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“Most people don’t struggle with money. They struggle with habits.”— Anthony Coleman, Financial Lituation
Let that marinate. “Most people don’t struggle with money. They struggle with habits.” What we do day in and day out weighs heavily on our lives a year from now, five years from now and so on. If we want to be financially independent, then we have to create good, daily habits that support that goal.
Tom Corley studied the habits of the rich and poor for five years. That’s when he realized that the majority of the rich share certain habits. The poor have their own mindset and habits, too. Corley’s book, Rich Habits: The Daily Success Habits of Wealthy Individuals, outlines 21 wealthy habits anyone could follow to help them attract money.
“Our habits, good or bad, determine the financial circumstances of our lives.” — Tom Corley
Here’s the thing. We don’t have to reinvent the wheel. If you want to be rich, then do what the rich do.
5 Rich Habits You Could Form in 30 Days or Less
Here are a few Rich Habits you could form in under three weeks, Corley says.
- Do aerobic exercise 15-20 minutes a day for at least 18 days. This promotes brain and body health. 76% of the wealthy exercise aerobically 4 days a week, according to Corley’s research. 23% of the poor do this.
- Eat healthy every day for at least 18 days. This promotes brain and body health. 70% of the wealthy eat less than 300 junk food calories per day. 97% of poor people eat more than 300 junk food calories per day.
- Read to learn 15-20 minutes a day for at least 18 days. This is a personal and professional growth activity. 88% of wealthy people read 30 minutes or more each day for education or career reasons vs. 2% of poor people.
- Listen to audiobooks or podcasts during your commute or some other time during the day for self- or career development. 63% of wealthy do this. 55 of the poor.
- Write a to-do list every day to keep you focused on accomplishing your goals—big or small. 81% of wealthy maintain a to-do list vs. 19% of the poor.
- Limit television time to less than 1 hour per day. Yep! A whole hour! 67% of wealthy maintain skip TV vs. 23% of the poor. Guess who watches the most reality TV! 6% of wealthy watch reality TV vs. 78% of the poor. Wow!
Forming these habits could take 18 days or fewer! Not bad, right?! Brian Tracy considers these habits to be of medium complexity (can be formed in 14-21 days). If you get these habits down, then you could build discipline and form more habits based on the ones you’ve already mastered.
Here are other wealthy habits Corley noted that might not take long to form:
- Make “Happy birthday!” calls 5-10 minutes a day. This activity builds relationships. 80% of the wealthy make HBD calls vs. 11% of the poor.
- Make “Hello!” calls 5-10 minutes a day. This activity builds relationships.
Let’s be clear. These rich habits alone won’t directly generate wealth. But exercising could clear your mind enough to think of a profitable business idea, allow you to sleep better so you can be more productive at work and earn a raise, or build discipline that could seep into other areas of your life, such as saving or investing, and help you generate wealth.
When I first read Corley’s book, I was astonished at how simple some of these habits seemed. They’re feasible. I’m re-training myself to exercise for 30 minutes at least 4 days a week. I need to get into the habit of calling or at least sending emails to folks just to catch up and network. That’ll help out in the long run.
Anyhoo, which habit do you want to develop? Check out some tips below on how to form brand-new habits or replace bad ones.
“Ninety-five (95) percent of everything you do is a result of your habits—either helpful or hurtful.” — Brian Tracy
How to Form New Habits
You must meet three conditions to cause you to act, according to Dr. B.J. Fogg of Stanford University.
- Enough motivation
- The ability to complete the desired behavior
- A cue or trigger to activate the behavior
- Identify your why. You must have enough motivation to even try to form a new habit. Without a good, personal reason, you could fail.
- Create a cue or trigger for the action. Cues can be external (i.e. an alarm clock, an alert from an app, a certain place, break time at work, another person, a picture) or internal (being bored, being hungry, etc.) Pick something’s that’s going to kick your new habit into gear every time it comes across.
- Make it easy on yourself to perform the action. Identify potential obstacles and ways you’re going to overcome them.
- Identify your reward. You could run out of steam if you don’t keep a specific, highly satisfying reward in mind.
- Track your progress. Take photos or use an app, calendar or even this free goal tracker every time you perform your new habit. I use the free iPhone app, Strides.
Let’s say your new goal is to exercise at least 30 minutes four days a week.
- Your whys: To become healthier, live longer, be a good example for others, build discipline and look so good on your next vacation that a potential boo’s head spins to get a second peak.
- The cues: The alarm clock and your favorite song that go off at 6:00 a.m. every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday and the workout shoes that sit by your bedroom door.
- Ways to overcome lack of motivation: Going to sleep on time the night before, sleeping in your workout gear, looking at that hot, chiseled couple on your vision board and reciting affirmations on your nightstand. You’ll even lay out your clothes and fix your lunch the night before so you can exercise, shower and get to work on time.
- The rewards: A sense of accomplishment, a rush of endorphins, a clean bill of health and future compliments on how great you look in your clothes.
- Tracking progress: Checking off the day on your fridge calendar, adding your workout to the MyFitnessPal app and sharing your progress on social media.
How to Replace Old Habits
In The Power of Habit, author Charles Duhigg breaks down the framework for replacing an old habit with a new one as follows:
- Identify the routine.
- Experiment with rewards.
- Isolate the cue.
- Have a plan.
Here’s how it works:
1. Identify the routine. In your quest for good health, you realize you grab a cookie in the cafeteria every afternoon and chat with colleagues. That’s not good for your waistline. You have no idea how you formed this habit or why, so you’ve got to study yourself. Break down the cue or trigger, routine and reward of this habit loop. Then change the routine to still get the reward.
2. Experiment with rewards. Record how you feel after you indulge in the cookie after about 15 minutes, Duhigg suggests. If you eat a cookie at your desk and still feel the urge to visit the cafeteria, then you’re not motivated by a sugar craving. If you go straight to your colleague’s desk to chat and still want the cookie, then you’re not motivated by socializing. If you visit your colleague, forget about the cookie and go straight back to work, then BINGO! Your rewards are a temporary distraction and socializing.
3. Isolate the cue. Record how you feel for a few days when this habit loop kicks in. Write notes about these five types of cues:
- Emotional State
- Other People
- Immediately Preceding Action
|Types of Cues||Day 1||Day 2||Day 3|
|Location||Sitting at your desk||Walking back from the copier||Sitting in the conference room|
|Time||3:45 p.m.||3:18 p.m.||3:41 p.m.|
|Emotional State||Bored||Happy||Tired and excited about a new project|
|Other People||No one||Jim from another department||Editors in the meeting|
|Immediately Preceding Action||Answered an email||Made a copy||Sat down and waited for the meeting to start|
Notice a common denominator? It’s the time. Between 3 p.m. and 4 p.m., the trigger hits you and you have an urge to grab a cookie from the cafeteria.
4. Have a plan. Create a plan to replace your old habit with a new one. “At 3:30 p.m. every day (cue), I will walk to a friend’s desk and talk for 10 minutes (routine). I will feel great because I took a break from work and socialized (reward).” There you go!
|Identify the routine.||Experiment with rewards.||Isolate the cue.||Have a plan.|
|In the afternoon, I get a cookie in the cafeteria and chat with friends.||-Need to feed a hunger? Eat an apple instead.
-Need a burst of energy? Get coffee.
-Need to socialize? Go talk to a friend instead.
|Time: Between 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. every day||At 3:30 p.m. every day, I will walk to a friend’s desk and talk for 10 minutes.|
A Few More Tips
Don’t try to do too much too fast.
- Try to form one new habit at a time. When people try to eat right, exercise 4 days a week and drink 8 glasses of water a day, they get overwhelmed. Try to focus on one thing at a time. Do you know what FOCUS means? Follow One Course Until Successful. Thanks for that acronym, Robert Kiyosaki!
- Link habits together if you try to form more than at a time. Let’s say you want to drink 8 cups of water a day and journal every night. Get your last glass of water in the kitchen and bring it to bed. When you put the glass down on your nightstand, you’ll see the journal and pen and be cued to write.
- Get an accountability partner—or two. “There’s strength in numbers” is a popular phrase for a reason. Try to build a new habit with a friend or your spouse or join a Facebook group. Some apps like MyFitnessPal have built-in communities that will see your habit goal progress so you can get support there. You’ll need it when things get hard. If you tell people that you’re trying to form a new habit, they might just hold your feet to the fire when you slip up.