How to Transform Bad Habits into Financial Success! Part 1 of 4

Written by Briana Cavanaugh

October 23, 2012

A couple of weeks ago October 15, was the extension deadline for personal and sole proprietors to get their taxes in for 2011. It’s the deadline for the people who didn’t make the first deadline. Was that you? Or are you one of the folks that didn’t make that deadline either?

Years ago I used to be one of those people who couldn’t make financial deadlines.  I found a way to get current with myself that is far less painful. And I want to share my methods and strategies with you.

If you’re a successful entrepreneur you know that things need to get done on time and under budget to make clients happy. How would you feel if you’re taxes, all of your finances, were handled on time – and maybe even under budget as well! Transforming your financial habits is the key to getting rid of late fees and finance charges, getting rid of unwanted monthly charges that have been collecting on your bank statement and feeling deeply financially competent.

I won’t lie to you, just like anything worth doing, it takes work. But that work is well worth the results.

There are four parts to this work. After this introduction,  we’ll learn about habits and our brains and get clear that change is not only possible, but absolutely do-able and even exciting! In part two we’ll cover finding your financial behavioral triggers. In part three, we’ll learn steps for transforming those triggers. And in the final installment, we’ll make those changes permanent with new financial habits.

Changing your brain is simple, but not easy

Let’s get started!


The most important thing to know about habits: You can’t get rid of a habit, you have to replace it.  There is no known way to just stop doing something that’s engrained in your neuronal pathways. You have to replace that pattern and re-train your brain – literally.

The good news is that re-training your brain is entirely possible and you can do it. Your brain is very elastic and is great at being trained!  You’ve done it before. If you hadn’t, you’d still be getting up every morning and going to kindergarten. So we know our brains can change.

In the reasearch described here we find some clear keys to success.

  1. Make sure the habit you want to change is clear.
  2. The research shows that it actually takes about 66 days to change a habit and some times more. So don’t give up at the mythical 21 days.*
  3. Missing a day one day isn’t going to mean that you don’t get there. But…
  4. The more days you are consistent, earlier in the replacement cycle, the more success you will have long-term.

*And don’t worry, we’ll be doing it together, so you can always come back here for help, support, guidance and more tools! Leave a comment if you’re struggling and I’ll get back to you, I promise!

Now that we know more about habits, let’s set ourselves up for success.

Grab your notebook

Dedicating a notebook to your work helps to set a sacred space for financial self care.

Exercise #1 – Noticing Positive Change
Grab your Financial Coaching notebook, (a journal or a sheet of paper will do nicely), your favorite writing implement, and a highlighter. Now find a place to get comfy.

Take some deep breaths, center yourself. If it works for you, close your eyes. Now imagine about all the changes that you’ve made in your life. Find the positive ones, your accomplishments, that things you did that took hard work over time. Maybe there are a few or maybe there are a lot.  Once you’ve brought them to mind, find one that stands out.

What was the accomplishment?  What did it take to be successful? Bring all the details to mind. Is there something you had to do every day? Did you et up reminders or do a specific thing? Did you say affirmations? What did it take to get to where you wanted to be?

Now, grab that paper and write down your biggest success and all the details. What did you do to get there? What actions did you take? What did you change? How’s it different? What stands out?  Keep writing until you run out of details. Read the list and write some more.

Find and highlight 3 things that you did that you loved that contributed to your success. Revel in it. Take a moment and acknowledge your accomplishment.

Finally, take this exercise and file it where you can easily access it next time.

You’ve just done the first step on the path to creating healthy financial  habits!

See you in two week!

P.S. Leave me a comment telling me about a great thing that you’ve accomplished – I would love to hear about your successes!

P. P. S If this helped you feel more grounded and successful or you think it would benefit an amazing entrepreneur in your life, please pass it on! Thank you so much!



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