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Negotiating the best habits and the commitment device!

Commitment devices are great ways to achieve those good 'should do, but hard to do' habits. We explore why commitment devices lead to great personal finance outcomes.

A practical example is provided for creating the habits of the rich.

Why do we want to create these good personal finance habits? There are $16 million great reasons!

Aristotle and the great Greek philosophers teach us:

"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit."

But we know creating good habits is challenging and bad habits may sneak upon us.

Below are examples of commitment devices to achieve those good 'should do, but hard to do' habits. These come from Samuel Salzer. Check out Sam's database for more suggestions.

Finally, good habits can be challenging to maintain. Beyond creating the habit is KEEPING the habit.

Habit hygiene includes:

  • Develop a good attitude about a commitment device. It is part of a good habit process to help you reach Aristotelean excellence! It is not a 'one-and-done' thing.

  • Periodically confirm that the habit is achieving the desired results.

  • Updating the habit to further the goal. Rarely do goals stay stationary. Our lives and who we are change, our habits need to keep pace.

  • Do not let perfect be the enemy of good. Choose a habit you have a high chance of keeping. Over time, you can increase the power of the habit. It is easier to strengthen an existing habit. Overly challenging habits have a good chance of not sticking.

Sam's commitment devices sampling:

Schedule time with friends

Not only good for mental health, but can help limit undesired behavior (working too long, inactivity etc)

Get a dog

A canine companion provides companionship and encourages outside exercise, humanity's silver bullet.

Small lunch boxes

Having smaller lunch boxes can help to easily limit food portion sizes (reducing overeating and food thrown away)

Book gym class

Signing up for a gym class increases likelihood of attending

Brush teeth after dinner

Makes eating snacks after dinner taste worse

Delete your social media accounts

Stop spending so much time on social media (and maybe give your password to your Mom so you can't log back in).

Buy a robotic vacuum cleaner

Automating or subbing out chores reduces the effort to help keep surroundings clean.


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