Development, Discipline, Endurance, Finances, FIRE, goals, Growth, Habits, Mindset, No Pain No Gain, Retirement, Savings, Uncategorized, wealth, Win

Habits tell a Story

Last book read: “Start with Why” by Simon Sinek

Books I’m currently reading: “The Power of Habit” by Charles Duhigg

On my mind: Listen.

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There are so many distractions in our day. We have embedded habits in our mind that we engage in unconsciously. For example, today, I unlocked my phone 77 times and used it for 3 hours and 51 minutes in total. Can you relate?

Better Recognize!

Do you ever ponder why it seems so hard to stop your bad habits? Maybe you snooze the alarm 2 to 3 times before you wake up. The trick is to find the incentive for that bad habit or a certain reward you give yourself when you engage in bad behavior. Recognizing that is the first step.

You are what you EAT

Perhaps you are wondering why habits are the focus of a blog called “Stewarding Finances”. Habits form us and we become as the saying goes “what we eat” – this also applies mentally!

If you are like most people, you woke up and spent some time in the restroom then ate some food, got dressed and started your day. These behaviors, despite how basic they may seem, are vital. We take care of cleanliness: shower, brush our teeth, and wear appropriate clothing so that we can maintain the basic requirements for our job.

Well how about if you incorporated habits that can help you go beyond the minimum standard and bring you greater returns? Would you be willing to test these habits?

More than we can chew…

Can you guess what the average American’s debt is? drum roll… $137,063 (according to the Federal Reserve)! The average American rent is about $1,200 but in Los Angeles, CA it’s more like $1,700. Anyways, this means you could pay rent for 114 months or 9.5 years for the average American or 6.7 years of rent for the typical Californian.

Talk about a bad habit going out of control!

You might argue that a lot of that is going towards education and necessities as a home or car. Do you have to go into debt for education? For most occupations, NOPE. There are exceptions such as becoming a doctor due to the many years of schooling which is justified by the income eventually made. I would mention you can make this more affordable by seeking out scholarships or even joining the military.

I would say that education can be done without debt if you are resourceful and that a home or car is NOT a necessity and if you cannot afford it, don’t buy it!! This is actually the reason why we are in for a down market in this coming year. The Fed assumes due to job growth, it’s rainbows and sunshine but do they factor in the “sharp decline in oil prices as well as slowing in homebuilders, autos and retailers as signs?” (Jim Cramer).

Not only are the factors mentioned above playing into the harder times up ahead, we are also dealing with enormous amounts of student loans (which are NOT bankrupt-able) and car loans that are not being repaid. I will digress in future posts.

There is HOPE

Sam, what’s with all this doom and gloom you might ask? R.E.A.L.I.T.Y. friend. I don’t want to leave you hanging without actionable tips to guide you in your financial journey. It’s at times like this when you should be more intentional about how you spend your money or God’s money as how I like to see it.

Time for new financial habits! Try the following for the coming year.

  1. Budget
  2. Stick to the budget
  3. Save 15%+

Before your next purchase…

Simple things to consider before your next major purchase. Ask yourself, do I need this or do I want it?

Next, ask yourself, would the me 10 years from now appreciate that the present me bought X?

Replace bad habits with good ones and reward yourself! Until next time, learn, apply and share!

References:

https://www.npr.org/2012/03/05/147192599/habits-how-they-form-and-how-to-break-them

https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/personalfinance/2017/11/18/a-foolish-take-heres-how-much-debt-the-average-us-household-owes/107651700/

https://www.cnbc.com/2018/11/16/cramer-blasts-the-fed-i-know-more-than-they-do–do-more-homework-on-the-economy.html

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Healthy Habits Win Results
Development, Discipline, Endurance, Growth, Habits, Health, Mindset, No Pain No Gain, Strength, Win

Healthy Habits Win Results

Last book read: “Never Split the Difference” by Chris Voss

Books I’m currently reading: “Principles” by Ray Dalio

Biggest Investment return: Tesla @ $66.61 (purchased at $286.28, sold at $352.89)

On my mind: Fail Better

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Today, I want to share about mindset. Mindset to improve the ‘how to’ part of success: Healthy Habits Win Results. Have you ever wondered why it’s so difficult to make money but so easy to spend? Have you thought of the underlying reasons for your habits? How have you tried to deal with bad habits?

The 80/20 Principle

In my recent endeavors, I have been finding habits that distract and detour me from my goals (more on my goals here). With intention, I have made some drastic changes. Perhaps you have heard of the Pareto’s 80/20 principle, which states 80% of effects are caused by 20% of factors. Here’s an everyday example: we wear about 20% of our clothing 80% of the time. Here’s another one: 20% of criminals commit 80% of the crime (Dunedin Study). Another one: 20% of employees bring in 80% of the results. You get the picture.

Poor Habits Poor Results

I applied the principle to my own life and found that a few bad habits formed over the years negatively impacted me in a big way. For one, I slept and woke up late, which affected the rest of my day. When I started working, I rushed from my bed to the bathroom, to the kitchen, to work. I found myself barely getting to work on time; 20% of my actions were causing 80% of my stress and frustration.

Parking at my work place is $95/ month! Yes, $95 for the convenience of parking in a structure. What’s amazing is that many people actually pay this amount to for convenience. I was taken aback by the number of people that chose to pay to park. Given the choice, I opted for street parking. I soon after discovered a gold mine, an all-day parking spot near work with the length of half a football field.

Glass Half Full?

However, the struggle was getting a guaranteed spot. In effect, many times I had to park in a 2 or 4 hour parking spot and move my car accordingly and the 2 times it slipped my mind, I paid for it. $98 to be exact at $49/ ticket. In addition, I found myself like many others, rushing into the office, tired and groggy. Thankfully, in my 6 months of working at this particular job, I have only racked up 17% ($98 in comparison to $570) of the price I would have paid if I had decided to pay to park. Ultimately, I didn’t want anymore tickets and all the other symptoms of poor decision-making. Frankly, I was fed up.

Healthy Habits Win Results

I came across a book called Miracle Morning, by Hal Elrod, which was a collection of morning routines successful people practice, lumped into 6 components of an ideal start to the day. The idea is win the morning, win the day. S.A.V.E.R.S. is an acronym highlighted in the book which stands for Silence, Affirmations, Visualization, Exercise, Reading, and Scribing. More on the details of the acronym another time. In order to start my day right, I realized I would have to wake up over an hour earlier, sleep earlier, and proactively engage my morning. I took action upon reading the book but was faced with one of greatest initial barriers – my body viscerally opposed the change. It took some trial and error to get to a point of consistency.

“Your first ritual that you do during the day is the highest leveraged ritual by far, because it has the effect of setting your mind, and setting the context, for the rest of your day” – Eben Pagan

I it took one day at a time to get started, which would turn into 2 days, 3, 4, 5, and so on. Now, I start my weekday mornings at 5am every morning and I can gladly say it’s a part of my daily routine. Finally, I have enough time to eat breakfast on the dining table, get the all-day parking spot every/ most work days, feel lively by the time I get to work, and am more focused as I start my workday.

Accountability And Commitment

It was difficult to start incorporating a morning routine for a night owl like myself but I managed. I’m grateful for my like-minded friend who came alongside and was willing to join me in building these morning habits together. We decided it would be good to call each other first thing in the morning and talk with one another until we were awake, then jump into our routine. In the beginning this was crucial but now, after 3 weeks of trial and error, my body is settling into the routine.

No Pain, No Gain

We hear it all the time, “No pain, no gain”, but I have found it to resonate deeply with me. The initial change was agony; to both my mind and body, but with changing my mindset and making better choices, I reaped the great rewards. Don’t get me wrong, the 1st minute of my morning is war. Yet, I’m failing better, one step at a time.

 

Let’s talk Habits

Do you have any unhealthy habits that causes you unnecessary stress? Have you made any attempts to change your habits? Are there healthy habits that you are trying to form?

 

References:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pareto_principle

The Miracle Morning for Entrepreneurs” by Hal Elrod

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