Having trouble sticking to your budget? Try making your bed everyday. Why? Well, according to Charles Duhigg in The Power of Habit, making your bed is correlated with better productivity and sticking with a budget. While I couldn’t find the study where that correlation is shown, I can believe it.
That’s because changing one thing can change how you think — in addition to creating a sort of domino effect that impacts other areas of your life.
Creating a new habit
If you don’t budget (or make your bed, for that matter) but want to, think about how creating a new habit or changing an existing one can benefit you. We’re very much creatures of habit, so making a change in just one area of our life can spill over to other areas in surprising ways.
For example, I couldn’t drive my car for a few months when it was damaged. So I typically got a ride to work and then walked home afterward, or sometimes rode my bike. I was surprised at just how much of what I did changed because of that. I spent significantly less, ate out less, exercised more, and generally got a lot more done. All because it was a little more difficult for me to do things on the spur of the moment. (Since going the places I normally went now required a 10-30 minute walk vs. a 5-10 minute drive.)
Smaller things can have the same type of impact. Even something as little as brushing your teeth with the opposite hand can get your mind going in a new direction; and who knows what could come of that :)
Making your bed can be considered what Duhigg calls a keystone habit: something that “helps other habits to flourish by creating new structures”. Maybe making your bed creates a need for order in your brain, which spills over into a need for order in your finances. Maybe it gives you a sense of satisfaction in a job well done — however small — that creates a desire to do equally well in other daily life tasks. Keeping your spending in line is definitely one of those.
Or maybe it’s just something that people who budget tend to do. In fact, let’s take a little informal poll right now in the comments. Leave a comment real quick letting us know if you:
- Budget AND make your bed.
- Do one OR the other.
- Do neither.
I’m curious to see the results.Posted in Budgeting on 11.26.12 with 10 comments.