How to Build Good Habits and Stick to Them

November 29, 2019

New habits are hard to make and old habits are hard to break. How can you make new habits more easily and stick to them?

With the New Year right around the corner, many Americans are thinking about New Year’s resolutions. Breaking New Year’s resolutions has become an old joke at this point. Countless stand-up comedy routines point out the huge increase of people at the gym in January, and then the sharp drop off in February. Research shows that 60% of us make New Year’s resolutions, but only 8% are successful in keeping them.

Financial resolutions are among the most common. Last year, 53% of Americans had a resolution to save more money. We know that only 8% are successful in keeping their New Year’s resolutions, so most who resolve to save more money end up failing. How can we stick to our new habits in the coming New Year?

Consistency is the key

Behaviors are difficult to form, but once a behavior becomes a habit it is automatic. We do difficult things without thinking about it; we wake up at the same time every day and go to sleep at the same time every night (generally speaking), and we go to work without thinking about it. Good financial habits may seem out of reach if you’ve been practicing bad financial habits your entire life, but they can become just as easy and automatic as going to work or brushing your teeth.

Research shows it takes a little over two months for new behaviors to become automatic habits. That means it takes two months to change your financial life forever; two months of saving money and practicing good financial habits. After that, your good financial behaviors will become second nature.

Focus on the habits that matter

Make sure your New Year’s resolutions are obtainable, and don’t aim too high or take on too much. If you plan to make unrealistic changes in your life, you might get discouraged when you don’t have success and give up altogether. It’s better to make small, incremental changes that stick than try to change too much at once, become overwhelmed, and give up.

Hold yourself accountable

If you aren’t serious about your resolutions, you won’t be successful in keeping them. Take your resolutions seriously by holding yourself accountable; it might be a good idea to not take any “cheat days” before your habits have fully formed. Tell your friends and family about your resolutions, too. If you feel like you’re letting others down by not following through with your resolutions, they’re more likely to stick.

Reward yourself for your success

There’s a fine line between being frugal and being a miser. Make sure you don’t become the latter by rewarding yourself for your success. Once your habits have fully formed, it is okay to take cheat days or reward yourself occasionally.

More discipline is required when your habits are new and fresh, but as they get more ingrained into your behavior, a day off is harmless.

Don’t wait until New Year’s

If there’s a change you want to make in your life, there’s no need to wait until New Year’s to make it. Procrastinating until January 1st will only make you less likely to be successful in making the change you envision.

Make 2020 the year you stick to your New Year’s resolutions and accomplish your financial goals. Our most recent show, How to Stick to Your 2020 Financial Goals, is available on YouTube now.

TAGGED WITH: new year



Most Recent Episodes

What I Learned From Being BROKE!!! (And Why I Wouldn’t Change It)

No one disputes the fact that being broke isn’t great. We want to spread the word that no matter where you came from, you can build wealth. In this episode, Brian and Bo share personal stories about their journey to wealth and lessons they learned along the way....

Top 10 Mind-Blowing Money Stats (2023 Edition)

These 10 money stats will blow your mind! We’ll discuss the unbelievable amount of money Americans save, when most reach millionaire status, and how many Americans carry a credit card balance. Research and resources from this episode: Most Americans don't have enough...

Wealth Multiplier Revealed: The Magic of Compound Interest!

There’s a reason why Albert Einstein called compounding interest the eighth wonder of the world! Do you know exactly how it works and how much your dollars could turn into by retirement? The Money Guy Wealth Multiplier can show anyone just how powerful every dollar...

From $0 to Millionaire in 10 Years (Is it Possible?)

How can you become a millionaire in 10 years or less? We’ll discuss common ways we see millionaires build wealth quickly, including through real estate, entrepreneurship, and the stock market. Discover how real wealth is built and why building wealth quickly may not...

Financial Advisors React to INFURIATING Money Advice on TikTok!

Brian and Bo are BACK to react to some more TERRIBLE financial TikTok advice! Join us as we take a look at some of the worst financial advice on the platform and tell you what to actually focus on in your own financial life. Enjoy the Show? Sign up for the Financial...

Investing Showdown: Dollar Cost Averaging vs. Lump Sum!

It’s a debate as old as time: what’s better, dollar cost averaging or lump sum investing? In this episode, we’ll cover the nuances and pros and cons of both, including in-depth case studies comparing investors at different times. Research and resources from this...

Is Inflation Really Ruining Your Finances? (You Won’t Like the Answer)

Inflation has changed our daily living expenses dramatically over the last few years. While we can’t control all of our expenses, there are many things in your control that can help you become a Financial Mutant and build wealth better than your peers. Enjoy the Show?...

Are $1,000 Car Payments Becoming the New Norm?!

New data shows more Americans than ever have car payments over $1,000. Is this becoming the new normal? How much could having a car payment of $1,000 be costing you for retirement? For more information, check out our Car Buying Checklist!