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EXPERIMENTAL PSYCHOLOGY FOR YOUR FINANCIAL GOALS

Paloma Medina

You spoke and we listened: We added a last-minute workshop to our February calendar on the Science of Financial Goals.

This is our Science of Goals workshop -- revamped to focus specifically on money, including new tools to get through the most common financial goal blocks. If you're ready to get serious about your financial badassery plan, join us.


One of the things we'll be covering: How to leverage your environment to achieve your goal.    

The science: Experimental psychology researchers have found that our environment can predict a surprising amount of our behavior. The current theory is that the majority of our behavior is decided by our subconscious, and our subconscious is constantly scanning our environment for cues about what is normal to do, what is not normal to do, as well as clues about who we are and what we're capable of.  This research has explored two key elements in our environment: People and objects. In particular, the research found that changing either of these (such as changing the objects and decor someone was surrounded by or changing which people they hung out with) could predictably change a human's behavior -- without every directly forcing or instructing them to do so. 

How can we apply this to our lives? By assessing our current environment and nudging it towards our future, ideal future environment. Here's a three-step exercise to try out yourself:

 

Step One: Visualize Your Future Environment:
Take five minutes to visualize what things will be like when you achieve that badass financial goal of yours. Let's say you want to double your income -- visualize what your daily life will be like, and then what your environment will look like when you achieve that goal. 

Will you have a beautiful home? Then visualize the specifics of it -- walk through that home in your mind and notice the details of it. Will you have a minimalist wardrobe? A specific kind of bedroom, or maybe, like one of our clients, you see a beautiful bathroom. He described that it had huge windows and nothing but a bathtub in it. Great!  Write all those details down for your own future state.

Another way of doing this exact exercise is to think about what YOU will look like. Yep. You. One client said she saw herself always wearing comfortable AND all black business casual clothes. Every weekday. Even if she didn't get a client that day, she'd still look classy AF Monday through Friday. She then wrote down as many specific about her look and wardrobe. That's the right level of detail for this exercise.

Step two: Brainstorm Possible Changes
Write down what in your current environment can be upgraded or swapped to match up with your future one that you saw in your mind.  So for the workshop attendee, an easy one was to replace her toilet paper. She also replaced her plastic toothbrush holder with a beautiful ceramic one and got a second small gold mirror to hang in the bathroom. However, before you go out and buy a bunch of new stuff, first make a long brainstorm list of at least 12 objects that could be changed up (either swapped, upgraded, thrown out or added) to nudge your current environment towards your future environment. 

Step three: Choose two to three objects to change up. 
Look at your list and choose two to three items to change up, based on what will feel good long term to both your brain AND YOUR WALLET. This is not always a spending exercise. Many of you will realize you can upgrade your environment as much by what you get rid of as by what you replace: one client threw out an old ratty rug that they didn't actually need and just reminded them of their old broke life. Another client donated a designer watch he'd worn since college but never actually liked --  it reminded him of when he used to overspend to impress his friends.  You know yourself best, so choose items that, if you changed them up, would be daily (and thus constant) reminders that you are capable and absolutely on your way towards your financial goal. 

    Ready to dive in deeper on psychology and goals? We'll be covering a ton more on February 4th


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