My hands are a little sweaty as I click the ‘send’ button.
I pace around the living room, giving myself a pep talk. “You know what? Maybe this is what will get people to pay attention. I know it’s supposedly tacky to talk about but I think it’s important and I’m glad I did it. Yup? Yup. Yuuuuup.”
What did I do?
I told people that my daily writing habit is worth $280,000.
That’s the difference in my income since I left my career as an ESL teacher and started writing, blogging, and consulting full time.
I made the rather awkward decision to share this information because I know people connect with cold, hard numbers a lot more than they connect with anecdotal evidence like “creating good morning habits made me feel amazing!”
(Though building morning habits you love really will make you feel amazing.)
I could natter all the livelong day about why habits are better than goals and how (slowly! unglamorously!) changing our habits might just be the ticket to creating the lives we want.
But hearing that it took me 2+ months to cement the habit of walking my dog after breakfast isn’t very sexy. Nobody hears that and thinks “You’ve convinced me! I agree that small, slow, sustainable habit change will get me where I want to go!”
So instead of talking about the 66 days it took to build my post-breakfast-dog-walking habit, I’m going to talk about something we all pay attention to: money.
Here’s the truth: all our habits have a monetary value attached to them. Let’s make sure it’s a good one. Click To TweetI bet we’ve all heard that statistic about how smoking one pack of cigarettes a day costs $9,000 a year. You probably realize that a twice-a-week happy hour habit could easily cost $40 a week or about $2,000 a year. You know that the ‘put off grocery shopping till you “have to” order takeaway’ habit could cost the same amount.
Some habits have a less straightforward cost; we might not even notice how they affect us! Feel overwhelmed and grumpy > binge watch Dynasty or Real Housewives > don’t even notice how those clothes and interiors affect our spending habits and self esteem.
All of this is true! Bad, unhealthy habits are incredibly expensive!
But what if we focused on building habits that saved us money? Or – like my daily writing habit – even brought in money?
If we make a habit of basing our grocery shopping lists around what’s in season and what’s already in our kitchens, we can save hundreds of dollars a year. We can save ourselves thousands if we build the habit of scanning Craigslist or Goodwill before we buy something brand new.
If we make it a habit to reach out to professional contacts every blessed day, we’ll bring in more business and increase our networks. If we build the habit of scanning HARO each morning and emailing journalists, we’re more likely to get press coverage, which might mean more clients, more business, and more money.
Do you know which health issues you’re genetically predisposed to? I do. If I can build habits now that will prevent diabetes and high cholesterol, I can save myself tens (or hundreds!) of thousands of dollars in medications, doctor visits, and surgeries.
Of course, it’s not always easy to assign a specific dollar amount to a habit. There’s no telling if all those brisk walks and vegetables will absolutely prevent diabetes. And maybe that daily networking email habit will result in $0. But the more often we do it, the more likely we are to get closer to what we want.
But I want to hear from you! Looking at the habits you have – both good and bad – how much would you guess they’re worth in dollars? And what are you going to do about it? ?
P.S. If you’d like to build a habit that will save you thousands of dollars (at a cost of $97), this is for you.