“The chains of habit are too light to be felt, until they are too heavy to be broken.” – Warren Buffett
Over the past couple of months, I’ve been making a conscious effort to watch less TV and spend my “screen time” watching more positive and motivational programs (the sort that are really hard to find on cable TV!). One of the great things about the internet is that there is a lot of really interesting and impactful information available online for free so, recently, I've been choosing to watch multiple TED talks, along with videos made by people such as Brendon Burchard, Tony Robbins and Brian Tracy instead of channel surfing. I’ve found that, not only am I hearing insights and learning strategies that are impacting my life, but I’m also feeling a lot more positive and energized than I feel when I’m overdosing on reality TV and formulated drama!
This week I watched a webcast by Dean Graziosi and, at one point, he talked about the idea of “unbreakable habits”. He defined unbreakable habits as the “no matter what” habits; actions that you decide to take every day, every week or every month, because taking them is critical to your overall health, success or wellbeing. When you commit to making these actions an integral part of your life, to making the habit of doing them unbreakable, they can have a profound and dramatic impact on your levels of productivity and success.
Related article: Habits of Wealthy Canadians
This concept really struck a chord with me because recently I’ve been focusing heavily on trying to develop better systems and processes in a number of areas of my life. My aim is not just to become more productive but also to master the skills I will need in order to take larger steps towards my goals. As I thought about which habits I could make unbreakable in each life area, naturally, I started thinking about how this could also apply to finances. While everyone has their own unique money goals, I believe there are some key financial habits that deserve to be termed “unbreakable”. Here are three suggestions:
Pay Yourself First
This is a cornerstone of personal finance but it’s a habit that many people have never made unbreakable. Paying yourself first; committing a certain amount to saving before you pay anything else, is an incredibly effective way to build wealth and financial security. The generally accepted rule of thumb is that you should save at least 10% of your gross income for retirement.
Related article: Pay Yourself First is the best way to save money
Saving an additional 5-15% allows you to build a contingency fund and to save for short and long term savings goals such as vacations, new vehicles and home renovations. Whether you start out saving 10% or start out saving 2% and work your way up doesn't matter: something is better than nothing and making saving an unbreakable habit is critical to long term financial success.
Always Pay off Your Credit Card Bills in Full
Debt will sabotage your financial goals more effectively than anything else. Carrying debt means that you’re committing dollars that could be working for your future towards lining someone else’s pocket. Often, it’s also an indicator that we’re living beyond our means. If they’re used properly, and you never carry a balance, credit cards can be a useful tool for tracking spending or earning reward points. However if you’re not paying them off in full every month, then you’re paying far too high a price for those “benefits”.
Related article: Ways to pay off your credit cards
Wealthy people know how much they make and they also know how much they spend. Spending consciously means being aware of every dollar that you’re spending and choosing how to spend it. Impulsive and unconscious spending can drain your bank account without you even realizing it. Resisting the temptation to buy things on a whim can do wonders for your bank balance and your financial health!
Related article: Develop a disciplined spending plan
Just as everyone’s financial situation and financial goals are unique, so too are the unbreakable habits you need to create in order to generate success. Why not take some time this week to think about which habits you could make unbreakable in order to improve your financial health and build a more solid financial future? As always, I'd love to hear your ideas!