Developing Tiny New Habits.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

I find it absolutely difficult to create new habits. Actually, let me rephrase that. I find it hard to cultivate habits that are good for me. It’s always a heavy struggle trying to incorporate things such as regularly working out, eating healthier, drinking more water and watching less reality TV. It’s almost as if our brains sabotage our efforts every time we try to consciously change our lives for the better. There’s a saying I came across the other day, “It’s funny how hard it is to drink eight glasses of water a day, but I can drink eight glasses of wine in one sitting!” A tad exaggerated, but you get the gist.

Now, when it comes to saving money, I feel the same way. (Although I have cultivated a habit of not spending beyond my means). I have always been able to prioritize my bills and necessities, so for instance, I would never take money that was meant for the rent and use it for something else. If anything, when I’m in a tight spot, it’s probably because I made sure that the bills are paid first, and was left with nothing. I will then work towards finding a gig or something to keep me afloat. I now, however, feel that it’s about time I took that to the next level: To save with goals in mind.

Now, it’s said that it takes 21 days to make something into a habit. And I guess the premise is to do something consistently for long enough, that your brain breaks past the subconscious barrier that may be in your way. I guess it’s like building mental stamina. These are some of the things I have began incorporating as I try develop new habits.

1. Writing down my goals.

Mbarikiwa, in response to my previous post, said “It’s good to have financial goals as you have mentioned, but one also needs to write them and review regularly. What gets written gets done - that’s what I believe.”

This is true. If it works for daily tasks that I need to accomplish, then I’m pretty sure it’ll work just as well for any short or long-term goals I set.

2. Consciously saving a particular amount every month without fail.

I have set an amount that I shall be putting away every month, regardless of the circumstances. It takes discipline, but I’m looking at it as though it’s a bill I’m paying. I need to pay my rent to have a place to live, and to pay my power bills to have electricity. So it’s only logical that I need to save, to achieve my financial goals, yes?

3. Saving extra money instead of “treating” myself.

You know those moments when you have some extra money, or a cheque for a gig you did a year ago finally comes through? (Very common in the entertainment world.) The first thing that usually crosses my mind is, “Yay, extra money to spend!”

So from now on, that’s changing. Extra money means more savings. Who needs an extra pair of shoes when I can get closer to the goal of owning a house? In this case, it’s the discipline to make that choice that counts. Do you also struggle with discipline?


It’s important to have someone who has knowledge or experience in finance and life skills to help on this journey. Truth be told, sometimes it can get overwhelming, and we probably don’t have all the information we need when it comes to financial options. There are so many options available to us when it comes to money and it helps to have someone who can help us navigate the vast world of finances.

What do you think I can add to this? And what are you doing to make sure saving and growing your wealth becomes a tangible priority?

Follow the Barclays Savings Challenge and discussion on Twitter and Facebook. Share your own experience by using the hashtag #AfricaSaves. Visit the Barclays website for more information about their savings account.

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