During the holiday season, people are slowing down, spending time with family and friends, and being grateful for everything they have. It’s a wonderful time to press the reset button on your life and prepare for the year ahead, while appreciating all the good things you have now.
In honor of this time of year, I wanted to share why gratitude isn’t only something you should practice once a year -- it should be a daily practice and one that can majorly affect your life, happiness, and goals. Not only that, but gratitude is a key component for financial success. Here’s why:
Gratitude Affects Your Money Mindset
In life, it’s easy to focus on what we don’t have. Everyone wants to make more money, have nicer cars, a bigger house, and a great job. Jealousy comes easy when we are focused on what is lacking. But when you are focused on what you don’t have, rather than what you do, you are in a mindset of scarcity. It’s hard to see all the good things around you and attract good opportunities.
Focusing on what you don’t have can often lead to immobilizing depression, fear, or anger, but when operating from a place of gratitude, you are more likely to take action and move forward. Being grateful for what you have can be a complete mental shift. Here are some things you can be grateful for today:
- Your health
- Your job
- Your friends
- Your family
- A roof over your head
At any given time, one or some of these things might be compromised. No one is immune to tough times, but practicing an attitude of gratitude can help you be joyful with what you already have and help you make better money decisions.
You Are Likely to Spend Less
If we practice gratitude, soon enough it will get you out of the consumerist mindset that you always need more and that you never have enough. Think about all the things you need. Like, actually couldn’t live without. I’d venture to say that you can live off a handful of items and the rest of the things you have are “wants.”
When you focus on what you don’t have, it’s easier to start spending more to fill that void. For example, maybe you buy shoes, or a new gadget, or a nicer car to keep up with the so-called Joneses. It’s expensive to try to keep up if you only think about things you don’t have.
By practicing gratitude, you are telling yourself and your budget that what you have now is enough. That’s not to say that you can’t have goals, dreams, and hobbies that cost money. It’s merely a practice to be happy with what you have now and spend on your values, rather than frivolously.
You Are More Generous
Being grateful can often mean that you are more generous with your time, money, and talents. I’m not talking about giving it all away, but respecting the people in your own life that have helped you get where you are. Because you are grateful for all the people who have helped you, you want to pay it forward to others.
When you pay it forward, it comes back to you, in some way, shape, or form -- sometimes even financially. Generosity also makes you memorable to others, so they are more likely to think of you when they are hiring, need someone, etc.
While gratitude may seem like a soft skill to integrate into finances -- even new agey to some (I was once a skeptic!) -- but it can completely change your money mindset and they way you spend money, hold on to money, make money, and more.
Focus on being grateful for what you do have, and find ways to improve in the areas that you want. Don’t let jealousy or fear hold you back, but let others' successes inspire and motivate you. Everyone is on their own journey and be grateful for where you are.
What are you grateful for today? In what ways have you seen gratitude play a role in your finances?
Melanie Lockert is a freelance wordsmith, a passionate debt fighter, and frugal lovin’ minimalist who writes at DearDebt.com. She devotes 50% of her income to student loan debt and is often dreaming of her next adventure.