A lot of us have been there, buddy, myself included. It’s very tempting to dwell, to wish you could go back and make different choices. To think about everything you could have done with that money if you hadn’t flushed it down the toilet.
But unless you know something useful about the laws of physics governing time travel, you’re not going to go back in time and ‘right those wrongs.’ All any of us can do is move forward.
So how can we move forward? Learning from your mistakes is very important. But the difference between learning and dwelling is a fine line. The distinction is in asking yourself constructive questions.
- What are the 2 to 3 mistakes that lead to most of my financial difficulties?
- What was my state of mind when I decided to make those mistakes? Am I still in that state of mind?
- Were there factors out of my control that influenced my decisions?
- Was there information unknown to me when I made those decisions?
- Did I understand the alternatives available when I made those decisions?
These questions are a good start to deconstructing your past financial decisions. Armed with this newfound insight into your financial psyche, you can start asking yourself questions that help build better financial habits.
- Are there things I need to remove or change in my life now that will reduce the likelihood of making similar financial mistakes?
- When faced with similar choices, how will I handle them differently?
- What do I want my money to do for me?
- Money is freedom. What do I want to do with my freedom?
Answering these questions ahead of time will prepare you when financial decisions pop up.
To sum up:
- Analyze, don’t dwell
- Create guidelines for future financial decisions