How to Make Saving An Automatic Habit
Specific + Easy + Trigger = New Habit
We've all been there before. We tell ourselves, "Today is the day I'm going to change. Today is the day I'm going to start my diet, or today is the day I'm going to start exercising." A few days later, what happens? We've given up, or even worse, we forgot we made the commitment in the first place.
Developing new habits is HARD! It's easy to change our mind, it's somewhat easy to recite an affirmation, and changing our behavior is difficult, but when done, is so fulfilling. How then do we go about changing our behavior, specifically, our behavior around savings?
While looking into habit, and more specifically, how to establish new habits, I came across the work of BJ Fogg, PhD, Stanford University. He's known for the habit forming Fogg Method. "Designing for behavior change is systematic. It's not guesswork." And this is where I've gone wrong in the past.
In the past, I've aimed for big behavior changes, and have failed many times. The cycle of try and fail can get discouraging, and eventually lead to stagnation and rigidity. So, I thought I'd try something a bit different, and the Fogg Method appears to be a method worth trying.
The method consists of three steps.
Step 1: Get specific
What behavior do you want?
Translate target outcomes and goals into behaviors.
And be specific.
Step 2: Make it easy
How can you make the behavior easy to do?
The lower the barrier to entry the better.
Simplicity changes behavior.
Step 3: Trigger the behavior
What will prompt the behavior?
Some triggers are natural. Others you must design.
No behavior happens w/o a trigger.
Let's Start Saving Today
Using the three-step process summarized above, I'm going to outline how I'm going to start forming the habit of saving.
Step One - Get Specific: I will put aside $1 a day.
Step Two - Make it Easy: Setting aside $1 a day is easy.
Step Three - Trigger the Behavior: Each time I make or buy a cup of coffee, I will set aside $1.
At the end of every month, I will deposit the accumulated money into a high yield savings account. After 30 days of savings, I will increase the amount to $2, then $3, and eventually $10 a day. This will build up to a habitual savings of $300 a month!
Question Time - Comment Below
What do you think of the Fogg Method? Have you tried similar methods of building new habits? How are you with savings?