Change is never easy. Just ask my legs last Monday morning. I am training for my first sprint triathlon and to be honest I am starting to doubt my decision.
I have always been reasonably athletic. I was a good runner in high school, enjoyed lifting weights in the gym and have been able to adapt to changing athletic pursuits through out my life. Or at least until now.
Last weekend I jumped on the road bike I borrowed from a friend and went for 1 hour ride. Then the next day went for nice 2 hour hike with my family. Of course to complete my weekend I went for a 5 km run on the treadmill at the gym.
As it is with health, improvements in your financial life all come down to a change of behavior.
Here are five ways to change your financial behavior and to put yourself on the road to financial success adapted from the book The Four Hour Body from author Tim Ferris.
1. Make it Conscious
Take a snap shot of your financial life and do this on a regular basis.Use before and after pictures on your fridge.
Dieters get better results by taking pictures of what they eat, do the same with your spending, debt and investing.
Take a picture of everything you buy for a month. (I am going to try this for month of June myself).
2. Make it a game
Getting positive results should be more than strategy … it should be fun. To make the new behaviour stick it can takes at least 5 sessions.
Remember games take time to win, commit to doing things more than once.
3. Make it competitive
Competition drives us to work harder, so why not use this principle for your finances. Challenge yourself, partner or friend.
Again keep in mind the idea is not to win all the time, but to strive to win. Of course losing really sucks.
ie The least amount of transactions in a month … loser buys lunch or Paying of their credit card off … loser does the dishes for a week.
4. Make it small and temporary
Do a two week trial. You may have a huge list of things to improve … focus only a 1 or 2 things that have short end date.
As you progress in your new behavior you can move on to big and longer goals.
5. Make it relative
If you are starting with 5,000 vs 60,000 in personal debt keep in mind it will take longer to achieve debt freedom. If the time frame is too long (as mentioned above) break down the goal into smaller parts to make the goal shorter.
The process above works … just give yourself the time to change your behavior and achieve your goals. The whole idea is to set yourself up to win.
So where do you go from here?
Make sure to a complete financial game plan with your financial advisor to assess your current financial situation, go over some financial goals and get this plan in writing.
Make sure to set up a follow up appointment to review your results and then go home and put these plans up on your fridge and go make it happen.
After more than 15 years in the financial industry I can honestly say changing your behaviour regarding money and spending is the key to all financial success.