We know that people vary in their ability to handle things well when they are faced with conflicting desires or impulses. We also know that the road to success often requires self-discipline: choosing long-term gain over short-term pleasure. This might mean resisting a decadent piece of cheesecake in the service of losing weight, enduring the […]

I recently led a “change group” for individuals who were attempting to modify a habit of their choosing. When we reached the last meeting, group members reflected on their experiences, identifying what they found most helpful to their change efforts. Several group members discovered it was most helpful to take the time to be truly […]

Have you ever noticed how the human brain favors the pleasure of instant gratification over the benefits of long-term health and well-being? Resisting temptation is difficult, and the inability to resist temptation underlies a wide range of money problems including overspending, accumulating debt, and failing to save enough money for the future. A recent study […]

Over the past couple of blog posts, you’ve learned about the “unthinking side” of yourself, which includes the gut reactions and snap decisions that happen underneath the radar of your consciousness. You’ve also learned about the “thinking side,” which is the systematic, logical planning system that makes sure the impulsive self does not always get […]

It’s a new year and you’ve taken on a new money goal: saving more, spending less, or expanding your financial literacy. The self-help industry proposes that it can help you with these financial goals. Be careful! While some of the advice you read in self-help books may be sound, much of the advice perpetuates myths […]

Hooray! I’m happy to celebrate three years of blogging about motivation, persistence, and impulse control and their relationship to financial health. It has been a great year. In July, I released my book Pocket Change: Using the Science of Personal Change to Improve Financial Habits. What a joy it has been to see this work […]

At last, the print version (paperback) of Pocket Change is here, available on Amazon. Every year, millions of people make New Year’s resolutions to save more, spend less, or otherwise become savvier about their financial habits. And every year, most of these resolutions end in failure. Getting better with money and achieving your financial goals […]

This week, reporter Naomi Mannino wrote a comprehensive piece for Mainstreet.com proposing several links between physical health and financial health. I was honored to be interviewed for the article. Here is a selection: Regular physical activity can boost your brain power. Much research has proven that regular exercise has cognitive benefits and can boost your […]

Last week I suggested that if you have decided to change one of your money habits, it is helpful to know your starting point, also known as your current stage of change (Prochaska, Norcross, & DiClemente). If you know your stage of change, it will help you design appropriate challenges or “homework” for yourself. These […]

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 […]