Why is it always easier to start a bad habit than to break one? Why are bad habits more fun to start? Why can’t all the cool kids from high school have been really into running instead of smoking behind the bike shed?
It’s not always easy to start a new habit. If you’re purposefully trying to start a new habit, there are some considerations you should take. The old Chinese proverb says that the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is today. Take a look at these strategies for learning new behaviors today. We’re talking about those habits and behaviours we often see in financially successful people.
Take a look at these strategies for learning new behaviors today. We’re talking about those habits and behaviours we often see in financially successful people.
Habit Forming Tips
1. Plan ahead. The tried and true saying is that if you plan to fail, you’ve done a bad job planning. Something like that, at least. If you’re planning on developing a new habit, you should be planning to plan. If you want to save, create a daily, weekly or monthly goal. Plan where you want your money to be saved into. Open an account or put it in a jar, whatever it is, you need a plan.
2. Be consistent. Jerry Seinfeld was popularly quoted to have created a system where he would write every single day and mark his calendar with a big red X. It soon became a chain of red X’s that he didn’t want to break. Don’t miss a habit, and it’ll become a chain you don’t want to break.
3. Spot triggers. If you’re planning on stopping a bad habit, what is it that triggers that bad habit? Do you always smoke right after a meal? Stop bringing your ciggies along with you. Do you tend to buy something when you window shop? Maybe you need to stop going to the malls.
4. Develop substitutions. Take these triggers into account, and create new ones for yourself. Every time your co-worker invites you out, take a lollipop with you so you can suck on that instead of that nasty ol’ cancer stick.
5. Review your reasons. Starting a habit because you just want to do it will never be good enough. Remember the big WHY and it’ll keep you focussed on the end result.
6. Personalize your goals. Don’t do your actions for someone else’s reasons. You should only do it to please the future you. The future you will be so happy with a wealthier habit you started today.
Advanced Strategies for Habit Formation
Maybe these namby-pamby habits aren’t your style and you’re looking for something a little more advanced like you want to get a handle on your bad financial history or your negative attitude. Good for you. You’re going to need some serious ammunition to get going. Grab a hold to some of these advanced techniques.
1. Practice compassion. If you fail, that’s fine. Forgive yourself and move on. Remember that there’s no failure, only feedback. If you forgot to save today, remember to save tomorrow, or better still, save double the amount to make up for today.
2. Team up. Entice someone else to join you in your new habit. Invent a friend if you need to. Having someone with you will exponentially increase your chance of success.
3. Write it down. By just writing your goals and the action you’re taking to reach them, you’re encouraging yourself to focus on the good habit.
4. Remove temptations. Eliminate anything from your life that will tempt you to fall back into bad habits. Give your cigarettes to the kids down the street (just kidding). Keep your credit cards at home and bring only enough cash for your purchases, so that you can’t shop on a whim.
5. Reward yourself. Break your goals into smaller milestones and once you’ve achieved a milestone, acknowledge it with a little reward. If you’ve managed to stick to your weekly savings for 2 consecutive weeks, reward yourself with a movie!
Most importantly, have fun forming new financial habits. It takes some effort, but it’s worth it in the end. Start today and take advantage of these little tips made easy to adopt a lifestyle that will make you a better person. Better yet, practice the abundance mindset like we do and share these tips with a friend you care about!
Have a great weekend and happy holidays.