“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”-Philosopher Will Durant.
The trick to living the life you want to live is building habits that will result in your desired actions.
Here at Paychecks and Balances, we often talk about things in terms of financial capital. A habit is like a dollar you put into a good investment – it will get more significant and more valuable with time.
To build your wealth, you have to have put in those dollars from the beginning.
Successful habits = successful people; because really, what is life if not simply a mashup of your habits?
6 Powerful Practices You Can Start Now
In honor of the New Year, instead of thinking in terms of New Years Resolutions, we encourage you to create meaningful habits that will propel you forward into the best version of yourself.
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Here are six powerful habits to consider building in 2022 (but you can start today!):
1. Tracking and budgeting expenses
Improving your finances and becoming financially independent should be at the top of your list when it comes to self-improvement; tracking your spending is the number one habit to help you meet those financial goals.
Tracking each and every expense will help you figure out where your money comes from and exactly where it’s going. It enables you to track your financial progress or failures. And it allows you to prioritize expenses to create a manageable budget you can actually stick to.
Budgeting and tracking go hand in hand; you need to take daily steps that ensure you’re staying on your path to financial success.
The good news is that there are excellent apps to help you execute these wealth-building habits.
2. Take small steps to grow your savings
Creating an ample nest egg can only be done through habits that you stick to. It doesn’t happen magically with a few investments.
At Paychecks and Balances, we’ve talked a lot about saving money without sacrificing your joy; but it’s easier said than done.
Start by choosing a wealth accumulating vehicle (401k, savings account, IRA, life insurance, brokerage account, real estate, etc.) to begin growing your wealth. Using one of these investing apps can make it more convenient.
Then you must take these ‘payments to yourself’ seriously. Before paying bills, getting gas, or buying anything else, think about a percentage that you can comfortably invest each month into growing your nest egg and make it a part of your monthly budget.
3. Enhance your life with networking
We all know what networking is, right? It’s that thing that we all know we should actively be doing, except we never put ourselves out there and do.
Networking isn’t only valuable when you’re looking for a new job; it’s a skill to embrace regularly to widen your scope of influence, create meaningful career opportunities, and increase your wealth (Network= Net Worth).
A lot of networking results in life-long relationships that improve the quality of your personal and professional life. Step outside the box, attend social events, conferences, meet-ups, etc., that pertain to your career and personal interests to meet people and mentors that can enhance your life.
4. Invest in your health
Whether it’s anxiety, back pain, adult acne, migraines, depression, or alcohol addiction, we all have that one mental or physical problem that we want to tend to but never make the time or set aside the money to address.
Determine a mental or physical ailment you want to cure and invest the time and money to do so. Some people may have the privilege of having health insurance or an employee assistance plan which can cover the costs of many medical and therapeutic services you may need.
If you don’t, there are a lot of budget-friendly resources you can use: online therapy services for your mental health, student-led acupuncture clinics for that backpain, Groupon packages for facials, and monthly memberships for chiropractic services—among many other services!
5. Start a bullet journal
I’ve been writing in my bullet journal for almost seven years now, and I can confidently say that it’s the single habit that has most tangibly improved my life.
(If you don’t know what a bullet journal is, here’s a simple tutorial of how it works, all you need is a journal, pen, and a couple of minutes of your day).
The habit of writing and maintaining your bullet journal will allow you the headspace to prioritize tasks and events, organize your day, learn from your habits, and keep a record of your life.
For me, the bullet journal has been most instrumental in tangibly setting goals to determine the steps I need to follow to reach my goals—and having a record of my progress.
Those minutes I spend each day writing, focusing on myself, and envisioning my future are a habit that has become second nature and intrinsic to my success.
6. Build your mental wealth
We already talked about investing in your financial wealth, but how about making 2022 the year you also start investing in your mental wealth?
Mental wealth-building means actively and mindfully pursuing mental fortitude, which is more than just having good mental health.
Your mental health is at the helm of every single thing you do. And when you invest time, commitment, and action into your mental wealth, you’re actively boosting your chances of success in all other areas of life.
When looking back at these six habits, think of one or two you feel can be the easiest to implement into your life and then go from there.
And remember, it’s about trial and error; if you start strong but after a few weeks you start to lose the habit, it’s ok to stop for a bit and then start strong again. That’s better than never practicing the habit, to begin with!
The idea is to actually build these good habits into your life, not be so overwhelmed that you don’t make the first step.