What do dog training, couples’ therapy and money management all have in common? Positive reinforcement
And there’s a good reason that this method is used across such a broad spectrum. IT WORKS!
So how do you positively reinforce the behavior you want to encourage in your dog, your spouse, or yourself? The secret is catching them, or yourself, doing the thing you want to reinforce.
How to you catch yourself doing the right things with your money?
With my dogs I try to catch them doing the desired behavior and reward them with a treat, with praise, and lots of petting.
This way of thinking works in relationships too. Rather than catching your partner doing things that upset you and nagging them or getting angry about it, it’s so much more effective to catch them doing the positive thing and really reinforce it instead.
When it comes to catching yourself doing good things with money, the purpose is to convince yourself that you are good with money, you can handle your own money, you can get out of debt, you can build your business, and you can do all the things you want to do. On a daily basis start noticing when you do something good. You can even set a timer on your phone.
I have my Fitbit alarm go off at 10, noon and 2. Part of that is to make sure I’m on track with my daily step count, part of it is to make sure I’m on track with my schedule for both work and my kids. Pick-ups, drop-offs, and that I don’t forget to eat lunch.
But, those are also the times of day when I try to take stock of what I’ve done so far and what I still need to do. And it is a great time to take note of any money decisions you have made so far, and anymore that you plan to make before the end of the day.
Today, I was considering getting a Mofie Juice Pack for my iPhone. Isn’t a super expensive thing. Now that I’m using Periscope my phone tends to run out of battery a lot more than it used to, so extra battery power would be nice and convenient.
So, I thought, “Hm, should I get this?” I try to practice a “not now” approach for unplanned purchases. I was in Sam’s Club buying a printer because I needed that, and I thought, “Ok. I’m going to take a picture of this, and I’m going to think about getting it, but I’m not going to get it now. I’ll just put it on my list for later, and if I decide to get it I’ll put it ON a list and buy it.”
Later, I told myself,
“Ok. I just saved $90 today by not buying that Mophie Juice Pack.”
It was a little thing, but I can use it as evidence. Collect evidence that you are good with money. Catch yourself making good money decisions.
By doing this, over time you’ll not only notice when you’re being good with money, but you’ll notice more and more opportunities to be good with money all around you.
The more you look the more you’ll see
You’ll notice times when there is a little more left over at the end of the month than you expected so you can put more into savings, more into retirement or towards other savings goals. And, doing it little by little, catching yourself making good decisions day by day, it really reinforces your idea of yourself as someone who is good with money.
With my dogs, the more I notice and reinforce the behaviors that I want, the more I think of them as good dogs (and possibly the more they think of themselves as good dogs).
With my husband too, the more we notice and catch each other doing things that make us feel like we’re good spouses to each other the more we feel like we are, and the more we actually are.
I’d love to know what you’ve been noticing about your habits – let me know in the comments below.
Psssssst! Did you miss it?
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