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…