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:
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.