Have you ever wanted to take control of your finances? How about your health? What if I told you that there are things you can do to take control of both? Well (surprise!) that’s exactly what I’m going to do. And the best part of all? It comes down to one simple thing. Creating habits.
Not just habits, but good habits. The right habits, for you. See, I can only take you so far. And while I’m sure if you actually did exactly what I did that the vast majority of you would achieve great results. But you need to tailor this specifically to you if you want the greatest chance of success.
First, let’s discuss what a habit is exactly. According to Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary a habit is: an acquired mode of behavior that has become nearly or completely involuntary. In other words, a habit is doing something repeatedly to the point where it becomes natural and routine.
That’s what you need. I mean, that’s why you’re here, right? You need to form “good” habits. So, you need to acquire a behavior that will become nearly or completely involuntary.
Another added bonus of forming good habits is the inverse effect it will have on some of your bad habits. So, for example, if you start eating a healthy lunch every day, you have also removed the habit of eating an unhealthy lunch every day (boom, mind is blown).
All kidding aside, creating a good habit, many good habits, is fairly simple in the grand scheme of things.
Habits Are Easy to Make But Hard to Break
Creating habits is a double-edged sword that not many people talk about. See if you wake up today and immediately take four shots of vodka, then hopefully today is a weekend or a day that you don’t have much responsibility.
But if you start doing that for several days (I’m not sure why you would), then you are creating a habit. Before you know it after a week or two this behavior has become second nature. Now you may find yourself performing this morning routine everyday without even thinking about it.
I know the example I gave was a little out there, but I want to prove a point. No matter what you do, if you do something over and over again, it will eventually become a habit. Part of your typical day. So why not form good habits.
Create Good Habits and Good Things Will Follow
Like I said, habits are easy to make. Not just that, but forming good habits tends to cause a snowball effect. See, when you create a habit and you see positive results from it, you’ll buy in to creating more good habits. As you form more and more good habits, you’ll see positive changes all throughout your life.
But I’m not here to just tell you that forming goods habits will benefit you. I’m going to give you actionable strategies that you can implement in your life. I want you to take action, to take control, and by using habits as your superpower to improve the quality of your life.
Forming Good Habits for Making and Staying on a Budget
Don’t have a budget? You need to make one. And you’re right (if I’m reading your mind), making a budget isn’t a habit. But sticking to one is.
I didn’t always have a budget. I used to just spend every dollar I had as I was making it and I pretty much had no clue where my money was going. I mean, yeah, I know it was buying me food and clothes and entertainment, etc., but I had no clue how much money I was spending.
I eventually had a wake-up call when I finally realized I was in credit card debt. $28,000 worth of credit card debt.
Want to know what I did that eventually got me out of debt? (That was a rhetorical question.) I created a budget! Yes, a budget. And while it sounds so simple, it was simple, and it worked.
Now, creating a budget and sticking to it are two different things, as like I mentioned before, sticking to a budget is the good habit you should form.
Your budget habit should involve you tracking it weekly to make sure you don’t overspend and assessing it monthly to make sure you’re on course. But also, you need to learn from your spending habits and tweak your budget where it’s necessary.
Need help creating your own budget? Click here and read “How Literally Anyone Can Create A Budget.”
Forming Good Habits For Eating Healthy
Boy do I love pizza. I grew up watching Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and I loved it. Not just because I can relate to four talking turtles that were taught karate by a talking rat. But because they love pizza as much as I do. And even though I would love to eat pizza all day every day, I know that I’d be doing my health a major disservice.
So, while I’m not going to say you shouldn’t ever eat pizza again (if I did then life wouldn’t be worth living), but I am going to give you a secret as to how to create a habit of setting your diet up for success. The secret is planning your meals.
Yes, plan out your meals in advance. Not every single meal, although if you want to do that then that’s fine, but I suggest planning out your meals for Monday through Friday. Figure out what healthy dishes you like, or even try experimenting with some healthy meals, and build yourself a catalog of healthy go-to-meals that are preplanned for you to eat.
Planning out your meals also includes planning the food and meals you have at home. So, when you go to the grocery store, instead of buying frozen cheese pizza, and frozen pepperoni pizza, and frozen pizza pockets and (whatever else you would typically get that may or may not be pizza), get healthy whole foods.
There are many options at the grocery store such as vegetables, fruit, whole grains, chicken breast, yogurt, fish, etc. The point is do a little research and then make sure to stock your home full of healthy whole foods and get rid of the junk food. Doing this will get rid of the temptation of eating the junk food in your home.
Want another reason to eat healthy? It’ll save you money in the long run. Think about it. The healthier your diet is, then the less you’ll spend on health-related issues. A healthy diet can help prevent and protect against heart disease, obesity, diabetes, cancer, etc.
Need some extra motivation to start eating healthy? Click here and check out “How Literally Anyone Can Start Eating Healthier.”
Forming Good Habits For Exercising
Do you currently exercise on a regular basis? If not, then you should. There is an enormous amount of research showing that even a minimal amount of exercise can have a positive impact on your health.
But you don’t need me to tell you something you most likely already know. I mean, if exercising wasn’t good for you then it wouldn’t be one of the most recommended forms of preventative medicine and there certainly wouldn’t be a multi-billion-dollar industry built around it.
And while there are tons of excuses not to exercise (or not to do almost anything for that matter), scheduling times to exercise in advance will help you start and maintain an exercise habit.
You’re the only one that’s going to know exactly what type of exercise you want to do and when you can fit it into your schedule, but I’m confident anyone can find time for four 30 minute workouts per week. Yes four. And yes, for 30 minutes each.
I recommend four 30-minute workouts per week because exercising is typically something that you want to see fast results with if you’re going to stick with it. So, in order to set yourself up for success and actually form a good and healthy exercise habit you need to sit down and find these four time slots and put them on your calendar, or schedule or whatever you use, just get them on there.
If you’re able to stick to your exercise schedule and actually push yourself during your workouts, I’m confident you’ll see some positive results in as early as four weeks. At that point you’ll have created a healthy exercise habit and have the results to keep you motivated and continue.
Want another reason to exercise? Just like eating healthy, it’ll save you money in the long run. Less money spent on your healthcare means more money in your pocket. Better yet, combining a healthy eating habit with an exercise habit will only compound the benefits of both.
Stop Procrastinating and Start Forming Healthy Habits Today
There’s no time like the present. It’s cliché but it’s true. My goal is to help you realize that improving your quality of life by forming goods habit should start right now.
The longer you put it off, the farther from your goal you become. Even worse, if you keep putting it off, you may never form these good habits.
About the Author
Joey Cohn is the creator and author of HardlySimple.com. He aims to help people reach and maintain a high quality of life through improving their health and personal finances. You can connect with him on Twitter @HardlySimple1.