Managing your money: DEVELOP Winning habits

“You’ll never change your life until you change something you do daily. The secret of your success is found in your daily routine.” ~John Maxwell.

Resolutions are made to be broken. And they are broken early and often. Only 64 percent last longer than the first month, and 46 percent last beyond six months.

So something has to give, right?

Changing your finances requires more than just a resolution. It calls for changing your priorities. Transforming habits. Shifting focus. Changing routine. You can even go as far as to say it means to repent. You must change direction if you want real change.

What do you want to change about your financial situation? If you want something to change, you have to change something you’re doing.

For example, spending too much money at the grocery store is more than just finding stuff on sale or using coupons. Those are good things, don’t get me wrong, but real change means stop doing one thing and start doing something else.

And be on guard: When you get tired, frustrated or simply run out of time, you revert to your old habits. In other words, you default to what you know. It’s true for every facet of your life, and it’s true with every relationship, every situation, every activity, especially your finances. You have to be a bulldog about change.

Remember this: Wherever you are right now is the result of your habits and priorities yesterday. Want to be different tomorrow? Change your practices and priorities today. I could give you a list of dozens of ways to change your priorities, focus and habits, but here are few things that will get you started on the journey.

It’s a process. Don’t be discouraged by failure. The road to success is littered with failure. Don’t give up, don’t give in. You may take one step forward/two steps backwards today, but tomorrow is a new day. Start a streak with two steps ahead/one step back. Keep moving.
You gotta have a plan. Learn from others, gather information, but build your own schedule. Remember: no one else is going where you are going, so your road map may be different.
Write it down. If you don’t write it down, it isn’t real. Get it down on paper, then post it prominently where you will see it daily. Let your friends and family know it and ask for accountability. Give yourself permission to change it periodically, but always forward, never backward.
Priorities matter. If the basement is filling with water, you don’t start bailing water. First, find and fix the leak. What is the biggest hurdle you face? What is the biggest thing holding you back? Address that first. Stop the leak, then bail the water. This may be your biggest hurdle, but you can start with a small step to fixing it.

What is triggering your failure? When you get discouraged or seem to fail and fall back into bad habits, what is causing that? Discover this – and overcome it – and you will be well down the road to building a new habit.

Pick one bad habit, laser-focus on it. If you try to tackle several bad habits, you’ll never win. It’s like the old Chinese proverb: “If you chase two rabbits, you will catch neither.” Choose one, master one, then move on.

Where are you spending too much money? Eating out? Grocery shopping? Entertainment, phone bills or cable? Choose one area and determine how you can improve.

Next week I’ll give you specifics on how to improve in these areas and others. First, though, identify the trouble spots. Track your spending this week, discover the a-ha moments and start to ask yourself what you can do differently.

Remember, it’s a process, not an overnight event.

You can do this! Remind yourself daily!

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