Don’t Let Financial Mistakes in Your Past Haunt Your Future

5 Steps to Breaking the Hold of Your Previous Mistakes

We all make financial mistakes.  The temptation is to let them haunt us.  Or worse, define us.  Don’t let that happen.  Find the courage to face your shame and move on.  Just like I am finally about to do.

Photo Credit:  Ryan McGilchrist (Creative Commons)

When I was 19, I signed up for fall classes at my local community college.  I had just moved back into the state and wanted a fresh start.

Paperwork has never been my strong suit.  Nor did I ask an advisor for help in picking classes.  I just picked stuff that sounded interesting and wrote a check.

Great strategy, right?

Before the semester began, I learned that one of the classes would not count toward my degree.  It would be a complete waste.

This is where most normal human beings drop the class, get their money back, and move on with their exceptional lives.

I blame my laziness.  And my ridiculous inability to ask people for help.  I didn’t know how to drop the class, so rather than find out, I put it off.  And put it off.  And put it off.

I missed the window.  My mistake cost me over $850.  I was making $6.25 per hour part-time.  Every paycheck after that burned me with guilt as I thought of how long it would take to replenish my loss.

I’ve never shared that story with anyone.  It was so embarrassing.

And now that it’s out there, I realize how petty it was.

My mind made the situation feel worse over time.  Like an infection that spread.

In fact, I always struggled to get my footing in college after that.  Perhaps I lacked the confidence to take my life in my own hands again.  What started as a small mistake took root and started defining me.

Has that ever happened to you?

If you’re reading this, then I can guess the answer.  You’re in good company.  So, here are 5 action steps that helped me and can help you break the hold of your previous mistake:

  1. Learn from your mistake. Gag, right?  But seriously, take 15 seconds to review the outcome.  How did it teach you?  Consider the fact that this mistake did provide a lesson for you, and that’s worth something.
  2. Forgive yourself. There is a lot of work to do today.  Setting financial goals, working to earn money, pursuing those goals.  You don’t have time to slap yourself on the wrist over and over for something you can’t change.  Forgiveness shows a true step of courage.  You are willing to face tomorrow without the burden of guilt you keep placing on your shoulders.
  3. Don’t do it again.  I know it’s the obvious one, but I needed to hear this.  So do you.  Think about it.  If you aren’t going to make the same mistake, then what needs to happen to prevent it?  For me, I have to be more vocal about needing help.
  4. Teach someone. Sooner or later, just like me, you will be presented with a chance to share your story.  Up until now, I buried my story away in shame.  Let me tell you how rewarding and helpful that was……………..…  ::crickets::
  5. Pray for help. I don’t know what your beliefs are, but I believe with all my heart that prayer really works.  Why?  Because of Who I am talking to.

Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. – Hebrews 4:16

It is time to get your confidence back.

The mistakes happened.

Learn from them.

Forgive yourself.

Don’t do it again.

Teach someone what you learned.

Pray for help.

Join the discussion:  What effect have financial mistakes had on your life?

Wife, mother of two, Christian, financial coach, writer, snowman builder, aspiring yet mediocre cook, diy project tester, goof.

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