We have talked a lot about what you need to do to be more financially successful. But sometimes, it is not about what you do but what you do not do. And most times, it is not the big things that stop you from achieving your financial goals. It is the insignificant things that we all ignore that cause the most damage.
This week has been one of those slow weeks for me because of some personal reasons. But thanks to that, I was finally able to binge on the Netflix series, The Smart Money Woman. It’s a phenomenal show. You should watch it if you haven’t - whether you are male or female, young or old, The Smart Money Woman has great financial nuggets that can benefit anyone on their financial freedom journey.
As I watched the show, all the way from the first episode, it was easy for me to see the small things that were holding Zuri and her friends back from the life of financial freedom. And it was not all the big bad financial decisions they were making. It was the small things.
This show made me realize that the fact that most of us are not making much progress is not because we are not doing more. Instead, it may come down to the little things that we should get rid of. So here are seven things you should consider giving up to be more financially successful.
We love making excuses. We make excuses for why we are late for necessary appointments, why we didn’t stick to our budgets, why we can not wake up earlier to start our day, etc. I bet we will also have an excuse to tell God on judgment day when asked why we weren’t better people.
But all jokes aside, excuses are fatal when it comes to our financial journey. Blaming people, events, and situations for why you don’t have the career, savings, or lifestyle you want will always hold you back. It may give you instant relief, but it will forever hold you back.
All successful people know that they can’t let excuses get in the way of achieving their dreams. You are responsible for everything that happens in both your professional and personal life - both the successes and the failures. So own it!
In the show, The Smart Money Woman, Zuri struggles to present to the world this picture-perfect life. But later on, we find out that there are many problems with this façade.
Don’t get me wrong. There is nothing wrong with wanting to have a good life. However, there is nothing perfect about life. Things go wrong all the time. Plans burst. Budgets go off the rails every once in a while. Expected promotions at work sometimes come as a termination letter.
This is what life is. So forget about being perfect and having a perfect life. Aiming for perfection not only holds you captive; it also strangles your ambition because you want everything to be perfect before you can take action.
Lean too much on other people’s approval, and it becomes a bed of thorns ~ Tehyi Hsieh
It is normal to want other people to like you. And that is okay. However, when you try to please everyone, it becomes a problem. People-pleasers are the weakest people alive - you lose your authentic self in the process of trying to make everybody happy.
You should be comfortable with the fact that not everyone will like you or your life choices. Waiting for everyone’s approval is a disease, and when the approval does not come, you feel lost.
For example, you might feel that your 8-5 is not building you financially as fast as you would like, and you are now considering quitting and trying your hand on the Jua Kali side. However, you are not sure how your corporate friends are going to take it. You don’t want to lose friends.
Why should you let the decision that affects your future be determined by the approval of others?
Your health is paramount. With an unhealthy body and mind, it is unlikely you will be making clear, informed financial decisions. Getting sick can not only drain your energy, but it can drain your finances.
Therefore taking care of your health and avoiding any unhealthy habits is the first step on your financial success journey. For example, be very careful what you eat. Avoid giving your body too much fast food, alcohol, and sugar, and stick to a good diet with mainly high-quality and unprocessed foods.
Poor diet is the cause of many chronic illnesses that might end up trolling your financial journey. Also, learn to get plenty of exercise as well as get into a regular sleep routine. You’ll have more energy, feel happier, look better, and work better to meet your financial goals.
There is a reason why ‘where do you see yourself in five years’ is a popular interview question. It is to access how the candidates view themselves in the long-term.
As someone who hopes to succeed financially, it is crucial to stop looking at things from the short-term lenses. Reaching big dreams and financial goals rarely happens quickly. The most success you will see in your life will take a lot of planning, long nights, tears, and years and years of waiting. And that is okay.
For example, building a successful private consultancy might take you months or years to accumulate ten clients. Be patient and trust the process.
Note that long-term thinking does not exclude having short-term goals, it is setting the long-term destination and working backwards to create pit-stops or milestones that you can work towards. Learn more on setting financial goals that you can actually achieve here.
Again looking at Zuri, on the show The Smart Money Woman, most of her problems are due to her spending too much of her money on consumption and instant satisfaction.
Many of us start hunting for a bigger house the minute we get a promotion letter at work. Even before you get your first ‘promotion’ salary, you have already started planning a trip to Diani. There is nothing wrong with this. It is crucial to live in the moment every once in a while.
However, if this once in a while becomes all the time, there is a big problem. The only way to get ahead financially is to make sure you live within your means and invest for the future. Forget about satisfying your immediate cravings and plan for the future.
We all have 24 hours in a day, and time is money. So what you do with every minute of your life matter a lot when it comes to your financial journey. If you're spending too much time playing video games or watching TV, then you are not using your time wisely.
Those activities probably aren't moving you any closer to your goals. Hanging out with friends every weekend is also not propelling you to meet your financial goals - unless they are your business partners or friends who encourage you to do better in life.
Yes, scheduling time for leisure and socialising with your friends is essential, but don't let it hinder you from accomplishing what's truly important to you.
Doing the same thing you have always done will indeed give you the same results you have always gotten. Therefore, it is essential to often take stock of your inputs and outputs and evaluate the progress to your financial goals.
However, as you do this, remember that it is not only about what you should do but also about what you should stop doing that will help you meet your goals faster.