This may come as a surprise, but I’m not perfect. (Shocking, I know). I’ve made my fair share of mistakes in life and believe it or not, I’ve had a financial misstep or two.

Although financially conscious, my younger self is guilty of letting some items slip by on the money front. Nothing huge happened, and thank goodness for overdraft protection, but I’ll never forget those feelings of anxiety and disappointment in myself when I realized I’d messed up. We’re all guilty of committing a financial faux pas or two, whether it happened years ago or yesterday. But how do you bounce back from these money blunders and shake them off? With some honesty, reflection, preparation, and a touch of class:

1. Acknowledge the Problem

The first step to solving any problem is admitting you have one, right? This is hard to do with money. When we’re used to burying our heads in the sand or not really paying attention to our finances enough to know what’s going on (which is a problem in itself), it’s hard to realize something’s wrong and we made a mistake. Call out the issue at hand and label it for what it is. Is it a loan from a family member or a friend that you haven’t repaid? Do you have a shopping addiction? Maxed out credit cards? Is your rainy day fund lacking or your credit score hitting new lows?

2. Answer Some Questions

If you’re in an unfortunate financial situation, chances are you had an active role in getting yourself there. This is not the time to play the blame game. What you need to do is take time to reflect and dig into those fuzzy feelings you have about money:

  • How does being in this problem make you feel?
  • What steps did you take that lead you here?
  • What beliefs do you have about money and the role it plays in your life? (i.e. do you deserve to have a savings, earn your salary or higher, be financially stable, take an active role in your money? If the answer to any of these questions is no, it’s likely a sign that this is an issue for you to explore deeper.)
  • What habits have you formed that may need to be broken?
  • What could you have done to prevent this and what are you willing to do to prevent it in the future?
  • How will hold yourself accountable?

3. Clean the Slate

If you owe somebody an explanation, reach out. Inform your friends, family, utility company, bank or whomever you need to about the issue you’re facing and let them know you’re ready to work towards a solution. Be open and honest with them and you’ll likely receive a much better response than if you ignored the problem. And if you just need to deal with yourself? It’s time to come to terms there as well and set the wheels in motion for a fresh start.

4. Start Walking the Walk

Whether it’s setting up a debt pay down schedule, creating a monthly savings goal and automating contributions, writing letters to or calling creditors, or even setting up accountability check-ins with a friend or spouse, do what needs to be done to get yourself back on track and rid yourself of the anxiety and guilt around money. Money is a tough topic to handle all on your own and having a team or accountability partner in place will help to get you and keep you on track. If you’re finding yourself faced with a financial issue that you’re not sure how to handle, schedule a 30-minute focus session here to see if financial planning is right for you.