Man, oh, man are we creatures of habit. I am definitely guilty of this. As you may have read on our about page, one of the first things we learned about making the changes we needed to retire earlier and wealthier was being able to make changes in ourselves. This is a hard thing for most people to do, but it is an important first step in having financial freedom.
Far be it for this blog to cover all of the ways and methods you can use to make positive changes in your life, there are probably dozens or more. But I will tell you how I was personally able to become better at quality habit-forming. I always struggled with making life changes for a long time and was very stuck in my ways, but no more. The method that has worked best for me was the idea of mini-habits. By breaking a task down to its smallest, most ridiculous starting point I was able to make the small changes I needed and allowed them to snowball into bigger changes.
For instance, if I wanted to get more muscle in my arms, instead of having a goal of going to the gym every day, lifting 200lbs 2x a day, or climbing a 50-foot tree, I would simply do 1 push-up a day. I know what you're thinking...I'm not going to build much muscle doing one push-up a day. But the problem with me was never doing push-ups. My issue has always been motivation. So by setting a goal so simple that it could be done anywhere, at any time, I cannot fail. If I get down and do one push-up, Hooray! If I feel like going on and doing more than one, even better! I can bet over a month of doing it this way, most people would be much higher than 30 push-ups total. They just need to get over that hurdle of actually doing the first push-up, then doing 1 to 10 to 20 more is not that big of a deal. I'm not sure if such a method will work for you, but I would recommend you try it as it is quite simple and not very demanding for learning a new habit.
If you do better with a reminder, I invite you to check out QuickHabits.com where they help you build better habits by creating insanely small tasks you must complete every day. They send you e-mail messages every day with links when you've completed them, and even remind you before going to bed if you haven't checked a task off the list. The tracking is great as it shows you how many times you forgot to do your tasks and what your success rate is as well as longest and shortest periods of successful task days in a row. They offer a self- or a coach-directed option. I would recommend the coach-directed option since it's only $2 more a month.
If you are to retire early and financially independent, you are most likely going to need to make changes to your life. Breaking down learning new habits into bite-sized nibbles worked really well for me and hopefully it will for you, too. Shout-out to Stephen Guise, author of "Mini Habits: Small Habits, Bigger Results" for turning me onto this method. I recommend checking out his book.
Got a habit you can't kick? What is your best method for adopting new ones? Let us know in the comments below!