Fifty Shades of Money – Financial Discipline Can be Fun!

Attorney Paul Denni

Attorney Paul Denni

If you’re like me, the thought of becoming more “disciplined” sounds like nails on the proverbial chalkboard.

If I wanted to be more disciplined, I would have enlisted in the military. Or followed the advice of those top performing A-lister guys who recommend I take a cold shower every morning to teach me how to do hard things.

Sometimes getting up in the morning to take a hot shower is hard enough, damn it.

(Side note: Ever notice it’s always some beefed up guy recommending the cold shower thing? Imagine Oprah Winfrey, Brene Brown, or Mother Teresa telling you to just take a cold shower everyday dude it’ll give you more discipline!!!)

Not to bash on military guys. In fact, ex-navy seal turned author Jocko Willink makes the excellent point that discipline brings freedom. And that’s particularly true when it comes to money.

But you don’t have to wake up at 4:30am like Jocko to do the “d-word” – god I hate that d-word – let’s rename it to dis-a-fun shall we?

You can apply dis-a-fun to your financial life in more manageable ways than those an ex-Navy seal might do it. You can do it in simple, small ways that give you the warm fuzzies in your belly rather than the biting shivers of a cold shower.

I’m a firm believer that if you’re going to do a thing, and do it day after day after day, then a little self-hypnosis is in order.

But why would I try to hypnotize myself if I don’t feel like it dude?

Because, at the end of the day, life is pretty mathematical. If you put in X, you’ll get back Y. Cause and effect: if you run, you will strengthen your heartl; if you eat vegetables, you will improve your health; if you save a little bit of everything you earn, you will become wealthy. Etc.

And thanks to neuroplasticity, you can actually train yourself to have positive associations and enjoyment doing things you used to hate.

I learned this from two of my favorite teachers, Greg McKeown and James Clear. When you break something overwhelming down into bite-sized pieces, it becomes a whole lot more manageable, and dare I say enjoyable. 

A huge project, like paying off a sizable amount of debt or putting aside 6 months living expenses into your emergency savings, can become much easier when you break it down into smaller steps, and just focus on the next step in the process.

Put a little aside out of every check you earn, and watch your savings grow over time.

Line up all of your debts in the Dave Ramsey debt snowball and just pay a little extra down on lowest debt first to get the momentum going.

Soon, you will begin experiencing all the freedoms of discipline and be well on your way to renaming it to dis-a-fun, dude.

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