The big lessons are these: if you don’t put action plans in place to make your goals a reality, chances are they will return as dreams again next year; and secondly, don’t try to achieve all your goals all at once. Instead, stack new habits on top of ones you have already mastered.
I have found that when I don’t succeed in getting things done, it’s because I go into extreme mode – trying to do too many things, at the same time, in a short timeframe. Without fail, I end up not being able to maintain the pace. So, this year, I chose consistency above intensity. I have adopted James Clear’s habit stacking process to help me achieve my goals consistently and in a way that does not overwhelm me.
I am really good at sticking to a routine in the morning – much more so than in the afternoons. A good habit that I implemented last year is to wake up, meditate and then go for a run (I run four mornings a week). This year I feel comfortable stacking another habit on top of this one: weight training twice a week. Had I implemented the entire routine all at once, I probably would have overdone it and given up.
To summarise, James Clear’s habit stacking process works like this:
This process has also helped me lose 14kg over the past two years. Had I drastically changed my eating habits all at once, it would have definitely felt too extreme, and I have no doubt that I would have given up. You just cannot expect me to stop eating sugar all at once! That is just not humane.
I do the same with money habits. Implementing my money habits went like this:
I first started by investing in my pension fund. Once I had this habit down, I added a unit trust investment as a debit order. When that habit was entrenched, I stacked an offshore investment debit order amount on top of it.
My money habit stack took a few years to put in place, and it’s only successful because I have a solid system that supports my goal – a debit order for each investment scheduled for right at the beginning of each month. I also meet with my financial planner regularly and, even as a planner myself, someone with an objective opinion helps keep me on track.
Good habits mostly go hand in hand with good intentions. Don’t overwhelm yourself by trying to implement your goals all at once. It’s hard to stick to your good habits when you’re swamped and exhausted by everything you’re doing and changing too many things at the same time. Rather do one thing well, and when you’ve mastered that habit, add another on top of it.
Wishing you good intentions and stacks of accomplishments for 2022!
Always remember – when it comes to your money, be brave, be on purpose and be inspired.