We demonstrate habits in nearly every area of our lives. We brush our teeth with the same hand every morning, we drive the same route to the grocery store, and we practice the same general mannerisms when interacting with others. Habits, both the good ones and the bad ones, are a function of our subconscious minds, and they literally run the majority of what we do – even how we handle our finances and our investing activities.
Habits are a fascinating human construct. You weren’t born with any habits, but you’ve managed to acquire them over the course of your life. We develop them as a result of our consistent thoughts and actions. The more we practice something, the more it becomes engrained in our minds until eventually a habit is formed. The psychological consensus is that it takes the average human roughly 21 days to form a habit of medium complexity.
I’d propose to you that by developing prudent and effective financial habits, you will become the kind of person who inevitably and relentlessly moves toward the achievement of your long-term monetary goals. Why? Because habits have very predictable consequences.
“We first make our habits, and then our habits make us” –John Dryden
Good financial habits are hard to form, but are easy to live with. Bad financial habits on the other hand, are easy to form, but are hard to live with. And with habits being such a dominate force in our lives, it behooves us to develop productive, empowering, financially-affirming habits. Wouldn’t you agree?
Here are some examples of good financial habits that you can easily integrate into your life:
1) Consistently saving and investing 10%+ of your income
2) Minimizing or eliminating consumer debt
3) Accumulating productive assets
4) Ongoing and continual financial education
5) Maintain a strong credit rating by honoring your obligations
These are just five examples; there are many more. For me personally, I made it a point to develop a specific habit that has served me very well over the years, and I’d like to share it with you. It’s a habit that I credit with accelerating my financial results at a relatively young age. It’s the habit of doing something every day to move me toward my financial goals.This habit has been life-altering for me. Committing to the habit of taking daily action on my financial goals allowed me to develop and refine a skill set within a few short years that would provide me with long-term investment income. Exciting stuff! To date, it’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made, and I still practice it today.
DELAYED RESPONSES AND OUTCOMES
Now, here’s where it gets a little tricky. The results of our habits often have a delayed response and outcome; they don’t emerge overnight. To use a non-financial example, drinking a single glass of wine won’t turn you into an alcoholic in one evening, which is a good thing. However, if you’re sucking down a couple bottles of scotch every afternoon, that habit may have some serious consequences in the months and years to follow. There’s a delayed response and outcome. The same can be said regarding diet. Eating pizza for dinner and skipping the gym for a day won’t do too much damage, but if that becomes your daily routine, a potentially harmful habit is formed and the results are cumulative.
Keep in mind that this concept of delayed responses and outcomes doesn’t just apply in the negative sense. Good habits don’t yield immediate results either. You can’t invest $500 and expect a massive, instantaneous, financial windfall; that’s unrealistic. However, if you invest $500 monthly into an economically sound investment that produces monthly cash flow, you may not see immense results overnight, but you’ve certainly set yourself up to reap the benefits of your investing activities down the road.
I’m of the opinion that if you practice good financial habits over an extended period, it’s only a matter of time before you start to manifest results. Investing is neutral; it doesn’t favor one person over another. Consistent actions form habits and habits ultimately form futures. Why don’t you take a few minutes to outline some good financial habits that you can start implementing in your life?
Those are my thoughts. Feel free to share some of yours below. Thanks for reading and as always, make it a great day.
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