Welcome to 2017! If the new year has you thinking that you need to improve your money skills, I have some suggestions for you. First, I recommend that you take a look at my post on how to set meaningful goals. Second, I suggest you start with some simple ways to create better money habits, which is what this post is all about.
Here’s the thing — as much goal planning and resolution setting that people do this time of year, we have to realize that our lives are largely a reflection of our habits. If we don’t have or implement habits that support the goals and resolutions we set, we’re going to struggle and likely fail to achieve them. It only stands to reason that if you improve your money habits, your financial situation will improve as well. As we kick off a new year, try to follow the strategy below to enjoy the rewards of more positive money habits in 30 days.
STEP 1. IDENTIFY ONE OR TWO MONEY HABITS TO IMPROVE
• Think about where you have the greatest challenge.
• Is it keeping track of your investments?
• Is it paying your bills on time?
• Is it tracking how much you spend?
• Keep it simple and focused. Don’t take on more than one or two items.
STEP 2. COME UP WITH A PLAN
• Determine a new habit that will support your money goals.
• What sort of schedule would you have to keep?
• What new behaviors would you have to add?
• What new skills do you need to learn?
• Do you need the help of someone to get you focused and/or hold you accountable?
STEP 3. FOLLOW THE PLAN
• Focus on an element of change from your plan so you do it on a daily basis
•Try to attach this element of change to an existing habit to make it easier to implement.
STEP 4. RE-EVALUATE WEEKLY AND AT THE END OF THE MONTH
• How did it go?
• How could your approach be improved?
• Make the necessary adjustments and keep trying. Add new challenges once you feel you’ve got the first one or two in place.
New habits can take time to form. Keep things simple and help solidify your new habits with some mental motivation: think about how great you feel with your new habits and compare those feelings to your old feelings when falling into unproductive habits. Which feelings will you naturally try to maintain?
Daily focus, simplicity, frequent check-ins, and small shifts when needed can get you to a good place quickly. Your new habits will have a profound effect on your finances. So get started today.