Basic Budgeting for Physicians Develops Positive Financial Habits
Being passionate about helping people proactively plan their finances has been a part of my life since graduating from the University of San Diego in 2008. I worked for an amazing planner basically coming out of school. I enjoy every aspect of the world of finance because there’s a thrill associated with teaching the concepts of cash flow and basic budgeting for physicians. For some, finance can be complicated. For others, it’s quite simple.[easy-tweet tweet=”There is a stigma attached to the word budget. How would you attempt to remove it? @SteveCrawford78″ user=”physicianwealth” url=”https://financialresidency.com/podcast/how-to-build-a-budget-that-actually-makes-sense “]
I saw early in my career that doctors need a budget. They need a budget long before they become an attending physician. The sooner you start learning money management the better. There are some good reasons that learning basic budgeting for physicians is a good idea.
Listen to Part 1:
Listen to Part 2:
The same, or similar rather, has gone for Australian Steve Crawford, Owner of and Senior Wealth Advisor at Experience Wealth. He set out to create a Financial Goal Planning plan that a client could understand but also helped them reach bigger goals, such as buying a home or starting a business. He is a fee-only financial planner. I’ve discussed the importance of knowing the difference between fee only financial planners and fee based financial planners in prior episodes and really feel more physicians should learn the true nature of both roles.
If physicians honed in on the idea of managing their personal finance like a business, why doctors need a budget, why to build wealth to achieve their ideal life, they would stress about money a lot less. How much are you willing to accept the challenge?
But first, and the reason for my discussion with Steve, we focused on why doctors need a budget.
Basic Budgeting For Physicians
What You Will Learn
- 1 Basic Budgeting for Physicians Develops Positive Financial Habits
- 2 Basic Budgeting For Physicians
- 3 Basic Budgeting For Physicians: Why a Budget?
- 4 Basic Budgeting For Physicians: Making a Conscious Decision
- 5 Basic Budgeting For Physicians: Have We Been Groomed for Failure?
- 6 Basic Budgeting For Physicians: Cash Flow Planning
- 7 Basic Budgeting For Physicians: Beware the Automated Report
- 8 Basic Budgeting For Physicians: The Four Stages of Budgeting
- 9 Basic Budgeting For Physicians: How Much Does It Cost to be You?
- 10 Basic Budgeting For Physicians: What is Your Profile?
- 11 Basic Budgeting For Physicians: Savings, Goals, and Paying Yourself First
- 12 Basic Budgeting For Physicians: Your Fixed Costs
- 13 Basic Budgeting For Physicians: Banking Accounts and Banking Structure
- 14 Basic Budgeting For Physicians: Reporting and Feedback
- 15 Basic Budgeting For Physicians: Perspective
- 16 Basic Budgeting For Physicians: Final Advice
- 17 Journal Club: You Be Three
We collaborated recently about some important steps specifically surrounding basic budgeting for physicians and how to build that budget. During our discussion the dreaded “B” word came up. To most people, a budget is believed to be a horrible and dreaded necessity. While we both believe that doctors need a budget –we want to remove the stigma attached to the word. We want to work on how basic budgeting for physicians can be done with less angst and more umph!
Steve pointed out that while budgeting gets a bad reputation – it is just a target. It is something you are “aiming” for. His point was if you don’t have a target will be shooting blind.
Why should you as a new attending physician create a budget or plan cash flow? I would like you to see it as a method to have physical and psychological control of your money. Having a budget or spending plan will help you reach your goal of achieving financial independence and building wealth. Doctors need a budget to reach these goals.
Learning how to build a budget doesn’t just happen, especially for anyone who has never been exposed to successful financial planning. You may not understand the psychological impact your family has on your beliefs surrounding money.
Let us take out a magnifying glass and look closer at what basic budgeting for physicians will do for you and your goal to become financially independent.
Basic Budgeting For Physicians: Why a Budget?
Yes, as an attending physician your income is substantially higher than most people. That means potentially larger price tags on your choices–your house, car, vacations and toys. It also may mean bigger credit snafus or spending and investing mistakes. Physician lifestyle creep is no joke, after all.
What are your goals? How do you plan on reaching them?
Doctors need a budget in order to save for goals. It is a better choice to save first, then pay for your goals instead of falling into the merry-go-round of bank credit, consumer credit and their interest rates, hidden fees and potential late fees.
Don’t fall into this trap!
We will discuss in more detail how to make saving for a splashy vacation or the new house less daunting by breaking this large goal into more manageable monthly goals.
Another important reason that you need a budget is to know exactly where your money is going. In a prior show, I’ve addressed personal finance tips with White Coat Investor where we talked hidden fees and occasional mismanagement of investments. We’ve seen this happen to people who were unaware of how their money was being invested or how investment managers were getting paid their fees. This could have devastating effects on your future wealth and retirement.
And speaking of future wealth–basic budgeting for physicians may eventually expand to include building wealth through investing in real estate. This may be just the ticket to increasing your net worth. You might want to check out the shows that came out recently about that– one with Veena Jeti on vetting a multifamily sponsor and the other with Scott Trench on achieving financial independence with real estate.[easy-tweet tweet=”If it came down to building a budget, could physicians achieve their level of financial independence faster, stronger, more confidently? Uh, yes. @SteveCrawford78″ user=”physicianwealth” url=”https://financialresidency.com/podcast/how-to-build-a-budget-that-actually-makes-sense “]
Through planning and possibly investing there will come a day when you decide to trade-in your stethoscope for a more passive income generating lifestyle. Which path are you choosing to plan for retirement? Traditional or FIRE?
Doctors need a budget to plan effectively for that future day. Basic budgeting for physicians will help keep you focused whether you choose to save and work for a traditional retirement plan or if you want to jump on the fast track with FIRE (Financial Independence Retire Early). By the way, l have a show coming out with Physician on Fire about this soon! Be sure to stay tuned about it.
Basic Budgeting For Physicians: Making a Conscious Decision
You’ve just finished your residency—suddenly your income doubles or triples. Do you have a goal? Now is a great time to decide what you want to achieve with the money you will be working hard for. This is when you realize that doctors need a budget.
Most people want financial freedom. To reach this goal you can see that doctors need a budget.
You might understand that it means earning some money, spending some money and saving some. However, that is a nebulous plan at best. We want to sharpen your focus.
- What are you saving up for?
- What is the money going to be used for?
These questions will help you decide on a target. Learning basic budgeting for physicians will give you the knowledge and accountability that you need. You will know that if you blow money that was earmarked for the thing that you decided to save for (car/house/exotic vacation), you won’t be able to buy or experience your goal. That is why doctors need a budget.
Your target needs to be attached to your values. Then keeping your target in mind will help prevent you from going astray when you are tired or stressed—and you just feel like spending to make yourself feel better.
Why would anyone sabotage themselves, their families or their dream of achieving financial independence in this way?[easy-tweet tweet=”Doctors need a budget because they won’t be able to experience or see their life goals through without one. @SteveCrawford78″ user=”physicianwealth” url=”https://financialresidency.com/podcast/how-to-build-a-budget-that-actually-makes-sense “]
Basic Budgeting For Physicians: Have We Been Groomed for Failure?
I liked Steve’s point that as children we are good at saving for what we need. Typically, our parents give us the cash incrementally over time. We must resist temptations to save enough to buy the thing that was our goal. This may have taught us that when we want something, we must save for it. Building positive financial habits doesn’t happen otherwise.
As soon as we become an adult, the credit card companies start handing out cards. We no longer must be patient and save for what we want. If we want something, we have a free pass to go get it. If budgets are about balance, credit cards with their buy now, pay later value system encourages imbalance.
Steve said that he has clients that for long periods in their life don’t save any of their income. He said a budget is not about never spending money or having a life. It is about having a target to hit. Doctors need a target to hit. Doctors need a budget.
This is something I talk about quite a bit. It is a behavioral finance piece, which is associating some type of emotion to the dollars. The money can only be assigned one task, so why not spend it where it can bring the most happiness? Basic budgeting for physicians allows you to plan where you spend your money to maximize happiness.
Things that might trip us up unknowingly are advertisements and marketing. A lot of money has been spent figuring out what motivates consumers. Steve’s company has studied what makes a client succeed or fail in their quest for achieving financial independence. He explained that Australians are some of the world’s worst when it comes to saving. He indicates they typically save approximately 2% of their income.
What is the difference between the Aussie who saves only 2% and one of his clients?
He said his clients, who are average Australians, typically save 20% of their income over the last five years. The difference is his company gives their clients a program and a coach.
His company helps their clients find a reason to save, they help their clients decide on a target that is important to them so that they want to save. They help their clients make decisions and provide insights into those decisions.
How does basic budgeting for physicians motivate him or her to achieve financial independence?
Basic Budgeting For Physicians: Cash Flow Planning
Steve started out having his clients send him a month or two months of their expenses. He was helping his clients with the most tangible information they needed at the time–helping clients with their money. He stated he would reconcile their expenses and create a twelve-month projection. He included these numbers into a statement of advice for his clients.
The cash flow system is focused on working with the finances as they are at the present time. He said the number one driver of someone interested in cash flow planning is to increase their savings. Then the client logically wants to know what next?
One thing that doesn’t happen to Steve’s clients is a bulldozer approach to their finances. Their spending decisions are not dictated to them. However, the clients are shown the outcome of their choices and impact on their overall financial plan.
The question then becomes how does someone get started? When you have a reason to budget and emotionally get your head around the idea of one:
- Set a budget (with the four stages of the budget)
- Banking account structure
These are the points he made surrounding bank account structure:
- Break bad habits such as running your finances on auto-pilot
- Knowing when is it a good time to use your credit card. When is it a bad idea to use it?
- Reliable reporting and feedback are important but there is a caveat
After that, pose this startling question: How accurate is your report?
Basic Budgeting For Physicians: Beware the Automated Report
In this day of automation, nobody would think twice when handed a computer program generated report. We would never question its accuracy. Steve brought up an interesting situation.
First of all, he stated that he doesn’t have a problem with automation; however, the information in the report must be checked for accuracy.
If an automated report comes off the investment platform with returns. The report will be accurate. The balance and return figures are accurate.
However, if your advisor doesn’t work with Fintech properly. That is the advisor doesn’t understand the rules engines or categorize things properly. The data will be incorrect.
How big is this potential problem? It could be worth $10,000–or more!
If one of those incorrect pieces of data is an expense or transfer between accounts that is picked up as income or coded as an expense, the advisor won’t know until the money is gone. The advisor must be able to physically audit the report to be sure of the accuracy.
Basic Budgeting For Physicians: The Four Stages of Budgeting
As a resident, you’ve had a low income for a while now, maybe you’ve even struggled. Then you begin to get a much higher income. Perhaps, you want to just relax and enjoy the ride, just for a while. However, this is when doctors need a budget. As with anything getting started is the hard part!
Steve said it is okay to take a break or allow yourself a raise as long as the decision is conscious. You must be aware of what you are doing. Awareness is part of the foundation in basic budgeting for physicians.
Eventually, you will want to start saving money, that behavior is usually sparked by a solid reason. We talked about the four stages of budgeting:
- Acceptance: Without a budget, I will never truly be the master of my own money destiny; however, with it, I will consciously control all my spending and savings decisions and I will not be so stressed about my money. This step is completed solely by the client. We can’t help someone shift their mind to acceptance! You might need a budget, but do you want it? If yes, how badly?
- Awareness: What does it cost to be me? What does it cost to be us? What does it cost to have a life?
- Improvement: Narrowing the gap between what I said I wanted to do and what I did (The numbers will start to become predictable: within 1-2% of your target).
- Performance: (everyone is trying to get to this level): At this point, you feel like you aren’t budgeting any more. Unfortunately, you must go through the growing pains with the other three steps before reaching this phase. I am now doing what I set out to do. I am spending my money, I’m not spending all of it, I’ve set up a program, I know what my numbers are, I’ve allocated it into my bank account (automatically on each pay cycle). I am spending it automatically. I am consciously making spending decisions. I am checking in on myself. If I am over, I adjust; if I am under, I bank that for later or spend some more.
There is a lot of fear surrounding a budget. There is a fear of getting started, getting it wrong and not knowing what to do if it seems off track. Once a process is started that builds some momentum with a client and their budget, the client will see they can do this, then they are able to relax and feel more confident in their budget.
The turning point consists of keeping in mind that you can only control your conscious decisions. That you can only save savable dollars—and those are not the dollars spent on necessities like transportation, utilities or rent. Once you figure out the four steps and how much it costs to be you, then you won’t feel like you are “budgeting” anymore!
So, how do you figure up how much it costs to be you?
Basic Budgeting For Physicians: How Much Does It Cost to be You?
As an attending physician, you finally have a better income. You want a comfortable standard of living, you would like to get a jumpstart paying those student debts off (and other consumer debt), there is retirement to plan for and possibly you would like to increase your net worth with some solid investments. Deciding whether to pay off debt or invest happens here.
Starting at the foundation, we need to find out what your current situation is by looking at the eight categories that determine your current cost of living. It might be helpful to track your spending for a month or two to determine your spending habits–and find out where your money is going!
Living costs are broken into eight categories:
- Loan/bank charges
These are broken into two types:
- Fixed living expenses
- Variable living expenses
These categories are either weekly, monthly, or quarterly. How low can you make your spending amount?
You must take into consideration physician lifestyle creep. That is when you get a better job, then a better apartment. You go from buying generic food brands to name brands. Everything adds up, subtly and quickly.
Another consideration is your student loan problem. You may stop doing the income driven repayment. My example is my wife’s student loans. She took out $120,000 in student debt. By the time we refinanced five years into her training (one year of fellowship still to go)—it had ballooned up to $180,000. During this time, she was paying $200-$250. Since we didn’t file taxes separate after we married, it ballooned to $800. It was the same amount of income and debt. It was just allocated differently because we got married. If we would have kept going down that road, it would have been standard repayment. That might have 10X what the student loan payment would have been.[easy-tweet tweet=”Australians are the world’s worst when it comes to saving. @SteveCrawford78″ user=”physicianwealth” url=”https://financialresidency.com/podcast/how-to-build-a-budget-that-actually-makes-sense “]
The moral of this story is that sometimes our fixed expenses increase, but it isn’t due to lifestyle creep. It just happens. We can try to keep our fixed expenses on the low side; however, that is not always possible. This is another reason that doctors need a budget. However, you can still work on achieving financial independence!
|Golden Rule: underestimate your income. Overestimate your expenses.|
Basic Budgeting For Physicians: What is Your Profile?
Knowing your profile is part of basic budgeting for physicians. There is a point where 50-70% of your income is going to your living costs. That leaves 30% to split between the other two categories. We track all our client’s spending. Then they are split into different types of profiles:
- Families (with children the lifestyle costs goes down)
Steve explained that his company already knows that singles have the highest spending Ratio, with couples next and then last are families.
Almost everyone wants a “decent living”, but everyone’s definition of “decent” is dependent upon their viewpoint. So, Steve’s company analyzes a “decent living” as percentages. These percentages give a realistic picture of what a decent living typically looks like. However, adjustments may be needed. What is the best way to adjust?
Basic Budgeting For Physicians: Savings, Goals, and Paying Yourself First
It turns out the best way to adjust is having a strong reason to save. Don’t be sucked in on something that supplies only a brief pleasure and then derails you long term goals.
An example is if you allocate 60% of your income to living costs (remember that percentage is considered “decent”). Or perhaps 70% for living, 20% spending, and 10% for savings? This is when you start to adjust.
This is where children have it right. When they have a strong reason to save, it will happen.
What are your goals? How much money will you set aside to reach these goals?
Spending can be broken down into three categories:
- Living expenses
- Lifestyle expense
Long-and short-term goals are set as 12-month targets.
- I am saving for_________.
- For me to hit my goal, I need to save $_______ (convert to a percentage).
You will need to be realistic and see if the percentage fits into your budget. It is equally important to give yourself space when working on basic budgeting for physicians.
Work backwards from the goal:
- What do you want to achieve?
- How much do you need?
While doctors need a budget, Steve discourages you from depriving yourself for a long period of time of anything that makes you happy and human. It is well known that rebounding after a lengthy period of deprivation can take a heavy toll. Part of that toll may include taking a hit on your goal of achieving financial independence!
Setting a realistic goal and putting things into perspective will support your efforts more than depriving yourself. This means breaking it down into reasonable monthly goals. That is a much better option than dealing with the devastating effects of depravation rebound and feeling like a failure!
So don’t deprive yourself, just look to see if you can afford XYZ and still reach your other financial goals. Doctor’s need a budget, they don’t need a straight jacket. Steve’s goal is for you to feel as if you have a life today while you work on a better one tomorrow. Set a realistic target…and hit that target.
Basic Budgeting For Physicians: Your Fixed Costs
Sometimes I work with a client who doesn’t have the ability to save anything. They might fall into a category where they are barely making IRA contributions. I might go through their budget and visualize their spending.
We look at the expenses that just can’t be moved. Those are rent, mortgage, student debt payment, other types of debt payments or insurance. If it’s insurance, it could be lowered or optimized. There are things we can’t touch right now.
How much of your income versus the expenses that truly can’t be changed? Keep in mind that the less you have dedicated to fixed expenses the more you have to use for unexpected expenses or purchases.
Then there are some costs that are considered “fixed”, but some of those expenses can be minimized or even dropped. Are there any other options?
We decide what things are truly fixed (fixed expenses are usually debt related or “have to pay”: for example, mortgage and electricity.
Now we can add some fixed costs: cell phone or the nanny.
Then what big goal do you want to save for with 20% (it may need to be 10% at first) of your savings?
Then we have the variable column. I ask them what do they want to add in that brings you the most happiness?
I asked Steve how his company might handle a similar situation?
He believes a physician’s greatest asset in hitting his savings target is earning capacity.
He said if a physician is spending like he is earning $250. However, if you are still earning $60, then it is not working. He will advise his client to find a way to take his spending down a few notches. He said the physician is either creating more expenses that he doesn’t need, or he may refuse to budge on spending habits, but his earning is not high enough to cover the spending.
Typically, it maybe that a family may spend like a two-income family, but they earn one income. Then he might have a conversation about the numbers. He points out that the numbers don’t lie. The numbers are an important piece in basic budgeting for physicians.
He also points out that it’s important to have a set of numbers apart from your own. If you set ridiculously unrealistic budgets, it might look skewed because you failed your own benchmark. Your benchmark might not be realistic. Perhaps your benchmark was twice as aggressive as it should have been. He further explained how having a range of numbers for comparison is helpful versus a single number.
One of the biggest things I’ve taken from Steve’s information is the peer group assessment, which is done from a budgeting or cash flow perspective, especially because I’m super interested in the makeup of a physician millionaire. I have done something similar through Datapoints, which uses a personality group concept. Once Kasey (a protege at my fee only financial planning firm, Physician Wealth Services) and I get some of the information data put together, I will publish it inside our community, which you are free to join at financialresidency.com/community. This will be benchmarks for single or married for a reference. Here is a general reference that I typically use:
- Fixed expenses should be 50% or less of your take home pay
- Variable expenses should be 25% or less of your take home pay
- Target savings of 25% or more of your take home pay
This is not an income issue, it is a spending issue which may be a problem in part because of the delayed gratification necessary while you were a resident or participating in a fellowship. These numbers do not include your 401K. You started building wealth and achieving financial independence later than your peers due to the extended time required by doing your residency and fellowship.
Basic Budgeting For Physicians: Banking Accounts and Banking Structure
Your budget is a promise. The purpose of your budget is to help to get the most out of your numbers—as a target. Steve told me he believes the banking accounts and their structure may be even more important than the target! Doctors need a budget but they also need a structure for specific bank accounts. Learning about how to choose your account types and how to structure them is part of basic budgeting for physicians.
The bank accounts are the most important piece. Bank accounts show you what your spendable dollars are. They are the place to see how your long-term management is working. What should a banking structure look like for achieving financial freedom?
Steve told me there should be a deliberate, well thought out process for your accounts. It is about managing your money now. Starting with these basic accounts:
- Spending: Paying bills and living costs (only living costs are paid here)
- Personal Spending: Your guilt free account (fun money account)
- Storage: Delayed spending (quarterly or yearly expenses)
- Savings:(includes debt payments)
If the family is older and established mom and dad might have their own personal spending accounts. There might be a family lifestyle account for presents, clothes, or family trips.
I compare some accounts to training wheels. They aren’t permanent and don’t have to stay any certain way forever. They give you some bumper space for learning how to deal with your accounts and budget while learning basic budgeting for physicians.
Any additional debt payment is considered part of savings. After you pay the minimum, anything extra is part of your savings.
The bank accounts make it easy to see your spendable dollars and non-spendable dollars. The accounts should help take the temptation way from spending from the non-spendable dollars!
What you spend is the money in the bank account or credit cards. If you you get this part wrong or your bank accounts aren’t set up right you won’t know if you’re hitting your target because you can’t see it. They must be easy to see.
Now that we have our structure in place…how is the plan going?
Basic Budgeting For Physicians: Reporting and Feedback
Part of basic budgeting for physicians is learning to assess your trajectory. Are we on target? Are the results good, bad or neutral? Is there a problem? What are you looking for? What does it mean? If there is a problem—how do we fix it?
There are two parts to the budgeting agreement. There is your part and my part. Your part is giving yourself a reasonable target to hit. Nobody should tell you what to spend your money on. You are in charge of your money.
As a financial planner, Steve’s job is to make sure you are allocating it the right way. And give you feedback on how you are doing.
There is no abdication of your budget to someone else. There really is no winner in a situation like that. If you followed your budget under someone else’s rule–you won’t feel any ownership for the win.
Basic Budgeting For Physicians: Perspective
There is a behavioral piece to successfully managing your finances and achieving financial independence. There must be emotion behind whatever system you decide on using. Doctors need a budget but you really must want to do it. You must be willing to put the effort in. If you are not willing to invest your emotion and action in achieving financial independence—it is not likely to happen.
Where do you fall within your peer group? I had Sarah Fallaw on my podcast last month to discuss the makeup of a physician millionaire and how to become one. I have worked with 63 physician families, that were run through her company’s analyzing process: Datapoints. Datapoints takes a bunch of key attributes and check it against budgeting attitudes.
The budgeting attitudes are broken into three different pieces:
- Budgeting is restrictive
- Balanced view of budgeting
- Budgeting is financial freedom
Most of the 63 families I worked with fell into the balanced view of budgeting. That means they preferred spending freedom. They liked to spend what they are spending, but they also value some frugality.
The bottom line is when you put your mind into something—you can do it. You did it when you completed residency, finished a fellowship and when you became an attending physician. You put your mind into excelling in your field. You did it. Basic budgeting for physicians is easy compared to those daunting goals!
There are some key things to keep in mind:
- Ask: Why am I doing this?
- Put yourself/your family first
- Don’t fall prey to what other people think!
Steve remarked that if you don’t understand your numbers, he doesn’t know how you can make decisions around what you can or can’t do.
He said to check out the advicemovement.com. This is where the advisors and coaches that work with him have their courses. On the community group page on Facebook, there will be templates for budgeting and setting up the bank accounts structure at financialresidency.com/community.
Basic Budgeting For Physicians: Final Advice
Steve had some final advice for all our professional clients who are performance driven people. They are used to winning. He said when they set themselves a specific number, then fail to hit their goal, they tend to beat themselves up.
He advised creating an emergency stash. This is actually the fun part to basic budgeting for physicians. Plan for overspending and unexpected ski trips!
The thing I would like people to take away is it is all about behaviors. Set yourself up for success. Don’t overextend. Basic budgeting for physicians takes planning and action.
Doctors need a budget to make their dream of achieving financial independence a reality. Basic budgeting for physicians helps you map out your priorities, so you can begin to move toward financial freedom and wealth.
Keep in mind the four pillars of budgeting, determine what your fixed expenses are, know your variable expense and figure out how much it costs to be you. Learn how to use a budget effectively. Set up your bank accounts and learn to use your banking structure for accountability.
Finally: look at your attitudes and behavior in relation to your finances.
Do you view budgeting as restrictive, a balancing act or as freeing? Where do you get your views from? Would changing your attitude or behavior bring you greater success in achieving financial independence? Will learning some techniques regarding basic budgeting for physicians be on the cards for you?
Journal Club: You Be Three
An article posted on the site youbethree.com titled Your New Resolution: Stick to Your Resolutions is super interesting to me and I have to let you all know about it.
In it, the author, who I just learned happens to be a physician in So Cal discusses her new year’s resolutions and offers us as readers some helpful tips and advice that I thought would be great to share in our journal club.
As many of you start to or have created your new year’s resolutions, a good majority of you will experience some sort of set back or flat out give up on those resolutions. If any of those are financial resolutions, I want you to know that the FR community will be here to help you stay on the right path. Make sure to join us at financialresidency.com/community and join all of us today.
So, the author breaks into first with a fact or two about those of us that might fail at completing our new year’s resolution. And I quote, “Sadly, despite all the wants, desires, and exclamations, very little will actually come to fruition. The majority of people abandon the changes they make by the time February rolls around.”
Change is sloooowwww. In all aspects of life. So be patient. Instant gratification is also instantly gone. If you want something to last, then it will take time.
So what do we do, according to the author, we start small.
And I quote, “Developing a habit requires that you continue to do something for at least 12 days. So, instead of telling yourself you’ll go to the gym every day for a month, go everyday for 12 days. Rather than cooking everyday, cook for 12 days–or whatever pattern you choose to abide by.
Start small. Let yourself get used to doing something different. If what you initially plan doesn’t work, then after the first 12 days are up, use the next 12 days to try something different. Allow yourself to really develop a habit that actually works for you and is sustainable.
What I like really about this article is that I too agree to start small whether it’s a new year’s resolution or a goal. In fact, I don’t actually set resolutions but I set goals for myself personally and professionally. One of my goals is to continue to be motivated to provide all of us a high-quality podcast. I hope to hit that goal and exceed it, fingers crossed, this year, so make sure to keep my feet to the fire if you ever sense anything off.
But I love to see articles that inspire hope and change for the better. In my experience, I see so many start off strong to only get sidetracked by the shiny object syndrome or get discouraged because the change isn’t instant. It’s like what I’ve said about losing weight. If I wanted to lose 48 lbs this year, which I do need to lose a bit of weight, instead of taking on one big goal and worrying about how losing a pound or two still leaves me soooo far away from it, I need to break it down into smaller and smaller goals.
24 lbs in 6 months, 12 lbs in a quarter, 4 pounds a month.
Can I lose 4 lbs in a month, heck yes I can. And you can too if that’s your goal.
Or whatever goal you have is, you can do it. Make sure to join us and we can all help hold each other accountable.
Youbethree, thanks for an excellent article, loved it.