My Birthday Ritual & My Money
Yesterday was my birthday, and every year I use it as a time to reflect and celebrate. Reflecting is something I have to force myself to do because I really dislike it. I like to go, go, go, and unless I schedule out time, I won’t reflect, i.e., change. Since doing this little birthday ritual of mine the past few years, I have found that finances have been drastically impacted, in a good way. So, what do I do? I make a list of my accomplishments, failures, and goals so that I can figure out what I want to do with the next (God-willing) year of my life.
I started this ritual after getting a coffee a few years ago with a friend a businessperson I admired. He was a successful entrepreneur and had seemingly 10xed his life in a short period of time. He didn’t seem stressed, or fatigued, or even bothered that I have taken up nearly an hour of his time. I asked him what he was doing differently, and he said: “I started taking my birthday’s more seriously.” I thought to myself, ok so you are partying harder?? No, he said he decided one year that it was time to stop going through the motions and start becoming intentional with his years. Now, I have adopted it and want to share with you how it has changed my life:
Here’s my birthday ritual and how it changed my relationship with my money:
Reflect on Previous Year’s Goals
First things first, I look at last year’s goals. Did I meet them? Did I accomplish what I needed to? Or, more importantly, are they goals I still have and want to achieve? This year I reached a few of my goals. I bought a house, I got a new puppy, and I moved to a place that more aligned with my lifestyle. These were all major goals that I have been trying to reach for a few years. However, I didn’t reach the goal of creating a course for Money Therapy and finishing the book that I have been thiiiis close to finishing for a few years. So, that leads me to ask if I didn’t finish them, are they really priorities in my life? I find that sometimes we include goals in our life that other people think we should achieve instead of what we want to achieve. Every year I try to whittle the list down to goals that only fit into the purpose of my life. Sometimes I deem a goal no longer necessary and create a new one.
Are you reaching for a goal someone else set for you?
Do They Align With My Values?
After I look at last year’s goals, I look at my values. Do last year’s goals reflect what I value most in life? Have my values changed? My values stay pretty consistent. I value myself, my family, giving back, and being honest. All of my goals in life have to reflect my values. If they don’t, they won’t get accomplished. Or even worse, if they get accomplished, I won’t get true fulfillment from them because I don’t truly value them. One goal of mine was raising money for my startup two years ago. However, I realized that what it would take in exchange for that money would go against my values. I decided to bootstrap my company instead.
Are you trying to reach goals that don’t align with your values?
I Praise Myself
Next, I list my accomplishments for the year and things I was proud of achieving. Giving myself praise has given me a more profound sense of self and deeper pockets. So often, buying items is a way of covering up our insecurities. What we spend money on shows our values and priorities in life and if we aren’t careful, our purchases turn into keeping up with the Joneses instead of a building block to a more fulfilling life. More on that here. So what do I praise? I praise myself for simple stuff like walking away from a bad friendship, taking the time to work out, or not taking a business deal that wasn’t meant for me. It’s hard to live out your convictions, especially in a social media filled world that may not reflect what your goals and values are. It’s imperative that you are your biggest cheerleader.
Are you recognizing your accomplishments?
I Reprimand Myself
Have I been doing something the past year that doesn’t align with what I want out of life? Is there something actively taking away from my life? I try to cut things aggressively that don’t line up with my goals and values. For example, I stopped drinking for six months, and I was blown away at how effective I became. I did not have a problem drinking alcohol, but I did know that drinking alcohol took away precious time that I could be working on other things. I doubt I would have been able to buy my house or spend quality time with my new dog had I been drinking. I simply wouldn’t have the time to dedicate to reaching those two goals.
Are you correcting your failures?
I Create A New List
Lastly, I create a new list for my new age. I write down, at maximum, five goals. I find writing down too many is overwhelming. Also, I try to differentiate what types of goals I am reaching for; personal, professional, and spiritual. Not every goal needs to be centered around money. Sometimes a goal of being a nicer individual will indirectly attract new clients, better business, and more money! Everything in your life feeds itself. So, if something is out of alignment, other areas will be affected.
Are you setting goals for yourself?
What Has Actually Changed Financially:
Now, to the stuff you really want to know. What has actually changed financially for me due to this process?:
I don’t find it necessary to spend money on things I don’t want/value allowing me to save and spend money intentionally growing my business
I don’t shop for unnecessary items - everything in my home and life has a value or I don’t keep it
I started a 529 plan for kids I don’t even have!
I max out my Roth IRA
I saved and bought a house
I feel more at peace
Not only do I now live a more intentional life, but I know that I’m tracking my progress through life. Everyone could use a set time to appreciate how far we have come in life and to identify steps to take our lives to the next level. If you need a time out in your life and a reset, your birthday is a perfect time to do it. It has helped me tremendously.
Let me know if you start this birthday ritual at firstname.lastname@example.org!