Personal Branding
January 23, 2023

Building Atomic Habits as a Financial Advisor

Small Steps, Big Impact

Fabian Chan
Director @ Great Eastern Financial Advisors
Fabian Chan

Over the years, I’ve realised that building atomic habits can be critical to the success of a financial advisor. It’s like training for a marathon - consistency and discipline are key. In this article, I will explore the benefits of atomic habits for financial advisors and provide a step-by-step guide on how to build them using James Clear's framework and some novel concepts. You will hear a lot of metaphors about long-distance running because I’m an avid runner!

Habit building for financial advisors
"There's a difference between a goal and a dream. A goal is something you can work towards and achieve. A dream is something you can only wish for." - James Clear

What are Atomic Habits?

Atomic habits are small, incremental changes that when performed consistently, can lead to significant progress and change over time.

Why Atomic Habits?

So, why do atomic habits even matter to financial advisors?

Increases Efficiency

Building atomic habits can help financial advisors increase their efficiency by focusing on small, specific actions that can be easily integrated into your daily routine. For example, as a financial advisor, you might set a habit of reviewing your client list every morning, which can help you stay organised and stay on top of your clients' needs.

Improves Discipline

Building atomic habits requires discipline and consistency in order to be successful. For a financial advisor, this might involve setting a habit of reviewing market trends every day or setting aside a specific time each week to meet with clients. By consistently following these habits, a financial advisor can improve your discipline and stay focused on the goals

Increases Productivity

By consistently completing small, specific habits, a financial advisor can increase overall productivity and make progress towards the goals. For example, as a financial advisor, you might set a habit of reviewing 5 clients’ portfolio every day, which can help you eventually build excellent relationships with all of your clients.

Builds a Strong Foundation

By focusing on building a strong foundation of small, specific habits, as a financial advisor, you can create a solid foundation for your work and set yourselves up for long-term success. For example, you might set a habit of reading one industry-related article every day, which can help you stay up to date on the latest trends and ideas in your field.

How to Build your Atomic Habits

Well, let me cover the most famous framework by James Clear. Then I will tell you my secret to do so as a financial advisor.

(source: James Clear)

In his book "Atomic Habits," James Clear outlines a framework for building habits that are small and specific enough to be easily implemented and sustainable over time. According to Clear, the key to building an atomic habit is to focus on making a small change to your daily routine, rather than trying to overhaul your entire life at once.

Clear Suggests using the following Four-Step Process to Build Atomic Habits:

  1. Cue: Identify a specific trigger that will remind you to perform your habit. This could be a specific time of day, a location, or an activity.
  2. Craving: Determine the desire or motivation that will drive you to complete your habit. This could be the desire to feel a sense of accomplishment or to avoid a negative consequence.
  3. Response: Choose a specific, small action that you will take in response to the cue and craving. This action should be easy to complete and take very little time or effort.
  4. Reward: Identify a small reward that you will give yourself after completing your habit. This could be something simple like a piece of candy or a few minutes of leisure time.

From my own experience as a financial advisor and long distance runner, here is my habit loop and steps to success.

Identify Your Goal

What do you want to achieve with your habit? Be as specific as possible. Whether you are building an atomic habit or training for a long-distance run, it is important to set specific, achievable goals that you can work towards over time.

E.g. Your goal might be to run a 5K race in three months

Fabian Chan Marathon

Make Your Habit Small and Specific

Break your goal down into a small, specific action that you can easily accomplish. This action should take very little time or effort. It is important to stay motivated and committed to your goals in order to make progress.

E.g. Your habit might be to run 1 KM every day for the next three months

Set a Trigger

Identify a specific time or activity that will trigger your habit. It could be time, location, preceding event, emotional state, or even other people. The golden rule is to make sure it’s very specific and immediately actional.

E.g. Schedule a specific time each day to go for your run, such as after having your morning coffee

Coffee as reward

Track Your Progress

Use a habit tracker or simply mark a calendar to keep track of how often you are completing your habit. This can help you stay motivated and see how far you have come.

E.g. Use a habit tracker, such as habit app or Notion, to keep track of your daily runs.

Notion's habit tracker template

Celebrate Your Successes

When you consistently complete your habit, give yourself a small reward to celebrate your progress.

E.g. After completing your daily run for a week, treat yourself to a new pair of running shoes or a massage. This can help you stay motivated and celebrate your progress.

Gradually Increase the Intensity of Your Habit

Once you have consistently completed your habit for a week or two, you can gradually increase the intensity by adding in additional habits or making your current habit more challenging.

E.g. Now, you can now increase to 2 KM every day!

Let’s start building your Atomic Habits today!

As a financial advisor, you have the power to achieve greatness through the consistent application of atomic habits. These small, specific actions may seem insignificant at first, but when combined and repeated over time, they can lead to extraordinary results.

Embrace the discipline and commitment required to build and maintain these habits, and you will see your goals become a reality.

So don't wait any longer - start building the habits that will lead you to success today!


Clear, J. (2018). Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones. Penguin.
"Habit Triggers" (n.d.) Retrieved from:
"The Right Way to Form New Habits" (2019, December 31) Harvard Business Review. Retrieved from:
Selig, M. (2012, July 18). "The Amazing Power of Small Wins" Psychology Today. Retrieved from:

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