Habit comes from the Latin word “habitus”, which means condition or character. Today, habit is defined as a usual way of behaving or something that a person does often in a regular and repeated way.
I am currently reading a New York Times bestseller, “The Power of Habit” (Why What We Do, What We Do in Life and Business) by Charles Duhigg.
The author describes the “habit loop” as a three-step loop process within our brains. First, there is a cue, a trigger that tells your brain to go into automatic mode and which habit to use. There is the routine, which can be physical or mental or emotional. Finally, there is a reward, which helps your brain figure out if this particular loop is worth remembering for the future.
In terms of protecting ourselves and our families, I believe we already have developed certain habits that have shape our lives far more than we realize. Here are some examples:
- After eating breakfast (cue), we take our vitamins (routine), to strengthen our bodies’ immune system making us feel more healthy (reward).
- Before sleeping at night (cue), we double lock our gates/doors or turn on a light outside (routine), because it makes us feel more secure (reward).
With our kids
- For our newly-born babies (cue), we bring them to the pediatrician regularly for check-up and their vaccines (routine), to ensure that they are healthy and protected from certain diseases (reward).
- When its rainy season (cue), we tell our kids to bring a jacket or an umbrella (routine), to protect them from the rain and so that they will not get sick (reward).
In our cars
- When buying our cars (cue), we also look for some safety features (routine) such as dual airbags, alarm, child locks, and more, to ensure that our families are safe on the road.
- Before we start the engine (cue), we always lock our car doors and wear our seatbelts (routine), because it makes us feel safer while driving (reward).
- When using our desktop/laptop computers (cue), we safe-keep our passwords and change it regularly (routine), to protect our work and our personal information (reward).
- Before leaving the office or taking our break (cue), we lock our drawers/cabinets (routine), to secure our personal belongings (reward).
- When purchasing our new smartphones (cue), we also buy a phone casing or cover as well (routine), for added protection in case we accidentally drop it (reward).
- When buying our new laptops/computers (cue), we also subscribe to an anti-virus protection as well (routine), to protect our files and personal data from being corrupted by viruses (reward).
These habits just show how “protection-minded” we are with ourselves, our families and also our possessions.
One “protection” habit that we are advocating is having life insurance. This habit maybe relatively new to some. However, if we keep the same cue and the same reward, a new routine can be inserted.
Your cue could be any of the following: if you’re married, if you have kids, or if you’re single but provide support for aging parents.
The routine of saving in your life insurance policy can be scheduled every payday or when you expect to receive your annual increases or bonuses or after careful study of your budget and taking care of the essentials.
Of course, your reward is securing your family’s financial future plus some “peace of mind” as a bonus. So go ahead, make it a habit!
Gerald “Ge” Cantor’s mission is to help Filipinos save and invest for their future while protecting themselves and their families for the present. Ge is a Financial Adviser of Pru Life UK, a Financial Planning Advocate of Personal Finance Advisers Philippines Corporation, a Registered Financial Planner graduate, a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), a Certified Internal Auditor (CIA).
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