Ten Habits to Make You Rich

Coins dropping on to a table
Build habits which will give you more of this

Over the life time of this blog I have been making my way through Tom Corley’s thirty habits in his book, Rich Habits Poor Habits. So far I have looked at ten of them, so I thought that it would be a good point to take a breath, remind myself of what they were and have a look at how I’m getting on with trying out some of his ideas. If you’ve missed any of the posts I’ll link back to each one for you below so you can check out the full details. I will also let you know other resources that I’ve come across recently which may help you if you want to work on a certain area.

Just to let you know this post contains affiliate links. That means that if you click on one of the links and purchase the item I will get some money. Please see here for more information about my use of affiliate links.

So here we go…

Number One – I will adopt good daily habits and follow these good daily habits every day

I’ve been doing some reading about habits recently as I am re-reading James Clear’s book ‘Atomic Habits’ and making some notes. I was going to write a post about it, but Latestarterfire beat me to it, so I would just suggest that you read her post. You can also listen to James Clear talk about his book on the Afford Anything podcast.

During another, more recent episode of Afford Anything, Paula Pant’s interviewee, Kristen Berman, claimed that habits are overrated and you should foster one time decisions that force behaviour change e.g. if you want to save, set up a direct debit to your savings account from your current account on pay day or if you want to walk more, get a dog as it will force you to go out twice a day no matter what the weather. (By the way, if you are thinking of getting a dog, then I would strongly recommend reading Chrissy’s post on her recent decision to give a home to a four-legged friend). Although Kristen almost dismissed habits, much of her advice about cultivating behaviour change was similar to that of James Clear so it is worth a listen to both of the episodes.

Number Two – I will define my dreams and then create goals around each dream. I will focus on my dream-goals every day

This is such an important area. Many of us plan for our weekends and our holidays, but we don’t plan for our lives, we don’t think about where we want to end up. We just follow the same route as everyone else, school, maybe university, job, long term relationship, children, grandchildren, retirement, death.

A lot of that may be very enjoyable (except for the death part, obviously), but there are other possibilities, other realities, you just have to be brave enough to be different. For me this is a constant work in progress as I am still working out what my dreams and goals are. How about you? Is your life going to way to you want it to? Are you just doing what is expected of you by others rather than making a conscientious choice? If you want some help setting goals then listen to this podcast by Natalie Bacon.

Number Three – I will devote at least thirty minutes each day to increasing my knowledge and improving my skills. I will invest in myself every day

I have certainly improved my knowledge over the past few months through reading and listening to podcasts, but my skills are probably much the same. In a bid to invest in myself and this blog I have recently purchased the Genius Blogger’s Toolkit, an amazing package of courses, which should help me to develop ‘A Simple Life’ over the next six months. So watch this space!

How are you increasing your knowledge and skills? There is so much free information available these days. Whether it’s online or from real books from the library don’t let yourself stagnate. Learning shouldn’t just be something that you did at school.

A salad in a bowl
Eat plenty of this to keep you healthy

Number Four – I will devote thirty minutes to exercise every day. I will eat healthy food every day

I manage the healthy eating part of this most days, but it is the exercise portion which I am still struggling with. I have been doing a small amount of jogging a couple of times a week and when we had a trainee assistance dog recently I did do a lot more walking, but on many days I won’t even do 2000 steps. Basically, I could do much better and it is definitely an area I need to work on, probably like most of us.

Number Five – I will seek to build strong relationships with other success-minded people

I have been making an effort to keep some notes on other professionals who I meet through work; details they tell me about themselves so that I can refer to them if we are going to meet again and ask them questions, showing that I have remembered what they told me before. Okay, I haven’t remembered, I’ve written it down, but I’m only human and the more I chat to someone about their lives the more details that I retain. I am hoping this will help build relationships at work. One difficulty is that I don’t actually want more success in my job. I am content with my role and plan to do this until I retire.

As for in my personal life I struggle to find anyone who is interested in personal development or FI/RE in real life and just rely on my virtual ‘friends’. I am trying to make an effort to join in with local events e.g. there was a community cinema event last week and recently I went to see a play in the village hall.

How do you connect with likeminded people and where do you find them? Are your friends interested in personal development?

Number Six – I will live every day in a state of moderation

In many ways I am a moderate person. I am calm and not subject to extremes of emotion, but my savings rate is not moderate, it is extreme and so should yours be. How else can we achieve our financial goals otherwise? This month we are living out of the freezer in a bid to save money on food and so far it is going well. I’ll let you know how we get on in my usual monthly review.

Number Seven – I will take action on my goals every day

This is hard as my goals are personal rather than work ones and I don’t always seem to find the time or I am too tired to work on them. If I take the week as a whole I do feel as though I make progress, but finding the time to work on the blog is hard. I have been helping Mr Simple with some DIY for a couple of evenings this week and last week I had social engagements on several evenings. When I come home at 10pm I just want to go to bed rather than turn on my computer and write an article. Basically, this is a work in progress.

What are your goals? How do you manage to make progress on them? Have you tried writing a monthly review to reflect on your progress? I think this is such a good way of seeing how far you’ve come.

Someone writing in a journal
Write down every day what you are grateful for

Number Eight – I will engage in rich thinking every day

The practice of gratitude is one which I used to do, but it has fallen by the wayside. I have just started reading ‘The Miracle Morning’ by Hal Elrod and one of his six activities for the morning is ‘scribing’, which can just be writing about what you are grateful for. Whether or not I will be adopting his advice for how to structure the beginning of my day is yet to be seen, but I do feel that often we look on the bad side and are prone to moaning, so a focus on what we are grateful for can only be a good thing.

Number Nine – I will save ten per cent of my income and live off the remaining 90%

This is an area in which as you know I am ahead of Mr Corley as I save 16% as well as paying double our mortgage payment. If you don’t currently save anything though it would be a good starting point.

Number Ten – I will control my words and emotions every day

I’ve already mentioned Natalie Bacon, who is one of my favourite podcasters. She is rather an over-excited and very ‘American’ presenter (sorry to any of you from across the water who might be reading this), for whom everything is ‘awesome’, but nevertheless her advice about modifying your thought processes is amazing. I continue to meditate most days and look forward to her weekly advice which is always interesting and gives a new perspective on life. I cannot recommend her work enough as she is fascinating and her shows are usually fairly short, 20-25 minutes.

So that’s all the habits that we have looked at so far. Each one could be a book in itself. I don’t hear Rich Habits Poor Habits mentioned often, but it is such a fascinating and useful piece of work as it is not just his views on how to get rich, but written after he carried out a study of people who grew rich. If you are interested to find out more check out his book or stay tuned as I will be considering the rest of his habits over the coming months. And if you’ve made any progress in these areas or have any questions just let me know. Or, just fill in the blank: I will work on Tom Corley’s habit number ___ over the next month.

Building Rich Relationships

Developing good relationships can help you on your path to a rich life

In this post we are going to look at Tom Corley’s fifth habit – ‘I will seek to build strong relationships with other success-minded people’, but before we do that let me remind you of my previous posts about his book.

a recap

Do you remember Tom Corley’s ‘Rich Habits’? I introduced you to him back in March. He did a study looking at the differences between rich and poor people and has summarised his findings in his book ‘Rich Habits Poor Habits’.

So far we have looked at the following habits:

Number Ten – being master of your emotions. I advised that in order to do this you may want to try meditation, which I have found to be helpful in enabling me to remain calm and take the problems that life throws at me in my stride.

Number Fourexercising and eating healthily – if you are a regular reader of ‘A Simple Life’ you will know that this is one of the things that I try to promote. Tom Corley found that this is also a priority for the rich people in his study.

Number One – how to assess your habits and turn poor habits into rich habits. Before you make any changes you need to spend time assessing your habits and then think how you can change your bad habits into good habits.

Number Twodefining dreams and creating goals around those dreams – this is basic goal setting. Taking a long term goal and breaking it down into daily habits in order to achieve that goal.

Number Threeinvesting in yourself– increasing your skills and knowledge – this is what you are doing now by reading this blog, as well as other activities such as reading and listening to podcasts.

We tend to seek out those who share our habits
choosing who to spend time with

Tom Corley believes that rich relationships help lift you up in life, whereas toxic relationships drag you down. Unfortunately, we seek out others who share our habits. Therefore a quick way to try to change our habits is to spend time with those who already have the good habits which we’d like to adopt. By spending time with that group of people they will influence and support you to adopt better habits through the process of peer pressure.

Networking can help you on the road to success, but you have to put in the time and work. You have to be prepared to do things for others even when there is nothing in it for you. You have to make the effort to remember people’s names, learn what is important to them and nurture your relationships. Tom Corley suggests doing this in a very structured and planned way by keeping notes on each of your contacts and reviewing them before you meet up. In some ways this feels quite calculated, but he says that unless you have a very good memory you are not going to remember all of the important things about someone.  

the number seven on an orange background
I would certainly recommend ‘The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People’
finding like-minded people

Reading this I was reminded of the advice of Stephen Covey in his ‘The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People’. He talks about the emotional bank account. Like a financial bank account we make deposits into a relationship and build up a reserve from which we can make withdrawals when we need to. How do you make deposits in your emotional bank account? By being courteous, kind, honest and keeping commitments that you make to people.

This all sounds like good ideas to me, but I am not sure where to find all of these like-minded individuals. The only place that I am truly successful with this is in the blogging world, which is not quite the same as having friends who you can meet up with for lunch. I would therefore welcome any suggestions that you have. Are there people in your circle of friends whose habits you aspire to adopt? How would you go about building your relationship with them? I would love to hear your ideas.

Investing in Yourself

Tom Corley’s Rich Habit Number Three:

‘I will devote at least thirty minutes each day to increasing my knowledge and improving my skills.’

I am certainly better at the first part of this than the second. If you read one of my early posts you will know that I listen to podcasts several times a week in the car when I am driving to work. These are a mix of financial and life coaching episodes. My favourite financial one at the moment is Meaningful Money which was recommended by A Life Changing Blog. For life coaching I follow Do It Scared and Natalie Bacon.

As well as listening to podcasts I have also started the habit of reading non-fiction books. I have always loved reading, mainly fiction, and used to spend lots of money on books that I read once. Now, as you know, I am a fan of the library, but they don’t always have all of the non-fiction books that I am interested in, so I do treat myself occasionally and buy a few. I keep a list of books that look interesting and try not to impulse buy, but wait a few weeks or months before parting with my hard-earned cash. I then read these in the morning, with my first cup of tea of the day and leave my novels to bedtime.

Mr Simple has excellent DIY skills

When it comes to improving my skills, I can’t say that I am good at that at all. Mr Simple has, over the few years we have had this house, taught himself, mainly via YouTube, several DIY skills. I need to learn from his good example.

A great example of where I can improve is in looking after my car.  When I lived on my own I knew how to do simple tasks on my car, but since I have lived with Mr Simple, and bought a new car, I have become the helpless female. It’s so easy just to let him do things and embarrassingly until recently I didn’t even know how to open the car bonnet.

I have had problems with the oil level over the past few weeks and when I was out and about for work I thought that the oil light stayed on for longer than usual. Instead of ignoring it and then waiting until I got home to ask Mr Simple I got out the owner’s manual, looked up how to test the oil level and impressed myself by actually doing it. The level was fine and I was reassured that I was safe to drive home. It was a very small thing, but it is an amazing feeling when you successfully achieve something new.

A steep learning curve – navigating WordPress

It is like setting up this blog. Working my way through the intricacies of WordPress was challenging at times but fabulous when the blog started to look the way I wanted it to and people actually started reading it and subscribing.

What do you do to invest in yourself every day? Are you continually learning and improving your skills?

There are so many interesting podcasts out there. I would really encourage you to check them out, particularly if you have a long commute or drive for work. It would be great to know about any ones that you follow.

A Mad Dream or an Exciting Goal?

Photo by Negative Space on Pexels.com

This post started out as a look at Rich Habit Number Two in Tom Corley’s book Rich Habits, Poor Habits and has ended up with me coming up with a mad idea for my future.

So, let’s start with what Tom Corley says. The second ‘rich habit’ is:

‘I will Define My Dreams and then create goals around each dream. I will focus on my dream goals every day.’

According to Tom Corley dreams are broad objectives, whereas goals are physical actions. He recommends completing a daily to do list, which you should populate with daily action steps that will help move you towards achieving each one of the goals that, when achieved, will move you closer to realising each one of your dreams.

You should set a specific time in which you will tackle each goal-related action item. He believes that early morning is a good time, as you are least distracted.

Create a vision board to keep you focused

A useful technique to assist you in keeping your dreams in sight is the use of a vision board – a picture of each one of your dreams. Review your progress towards your goals/dreams and adjust your activity accordingly if you are not making progress.

In summary he states that:

Successful people build goals around their dreams.

Unsuccessful people have either not defined their dreams or they give up on their dreams when success does not happen overnight.

All of this is fairly standard stuff when thinking about long term goals, but how many of us actually do it. I have tried to get Mr Simple on board, but I think he believes that it is a bit too ‘pop psychology’ for him. To be fair, he is working towards our goal of having a lovely home, which he works on every day. I do think though that having those dreams really helps with motivation; knowing what you are aiming for. The ability to go that extra mile, to make the decision to walk instead of take the car or put on another jumper instead of turning the heating up, is easier to make if you feel that it is getting you closer to your dream life.

I then moved on to think about popular bloggers and podcasters who have articles/episodes on goal-setting. One of those is the first episode of Ruth Soukup’s ‘Do It Scared’ podcast which recommends setting what she calls ‘stretch goals’. Her method is:

  1. Visualise – dream big
  2. Focus – narrow options to one thing you want to make a reality
  3. Commit – write it down, say it out loud and make it real.
  4. Execute – rearrange your schedule and put your big goals first every single day. You might have to get up half an hour earlier, do a class or go back to school.

You can get her worksheet and listen to the podcast .

Now that’s what I did. Listened again to her podcast. I had already heard it a while ago, but I wanted to revisit it in order to consider in this post. The first time that I thought about my life in five years’ time it was really just the completion of the tasks on which we are already focusing e.g. the house and the garden. I bored myself just writing it.

France – a country full of beautiful villages

Then my mind took a different turn and remembered an old dream that I have had for a long time. When I was 26 I spent five months doing a volunteer project in France and have always loved the country. Since Mr Simple and I have been together we have been going on holiday to France every year. Over that time I have dreamed of having a house in France. I have waivered between just having a holiday home or selling up and moving there. I used to subscribe to three different magazines about life in France and buying properties there, but I found that I spent so much of my time focusing on what could be and this led me to feeling dissatisfied about my current life. I felt that I was dreaming about something that was never going to happen. In my bid to save money I decided to cancel my subscriptions and focus on enjoying where I am rather than wishing I was elsewhere.

Ruth’s advice to dream big led me to think about this again and then when she talked about focusing she suggested choosing the goal that both scares you and excites you the most. I can’t say that any of my initial goals did that. Most of them were very safe, but when I think about living in France it brings me such joy, but the practicalities of doing it scares me. I dream of living somewhere warm. A place where the sun shines for a lot of the year and where I can have breakfast outside. Where you can plan to spend a day hiking and be sure that you won’t have to cancel it because there’s torrential rain in July.

Mr Simple is spending a lot of his time doing this

All of this thinking made me slightly anxious as our focus at the moment is on renovating and decorating our current house. Mr Simple is spending most of his time doing this and we are spending a lot of money on it. If at this point I suggested to him that we sell it I think that he might leave me! Up until now I have thought of this as our forever home and it is a lovely place to live. My question to myself is whether if we don’t ever try living in France will I regret it. On the other hand, if we sell up, move to France then hate it, will we regret selling our current home.

There are no easy answers and it is something with which I think I will have to battle over the next few years. Part of the attraction is that most of our net worth is tied up in our house, whereas if we sold this and invested the money, along with other savings that we have, we could easily live off of the interest.

So what would you do? Sell up and take the risk or play safe and stay put? Do you have any mad dreams for the future? I would love to hear them.

Rich Habit Number One

Are you aware of your daily habits? Are they the habits of a rich person or a poor person?

In his book Rich Habits Poor Habits, Tom Corley describes how before you begin to develop good habits you need to assess the habits that you already have, good or bad.

Keep a record of your daily habits

He recommends that for three days you carry around a notepad or make notes on your phone, of every activity, thought or decision, that is a daily habit. You will know that something is a habit as you will find yourself repeating it every day.

Once you have your list decide whether each one is a positive or a negative habit. When you have done this, take your list of negative habits and invert them i.e. turn them into good habits that you can foster.

For example, ‘I watch too much TV’ becomes ‘I limit myself to one hour of TV per day’.

For 30 days try to follow your new good daily habits. Review them in the morning, at lunch time and at bedtime in order to remind yourself of them and assess how you are doing.

I would suggest setting up a habit tracker, i.e. a calendar with the habits listed and then each day you can tick off the ones that you have achieved. It’s good to look back over the tracker at the end of the month to review your progress. If you manage to do something every day for a month it will probably have become a habit by then.

So what are my poor habits?

The first one is watching too much TV with Mr Simple. He will sit in front of the box for over three hours every evening. Often I slope off to my study to plan or write for the blog (which he doesn’t know about). I think he wonders what I spend time doing. If I did tell him at least he would know why I like to sit in front of my computer most weekday evening, but I am afraid that he will think that it is a waste of time.

Consuming too many carbs on the weekend e.g. toast and marmalade, crisps, drinking lager (albeit it alcohol-free). In the week I am much more disciplined with my diet.

We probably all spend too much time on one of these

Getting lost on the internet – don’t we all do that sometimes? The trouble is when I spend too much time on the computer, added on top of my work, I get problems with my shoulder.

So how could I invert these poor habits into rich habits?

Watch only one hour of TV per day Monday to Thursday. I must admit that on the weekend I quite like to watch a film together after dinner.

I am not overweight, so at the moment I am getting away with eating more carbs at the weekend. I am not sure that I want to change it.

Do my physio exercises every day to strengthen the muscles in my shoulders. According to my physio this will stop them getting so tight. This is one that I definitely need to work on. It has been on my habit tracker in past months, but has fallen off. I will certainly get richer if I do it as physio appointments are currently costing me a pretty penny.

I’m sure that I’ve got lots more bad habits, but I need to put Tom Corley’s recommendation into practice and spend time assessing them.

How about you? What are your poor habits?

Are you brave enough to share them? How could you change them into rich habits?