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How to pick a start date for the new financial you

Disclaimer: This article is for general information purposes only. The views and opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of first direct. Specialist advice should be taken in relation to specific circumstances.

Time to read: 2 minutes

Our Money Wellness Index revealed that, as a nation, we’ve got a huge appetite for change when it comes to our finances. Many of us know that there are things we could do better - 64% of us think that we’re ‘bad with money’, and 54% of us want to become more financially resilient.

Problem is, it’s not easy to change our habits, as our behaviour begins with the mind – so using psychology to help improve your financial actions could really give you a boost. That’s why we partnered with Dr Ash Ranpura. As a behaviour expert, Dr Ash suggests using psychology to help you retrain your brain…

Pick a ‘starting point’

According to Dr Ranpura, the first step towards financial change is simply choosing when to start. Research shows that we really do find it easier to pick up a new habit when we recognise the starting date as significant.

Your start date could be:

  • A big birthday
  • New Year’s Day
  • A new month
  • A new job
  • The day you move house


Any date that carries some significance to you is a great place to start.

Dr Ash explains that, “This artificial starting line creates a context for a new behaviour, and the brain adopts new actions more easily in a new context.” Let yourself start afresh, and put past financial mistakes behind you – pick a starting date that signifies a clean slate and a new era, and you could be more likely to succeed.

It’s suggested that we have an ‘activation energy’ that we use when we try to spark change in ourselves – and ensuring that you get off to a good start could ensure your activation energy is focused on achieving your goals, rather than just getting going.

Next up: How to retrain you brain for a post-pandemic world

Got a starting point in mind, and wondering what to do next? Read more of Dr Ranpura’s helpful guide to changing your financial habits…

Find out more >