Buying things on impulse, not paying bills on time, buying stuff one can’t afford.
These are just a few of the bad money habits that are preventing people from improving their finances.
We all know they’re bad, and we certainly try our best to change them.
So why do we often fail at changing and replacing such bad habits?
Is there a secret to becoming successful at doing this?
It’s been a popular belief that it takes 21 days to create a new habit – or in this case, replace a bad habit with a good one.
Amusingly, that’s a total myth!
According to a study published in the European Journal of Social Psychology back in October 2010, the average time to change a habit is actually 66 days.
Now given that scientifically-researched fact, how then is it possible to change a bad habit in 5 minutes, as the title of this post claims?
Intrigued? Read on to find out.
How To Change A Bad Habit in 5 Minutes
The answer is through 5-minutes of “conscious motivation“.
Let’s say you want to stop the habit of impulse buying. The next time you are tempted to do an unnecessary purchase, stop and say to yourself:
“I will not buy this because I don’t need it. I’ll save my money instead, so I can buy the things that are actually essential to me.”
Repeat to yourself several times, turn around, and then walk away.
Congratulations, you just changed a bad habit! Yes, it’s that simple!
One Victory Is All You Need
I believe that more than anything else, our thoughts have the greatest power over our actions. And a simple adjustment in our mindset can actually lead to immediate changes in our life.
Which means that even if it was just a single moment of triumph, you can own it and claim that you’ve already gotten over your bad habit.
So the next time you are tempted again to buy impulsively, say to yourself:
“This is no longer who I am. I don’t buy on impulse anymore.”
Because it is the truth… you have changed for the better.
Zero Effort in 66 Days
Maintaining your new status quo will take effort, but the good news is… if we are to take what scientists have said, the effort needed becomes close to zero after 66 days.
Of course, you will occasionally fall back to your old, bad habit – that’s expected.
But instead of getting discouraged and frustrated – simply think of it as a new opportunity to change the bad habit once again – which isn’t so hard to do now because after all, it just takes 5 minutes, right?
Start living consciously, and you’ll see great changes in your life.
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Lally, P., van Jaarsveld, C. H. M., Potts, H. W. W. and Wardle, J. (2010). How are habits formed: Modelling habit formation in the real world. Eur. J. Soc. Psychol., 40: 998–1009. doi: 10.1002/ejsp.674
Photo credit: rasvan
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