This post is the third in a series examining the “stages of change,” or the stages that mark your readiness to transform a habit. Last week, I presented the first stage of change (precontemplation). This week, I introduce stage two, which is called contemplation. It is when a person feels strongly pulled in two different […]

Ready to work on a money goal? When you’ve designed your goal, write it down. We are more likely to achieve written goals than unwritten ones. The findings of neuroscience support this claim. Brain researchers have discovered that neurogenesis (the birth of brain cells, or neurons) continues throughout life. They have also discovered that neurons […]

Researchers have long known that we are more likely to change a habit when we define a specific goal (like “increase the amount of money in my savings”) rather than a vague direction (“get better at money management”). Beyond that, researchers have now shown us that if we can attach specific and meaningful labels or […]

Aristotle knew a thing or two about the philosophy of “fake it ‘til you make it.” In his day, though, he didn’t call it that. Instead, he explained that we become virtuous by first putting virtues into action, we become disciplined by first exercising good self-control, and we become courageous by first performing acts of […]

Research by Oettingen (European Review of Social Psychology, 2012) suggests that if we’re working on building a healthy new habit, we might benefit from the “WOOP” exercise. Although it sounds like a fancy new dance step, it’s really just a quick mental strategy that helps you to predict what problems might get in your way […]

When we’re trying to change a difficult financial behavior, the obvious question we ask ourselves is: “What is getting in the way of doing the right thing?” This helps us to identify barriers and obstacles and to design ways of getting around them. What we often forget, though, is another important question: “What is allowing the […]