A positive mental attitude can increase your chances for greater wealth. The first step is becoming aware of what you need. This acts as a catalyst to searching for a solution. But first, like any fixer-upper project, we need to clear the clutter.

According to the Institute for Neuroimaging and Informatics at the University of Southern California, the average person thinks 70,000 thoughts a day. Most experts estimate that up to 95% of those thoughts are reruns of past events, or recurring thoughts.

In focusing our attention, our brains use a process called the Reticular Activating System (RAS). Marilee Sprenger, in her book How Your Brain Controls Your Attention, describes this system as the portal that filters information. How it does this affects what you pay attention to. So, why not use this system to increase your wealth? By simply focusing your attention on what you want more of in life, your brain will seek out opportunities for generating wealth and your well-being.

More than a feeling

Of course, mental habits are not easy to break. However, incremental changes, over time, will create big shifts in how you view the world and yourself. A few little tricks can help put you on a better path to greater clarity about your goals and greater awareness about the actions that will help (or hinder) their achievement.

Getting started

Step One:  Buy a plastic band in one of your favourite colours and place it on one of your wrists. Each time you catch yourself ruminating on a negative idea, snap the band to help you reset your thinking pattern. At first you may be snapping a lot! But, if you stick with it, you’ll soon find that, as your awareness grows stronger, your snapping decreases.

Step Two: Like overcoming any addiction, it helps to replace one habit with another, preferably better one. For example, if you find yourself fantasizing about some catastrophic event, (“I’ll run out of money before I die!”), replace it with a positive statement. (“I’ll always have enough.”) Mindset expert, Dr. Carol Dweck, suggests adding “yet” to the end of any self-defeating statement, as in “I’m not financially independent…yet.”

However, if you find yourself coming back to the same fear, then you may need to do more than simply re-frame your thinking; you may need to take more direct action. For example, if you’re unsure about your retirement readiness, all the positive phrases will not replace the benefit of working with a financial planner on a solid retirement plan. Positive thinking joined with positive action is the key.

Step Three:  One of the most powerful emotions is gratitude. Instead of focusing on what is not working, give equal time to what is working. Take a moment to give thanks.

The power of gratitude

Appreciating your life in the here-and-now is an instant wealth builder.

Kelley Keehn is an award-winning author, personal finance educator and is the Consumer Advocate for the Financial Planning Standards Council (FPSC). She has written nine books on personal finance including Protecting You and Your Money; A Guide to Avoiding Identity Theft and Fraud and A Canadian's Guide to Money Smart Living. Kelley is the Marilyn Denis show’s personal finance expert, was the host of the W Network’s Burn My Mortgage, sat on the National Steering Committee on Financial Literacy, currently serves on the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada’s Consumer Protection Advisory Committee, the Ontario Securities Commissions’ Seniors Expert Advisory Committee, and is a member of the OECD’s International Network on Financial Education.