Healthy Money Habits: How to Make Change Stick

Healthy Money Habits - American Capital Planning

Change is hard.  And change is slow.  At least this is true for me and the changes I’m trying to make permanent when it comes to healthy eating.  I have incentives: age, appearance, and most importantly, ankles.  My two titanium ankles are constantly asking me to “lighten up”. 

I know what to do, yet I struggle to do it.  Why can’t I just do what I know works?

In my work with divorcing couples and the families for whom we manage money, they know what to do and the vast majority are enjoying their wealth.  But there are a couple clients who I sometimes worry will always struggle to develop healthy money habits and to do what we know works.  And I scratch my head over how to get them to a better place.

Habits: Money & Health

While money and knowing how to increase it, use it, and enjoy it, is easy for me, basic eating is not.  I have tried many paths and none have stuck. 

This is the first of a series of blogs along my journey to healthy eating as a lifestyle vs. a short-term diet.  Because we’re talking about habit change, I am hoping to get understanding of the hurdles my clients face when they are trying to change stubborn and destructive money habits.

In my understanding of habits and how we change them, there is brain science involved.  When we’re relying on our habits, there is a trigger, then a routine response to that trigger, and we get some reward which reinforces the same response the next time the trigger shows up.

To change my habit, I’ll still get triggers, I’ll still expect and want rewards, so I’ll have to insert a new routine response.  And I know I must be mentally on-board with this, because change is hard and change is slow. 

Get Support in Creating Good Money Habits

Almost everything in life is easier with the right partner or a supportive community.  So, for me, I discovered a group who always does what I am trying to do.  It’s 21 days long and here’s what happened yesterday on the first day:

  • They served rolled oats with fresh berries and raisins, a new book, and a cooking demonstration of a tofu scramble that I actually enjoyed.  All previous experiences with tofu went badly so imagine my surprise as I watched them create this dish with fresh ingredients that was excellent!
  • I received 7 meals for the next few days.  The purpose of eating the rolled oats and seeing the cooking demo is because we are on our own for breakfast and these are two good options.

We will meet again for the next three Saturdays to learn more as we enjoy prepared meals that are part of a plant-based lifestyle.  Over the next 4 weeks, I will share the experience and pay particular attention to the ‘why’ as it relates to making this change permanent.  If I can crack that nut, I hope to use what I learn to help those clients with stubborn and poor money habits change theirs so they protect, grow, and enjoy their wealth.

Tune in for the 2nd in this Money Habit series next week.

Bonnie A. Sewell, CFP®, CDFA™, AIF® is NOT AN ATTORNEY AND DOES NOT PROVIDE LEGAL ADVICE. All information she provides is financial in nature and should not be construed or relied upon as legal or tax advice.  Individuals seeking legal or tax advice should solicit the counsel of competent legal professionals knowledgeable about the divorce laws in their own geographical areas or CPAs qualified to provide tax advice.

DISCLOSURE:  All of the above is believed to be accurate but should be considered informational only and should not be considered financial, tax, or legal advice.  Seek advice from a paid professional under contract to you. 

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