FOMO and YOLO have become the central features of our instant gratification lifestyles with Martha Beck, a well known motivational author and life coach, terming our Fear of Missing Out, as the epidemic of the 21st Century. I would say it is closely followed by its sidekick, You Only Live Once mentality.
FOMO wreaks havoc on our emotional wellbeing, creating anxiety, depression and contributing to our low self esteem from our constant belief we are not good enough and are not achieving enough.
More significantly though it shatters our financial stability.
I have personal experience of this, having been a victim of FOMO and trying to buy validation that I was enough and fitted in. To me money brought status and acceptance and as a result I wanted all the things that I perceived people with money had.
My FOMO was constantly fed by the people around me, the advertisers and eventually social media.
I sacrificed my financial future on constantly chasing material possessions and the things that seemed to make others happy.
Healing my financial FOMO has also been about healing myself and finding out what I want, what I value and what in fact makes me happy. And it isn’t all about the material things. As I continue on this l journey of healing and discovery, I’m finding out what is important to me.
These are the steps I’m taking to becoming FOMO free.
Discovering my vision for my life
When my life was ruled by FOMO and very much driven by getting what everyone else’s had, I had no idea what I truly wanted out of life.
Saving and investing were competitors to the spending I felt I needed to do and were put off for some distant future. Usually this was a future that involved winning the lottery or some other windful. Never a future consciously planned, mapped out and consistently created.
Although this is sometimes a source of huge regret now when I look back at all the money I wasted and all the opportunities I had to grow my money that I simply ignored or just didn’t see because they would mean having to sacrifice all the things I just had to have at that point in time, I realise it was all part of my journey to money maturity.
A big part of my FOMO cure has been developing my own view of what I want out of my life. It is a welcome learning experience, as I have gotten to know myself down to the very core of my values.
Don’t get me wrong, the FOMO has not disappeared, but now before mindlessly reacting to that demanding call for instant gratification, I relate it to what I want my life to look like and assess whether this immediate desire is part of that picture and unsurprisingly it seldom is.
Developing a strategy for achieving my goals
The more I thought about my vision for my life and the richer that vision got, the more I wanted it.
I realised that the directionless meandering path that I was on wasn’t going to get me to that vision.
I needed a long term plan, a medium term plan and achievable short term goals to keep me on track.
All of my resources would need to be activated to support me in attaining my goals and the most obvious of this was my money.
I analysed where I was financially, reviewing my incomings, outgoings, assets and liabilities, and determined how far I was from my goal. Admittedly it was miles away. To keep my mojo going and not lose motivation I broke down what money goal I believed was achievable for the first year.
I took a fine tooth comb to my spending and identified the excesses. The high utility costs, the subscriptions I didn’t use and not to forget the overindulgences and FOMO driven spending. I took a scalpel to these and set about creating a conscious spending plan supportive of my goals.
Rewarding myself consistently
The journey has been rewarding at times as I reached goals but it has also been hard as I have fought the FOMO and natural desire to satisfy my wants instantly.
I have learnt that depravation is a short term plan at best no matter how big the ultimate long term reward seems and to keep myself on track I have built mini rewards into my strategy.
I believe the rewards incentivise me to keep going but also boost my sense of achievement every time I reach one.
Ironically my rewards have become less and less monetary and more time based as my journey of discovery continues to uncover who I am. And I am someone who values the special moments with those I love and I find happiness in my attempt to make a difference in the world.
Who might you discover you are if you ditch your FOMO?