The chances of winning the lotto or becoming an heir to a great fortune are slim, so unless you are extremely lucky you will have to make your own fortune in life.
Not everyone defines wealth in the same way. To some, financial independence is the ability to cover expenses and go on holiday twice a year, to others it is being able to afford several luxury cars. For others, it is the freedom from worrying about the future. You will have to define the meaning of financial independence for you. To do so, you will need to know what you want to achieve.
Exactly how much money do you want to earn every month or every year? Take some time to work this out and then write down this amount so that you can see it in front of you.
Once this is determined it then becomes part of your long-term goal. Having a long-term goal is the first step to success.
Goal setting is essential because:
- It helps you get a clear vision of what you want
- It shows you the path to achieving what you want
- It enables you to focus and weed out activities that do not help you to achieve the goal
- It helps you build confidence. As you achieve each part of the goal you can reward yourself knowing that your goal is achievable
- It motivates you, even on bad days you can see what you have achieved already and what you aim to achieve in the future
- It stops you from getting in a rut. Part of defining your goal is to look at your dream. Where you see yourself in the future and what you want to get out of life.
- When you were a child, how did you envision yourself as an adult? How do you see yourself now?
- Have you achieved what you wanted to achieve by a certain age? If not, where are you lacking – career, family, financially?
- What is your greatest source of happiness? Your career, family, hobbies, social life, major relationship? Put these into the order of importance, then ask yourself, does this reflect your priorities? If not, what do you need to change and how can you do that?
- What is your skillset?
- What do you enjoy about your job?
- Where are your weaknesses?
- Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?
- Where do you see yourself in ten years’ time?
Using the information from all of your previous answers you can create a series of SMART goals
- Specific – put exact figures in the goal
- Measurable – make your goal something that you can measure
- Achievable – do not aim to win the lottery, it is not within your ability to control
- Realistic – do not set your goal to be earning a million a month by next month, aim for that in ten years time
- Time – put an exact time frame on it, for example, by December xxxx (year)
For the most part, these goals will be long term so divide them into one-year, three-year and five-year increments, this makes it easier to track and break down into steps.
Now look at what you can do to make the first step to achieving these goals. For example, if you want to be the CEO of your company, then look at how to go about being promoted and what skills are required. Look for training that will provide you with those skills. If you want to start your own business find something that you can do well, it can be a service you render, something you manufacture or sell.
The options are endless.
Once you have planned your next step you can look at what you can do within the next fortnight, month and year in order to achieve these goals.
Creating this plan will give you a roadmap to success. It is not going to do the work, you have to do that yourself, all you have to do to get there is follow the map. Just one step at a time.
What could stop you
Goal setting is exciting, it leaves you feeling motivated and in high spirits. You are ready to go, however, let us take a look at things that could go wrong.
One of the more common problems is that people are unrealistic about what they will have to give up in order to achieve their goals. Sometimes you have to sacrifice a lot of personal time, sometimes you have to give up
Here is a series of questions, which could help you plan for this better:
- How are you willing to do to reach your goal?
- Daily: Are you willing to give it the hours it will take?
- Weekly: Would you be willing to sacrifice a Saturday afternoon rugby match in order to achieve your goal?
- Six months to a year: Would you be willing to give up a holiday, a friendship, a relationship?
Another possible problem is fear. Fear is the opposite of self-belief which is vital if you want to succeed. Many people fear success. If you are one of them, you will have to overcome it before you can succeed. If you do not it will sink you every time. “Researchers, psychologists, physicists, and psychiatrists all agree that there is a strong connection between your thoughts and the events in your life. In other words, if you believe that you
will be a success and you believe in your skills and abilities then you will be a success. “There may be temporary defeat but never failure” says Napoleon Hill.
In fact, the latest scientific thinking on the matter is that we are what we think, we create our world by our thoughts, so change what you think about and you will change your world.
- The fear of criticism – this fear is the same as the fear of public speaking, of not wearing the latest fashions or being seen in the right places with the right people.
- The fear of ill health. Often these fears are taught to us when we are very young. For example, listening to ghost stories at night makes us fear the dark.
- Which fears are holding you back?
- What can you do to overcome the fear? It might take a few visits to a therapist, joining a group like toastmasters, or just acknowledging and confronting the fear.
It is worthwhile spending time and effort on overcoming these fears, it is vital in fact if you want to reach your goals.
Something else that can stop you is if you fail to achieve something on your plan. This will happen because no plan is perfect, but do not give up, move to the next item on your list and just keep going until you have achieved it. Even if it takes longer than anticipated at least it gets done. Learn to be flexible with yourself.