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Want to save more? Just put your mind to it!

Summit Credit Union Red SHOES

Most of us want to save more money. We know saving is key to making our long-term goals happen. And we have such good intentions.

But going from good intentions to actually saving? That’s where things can get tricky.

So, what’s a struggling saver supposed to do? We have an idea: Give visualization a try.

Here’s how visualization works.

Step 1. Visualize achieving your goal.
Imagine whatever it is you’re saving money for: your child in their cap and gown or sitting on the dock at your retirement lake house.

And it’s not just important to link your goal to an image. For instance, if people saw a digitally altered image of their older self, it was easier for them to save for retirement1.  So, connect the circa 2040 you with your 2018 self and it will be easier to pass up a daily latte to build up a nice contribution to your savings.  

Step 2. Think about how saving for that achievement makes you feel.
Next, link your goal with how you feel when you’re saving to achieve it. There’s no right or wrong emotion to feel. Maybe you feel relieved knowing you’re taking a step toward a better retirement. Or smug that you’re beating the national odds because you’re more prepared than the average person.

Step 3.  Let your neurons take over.
The brain is a truly amazing thing — and scientists are just beginning to have the faintest understanding of how it works. One thing they’re finding: When you imagine yourself doing something, the pathways in your brain that you need to accomplish that goal will actually get stronger2. How cool is that?

Step 4. Repeat as necessary.
Keep drawing the connection between your future goal-achieving you and your current self. Put up a picture of your child wearing a sweatshirt from their dream college. Print out pictures of your ideal retirement or vacation spot.  Put those pictures somewhere you’ll see them often and give yourself permission to sit and imagine making your dreams happen. Hey, you’re not frittering away your day! You’re owning your financial future!

Did you know it’s America Saves Week? Want to take the benefits of visualization to the next level? Here’s an idea: schedule automatic deposits into your savings. Save a little bit every paycheck; then picture your dreams coming true.

1. Carolyn Bigda, Daniel Bortz, Elaine Pofeldt and Penelope Wang “4 Ways to Motivate Yourself to Save and Invest Like a Millionaire” Time.com August 19, 2016 http://time.com/money/4455333/motivate-to-save-invest-like-millionaire/ 2.  Mirel Ketchiff “How to Use Visualization to Achieve All of Your Goals This Year” Shape Jan. 01, 2017 https://www.shape.com/lifestyle/mind-and-body/how-use-visualization-achieve-all-your-goals-year