Do you have a real desire to make a change in your life and form a new habit?
Perhaps it’s something to do with your physical health, a lifestyle change or even your wealth prospects?
A lot of the time we can start with good intentions but give up or stop before the change becomes a habit.
How long does it take to form a habit?
I recently implemented a change in my life.
I’ve always been a runner but since having our first daughter I have found it hard to schedule in the time to run when balancing childcare commitments and managing a growing business.
So I decided to wake up earlier each day at 5am, use expert ninja skills to not wake up the rest of the house and go for a run whilst listening to podcasts.
Sleep is vitally important so this has led to me changing my night time routine so I go to bed earlier.
At the time of writing it’s only been two weeks and I wouldn’t say it has become a habit yet. I still have to consciously force myself awake and make sure I have a strong cup of coffee before I go but once I’m back, I’m buzzing from the exercise endorphins and my productivity has improved.
Before making this change I was interested to find out how long it takes before something becomes a habit.
Scientists have found that actually it takes on average 66 days before something becomes a habit. That’s 66 days of doing something before it becomes easier and you don’t have to consciously force yourself to do it.
If you have tried things in the past and found they just don’t stick then perhaps you need to go a little longer before you reach the habit forming point
This is never more true than when it comes to forming good money habits.
But don’t beat yourself up if you ‘fall off the wagon’. Interestingly, scientists also found that if you miss a day here and there is doesn’t break the habit forming process. You just need to carry on.
4 ideas for a good money habit
Using 66 days as your target, here are some good money habits to try.
#1 – Pay with cash
Even though I am a tech nerd and love using contactless and Apple Pay, science tells us that by paying for things electronically we are far less likely to mentally record the spend.
When paying by cash, as we can physically see the money leaving our hand, we are far more conscious of what we spend, and noticing your spending is a key part of good financial behaviour.
#2 – Regular Savings
It’s not investment returns that has the biggest impact on your future wealth prospects, it’s how much you contribute.
So it’s crucial to save regularly (monthly ideally), and even better automate your saving. Set up standing orders into your ISAs and Pensions and then forget.
#3 – Stopping consuming the news
This is particularly relevant right now as the stock market goes through a temporary decline at the time of writing.
Remember the declines are temporary and the advance is permanent.
So if watching, reading or listening to the news makes you panic or feel depressed. Stop consuming it and focus on things that are positive and that you enjoy.
#4 – Spend your time more wisely
Don’t sweat the small stuff.
Don’t spend time going to lots of different supermarkets to get the best deals. Don’t spend hours online filling out surveys for the odd voucher here and there.
Focus on the big stuff that will greatly improve your wealth and lifestyle.
Remember you are your greatest asset, so the more time spent growing and doing the things you love will mean more overall life satisfaction.
I still have 56 days to go to form my 5am running habit. I’m sure there will be times when I don’t make it out the door but I’m committed to improving my wellbeing.
What habit would you like to form? I’d love to hear. Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stock market linked investments and any income from them, can fall as well as rise and is not guaranteed. Any figures quoted are for illustrative purposes and should not be taken as a forecast or guarantee. Past performance should not be seen as an indication of future returns and clients may get back less than they have invested.