Habits of the Early Retiree

When you really think about, there are not many physical obstacles between you and financial freedom. There are no flaming hoops or towering hurdles to clear, no special amount of luck or skill is needed. You also don’t have to have any area of expertise in finance. I mean heck, I am in chemical engineering, I have no finance or business degree.

Anybody can bring themselves from financial struggle to financial freedom, the only hurdles to cross are mental hurdles. In order to put yourself on the fast track to early retirement, you must be open to changing a few habits you may have developed over your life so far. Some habits are more ingrained than others, and may be difficult to kick at first.

The main reason I have found people tend to be stagnant is that they are naturally resistant to change. When you stay within the boundaries of your habits, everything is predictable. You have a good sense on how things go and you develop the skills necessary to excel in these conditions, you develop a routine.

While routines can be great when it comes to certain things, such as eating and sleeping, having too much routine can place you into a rut. High doses of the same thing can be depressing and keep you from growth. Despite this, it seems almost inevitable to end up in a groove every once in a while.

People resist change to their routines because it introduces an element of uncertainty. We have a natural tendency to worry about the unknown. Our attention is drawn to unfamiliar things until it is determined not to be a threat. This makes it infinitely more comfortable for us to stick to routines.

In order to get ahead of the pack, we need to mix things up a bit, sometimes going against what is culturally perceived as ‘normal’. So I have a challenge for you, introduce a little uncertainty in your life. I am not talking about letting go of the wheel on the interstate Tyler Durden style, just experiment with a few habit changes in your daily routine. See what you like and what you don’t like, and continuously tweak things along the way. A little self improvement time goes a long way.

The list of lifestyle changes that can benefit your happiness, health, and bank account are endless. Here are a few habit changes that have had a great influence on my own personal health and wealth

  1. Ride a bike!   Train yourself to automatically think of this as your main source of transportation. It may seem novel at first, but it really doesn’t take long before you are subconsciously grabbing your helmet instead of your keys.
  2. Learn to Cook:   Not only will this shave working years off you life because you won’t be buying convenience food, you are bound to learn a thing or two about nutrition as well. Cooking is also a great social skill, you will impress your friends and potential mates after learning how to make a few good meals.
  3. Learn to Mock Convenience:  Understand that this is just a temporary pleasure that promotes weakness and leaves you less willing to take on challenges. Not to mention, convenience in more expensive than you think
  4. Start a project:   Even if you think you have no interests or hobbies, humans are creative creatures. Work on something that you can call your own. Whether it be art, music, poetry, a club or even a blog! And if you lead a super busy lifestyle, please don’t use that as an excuse to not pursue a personal project. There are no due dates and you are the boss. Even if you only have time to devote 20 minutes a week, you will still be creating something. There are some wonderful emotions to be felt once you create something, and who knows, maybe you are very good at whatever it is you do and you end up producing some income with it!
  5. Get in the habit of changing Habits:  The more things you try, the more things you will discover you like….and don’t like. Seriously, if you are always trying new things, you will experience some discomfort and you will be bound to try some really disgusting foods. It will all be worth it though, you will enlarge your comfort zone as well as discover new things you do like. All while living life more along the way.

By changing things up as often as you can, the days stop blurring together and each become their own entity. Sounds more like how you experience time on vacation, doesn’t it?

Since you will be retiring earlier than the rest of the crowd, its time to start learning to live like you are financially free.