I always read at least one book during my December break to inspire my year ahead. This holiday was no different and I just completed Atomic Habits by James Clear. I love how his work is driven by one question: How can we live better?
I have two goals this year that are really important to me: to run a 10km race in April; and to complete my second book. Getting fitter and living healthier has been a goal for quite some time, and writing my second book has been two years in the making. But the end goals has always just been slightly out of reach. So, it’s time for a change – it’s time to make new (and achievable) habits and it’s definitely time to make them stick!
I agree with James Clear – the end goal should be about living better; and health, relationship, personal and work goals are important, but money should always be right up there as one of your goals. Your money enables you to live better and by paying more attention to your money, you’re in fact, paying more attention to yourself. Why not make a change this year and start looking at your own spending and saving habits?
I’ve realised that smaller, easier habits applied consistently have more power to succeed than big audacious goals that are just too hard to keep up regularly. So when it comes to your big picture money goals, make sure that you have bite-sized actions that help you get there. Instead of saving X amount of money towards your goal every month, why not challenge yourself in a different way instead – save a smaller amount daily. Your daily good habits will reward you with pleasing progress and continued results over the long term.
Working towards a big picture goal can get lonely. It’s inevitably quite a long process and tends to become repetitive. It’s about constantly reiterating good habits, whether it’s declining one dinner invitation a month or opting to buy essentials rather than luxuries. It’s definitely not about instant gratification!
So how do you self-love in the process? I recommend having an accountability partner – someone who knows just how much your goal means to you. It could be your life partner or a good friend who keeps you on track, constantly reminds you of your goal and helps you get there. For my running goal, I use my Apple fitness watch and a virtual coach to track my progress and plan my routine on a daily basis. Some people use notes, spreadsheets or apps to keep track of their habits and there is nothing more satisfying than following your progress and giving yourself credit for achieving your daily habits.
The process is gradual and takes constant work, so remember to celebrate every milestone and congratulate yourself on doing a good job. It is so much easier to be consistent if you find enjoyment in the process; and pause every now and again to see how far you’ve come.
Wishing you fun, self-love and ridiculously easy new habits this year, and remember, when it comes to your money, be brave, be inspired and be on purpose.
Increase your good habits one tiny grain at a time
James Clear says that improving your good habits by just 1 percent may not be immediately noticeable, but in the long run, small improvements compound incrementally and leaves a large gap between people who make slightly better decisions on a daily basis and those who don’t.
“If you get one percent better each day for one year, you’ll end up thirty-seven times better by the time you’re done.” – James Clear.