How to Form New Habits, Live Productively, and Plan for The Long Term

February 28, 2018

Throughout the course of our lives, what we do continuously determines the kind of person we will be … or are.

As Aristotle put it, “We are what we do continuously. Excellence is not an act, but a habit.”

When we adopt unmeritorious behaviour, we’ll be setting ourselves up for a strenuous life ahead. Our acts not only affect us, but ultimately the people around us.

Poor decisions such as failing to invest for the future can cause financial hardship. In fact, many families don’t realise how bad it is until it’s too late.


The following steps can help you form useful habits, live a productive life and plan for the long term.

  1. Visualise your goal

What is your goal? Is it to become more financially responsible? Or to save more? Many people aim to create a financially stable future. This is your “Target Performance Goal”.

Define your TPG and imagine what it looks like – try to visualise yourself in this new position you want to achieve. You are not aspiring for master-level knowledge yet, so start from a modest position and climb up.

  1. Create a roadmap

When you know your goal, the next step is to outline a series of actions that will take you there. For example, if it is to improve your savings habit, identify needless activities that drive up your expenses and cut them off. It is also a wise decision to write down things that will help you become financially responsible;

  • Setting aside 20% for savings as soon as you are paid/receive income
  • Investing some in a healthy stock
  • Cutting gambling expenses altogether
  • Seeking additional income sources
  • Future proofing your finances with insurance and a pre-paid funeral plan

At the end of a stipulated period, review your progress so far and determine how successful you’ve been.

  1. Start with the simple tasks

From your roadmap, arrange your activities in order of increasing responsibility and tackle them from least to most. This gives you room to improve and assimilate into your new habit. If you are working on your fitness, you don’t jump into a 10km run. So when working on your finances, start with small changes and work your way slowly towards the big investments.

  1. Pick a reliable mentor

Many new habits require strong commitment and guidance. If you are not strong enough, you’ll easily lapse into your old ways. Identify a mentor; perhaps a parent, or a professional financial adviser. Seek consult from your mentor regularly. The more you focus on your goal, the closer you’ll be to achieving it.

Your life can be productive, it all depends on your daily habits. Remember, it’s the goal that counts, not the timeline; your long-term plans will ultimately follow.

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