now & then

The Power of Habit Investments : zenhabits

Ways to Build Up Habit Investments

If you repeat something regularly, just doing a small amount each time, it adds up hugely over time. Some ways to do that:

  1. Actual money. Seriously, if you don’t have any savings yet, cut out one or two small daily expenses (Starbucks grande lattes are a good example) and instead, make regular automatic transfers each week (or every payday) to a savings account. Once you have a small emergency fund, pay off debt. Once you’ve paid off most of your debt, start investing. Your finances will improve immensely with time.
  2. Healthy eating. Eating just one small healthy thing a day, if you aren’t eating healthy now, will pay off over time. Just add one fruit instead of an unhealthy snack you might have in the afternoon. Do that for a couple weeks. Then add a veggie to lunch. Do that a few weeks. Each step of the way won’t seem hard, but you’ll eventually get used to each change. Sometimes the veggie won’t be something you love, so just eat a few bites. You’ll learn to enjoy it with time. You change, little by little.
  3. Waking early. Wake up just a few minutes earlier tomorrow (say 7:55 instead of 8:00), and stay at that level for a week, then another 5 minutes earlier for the next week, and so on. In less than 6 months, you’ll be waking up 2 hours earlier, and you won’t have ever really noticed it. It’ll never feel like you’re waking earlier. Most people, btw, try to do way more than this (say, an hour earlier at first) and then fail, and never figure out why.
  4. Writing. If you haven’t been able to create the writing habit, just write a sentence today. I’m completely serious. Then write a sentence tomorrow. Do that for a week. Next week, write two sentences. This sound ridiculously easy, so most people will ignore this advice. But if you follow it, you’ll be writing 1,000 words per day, every day, this time next year. Maybe 2,000 per day the following year.
  5. Stretching and/or yoga. I’m the world’s least flexible person (I think it’s in the Guinness Book). So now I stretch just a little each day. I bet in a a month or two, I’ll pass the guy in Luanda that’s just a little ahead of me on the flexibility list. I’ve started by just doing three yoga poses each morning.
  6. Musical instrument. My wife Eva started learning to play the guitar yesterday. Just a couple chords. If she practices those two chords each day, then another chord or two when she feels pretty confident with the first two, she’ll be playing some Bach and Granados next year.
  7. Meditation. I made a vow to meditate at least 3 minutes a day. That’s all I have to do, though sometimes I’ll do more. That makes it super easy to do it every day. What will I get if I keep doing that for years? I’m not sure, but I know I already have a judgment-free space, with no expectations, and it helps me to be more mindful and focused throughout the day.
  8. Decluttering. Just declutter a few things every day. In a few months, you’ll have a dramatically less cluttered home.
  9. Language learning. Study three cards a day with words/phrases/sentences on them. You’ll be speaking Spanish like loco in six months. (Yes, I just gave you your first Spanish investment in that last sentence.)

You get the picture.

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