Last week I wrote about how our habits can make us rich or kill us. We pick up today where we left off:
6) Daily habits matter more than weekly or monthly habits. Reading Mason Curry’s book on Daily Rituals taught me that.
What really matters to you? What’s important?
Figure this out. If whatever it is is really important to you, you may get up earlier to fit it into your day (go ahead, put on your adulting pants!). You just may end up like me and need a 15 minute shavasana every afternoon (during which I usually end up falling asleep—thank God for timers on phones these days).
Embrace the stage of life you’re in—you’ll be happier for it.
7) Surround yourself with people whose Habits you want to adopt. It’s cliché, but it’s true: you become like those you hang out with. It’s why I make it a point now to meet up periodically with a writer friend at Starbucks. We don’t get a lot of writing done, but she’s further along the journey than I am, which helps me. And since I’m a doctor, I end up being a life consultant of sorts for her. So we both get something out of our meet ups.
8) Divorce is a nuclear bomb to finances. If you’re having a rough patch in your marriage, try keeping a marriage diary to track your partner’s considerate behavior. One study showed that couples that did this had a seventy percent chance of improving their relationship (for further details, see page. 46 of Gretchen Rubin’s book I talked about in numbers 4 and 5 last week).
9) Weight loss isn’t due to exercise, it’s due to eating habits. I especially liked Gretchen Rubin’s exploration of this—it’s something doctors know too. See page 64 for the start of her discussion on this.
(note though: I am eating less carbs now after reading her book)
10) Make a new habit: read even just a little every day to gain a financial education. DH saw the ridiculous fees his grandparent’s financial advisor was charging them. He decided to make a habit of learning daily about finances. Starting a habit like this as a late teen has paid dividends for us. There’s no way we’d have the customized lifestyle we have now if it weren’t for that habit (and for all those times I ever argued about money: I apologize DH!)
11) What we monitor is what we end up managing: Make it a habit to do monthly and yearly tracking of your spending. Mismanaged funds are a result of not supervising your cash flow out—and in. Monitoring helps us redirect money in reaction to the information we’ve gathered.
This also applies to stuff besides money. If something is important to us, then we should be counting it. I find it interesting that Mr. Money Mustache tracks his booze spending. Rubin’s book talked about one lady who quit drinking after she realized her and her husband had spent nearly $30,000 over six years on alcohol (see page 46 of her book).
12) The most surprising thing I learned about habits: Habits are what cause time to fly. Remember how your youth seemed to stretch out but as you got older, time has flown? It’s because as you age, you adopt habits to help you deal with an increasingly complicated life. This causes time to go by faster.
So there you have it: what I’ve learned about studying habits over the years. If you have any more information, tips or tricks, please share below!
(And FYI: I’ll be taking a hiatus next week as I’ll be off to Orlando for FINCON. I’m looking forward to meeting other financial bloggers from this growing community of people spreading the news about FIRE.)