Did you know habits take 21 days to form based on this study? Sometimes habits can take up to 66 days to feel “automatic.” What that means is you CAN change your habits by identifying what you want to change and then implementing into your life. It will take time and won’t happen overnight. Habits make or break us, we all have good ones and we all have bad ones. Our habits decide if we get up early to the gym, pack our lunch to save money (& eat healthier) or contribute towards a saving goal instead of mindlessly spending on Amazon.
How you choose to be with your money will play a huge impact in all areas of your life. If you can be smart with your money you will live a better life with less stress. Notice I didn’t say if you make $100,000 or $1 million per year you will live a better life. When people earn more they tend to raise their lifestyle (bigger house, new car, etc.) instead of saving more. Of course, earnings will factor in but if you can start these money habits on a $30,000 or $50,000 salary you will be able to continue when you earn more throughout your life.
Here are four money habits to help get you started:
Pay yourself first! If you’re not enrolled in your employer’s 401K (especially if they match a portion) you’re missing out on thousands of dollars every year. 401K’s are easy to setup (check it out here) and are automatically withdrawn every pay period. You can also make contributing to your emergency fund or IRA automatic by spending 15 minutes setting it up. Your “habit” is now automated and by paying yourself first. You will be rewarded later in life by spending a few minutes setting up automatic withdrawals to an emergency fund, 401K, IRA (or all of them).
Learn About Money
After reading a LOT of personal finance books a common theme is that successful individuals are always aware of their financial situation. They know how much they earn, how much they spend, set financial goals & continue to learn and educate themselves. Even if you’re -$20,000 net worth of student loan debt it doesn’t mean you get a free pass to not care about finances. Whether you’re learning about your retirement options, tracking your net worth, or setting up a spending plan you need to create a habit of being aware of your financial situation.
I recommend tracking your accounts with Personal Capital to understand your entire financial situation. Spend 5-10 minutes a day checking out these sites or blogs, one new idea could change your financial situation!
Blogs are another great way to learn more about finances (since you’re reading this now). Here are some of my favorite that teaches you how to grow your wealth, become financially savvy & or learn to start a side hustle to earn additional income:
- I Will Teach You To Be Rich
- Budgets Are Sexy
- Making Sense of Cents
- Smart Passive Income
- Side Hustle Nation (average millionaire has 7 streams of income, how many do you have?)
Do you have other blogs you love? Share it in the comments so myself and our readers can all benefit!
Throughout the month, quarter, or year you should be constantly evaluating your investments. As the market shifts your investments will and percentages will change. For example, say you’re a 30-year-old who invests 70% in stocks and 30% in bonds. But over the past quarter bonds have plummeted and stocks have gone up in value so now its 80% stock & 20% bonds (you can easily see in this Personal Capital). To get back to where you want to be (70/30) you will need to sell a few stocks to add more money to bonds to keep your asset allocation (“risk tolerance”) distributed correctly.
Stop Wasting Money
Online shopping makes it way to easy to waste money. Are we all going to have purchased we probably don’t need? Yes, we’re human but if it’s over $10-$25 (depending on your income) wait a day or two before purchasing to see if you “really need it.” If you decide you don’t “need” the item instead put how much it would have cost into your savings or emergency fund. I guarantee you’ll enjoy a great vacation (or even staycation) and the memories instead of another Amazon Prime box at your door.
Now that you’ve conquered your money habits, fitness is another big part of your life where your habits can help you reach your goals. Consistent exercise and eating well will make you feel better, look better, and think better (with the exception of cheat meals, usually Taco Bell).
Here are three habits to keep you motivated and stay on top of your health:
Establish a Routine
We’ve all heard the saying “Showing up is half the battle”…that goes for fitness and getting up (or going after work) to exercise. Find a time that works for your life. Personally, I love exercising in the mornings and others will be better at night. Find what works best for you! To make sure you go plan it the day before by laying out clothes, waking up earlier (& not hitting snooze) and having a plan for your workout. Or if you go after work make sure to have your clothes packed and maybe a snack to avoid hanger & make sure you actually go after work.
Have you ever walked into the gym, had no idea if you were going to play basketball, hit the treadmill, row, or lift weights? Usually walking in oblivious leads to a half ass workout & browsing Instagram or Twitter longer than you are lifting. I know I’ve been there and it’s frustrating, especially if you got up early for that kind of workout. Instead, the night before plan when to leave, what workout you will do (cardio, weights, yoga etc.), what exercises you will do, and how long it will take to complete. This way you can be efficient with your time, crush your workout and feel like The Rock when it’s over.
Some people like to cook, some people love to cook (& #foodporn on social media) and some can barely cook easy mac n cheese. Depending on the day I’ve been in all three categories. By learning how to cook you will save money, eat healthier, and usually feel better.
Here’s a quick example on if you eat out lunches v. taking your own to work (5 days/week):
- $20 weekly (~$4/day)
- $1,040 annually
- $40 weekly (~$8/day) ($8 is basically fast food, restaurants are obviously a lot more)
- $2,080 annually
Could you use an extra $1,000 a year (minimum)? I realize it’s nearly impossible to always cook and want to eat out with co-workers or friends, but it’s good to see the comparison. Even cooking one or two days a week will save you hundreds of dollars each year.
What other habits can impact your life for the better? I’ve adopted these three habits over the course of my 20’s and have found myself more productive, less stressed, and appreciating life more than ever (which we all want right)? I didn’t make these up myself, I simply followed what other successful individuals have done over the years and model around my own life.
Here are a few habits that can really improve your personal life to become more productive and crush your goals every day. We all have the same 24 hours in the day, make the most of them!
Wake Up Earlier
I can hear everyone groaning now but try to find one successful person or CEO (usually pretty successful people) who sleeps in? Here are three CEO’s morning routines:
- Tim Cook (CEO of Apple): Up at 4:30 am and exercising by 5 am.
- Howard Schultz (CEO of Starbucks): Up at 4:30 am to exercise or bike ride with his wife. Although not as far as he has an unlimited amount of caffeine.
- Robert Eger (CEO of Disney): Up at 4:30 am reading, exercising, & working.
Notice a trend here (also check out the other 20 people in the full article here)? I’m not saying you have to start getting up at 430am every day BUT if you wake up at 7 am now, try to get to 6:30 am next month. Then 615am the following month. I use to be 630am a few years ago but now I’m in the 430-5am range. You will be amazed at how much more you can accomplish by waking up earlier.
Remember it doesn’t happen overnight. With any habit make it slow and steady so you will be more likely to succeed. Eventually, you’ll find a routine and be able to be to start your day on your terms. Whether you have more time to make a healthy breakfast, read a book or hang out with your dog before going to work. Gone will be the days of waking up late after hitting snooze three times, grabbing a pop-tart, and rushing out the door to start your day flustered and unprepared. Sadly, the days of college are over. Who’s been there in the real world? It’s never fun starting your day like that.
It’s almost hard to write this section after being so obsessed with TV a few years ago. Between NFL, NBA, Golf, HBO GO and Netflix I always found something I’d rather watch than reading a book. As much as I love TV I felt I could be learning more and not be sitting around every night after work…I learned sometimes it’s okay to cheat on Netflix with a book. Instead of binge watching another new show spend a half hour or hour reading a book (& then you can watch it). Or you might find the topic interesting and keep learning.
Find some topics you like or are passionate about and go from there.. for me it was personal finance. I’ve read a lot of personal finance books and understand why people aren’t initially interested, some are boring & outdated. The ones below made me start Super Millennial, are easy/entertaining & can be applied in your life.
Before and after reading these I always think, why is this not taught (and/or emphasized) in high school & college? Instead, we get classes like mythology, anthropology, and biz calculus (still waiting on when I’ll need those in my career). Here are the five most impactful personal finance books I’ve read & highly recommend to any person who wants to understand their money & setup a great financial future:
Unfortunately, a lot of time we are “busy” on our phones/email/social media instead of looking up, talking to people and appreciating everything going on in life. We often think if get “more” of anything we’ll be happier, usually it’s not the case. I’ve met people who aren’t rich and live a great life because they appreciate it. As Tony Robbins said at a seminar I attended “There is nothing worse than a rich person who is always mad.”
Take 5-10 minutes daily or weekly and get in the habit of appreciating your life.
Appreciate your family, your friends, your partner and the thousands of other things going right in your life. We’re all human and bad shit happens, it’s part of life. If you schedule out some time daily or weekly to reflect and think about a few good things in your life I promise you’ll live a more fulfilled life.
What are some other habits that have impacted your life? To learn the others I have used to shape my life buy my book on Amazon here.
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