Did you know that 90% of what you do every day is a habit? The way you walk, talk, think, and act are all habits.
As Aristotle said, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”
If you want to change your life you need to start the right daily habits to improve life.
What that means is you can change your habits by identifying what you want to change and then implementing in your life.
It will take time and won’t happen overnight.
Habits make or break us, we all have good ones and we all have bad ones. Our habits decide if we get up early to the gym, pack our lunch to save money or saving money instead of mindless Amazon spending.
25 Daily Habits to Improve Life and 10X Your Happiness
If you can be smart with your money you will live a better life with less stress. Notice I didn’t say if you make $100,000 or $1 million per year and you will live a better life.
When people earn more they tend to raise their lifestyle (bigger house, new car, etc.) instead of saving more. The earlier you establish your money habits, regardless of salary, the better equipped you will be the rest of your life.
Use these daily habits to improve life and your finances.
1. Save to Invest Month
Pay yourself first! As Warren Buffett said, “Do not save what is left after spending, but spend what is left after saving.”
If you’re not enrolled in your employer’s 401K (especially if they match a portion) you’re missing out on thousands of dollars every year. 401K’s are easy to set up and automatically pay yourself first each pay period.
You can also make contributions to your emergency fund or IRA automatic by spending 15 minutes setting it up. Your “habit” is now automated and by paying yourself first. You will be greatly rewarded later in life by spending a few minutes setting up automatic withdrawals.
2. Always Be Learning About Money
After reading a LOT of personal finance books a common theme is that successful individuals are always aware of their financial situation. They know h
- How much they earn
- How much they spend
- Create financial goals
- Continue to learn and educate themselves
Even if you’re -$20,000 net worth of student loan debt it doesn’t mean you get a free pass to not care about finances.
Whether you’re learning about your retirement options, tracking your net worth, or starting a side hustle, always be learning.
Blogs are another great way to learn more about finances and daily habits to improve your life.
3. Stop Wasting Money
Online shopping makes it so easy to waste money. Instead of mindlessly spending on Amazon, if an item is over $10 make yourself wait 24 hours before buying. This will create a habit of making sure you really need the item.
4. Use 0% Balance Transfers
Zero percent balance transfer offers are a great choice to help you save money on high-interest credit cards each month.
Only use your credit card to establish credit, not to use for purchase that you can’t afford. Look for credit cards with 0% balance transfer offers as an alternative for big purchases. Be aware of what you’re spending and make sure to not purchase more than you can afford.
Don’t be like everyone else, be aware of your financial situation and make a conscious effort to improve it.
5. Automate Your Bills
Who doesn’t use automated bill-pay? Service providers make it easy to set up automatic bill pay and it ensures you will never miss a payment. Missing a payment can seriously hurt your credit score or put you in collections.
Here is a list of bills that are easy to automate:
- Credit Cards
- TV/Internet Provider
- Cell Phone
- Car Payment/Insurance
Once you have everything set up it will be automatic and stress-free on your end.
6. Open a Retirement Account
The only reason to not have a Roth IRA is if you earn more than the contribution limits. As of this post, it is roughly $120K if you’re not married and $180K if you are married. Otherwise, there are too many benefits to not take advantage of opening a Roth IRA.
Open one in under 15 minutes at Vanguard with three easy steps.
7. Try to Avoid a Credit Card Balance
According to Nerd Wallet, “The average household has $15,762 of credit card debt!”
While there are some instances where a credit card balance is understandable, try to avoid carrying a balance. High-interest cards make it hard to pay off if you get behind on payments.
8. Create an Emergency Fund
According to MarketWatch“Approximately 62% of Americans have less than $1,000 in their savings accounts and 21% don’t even have a savings account.”
Before you start investing in the stock market make sure you have an emergency fund in case something happens. Aim for 3-6 months of total expenses to make sure you are covered in case of job loss, car accident, medical bills, etc.
9. Find Opportunities to Earn More Money
If another recession came tomorrow I would accept it and would invest like crazy! Would you do the same?
Instead of viewing a market crash as a negative event choose to look at it as a buying opportunity. Remember the stock market has returned roughly 9% returns consistently over the past century. In 2008 – 2009 most people were selling stocks in a pure panic. By panicking some of these people delayed retirement by years.
If you had gone opposite route and chose to buy these stocks at a low price you would have earned incredible returns.
According to Investopedia here is a breakdown of a $10,000 investment would have worked in 2008:
Imagine you had invested $10,000 at the bottom in 2008. The results you find below might not blow you away on an actual basis, but the amount invested is all relative based on your financial situation. It’s the percentage gain that’s more important because that number is going to be the same for everyone – assuming investors poured money into the market at the exact same time for this hypothetical situation. In addition to looking at how much money you would have made, we’ll also take a brief look to see if the same kind of return is possible over the next eight years.1,883 – 676 = 1,207
1,207 x 15 shares = $18,105 (net)
Not bad for a $10,000 investment.
10. Be Boring With Your Investments
Don’t gamble with your hard earned money. Be boring.
Hit singles and doubles, there is no need to gamble with your retirement money by trying to do too much. You still have 20-3o years before you will touch your retirement savings.
By investing now you will be taking advantage of compound interest which is your greatest asset. Don’t feel like you have to hit a home run to retire big. Be consistent and win big.
11. Don’t Listen To Others
It’s so easy to listen to other people about investing as everyone has an opinion. Whether it’s Jim Cramer screaming at you through the TV or coworkers talking in the company kitchen.
Choose to block out the noise. Don’t listen to people because they are older, think they are wiser, or if they are the next Wolf of Wall Street.
Following the herd is a terrible mentality when it comes to investing.
If you have a plan no one should influence your investing decisions!
12. Invest Early
Here’s an example from Business Insider on the impact of when you decide to start investing.
Daily Habits to Improve Your Finances Example:
- 5% compounded returns (over the past 100 years market has been closer to 8% returns)
- 25-year-old starts with $300 a month
- 35-year-old starts with $300 a month
- 40-year-old starts with $600 a month (i.e. we all know that guy/girl who is afraid of the future & still hitting up 20 something spots as the out of place 30 plus-year-old)
Just start saving & investing, make it a habit.
13. Pay Down Debt Aggressively
It’s hard to grow your net worth when you’re swimming in debt.
Most people will encounter some form of debt in your life. Whether it’s meaningful debt that was spent on gaining skills for a future career (i.e student-loan) or self-inflicted (credit card) don’t dwell on it. Understand how much you have, how much you can pay each month and how to pay off quickly.
Use the “Snowball method” which focuses on taking out the smallest debt first, then progressing to the larger ones to create a “snowball effect.” Make sure to celebrate small wins to change your psychology towards paying off debts.
14. Sign Up for Personal Capital
I’m still shocked this service is free as it’s the easiest way to track all your retirement accounts, credit cards, savings accounts & other loans in one area. All you need is your account info and you’ll be able to enter to see your entire financial picture.
15. Never Ignore a Collection Item
Finally, the last example is ignoring a bill that eventually ends up in collection. If you get a bill, pay it off, no matter how small. Get your receipt and store it for your records.
Even one bill, no matter what amount, can have a seriously negative impact on your finance.
16. Consider Becoming an Entrepreneur
- According to the book, The Millionaire Next Door, only 20% of millionaires inherited their wealth. The other 80% earned their cash on their own.
- Most modern American millionaires today (about 80%) are first-generation millionaires.
- The top 10 (and I’m sure more) richest people in the world founded or co-founded their business. Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, and Mark Zuckerburg are doing ok paying the bills.
- On average, millionaires are 61 years old with $3.05 million in assets. (Let’s change this age!)
That moment made me feel so confident in my decision to move forward with my new life. The life I create, not one I simply live in. Not one I work on someone else’s dream.
Is it harder?
Yes, it will be exponentially harder but I know it will be worth it. It’s easier to work hard when you have a vision and know what make a plan to see it through.
17. Set Savings Goals
Saving to save is pointless, it’s like going to the gym with no workout planned. You need to have a vision of what your savings will go towards.
- Will it be for a down payment on a car or house?
- Will it be for a vacation you’ve always wanted to go on?
- Pay off student loan debt?
Whatever your goals are to make sure to write them down and place them somewhere you review them regularly.
18. Minimize Overhead Costs
As Henry Rollins said, “The more you own the more owns you.”
This may sound hypocritical as a homeowner and car owner but these are different than buying pointless crap like jet-skis, motorcycles, or an oversized house. Instead, my house payment is $1,125/month.
Too many people think it’s impossible to save for the future and enjoy life when you’re young. This attitude can lead to excessive spending in your 20’s and 30’s without thinking about the future. Minimize your overhead and stop trying to impress people that probably don’t care.
Now that you’ve conquered your money habits, fitness is another big part of your life where daily habits can improve your life dramatically! Consistent exercise and eating well will make you feel better, look better, and think better.
19. Establish an Exercise Routine
We’ve all heard the saying “Showing up is half the battle”…that goes for fitness and getting up early or going after work to exercise. Personally, I love exercising in the mornings and others will be better at night.
Find what works best for you!
To make sure you don’t skip it I always recommend being prepared. If you exercise early, have your gym clothes laid out so you can roll out of bed and get started. If you go after work be sure to have everything packed in your car.
20. Prepare Meals at Home
Some people like to cook, some people love to cook (& #foodporn on social media) and some can barely cook easy mac n cheese. Depending on the day I’ve been in all three categories.
By learning how to cook you will save money, eat healthier, and usually feel better.
Here’s a quick example if you eat out lunches vs. taking your own to work (5 days/week):
- $20 weekly (~$4/day)
- $1,040 annually
- $40 weekly (~$8/day) ($8 is basically fast food, restaurants are obviously a lot more)
- $2,080 annually
Could you use an extra $1,000 a year (minimum)? I realize it’s nearly impossible to always cook and want to eat out with co-workers or friends, but it’s good to see the comparison.
Even cooking one or two days a week will save you hundreds of dollars each year.
As Tony Robbins has said, “Success leaves clues.” The most successful people are humans like everyone else. What separates them is their daily habits.
Learn from their clues to create great habits in your life.
21. Wake Up Earlier
I can hear everyone groaning now but try to find one successful person or CEO (usually pretty successful people) who sleeps in?
Here are three CEO’s morning routines:
- Tim Cook (CEO of Apple): Up at 4:30 am and exercising by 5 am.
- Howard Schultz (CEO of Starbucks): Up at 4:30 am to exercise or bike ride with his wife. Although it’s kind of unfair as he has an unlimited amount of caffeine (Starbucks jokes). He’s also one of the people I admire as he refused to quit and made billions.
- Robert Eger (CEO of Disney): Up at 4:30 am reading, exercising, & working.
Notice a trend here?
I’m not saying you have to start getting up at 430am every day BUT if you wake up at 7 am now, try to get to 6:30 am next month. Then 615am the following month.
I used to get up at 630am a few years ago but now I’m in the 430-5am range. You will be amazed at how much more you can accomplish by waking up earlier.
Remember success doesn’t happen overnight.
With any habit make it slow and steady so you will be more likely to succeed. Eventually, you’ll find a routine and be able to be to start your day on your terms.
Whether you have more time to make a healthy breakfast, read a book or hang out with your dog before going to work. Gone will be the days of waking up late after hitting snooze three times, grabbing a pop-tart, and rushing out the door to start your day flustered and unprepared.
23. Read Books and Blogs
It’s almost hard to write this section after being so obsessed with TV a few years ago. Between NFL, NBA, PGA Tour, HBO GO and Netflix I always found something I’d rather watch than reading a book.
As much as I love TV, I always felt I could be learning more and not be sitting around every night after work
I learned sometimes it’s okay to cheat on Netflix with a book.
Instead of binge-watching another new show, spend a half hour or hour reading a book. As Tom Bilyeu says, “Always be reading.” If you love the book keep going, if not I’m not asking you quit watching TV.
Find some topics you like or are passionate about and go from there. Reading is the one daily habit that can improve your life more than any other on this list!
24. Appreciate Life
Take 5-10 minutes daily or weekly and get in the habit of appreciating your life.
Appreciate your family, your friends, your partner and the thousands of other things going right in your life. There is always more right than wrong.
25. Live Your Life
If you don’t enjoy your money it’ll be even harder to get off your ass on Mondays & get to work knowing you’re not going to reward yourself. It’s all about a balance between your current financial situation and how you want to live in the future.
As Brian Tracy said, “Successful people are simply those with successful habits.”
If you want to be the most successful version of yourself you have to create daily habits to improve life.
You’ll be amazed at how much changing one habit can positively affect other parts as well.
What are some other habits that have impacted your life? Let me know in the comments!
How to Start a Morning Routine and Change Your Life
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