How to Change Your Beliefs About Money

UPDATED: May 23, 2024
PUBLISHED: August 9, 2018

I want to make a lot of money.

Saying this feels more like a confession than a proud declaration. The admission that I love money and want more of it almost feels shameful. But I’m going to say it anyway, because I think it’s time we reclaim ownership of our earning.

Related: 4 Actionable Steps to Build a Positive Money Mindset

I used to be an under-earning snob, taking pride in living on a shoestring and quietly judging people who I thought were too focused on their finances. But ironically, it was my pride in being able to get by with so little that made money the focus of my life.

What could I do, create and give if I weren’t spending so much time figuring out how to make ends meet?

I decided to find out by taking the energy I had been putting into couponing, comparison shopping, researching and rebating, and redirecting it into making more.

Although I was pretty savvy about finding ways to scrimp and save, I realized the potential of those strategies was inherently limited. Eventually you run out of things to cut back on. But your capacity to earn more is unlimited.

I realized that wanting to make more money is not just about limited income. It’s about how limited income inhibits your choices, freedom, generosity, peace of mind, quality of life and ability to make a meaningful impact on the people, places and things you care about most.

I think it’s time we shift our attitudes around the idea of making more so we can take pride in our determination to do so, and not be embarrassed by it.

Start with these four steps.

1. Make a declaration.

“I love what money affords me, and I want to make more of it.” How does it feel to say that? How about publicly? Notice if you find yourself wanting to qualify your declaration with explanations or apologies.

2. Be mindful.

Pay attention to any disparaging thoughts and feelings that come up when you talk about financially successful individuals, or when making your own declaration.

3. Challenge your assumptions.

Whatever negative associations come up, take a moment to reconsider them.

How would you complete the sentence, “I’d like to make more money, but…”? Your response will tell you the beliefs you’re holding onto about what you need to do and who you need to be. Challenge those assumptions by finding examples of other people prospering despite similar circumstances.

4. Reprogram your money script.

Replace the negative messages you’ve adopted around financial success with wealth-positive thoughts and mantras, considering what making more will enable you to achieve personally and contribute publicly.

Recognizing the patterns and beliefs holding you back from making more and making a conscious effort to change them are the first steps toward reclaiming ownership of your income potential.

Related: How Healthy Is Your Relationship With Money?


This article originally appeared in the Fall 2018 issue of SUCCESS magazine.

Stefanie O’Connell is a financial expert, Gen Y advocate, speaker and author of the book, The Broke and Beautiful Life.