woman holding a dog

How To Make Yourself “Good” With Money

I send an email to every new Member that joins Tip Yourself. In the early days, I used to be able to personally send each welcome email myself. As we’ve grown, that stopped being feasible.

So now the initial email is automated but it still comes from my real, personal email account and I read and reply to each and every one. It’s time-consuming but one of the most valuable things I do every day. 

What do I hear most often?

The most common thing I hear from new members is how they have always been “bad” with money or a “terrible” saver.

So, how do we change that? How do you get “Good” with money?

The most important step is also the most commonly overlooked.

What you need to do to truly be successful has nothing to do with WHAT you have to do, or HOW you have to do it. The most important step is changing WHO you are.

Change Who you are?

What the heck does that mean?

Let me explain. 

Are you ready to nerd out a bit? Let’s dig into some behavior psychology and the science behind changing your behavior. 

The Three Layers of Behavior Change

Understanding what drives our behavior is the best way to truly make a lasting change. The reason so many of us struggle to build good habits is that we go about trying to change them in the wrong way.

In his book Atomic Habits, author James Clear breaks this down beautifully. He explains that there are 3 layers of behavior change.

1. Changing Your Outcomes

Most of your goals are in this layer. Saving for a vacation, paying off credit card debt, building an emergency fund, etc. These are the results that you want to achieve.

2. Changing Your Process

What we do to achieve our outcomes are in this layer. These are our habits and actions. Saving a specific amount of money each paycheck, signing up for Tip Yourself, creating a budget, etc. These are the plans and actions that will help you achieve your goals.

3. Changing Your Identity

How we view ourselves sits at the deepest level. It’s the foundation. It’s our self-image, our self-worth. How we view the world and how we view those around us.

Where do most people go wrong?

Almost all of us start the process of changing our behavior by starting with what we want to achieve. We set goals. Which naturally leads to setting a plan that we believe will help us achieve those goals.

In this scenario, using Jame Clear’s framework above, we start with our goals (layer #1) and work our way down to our plan (layer #2), and then hope that changes our self-worth and identity in layer #3. That’s a mistake.

The secret to real success is to do the opposite.

Start with layer #3, your identity, and work your way up. In Atomic Habits, James uses the example of two people resisting a cigarette to demonstrate the difference.

The first person says, “No thanks. I’m trying to quit.” That sounds reasonable, but if you look closely you’ll see that this person still views themselves as a smoker.

They are hoping to change their behavior but are still holding on to their self-image of a smoker.

The second person also declines, but instead by saying “No thanks. I don’t smoke.” See the difference? It’s small but powerful. Smoking was part of who they were in the past, not who they are now. 

The second person changed how they view themselves. They’ve made a change at level #3. Which leads to a change in behavior (level #2), they decline the cigarette. They achieve their goal (level #1) to quit smoking!

How can you apply this to money?

Let’s talk about the emails I get from new Tip Yourself Members again. As I mentioned, the majority of them start with the new member explaining to me how they are “terrible” with money or a “horrible” saver.

That’s the problem.

Change how you view yourself. Make the decision to change your self-identity today. From now on, you’re good with money. You’re a saver!

Say it again. I’m good with money. I’m a saver.

This isn’t just mumbo jumbo. This is real. Your mindset and self-image are powerful forces. To make lasting change you have to start with a change in your identity.

Don’t believe you’re good with money yet?

You joined Tip Yourself.

You’re reading this article right now to better yourself.

That’s what people who are good with money do. You’re doing it too because you’re now someone who’s good with money!

Next time a money decision comes up, ask yourself what would someone that’s good with money do here. Then take that action, because you’re one of them now.

You’ve made a change. You’re now someone that’s “Good” with money.

I think you earned a tip. #TipYourself #YouEarnedit

Article Photo by Norbert Kundrak on Unsplash

A lifelong student of habits and behavior change. Mike is the CEO and co-founder of Tip Yourself, a mobile app and community focused on saving money through positivity and small shifts in habits.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *