Applying Atomic Habits to Improve Your Finances
People may look at someone that is successful or wealthy and assume it was the result of God given talent or that they got lucky. People tend not see what it takes to get to a certain level or achieve a desired result. The reality is that in most cases, success or achievement is the result of small habits that produce positive results which build up over time.
This became clearer to me after discovering Atomic Habits by James Clear. James mentions that your results (good or bad) are a culmination of your previous habits. If you eat donuts every day, you will eventually become overweight. If you spend your full paycheck each week, then you will never build any wealth. James mentions that there are four steps that you need to take to build a better habit by asking yourself four questions: How do I make it obvious, attractive, easy, and satisfying? How can we apply the themes of Atomic Habits to your finances?
Change Your Identity:
People relate and identify with money in different ways. A person’s relationship with money often comes from their parents and their upbringing. Some people have positive feelings on money, and some don’t. No matter what your current view on money is, you have the ability to change your identity when it comes to money. Decide the person that you want to be and then prove it to yourself with small wins.
Most people will say they want to be rich, but their habits don’t sync with that view. In lieu of focusing on the outcomes, focus on the identity. For example, you may want to say, “I am a person that is financially responsible and consistently saves money.” Once you figure out your identity, you will be able to create the habits that will line up with your identity. Eventually, you can have the outcome that you desire.
Two Minute Rule:
Sometimes starting a new habit can seem daunting which typically leads to procrastination. Atomic Habits believes in breaking tasks down into something so simple that you can start the task in under two minutes. If you’d like to go to the gym more often, you can just focus on putting your gym clothes on. Once your gym clothes are on, you’ll be more likely to go to the gym.
If you’d like to be a better saver, you can start out by logging into your 401k plan website. You can do that in less than two minutes. Once you’re logged in, you can increase your savings rate. Go to your investment account and increase your monthly savings.
Friends and Family:
Your friends and family can have a big impact on your habits as well as those with status and prestige (influencers). If you consistently surround yourself with negative people or complainers, you will find yourself complaining as well. Conversely, you can choose to surround yourself with people or influencer who have the identity that you’d like to obtain.
If you don’t know any financial experts, look for them. Hire a financial advisor, follow financial experts on social media, join a group and/or reach out to people in positions you aspire to be in.
Your environment can have a surprisingly significant impact on your habits. Think about where you keep your cell phone. Is it close by? Do you check it all the time? Would you check it as often if your cell phone was in another room?
How can you change your environment to reduce your spending? Spending money online is easier now than it has ever been. Removing your credit cards from websites is an easy way to create friction when online spending.
Overall, you can change your finances. Work on discovering a financial identity that you’d like to have, target positive activities that can be started in less than two minutes, surround yourself with the right people and design your environment to align with the habits you would like to have. Creating wealth is about building good financial habits that over time will lead to extraordinary results.
I believe that everyone deserves to live the life they want. My purpose is to help others grow and be the best version of themselves. I do this by setting a good example, educating and managing their wellness with a focus on three key areas: health, wealth and fulfillment.