Good Habits need Good Techniques!


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Good Habits need Good Techniques!

There is so much talk these days about behavior change.  It applies to almost everything we encounter in life.  If we want to eat healthy, exercise more regularly, be more productive at work, have better relationships or even be better with our finances, we need to work on changing our behavior to make a difference.  As the new year is quickly approaching, now is a great time to get energized about change.

I am in a book club, and for our next book, I suggested that we read a self-help book.  We chose to read “Atomic Habits” by James Clear.  I was telling my husband about the book choice and he mentioned that a woman he had worked with just published a book on habits, “How to Change” by Katy Milkman.   So, I doubled down on my self-help and bought both books!  Below is my book review for “How to Change” by Katy Milkman.

“How to Change” by Katy Milkman is a great book, filled with many takeaways that have been proven to work!  Katy is a researcher in behavioral science and knows a lot of other researchers at the top universities in the country.  In her book, she uses the results from actual studies done with real people to test theories of how to change behavior.  I found it so interesting to read about the studies and appreciated the honest account of what worked and what did not.  Katy’s storytelling about the studies also helps me to easily remember the takeaways so I can work them into my life.

Here are some of my favorite takeaways from the book:

Fresh Starts– Timing a behavioral change with a new beginning (new year, new season, birthday, anniversary…etc.) can increase your motivation to change.

Temptation Bundling– Engage in a guilty pleasure (example: binge watching TV) only while pursuing a valuable activity that you dread (example: exercising).

Cue-based Plans– Forgetting is a big reason we don’t follow through on our intentions.  Combat forgetting by linking a plan of action with a cue.  Example: Whenever I get a raise, I will increase my monthly retirement savings contribution.

Piggyback Habits– Piggybacking new habits with old ones can help you avoid laziness.  Example: Brush your teeth before bed (old habit), floss right after (new habit).

Katy points out in her book, that laziness, forgetfulness, temptation, and lack of confidence are like symptoms of a chronic disease.  Which means that changing behavior and forming good habits requires a lifelong commitment.  So, the key to behavior change is find what works for you and keep doing it permanently.  That is why I enjoyed this book so much, because it gave me a deeper understanding of human nature and gave me a bunch of tools to use to improve myself.

I am excited to use the techniques I learned in this book in my own life and with clients.  As a financial planner, I recognize that behavioral change is an important part of a successful financial plan.  At MainStreet Financial Planning, we help you identify what is holding you back from achieving your goals then work with you to develop the techniques that will keep you on track.

If you decide to read “How to Change” by Katy Milkman please reach out…I would love to hear what your favorite takeaways are!

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