We are constantly told to stop the negative talk about our bodies; to stop looking in the mirror and thinking we look fat; stop calling ourselves lazy when we don’t go gym; to stop all these bad thoughts around a habit we have had for years.
But we all know that it is easier said than done.
Simply wanting to ‘lose weight’ or ‘tone up’ is not always enough of a motivation to actually put the work in and change your habits.
The same goes for your financial situation. Just because you want to ‘be better with money’ or ‘grow your savings’, it does not mean that you wake up the next day and are a different person.
There is more too it than that.
What is a habit?
noun – a settled or regular tendency or practice, especially one that is hard to give up.
How long does it take to form a new habit?
Everyone always says ‘it only takes 21 days to form a new habit’.
Dr Phillippa Lally, a health psychology researcher at University College London, published a study in the European Journal of Social Psychology, about just how long it actually takes to form a habit. Results show it takes more than 2 months before a new behaviour becomes automatic but there are so many factors involved that her study proved it can take anywhere between 18 days to 254 days for people to form a new habit.
To be better with money, you need to form new habits:
- Learning to pay yourself first instead of saving what is left over at the end of the month
- Regularly checking your bank account
- Creating a monthly or weekly budget (prior to your next pay check)
- Putting all your spare change into a money pot
- Meal prepping every week instead of eating out every lunchtime
Whatever the habit(s) is that you need to learn in order to change the way you handle and think about money, it is not going to happen over night
You have to commit to change with the understanding it might take a while…
You have to have determination and will power and you have to be motivated and be thinking of the long-term goal. And to do that, you need to appreciate how long the new habit will take to form.
Otherwise the chances of you giving up after 1 month are probably pretty high if you feel like you are not seeing any progress.
Just like changing the pattern of negative thoughts about your body… you do not just wake up one day and never have a bad thought ever again.
Some days you will wake up and go “DAMN GIRL you looking fine today”.
Then three days later; your period arrives, you eat everything in sight and you feel like someone could roll you down the stairs. You walk past a mirror and a little voice in your head goes “EW HUNNY, do you seriously think you could pull off those jeans, go change fatty”.
You will have good days and bad days.
But if you stick at it, slowly over time (it could take weeks, months, maybe even years…), that voice in your head will default to DAMN GIRL instead of EW HUNNY.
The end-goal is to form good money habits that becomes second nature to you.
You don’t have to force yourself to transfer money to your savings the day you get paid – you just do it.
You don’t remember each and every time you check your bank account – you just do it.
You don’t spend hours debating whether to meal prep for the week or not – you just do it.
All these things will become natural, they will be a part of your lifestyle and they will help you become financially free.
But go easy on yourself, the progress might be slower than you hoped, but every day you committed to forming a new habit, is another day closer to the habit being a part of you.