Practicing Good Money Habits

The pace of change is often slow, like this dollar bill origami snail (photo by RangerRick; Wikimedia Commons).

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 about the process of change.

Watch out for the following myths:

  1. You can change your financial life by setting good intentions.
  2. You can get better with money by thinking positive thoughts.
  3. All it takes is willpower to transform your financial habits.
  4. Visualization will go a long way in bringing you the riches you desire.
  5. You can launch good money habits with positive affirmations.

These myths are widespread and often conveyed in a passionate and convincing manner. Unfortunately, though, they divert people away from habit change efforts that are practical, workable, and realistic.

What really works to change a money habit? It helps to take a scientific approach to the change process. Choose one small thing to work on and adjust it incrementally, a little bit at a time, until it looks closer to the behavior that you desire. Then move on to the next small thing, and so on.

The scientific approach may not be as glamorous as vision boards, self-affirmations, and the power of positive thinking, but it produces far more successful outcomes.

What life changes have you made using a systematic, incremental approach?

To read about more factors that lead to successful change, check out the current blog post at