The painful truth is that no one can tell you the magic formula for how to maximise your happiness within your financial means. Instead, you must ask yourself what you’re willing to forgo now in order to have later.
Ultimately, this comes down to a commitment to small, smart decisions performed on a regular basis. Over time, these decisions compound into effective habits and routines, the true drivers of discipline, confidence, and ultimately, success.
Our brains crave novelty, comfort, and safety, often at the expense of our own long-term best interest. Discipline is the solution.
We must cultivate a commitment to the ordinary tasks that move us incrementally but reliably toward our highest values and aspirations.
Improving your self-discipline means changing up your normal routine, which can be uncomfortable and awkward. Charles Duhigg, author of The Power of Habit, explains that habit behaviours are traced to a part of the brain called the basal ganglia – a portion of the brain associated with emotions, patterns, and memories.
Decisions, on the other hand, are made in the prefrontal cortex, a completely different area. When a behaviour becomes habit, we stop using our decision-making skills and instead function on auto-pilot.
Therefore, breaking a bad habit, such as compulsive spending, and building a new habit, such as building an asset through investing, not only requires us to make active decisions, it will feel wrong.
Your brain will resist the change in favour of what it has become accustomed to. Embrace the awkwardness. Acknowledge that it will take a while for your new regime to feel right or good or natural.
Keep chugging along. It will happen.
Your only path to success is through a continuum of mundane, unsexy, unexciting, and sometimes difficult daily disciplines compounded over time.