key dates or points of time in the calendar. These can include a new year, a holiday, or a birthday. They prompt us to reflect on the old and the new.
Think about your most recent birthday. Didn’t you reflect on how quickly or slowly the year had gone? About what you did or didn’t accomplish?
Perhaps you decided that this year will be the year you run a marathon? Fun fact: it turns out that marathoners are mostly like to be an age ending in “9,” like 29, 39, or 49, because we use our birthdays to plan out what we want to do before we turn that next age.
It also turns out that these fresh starts help increase the odds that we will achieve our goals.
In The Power of Moments, Chip and Dan Heath write that during these moments, we are telling ourselves:
All of my past failures are from last year and I can think, “Those are not me. That’s old me. That’s not new me. New me isn’t going to make these mistakes.
That’s right. This is all about the story you are telling yourself.
Clean Slates, Stories and Money
What is the story of the old you as it relates to money? Were you someone who shopped in order to feel better? Did you buy things because you deserved them? Perhaps the old you was always too afraid to ask for a raise or apply for a promotion.
Now is the time to let it go. Embrace the new year and the clean slate it gives you.
Think about your new money story. Don’t just think about what your money resolution is. Turn your resolution into who you are.
For example, if you want to save a certain amount of money this year, don’t just create the goal. Instead, start telling yourself, “I am a person who saves money.” Or, if you want to get a promotion or change jobs, start telling yourself, “I push myself to try new things and go for new challenges.”
Begin to shape your story and create a vision of who you want to be. Use visualizations and affirmations to help this financial story become a reality.
This new day, new week, new year is the perfect time to embrace your new money story.