April 2020: Review, Reflect and Prepare
April is rapidly coming to an end. This is about the time in every month where I encourage you to Review, Reflect, and Prepare.
How’s the month been going? If you think back to the weekly emails or FaceBook posts from this month, I’ve touched on the ideas of mindfulness and the importance of learning to observe without judging. To learn the art of observation without our judging mind taking over is a process. So it’s why I include the “review” portion at the beginning our process!
To review is to look back and notice what’s been happening. Just notice. Make a list. Maybe your list will look like this:
I observe that I spent within my budget in the category of groceries
I observe that I spent more than I allocated on clothing
I observe that I did not think about my goal of buying a vacation home this month
I realize it may sound a bit silly to you the way I wrote this … “I observe that …". I mean, really, who walks around talking like that? The reason I wrote it that way is because I want you to practice saying that to yourself (out loud or in your head) or out loud to your partner. It’ll feel a bit weird at first, but I promise you’ll get used to it. It’s designed to train your brain to simply observe things as they are. No judgment.
Once you have a list of what you’ve observed this month, now it’s time to do some reflecting. Here’s where you start to notice how your list made you feel and the associated thoughts. So, “I observe that I spent within my budget in the category of groceries” migth be associated with a sense of pride! Perhaps this was an area where it’s been easy to overspend, and this was the month you made your goal happen! Pause here for a second and ask yourself why. Why this month? What was going on this month that contributed to that win? What choices did you make or not make? Notice anything within you or around you that contributed (or didn’t) to you achieving this goal. Make note of it – it will help as you reach step 3 … prepare.
Now that you’ve reviewed and reflected, it’s time to prepare. From your work in the previous two steps, look forward to next month. What will you continue doing in May that’s been helpful in April? What will you stop doing that has been less than helpful? What will you try that’s different that you suspect will help you meet a goal?
Here are some other tried and true methods of preparing for next month:
Cash Flow - understand it:
Have you reviewed your cash flow for the upcoming month?
Do you need to set aside a little extra at the end of this month to cover expenses in the first part of May until your next paycheck arrives?
This is an easy step to overlook, but a critical one to keep you away from relying on credit to bridge the gap.
Spending Plan - make one:
What’s coming up in May that you need to plan for?
Job hunting expenses
Is it time to buy new contacts?
When’s car registration due?
We might still be in quarantine, or we might not … either way what’s your plan for Memorial DAy? Even if we’re still staying home, a celebration can happen! Will you need extra dollars for a BBQ, a new backyard game or some flowers to spruce up your summer yard? If yes – go for it! What changes will you need to make in your budget, if any, to cash flow this celebration?
And speaking of summer, now might be the time to check your summer budget! What events are coming up that you need to plan for? It's never too early to think about your goals!
Financial coaching can help you prepare to experience the freedom of an intentional life. It is designed to infuse hope and highlight possibilities. My job is to remind you of your innate abilities to make wise choices for you and your family and take back control of your money. Schedule your complimentary consultation today and start experiencing the freedom of your intentional life.