The intention-behaviour gap is defined by Behavioural Economists as, “the disconnect between knowing what you need to do and actually doing it.”
The term intention-behaviour gap doesn’t just relate to your finances. It is applies to many different areas of life including fitness. How many times have you intended to go for a run or to the gym only to hit the snooze button and drift back to sleep? I know I am guilty of that one…
We do the same with our finances. We start out with best of intentions of knowing we need to cut back our spending and start saving for retirement; or the trip overseas. Then life just seems to get in the way, and our best intentions slip and we don’t quite get around to doing it.
Simply knowing what we need to do isn’t enough, we need to take action.
How do we do this?
One way is to have an accountability partner; someone who has ‘nagging rights’. You have given them permission to help you keep your commitment, whether it is going to the gym, or sticking to a savings plan. This works really well if you are also helping your buddy be accountable for something too.
Another way to bridge the intention-behaviour gap is to put in place a ‘commitment device’. This can be setting up an automatic transfer to your savings account the same day you get paid so you never see the money.
Or entering into a commitment contract that means if you don’t do what you say you are going to do, your forfeit something or give away something of value to you. Again you can set this up with your accountability buddy or you could use an app or website to keep you on track. Have a look at stickK if you want to know more about how commitment devices work.
For this to be successful and really work for you, you need to:
1. Recognise that there is a intention-behaviour gap that you want to do something about it.
2. Find a commitment device that you know is going to keep you on track. This also applies to finding your ideal accountability buddy.
3. Remember this is your commitment to change, not your buddies, or the commitment device. If you aren’t totally committed it won’t work for you.
If you are serious about discovering ways to mange money so you can reach your financial goals, then drop us an email or click on this link to find a day and time that suits you to have a chat with us. Best of all – it’s free!