Checklists are more powerful than you might think. Research is definitely convincing on the merits of using checklists. They help you focus and accomplish goals, one small task at a time. They train your brain to be more productive which also gives you more time in your day. And they assure fewer “fire drills” in your life. Count me in!
This is not a drill!
Yet, as with many things in life, there can be a fine line between using and over-using checklists. A friend of mine from church is a lot like me and uses checklists for work, personal and her volunteer work. Her husband must’ve thought she was a being a bit excessive when one day he leaned over her shoulder to look at one of her checklists to ask “Do you have ENJOY LIFE on your checklist?”
When she told me that, we both laughed, but then I haven’t forgotten that story either. My husband too can be the one who brings me back to earth with a reminder (not always a gentle reminder) to stop and smell the roses. They say opposites attract and I find us healthier together because of it.
Me, Myself and I
But what about when you don’t have that significant other anymore? That someone who can help you remember to be balanced in your life? Or who can make you laugh when you are taking life too seriously? Many women have found themselves suddenly single (or perhaps by choice) and that can mean everything is now up to me, myself and I. Then what?
The Power of Friendship
February, often known as the month of love, can be an especially painful reminder if you are now single. I like the concept of Galentine’s Day (grab your gal friends and do something fun together) as a way to put a positive spin for singles on the traditional Valentine’s Day. Holidays, anniversaries, and birthdays can all be hard times, especially the first few years after loss. Plus, having some girlfriends around can definitely help you enjoy life more during these times.
“Whether You Think You Can, or You Think You Can’t…”
A key factor for enjoying life is to remember, we are our thoughts. I’m taking a Positive Intelligence course right now and finding it fascinating. I want to find ways to help women turn what feels like bad situations, like becoming suddenly single, into a focus on looking forward in search of gifts and opportunities instead. It’s important to me that I help people move the whole money conversation from the “taboo list” to the “money is just another tool in my toolbox” list.
Throughout the course, I am constantly reminded that whatever you think your life is, it is. Whether you believe there will be a positive outcome or a negative outcome, you are right. It sounds so easy yet is so hard, but it is all about what we choose to think.
Check(list) it Out!
So, from my Positive Intelligence learnings, I have identified a very short checklist for you to consider trying in order to experience financial peace.
- Visualize regularly how you want to feel mentally and physically. See yourself smiling and enjoying less financial stress.
- Create an inventory of the tools in your toolbox, a financial inventory.
- Connect with other women on the same journey.
In Plain Sight
First, visualizing can have amazing power. A famous experiment compared boys who wanted to improve their free throw percentage for basketball. One group did nothing extra, one group spent extra time practicing free throws, and one group just visualized themselves with improved free-throw percentages with no extra practice time. There was no change for the nothing extra group but results were the same, a 23% increase in free throw percentages, for both the extra practice group and the visualization only group!
Creating a Financial Checklist
Second, creating a financial inventory is where the power of a checklist can be helpful. You can find several net worth or personal financial statement samples to use online or consider using My Net Worth Statement (also a Financial Blueprint) to create a list of assets that also doubles as your estate planning checklist. Being able to see all of your money tools in one place is the best foundation for making wise financial decisions going forward.
Finally, connecting with other women is part of the accountability aspect of my three-step checklist challenge for you. I offer monthly virtual workshops, for example. Or check out a Facebook (Modern Widows Club) group, a local MeetUp group, or various church groups offered across the United States like DivorceCare or GriefShare for in-person connections. Having an external, supportive accountability group can improve your goal attainment by 500%!
Enjoy the Process
By using this checklist format, you can break things down into more doable chunks, create healthier habits, and make it easier to take the emotion out of it. Money decisions are often an emotional trigger, usually due to childhood and past relationships. So, to help reduce the “fire drills” in your life, try to enjoy the process by creating your own checklist and you’ll be well on your way to enjoying less worry and more life!
How do you use checklists? Can you share any tips for other women to enjoy financial peace? Let’s enjoy a discussion!
This article was first published at 60 and Me – a community that helps women over 60 live happy, healthy and financially secure lives.