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The Top 10 Secrets to Building New Money Muscles in 2006

By Joan Sotkin

1. Realize that your financial position is a reflection of who you are. Your money isn't separate from you"it's a part of you. So to change how much you have, you need to change something about yourself. You have control over your financial situation because, like anything else in your life, it's an expression of who you are.

2. If you want to upgrade your finances, first improve your relationships. Money symbolizes the energy of relationship. Money by itself has no energy"it's just a lump of metal or a sheet of paper. But when it's used as a means of exchange between people, it gains energy. When someone pays you, they're saying, "I acknowledge you, I appreciate you, I support you, and this exchange creates a relationship between the two of you. Money problems are never about money; they're about your connections with humanity. Having more money starts with working on your relationships with yourself and others.

3. To change your relationship with yourself, pay attention to your thoughts, beliefs, emotions, and behaviors. Your thoughts and beliefs about yourself lead to emotions that then make you behave in a certain way. Watch what's going on in your head. If you look in the mirror and say, "Ick, you have thoughts and beliefs that are negatively affecting your finances. When you begin treating yourself more lovingly, you'll have more money in your life because you will attract the things that support you, including increased income.

4. Learning new money habits will make you more financially fit. Your financial position is a habit, like the clothes you wear or the grocery store you frequent. Like most people, you are probably habituated to having either less than enough or just enough money. Once you recognize your habit, you can look back at your history and discover where it originated. Since most financial habits begin in childhood, as an adult you are now free to cast off less-than-enough or just-enough habits and cultivate a habit of having more than enough money.

5. New financial behaviors are an antidote to "financial vagueness syndrome." One of the biggest reasons people struggle is due to financial vagueness syndrome"not knowing how much they have, how much they owe, or when their bills are due. Symptoms will disappear as you become a better money manager by keeping track of expenditures, for example, and paying bills on time. Money loves to be counted, so the more you keep track of your money, the more you'll attract.

6. The Identity Factor works hard to keep you from changing. The Identity Factor is an internal mechanism that kicks in whenever you make significant life changes, such as improving your financial position. Having more money threatens your former identity"your concept of who you are and your place in the world. It can also threaten your accustomed position among peers and family. If you're a $40,000-a-year laborer living in a $40,000-a-year neighborhood and you suddenly acquire $100,000, your neighbors aren't going to relate to you anymore. Recognizing that the Identity Factor, working overtime, may be keeping you in an unsatisfactory financial position is essential in learning to overcome its resistance and achieve lasting prosperity.

7. Expect the Identity Factor to stir up the "moving stupids." After moving into a new house, you've probably noticed that it is easy to trip over things, lose important items, and make stupid decisions. Expect that you'll feel the same disorientation when moving into a new financial position. You may stumble over decisions about spending, investing, borrowing, and lending. Preparing for discomfort will allow you to maintain a new financial identity even while experiencing the moving stupids.

8. For lasting prosperity, the changes have to be gradual. It's not uncommon for celebrities, lottery winners, and people who inherit large sums to go bankrupt. That's because a sudden increase in income, while it might seem like a dream come true, actually requires new skills that need to be developed gradually"or disaster can result. Like bodybuilding, it's best to start with small sums and build up to larger ones, developing the emotional and financial skills you need as you go. Otherwise, you might strain yourself and end up back where you started.

9. You don't have to be a millionaire to be comfortable. Do you really want to deal with a million dollars? Having a lot of money doesn't necessarily mean you'll feel secure and happy. Financial advisers often tell me that their wealthiest clients are actually the most insecure because the more money they have, the more they're afraid to lose. Happiness comes from deciding how much money you want to take charge of and inching forward toward that amount.

10. Community matters. When you take care of your money"which means you're taking care of yourself"you become more peaceful, less stressed, and better able and willing to reach out generously to others. The objective should be not to make tons of money, but to love yourself more and deepen your relationships with yourself and others, all of which contribute to a better world. Get a prosperity buddy to share your financial goals and struggles with. Consider forming a prosperity circle for community growth and connection, creating a money flow that benefits everyone.

Excerpted and adapted, with permission, from Build Your Money Muscles: Nine Simple Exercises for Improving Your Relationship with Money by Joan Sotkin (Prosperity Place, 2006). Includes 15 charts and 8 b&w illustrations. Hardcover $24.95, ISBN 0-9741719-8-0. Available at bookstores everywhere and from www.ProsperityPlace.com.

About The Author

Joan Sotkin uses her colorful life experiences as a basis for helping others achieve lifelong prosperity. A caring and insightful financial guide, she is also a popular public speaker, podcaster, seminar leader, and radio guest, as well as maintaining her thriving ten-year-old Web site, ProsperityPlace.com. She lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where she conducts a biweekly Build Your Money Muscles support group.

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