How is your financial condition right now? Chances are you will answer positively or negatively and think that the cause of your condition is primarily due to what’s happening now and in the recent past. And the universal reason right now is the covid pandemic.
While it is true that this pandemic has brought us all down to our knees and we can be easily point to it as the cause of our current situation, there is one other thing that may not be that obvious but is the primary cause of our existing financial condition: our set of habits!
Let’s talk about our habits
Habit is defined as a routine or practice we perform regularly. It is our automatic response to certain situations.
So, let’s examine our habits by answering these questions. What is the first thing that you do in the morning? How do you perform your tasks? How do you spend your lunch break? Your dinner? What are your night time rituals?
When it comes to your financial condition, let’s examine your habits every payday, or, for those with irregular income, each time you receive compensation. What is your payday habit? How do you earn a living? Is this sustainable? When it comes to spending, what are your usual expenses? How often do you spend on the different categories of your expenses? When it comes to saving and investing, how often is that? Where do you save and invest? How do you do it? Do you have any regular planning when it comes to your earning, saving, investing, spending, and giving? What are they and how are they carried out?
If you honestly answer all the above questions, do you think those habits will bring you to your dream life?
Achieving our dream life takes more than lofty goal-setting and vision boards
We love to consume self-help contents that promote the principles of the law of attraction – ask, believe, and receive. Believe me, I do too! There is no denying that the human mind is powerful and such contents are great motivators and inspirations to kick our asses off to do something to reach our dreams.
But motivation and inspiration come and go because they are feelings, and cannot be depended upon to fulfill our life goals and dreams. Can you imagine a writer finishing a book if she just opts to write only when she is inspired? It will never happen. I have written a total of seven books and over 500 articles for the last decade. I wasn’t always inspired while doing the act of writing. I thank PhilStar.com for inviting me to become their weekly columnist because my accountability to submit to them every week made me write articles, whether I had the inspiration or not. The same is true for the other print magazines I write for such as Feast (formerly Kerygma), Health & Home, and Crossroads. Their deadlines made me practice the habit of writing, whether I felt like it or not. I don’t know how many of those articles and books I would have published by now if I had just continued writing for my first website RaisingPinoyBoys.com. (By the way, my articles in that website may still be accessed through my current website FQMom.com in the archive section; see years prior to 2014.)
Let’s break it down
It’s good to start with our lofty dreams with vision boards in order to make them more concrete, easy-to-remember, and get ourselves excited, but we have to operationalize the process of achieving them. I have written and talkied about our family goal setting a few times and I wish to share with you that in order to have a bigger chance of achieving our big dreams, we need to break them down.
The above shows the importance of your winning habits, the concrete activities that you should be doing in order to achieve your goals. And these can be as simple as getting up early, meditating, reading, writing, exercising, eating well, or the small steps to take to land big deals – making cold calls every Monday at 9am, learning a new and important skill every month, checking on former clients at certain times, etc.
Think of it this way, if you perform your winning habits for the day, you will fulfill your daily goals. If you fulfill your daily goals everyday or at least most of the days, you will fulfill your weekly goals. If you fulfill your weekly goals most of the time, chances are you will fulfill your monthly goals, and so on, all the way to your yearly goals, three-year goals and eventually, your lofty life dreams.
If you want to know more about this topic, watch Family Goal Setting and FQripot Tips.
Creating Winning Habits
I attribute a significant part of my FQ life to the habit of regular saving that I started back when I was in kindergarten. My pretty Aunt Vicky gifted me with an alkansya (piggy bank) shaped like a transistor radio and it made it fun for me to always drop my coins in it each time I received my weekly allowance. This was later on reinforced by my cute Banco Filipino passbook with the cover featuring my favorite Sanrio characters Lala and Kiki. That winnin habit that I started in kindergarten has continued well into my golden years.
Starting the FQ Monday Habit
Starting this September (the birth month of our website, Youtube channel and mine too), we will start the #FQMondayHabit. We will go back to basics and publish FQ videos every Monday at five in the afternoon, that you can consume and share with your loved ones, especially those whose money behaviors affect yours. We chose Monday because it is the start of the work week. In Behavioral Economics, we have this principle called the Fresh Start Effect, the human tendency to take action towards achieving a goal when it coincides with a special date that offers freshness and hope).
If you are ready to start improving your FQ, join us this coming Monday and every Monday thereafter. Here’s another Behavioral Economics principle that you can tap for you to sustain this winning habit, the Implementation Intention. How does it work? Instead of just saying, yes, I will start the FQ Monday Habit, write down on your phone calendar the date and time you intend to do it. If you end your workday on Monday at 5pm, then set it in your calendar at 5pm or your preferred time on a recurring basis starting September 6, 2021. It is setting an appointment with yourself.
Moreover, you can also use Habit-Stacking as another technique. When starting a new habit, it is easiest to do it by partnering it with an existing habit. Suppose you already have the habit of checking your social media channels on your phone each time you end your workday on Monday, then you can already partner your FQ Monday Habit with that existing phone check habit. They say that you can get rid of a bad habit by replacing it with a good one. Maybe you can pick a part of your mindless phone scrolling and replace it with an intentional habit of consuming something that can eventually improve your FQ. I’m excited to do this with you. They say, “No man is an island.” That is true and the same goes with forming good habits. Our habits, specifically, our winning FQ habits are formed in the right environment, with the right cues, with the right people and intentions. And each winning FQ habit leads to another and another, and so I say, “No high FQ behavior is an island!” Let’s do this together.
Let’s continue the conversation
Join us this Thursday at 11am on Kumu and FB Live as we discuss the power of FQ habit with our guest Maiqui Pineda who is helping me with the FQ Monday Habit through videos, today’s preferred content platfrom.
1. I invite you to subscribe to my new FQ Mom Podcast. If you’d rather consume this article in audio and listen to my additional comments and insights, you may listen to my podcast on the platform of your choice.
2. To learn more about your money behavior, get your copy of FQ Book 2. Get copies for your loved ones too. The principles you will learn from here are not only applicable in your financial life but all the other important aspects of your life. https://fqmom.com/bookstore/
To know more about FQ Book 2, watch this short video .
3. How good are you with money? Do you want to know your FQ Score? Take the FQ Test and get hold of your finances now. Click the link https://fqmom.com/dev-fqtest/app/#/questionnaire
If you want to read my two favorite books on habits, check out Atomic Habits by James Clear and The Power of Habit by Charles Duhig.
This article is also published in Philstar.
Attribution: Freepik, Flaticon, Frevector, Apkdone, Jobs for Editos, The Bridge, Your Finance Team