That Financial Task You’re Putting Off?
Your Emotions are the Key to Getting It Done.

Last month I posted practical tips for completing important but dreadful financial tasks. But sometimes our emotions get in the way. We have the best of intentions. We break down the task into smaller parts and schedule them. Then we blow through our own appointment reminders, ruminating in the thought, “I don’t want to do this!”

When this happens to you, it’s time to dive deeper.

Start by asking yourself and ask what, exactly, is stopping you. It’s usually an emotion. And that emotion, once recognized, will set you free.

When I asked myself why I was procrastinating on filing my insurance claim, the answer came right away. I was embarrassed. One month had passed since the incident. I was embarrassed that I hadn’t handled it sooner. And the longer I waited, the more ashamed I felt. I also felt a tinge of fear. What if it was too late to file a claim?

Acknowledging emotions is key to moving forward.

This is because we cannot make rational decisions when we are stuck in an emotional response. Emotions and decisions originate from different parts of the brain, and they cannot occur simultaneously.

Luckily, there is an easy way to switch from our emotional brain to our rational brain. Name it to tame it. Psychiatrist Dan Siegel coined this phrase as an easy reminder. When you find yourself upset, overwhelmed, stuck or out of control, ask yourself, “What am I feeling?” Then answer.

The act of asking what we are feeling takes us out of the emotional center of our brain and into the thinking center. Once we’re there, we can make rational decisions.

To make progress on a goal, a few follow up questions are needed.

“What is the worst that can happen?”
“What is the best possible outcome?”
“Is it worth it to move forward?”

When I realized embarrassment was holding me back from filling the insurance claim, I asked myself, “What’s the worst that can happen?” The banality of the answer surprised me. I could feel embarrassed when talking to the claims agent, and they could tell me that it’s too late. Period.

Now what’s the best possible outcome? I could get a full reimbursement of my insurance claim. Is that worth it? Yes!

Go ahead, try this at home. Then let me know how it goes.