Our day to day routines is made up of habits. Most of our daily behaviours are actually habits which we’ve developed over the years. Like drinking coffee every morning as soon as we wake up, going out for a walk after lunch, reading the newspaper, stopping for a cup of tea on the way back from work, taking the same route to work every day. Sometimes, we don’t even realize that we’ve formed a habit. These behavioural patterns formed over the years become a lifestyle.
The interesting thing about habits is that they are hard to notice and even harder to break. Developing a new habit can be a challenging task, you would have heard it takes 21 days to form a habit, but that isn’t necessarily true. Depending on the habit and the person it may even take much longer to form a new habit.
To form a new habit, you need to be persistent and committed, the process must be repeated every day until it becomes a natural response. We often tend to imagine a dramatic change when we decide to develop a new habit. In reality, the change could be gradual and filled with deviations. Understanding that developing a new habit is a process which takes time, can make it easier to manage expectations.
Think about the financial habits you’ve been meaning to develop. Have you been trying to save more? Or are you working on spending less? Do you want to take ownership of your financial wellbeing? Could better habits help you achieve these goals?
Set small and easy tasks that you need to complete on a regular basis and reward yourself once you complete them. If you’re thinking about saving more, automate your savings every month. After the initial effort of setting things up, you needn’t put in much effort. If you’re thinking about spending less, the trick is to save first. This will ensure that you stay on track.
Financial Planning can help you develop the right habits. Without a plan, you’d be lost. Identify and write down your goals and set deadlines to achieve them. The plan acts as a reminder of what you need to do and will keep you focused. Share your goals with your friends so they can help you stay motivated. Having close friends or family to rely on can have a positive impact in many ways. They back you up when you need it and are there to comfort you when things don’t go your way. Their support can be particularly important during times of stress or when you are feeling lonely or lost.
Remember a few setbacks are normal. Making a mistake or lapsing once or twice has no impact on your journey so, don’t be afraid to push forward. The power of a habit lies in its consistency, incremental changes over time matter more than drastic changes that don’t stand the test of time.