Becoming rich: The first week

If this is your first time here at This Will Change Your Life, I am road-testing a book called Rich Habits, to see if adopting the habits of the wealthy will make me rich myself. I’ve written more about what this involves here and here.

Adopting a new regime where you reverse all of your bad habits and adopt new good habits felt BRILLIANT at first. I was a new, shiny person! I would no longer have hangovers or be negative or procrastinate. I was the living embodiment of a Pinterest board of motivational slogans!



I had two different to-do lists, one for work and one for Rich Habits self-development. Things got ticked off them. I have always been relatively organised but this was next-level stuff. I don’t get distracted by emails, I was in control of my work day. I don’t stuff my face with Hobnobs.

I said my affirmations to myself every morning. As my partner was away visiting his family, I could get on with it without feeling like a complete idiot. Would anyone feel comfortable with chanting things like ‘I am confident, I am successful’ in earshot of someone they love? I mean anyone who is not Tom Cruise.

But speaking of uncomfortable, I am going to admit something: the affirmations actually made me feel good. It made me feel much better than the ‘write down all your bad habits’ exercise of Day 1. But I did worry that affirmations are the junk-food of self-improvement: something that tastes good at the time, but in the long term just makes you bloated and full of it. My favourite affirmation was ‘I do not have mice’ – ridiculous enough to make me smile, objective enough to test by the end of the month.

In the evenings when I got home, I started on my monthly goals: to figure out the next steps in my career, and to start on this blog. I researched, I planned, I wrote. I ticked things off the list. I made time to read the neglected Serious Books on my shelf. I did these things even when I was exhausted. I made myself keep going on and on all evening. In other words, I was like this:

cat in wheel

And you know what? I liked it, in a smug, worn-out way. I made big strides – I applied to do a part-time MSc in Psychology, something I have been wanting to do for five years but was too nervous about the debt and the size of the commitment. I learned about strategy and leadership. I barely looked at pictures of cats on the internet.

How long do you think my moderate lifestyle and always-working lifestyle lasted?

Five days. No – I didn’t think I’d last that long either. On day 5, I went to the pub with colleagues (Habit 5: build relationships) and had a couple of drinks (Habit 7: moderation).  On day 6, I felt hungover despite the moderation (NOT FAIR), and I was tired and I couldn’t face another long To Do list and more moderation and more affirmations and more self-improvement.

So I basically sacked the whole thing off and enjoyed a great Friday night with my friends Katie and Jonny and enjoyed an even greater Saturday at the wedding of my friends Liz and Tom. I did not even try to control my emotions as I saw her walk down the aisle and watched him light up like Little Mix had turned on the Oxford Street Christmas lights. I had as many drinks as I wanted and I ate all the cake I wanted and I danced constantly and it may not have been Rich Habits but I felt like I had a million pounds nonetheless.

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Becoming rich: Day 1 (Part 2)

Previously, on This Will Change Your Life: I have been trying Rich Habits, a book which promises to change your life by helping you adopt the daily habits of rich people. Read Day 1, Part 1 here.

Step Three of Rich Habits is to engage in self-improvement every day, by reading books related to your field. Rich people do not watch TV or spend too much time on the internet. Because, and I quote, ‘Time is too valuable to be wasted on matters with no tangible value’.

My response to this is shown in this picture: a pile of Serious Books for my education, and also ‘Poo Bum’, because I refuse to believe that entertainment has ‘no tangible value’.

One of the books on my bedside table is not like the others…

A photo posted by Kate Brennan (@katebrennan) on

Rich Habit 4: devote part of every day to looking after your health. This one is easy for me as I already do this.

Rich Habit 5: Devote each and every day to forming lifelong relationships. This one is not so easy. I love my friends and family (and yes, I know you are probably one of them if you’re reading my blog at this early stage. I LOVE YOU. YES I DO) but I am bad at correspondence. (SORRY I LOVE YOU I’M JUST BAD)

Rich Habit 6: ‘I will live each and every day in a state of moderation’.

This is my reaction to this rule:

parks and rec

Moderation is not very ‘me’. I envy the people who can eat a square of dark chocolate and leave it at that. Actually, I don’t envy those people, because they don’t get to eat much chocolate. Doing things to excess can be fun. And surely excess and riches go hand-in-hand. Does Kim Kardashian live each day in a state of moderation? Does Sir Alan Lord Sugar? I think NOT. I do not like this rule.

Rich Habit Seven is ‘Adopt a “do it now” mindset’. I would have been fine with this rule if I didn’t suspect that ‘doing it now’ was always work and no play.

Rich Habit Eight is ‘I will engage in Rich Thinking every day’. What this means is affirmations. AFFIRMATIONS. My worst self-help fear. These affirmations are supposed to be the things you want, and the things you want to be, written in as if they are true the present and read aloud.

Despite the fact I thought that affirmations are probably rubbish, I played along with it anyway. I can’t share them all with you without dying of embarrassment, but they went along the lines of:

  • ‘I earn [double my current salary]’
  • ‘I am fulfilled by my job’
  • ‘I am successful’
  • ‘I do not have mice’

… because if saying affirmations could double my salary, I might as well see if they work as a form of pest control.

Rich Habit Nine is to save ten percent of your salary, which is too dull to even bother blogging about.

Rich Habit Ten is, and I kid you not, ‘I will control my thoughts and emotions each and every day’. Because rich people are so immensely all-powerful, they are their own Big Brother. Or perhaps they are all God, because they have ultimate control. I don’t think the author of this book has actually read Zayn Malik’s Twitter feed lately. I mean, Zayn has loads of cash and his uncontrolled thoughts make national news on a regular basis.

Anyway enough of wittering about former members of One Direction, I am too much of a Rich Thinker for that sort of stuff now. This is what August will be like for me. Goals. To-do lists. Moderation. Control. Affirmations. And lots of cash at the end.

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Becoming rich: Day 1 (part 1)

I’m British, therefore I don’t like talking about money in public. But I will say this: it would be nice to have a bit of extra cash.

The thing is, I grew up on an unhealthy diet of fashion magazines and Sex and the City, which taught me that as long as I had a decent job, I’d be able to afford to buy my own flat, to have a fabulous social life and to regularly buy pairs of expensive designer shoes. Well, THEY LIED. At the age of 29, after seven years of full-time employment and hard work, I am nowhere near home ownership, or even Hermes ownership. I can accept that Carrie Bradshaw is a fictional character. But I don’t want to accept that I’ll never be able to afford to buy a flat in London without a lottery win.

I was feeling particularly short on cash when I saw a blog post about a new book called Rich Habits: The Daily Success Habits of Wealthy Individuals. This book promises that if you follow ten rules for thirty days, the cash will follow. You see, apparently rich people and poor people behave in very different ways, and by adopting the habits of the rich, you will become one of them. Hooray! I hoped this meant I had thirty days of Dom Perignon and helicopter rides ahead.

The book begins with some sad stories about people who aren’t rich because they drink too much, eat too much, sell too aggressively. In one case, a man inadvertently kills his wife because he can’t afford her medical bills. I can’t relate to these people at all. I mean, I’ve lost plenty of loved ones, but that had mostly to do with the fact they smoked rather than because I’m not rich. I think.

However, I can just tell that things are going to change for these people because they have names like Pheonix and Riser (I have a degree in English so I can smell an allegory a mile away. I have skills like that). I mean, my name is pretty meaningless but I think maybe, just maybe, things could change for me too! Anyway, blah blah blah, they meet a dude who can help them change their ways, and now the book moves onto THE GOOD STUFF. I could just SMELL the money.

Step One: I will form good daily habits and follow these good daily habits every day. 

The book instructs you to write all of your bad habits down, and then invert them to form good habits, which you will follow every day. Simple enough, right? Particularly if, like me, you are a fairly competent human being (unlike those sad sacks in the Sad Tales of Woe the book starts with).

My bad habit listing starts quite well. Excessive biscuit consumption and occasional procrastination aren’t too bad, right? But it turns out that once I started listing my bad habits, I found more and more. I don’t meditate and I should. I read trashy novels instead of intellectual literature. I’m terrible at keeping in touch with people. I snooze. I’m untidy. I’m basically a terrible person. This was the worst exercise ever.  Speaking of which, I should do more exercise.

This resulted in a long list of things I need to change. The book makes it sound like doing this will be easy: all I need to do is reverse them (so ‘stay away from the Hobnobs’, and ‘DO IT NOW’) and review every day so that they are fresh in my mind. But the thing is: I am only on Habit Number One and now I have seventeen sub-habits to do or not do every day. I sense I have bitten off more than I can chew.

Step Two: I will set goals for each day, for each month, for each year and for the long-term. I will focus on my goals each and every day.

Turns out, that’s a LOT of goals. Now, I am ambitious and regularly set myself goals, but this exercise was definitely out of my comfort zone. I can do daily. I can do monthly. But yearly and long term? Generally, ‘do well’ ‘make a positive impact on the world’ ‘have enough money’ have been pretty much it. Perhaps that’s why I am in a position where I am seeing whether self-help programmes are the answer: I just haven’t let myself get specific about what I want.

I set my monthly goals: I want to work out what I want to do with my life long-term, I want to get this blog up and running, and I want to run a faster 5k. I set daily goals as a to-do list, featuring all my reversed bad habits.

*in voiceover voice*: Next time on this blog: What are the remaining 8 Rich Habits? Will Kate drown in a sea of lists? WILL KATE GET RICH? Tune in tomorrow…


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