If You DON’T Want to Remember, Make HABITS out of it!

Reason over Emotions.

Photo by Anastase Maragos on Unsplash

What is hard for you to do?

A workout?

Managing your finances?

Using time wisely?

Or maybe something else, which is not a habit.

I will take one example out of the above mentioned, which is a budget plan. Recently, I completed my 1 year of employment. It is my first company and my first job.

I knew it then when I joined the role that I must manage my expenses. I just didn’t know how. I wanted to do it but it was just a thought. One day I read about it online that if you cannot come up with a detailed and well worked out budget plan, you can always go with the basic 50/30/20 plan — 50% of savings into utilities, 30% for me, and 20% savings.

I tried that for a while. As soon as my salary was credited, I transferred exactly 20% of it into another bank account. A few weeks later when I was out of money I had to use the same money.

Basically, it WAS NOT working.

I still did not know where my money went. It was like storing water on bare ground. I used what I wanted to but the ground was absorbing water too. I just didn’t know about it. And if you have been through the same, I know you know how it feels to not know about your money.

Then, out of the blue, my friend suggested me an app called Mobills. I did not ask for it but he still showed me how it works. Maybe he saw through me, of how I waste money.

I downloaded the application and started using it. In the beginning, it was hard to remember to note down my expenses. I put a shortcut of the app on my homescreen. If I had to put anything, I would first open the app. Slowly I got habituated and I was recording my expenses now.

I knew now where was I spending more. I knew about the god damned ground seeping my water in. A great feature about the application was that it let you categorize your expenses. That made it a lot obvious to understand my money flow.

Out of all the months, I had worked, I could never save a single dime. Except for one. This month I recorded every buck and I was left with more than a thousand bucks at the end of the month.

That is the power of metrics.

That is the power of habit.

The little story you just heard from me is not new. It is just mine. There are billion such stories out there. The catch is to observe and learn. Some of us are doing incredible things in our lives and with our lives. We ignore them. If only we focus and take a look at our daily lives, we might be doing things helpful to others.

Why do we miss them?

Because they are habits and there is a thing about habits: They are obvious.

Habits are obvious.

Every day when you go for lunch, you don’t shout from the bottom of your lungs that you are going for lunch. You just go. Done. And then come back. Done.

This property of habits — of being obvious — can be used for good as well as bad.

The bad side is that we miss on some great observations and revelations. Because it is obvious (or maybe some of you are too distracted).

The good side, well, if you can create a habit out of something, you don’t have to worry about it. It will be obvious. It will be there but it will not be there.

For example, recording your expenses will be a part of your routine. Whenever you eat or buy anything, your brain will trigger your hands, your hands will automatically get your smartphone out, you will record the expense, while all this time you were talking to a friend.

Going to the gym. You can take out the mental stress, the physical effort, the resistance, the torture of going to a gym by making a habit out of it. I guess this is the most common and apt example of habit building. It is a cliche, but the obvious make the cliche. If it is a cliche doesn’t always mean it is false.

The Hard Part

…is the start. As I told in my table above, as I started to record my expenses, every time I bought anything, even before I had paid for that thing, I made a record out of it.

I was interested in expense management so I survived the first wave. I did what I had to do so that I do not miss on my expense metric. Yes, I did miss. A lot. Like a lot. I felt bad about it. But, my reason was more important to me than my emotions. So, I did it again. Until I made a habit out of it.

Now, I have a separate excel document where I enter my daily expenses, down to the last dime. No deviations. For on the go expense management, I use the app on my smartphone.

Here we are. This is my success story.

My gym story? Nah. Couldn’t happen. I tried multiple times. Never survived the first wave. I guess I am still not interested. My reason doesn’t weigh more against my emotions. Bad emotions.

Even good and strong emotions can get you out of bed. Sometimes reason will not do what a strong emotion can do.

Call to Action

  • Download an expense tracker on your smartphone right now. I mean it. Right now. Any simple one will do. If it does have categories as well, that will be icing on the cake.
  • Put the app icon on the home-screen so that you never miss out on recording your expenses.
  • Record your expense every single time you purchase anything. Keep doing it and soon you will know all your expenses. You will know where does your money go.

Thank you for reading. :)

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Here you speak what others are not willing to. Interesting ideas and thoughts.

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Syed

Syed

I hack websites. Simplifying Crypto and Web3. Socially Awkward.

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