Now that we’ve got you prepared for emergencies, it’s time to start thinking ahead. Do you want to own your own home? Create your own business? Do you want to work a location-independent career that you can do from anywhere? Today, I want you to think about these big goals. Knowing what you’re aiming for is the first step towards getting there.
Today’s 31 Days To Your Financial Future task: create a plan for the future.
I’m going to ask some big questions, and you might not know the answers to all of them, but that’s okay. This is just a chance to consider them and to do a little dreaming. Ready? Here they are:
What do you want your life to be like one year from now?
What do you want the rest of your life to be like?
There’s no wrong answer to those questions. Your life is totally in your hands, and it can be whatever you want it to be, if you’re willing to work hard and smart enough to get it. Today, we’re going to put together a plan to get you moving in that direction.
Create A Plan For Success
Trying to succeed without a plan is leaving your future up to happenstance. You’re saying, “I hope I get lucky enough to achieve what I want,” instead of saying “I want to succeed and this is how I’m going to do it.” Putting together a plan isn’t hard. In fact, planning your success is a simple five step process.
Step ZERO: If you don’t know it, learn it.
- Know what you want to accomplish.
- Know why you want to accomplish it.
- Know when you want to accomplish it.
- Know how you can accomplish it.
- Know you can accomplish it.
Here’s another important thing about plans. They shouldn’t be rigid. Events beyond your control can always derail your plans, and in fact, they almost certainly will. That doesn’t make having a plan useless. When it happens, all you have to do is create a new plan that takes the new element into consideration and keep moving forward.
Today, I want you to put together your own plan for the future. Decide what you want to do (and how soon you want to do it.) Think about what you need in order to do it in the timeframe you’ve aimed for. Then, go do it.
Goals Are Everything
When you think about goals, you probably think of something long-term, like “I want to earn my degree in 3 years,” or “I want to retire before I’m 50.” Those are great goals, but let’s step back for a second. How do you achieve those big goals?
We tend to do it in one of two ways:
Guess which one is more effective?
Our society is, unfortunately, one that favors outliers. We want to emulate the entrepreneur who made overnight millions with a hit app. We don’t pay as much attention to the auto mechanic who invests 40% of his income and has a net worth six times that of his peers. That mechanic, and others like him, outnumber the overnight millionaire by the hundreds.
I learned this as a writer. So many writers feel like they can only work when they get an inspiration high. If they aren’t “inspired,” they don’t put words on the page. Certainly, the rare writer can become successful that way. There are several examples of writers who have become overnight successes with a single novel. But those writers are vastly outnumbered by the successful writers who sit down every single day to put words on the page, even when they don’t want to, even when they don’t think they have anything to write about. It comes from producing a large bibliography of work that people want to read, one after another.
Success with money works the exact same way.
This 31 day series is a set of daily tasks and ideas to help you excel at money. Your future is the culmination of small daily victories. That doesn’t mean you should abandon your big long-term goals, only change the way you think about achieving them.
I’m reading The Millionaire Next Door by Thomas J. Stanley and William D. Danko right now, and there’s a great passage in there about goals, quoted from adecamillionaire.
I have always been goal-oriented. I have a clearly defined set of daily goals, weekly goals, monthly goals, annual goals, and lifetime goals.
That’s such a simple idea, but most people don’t think like that. What could you accomplish if you started thinking like that?
Tomorrow: Get A Financial Education
Personal finance is one of the sorely under-taught subjects in school. If you didn’t learn about money from your parents, a good mentor, or hard experience, you probably never learned about it at all! Tomorrow, we’re going to fix that. Get ready for a crash course in financial learning!
What’s your plan for the future?
What do you want to achieve, and how are you going to achieve it? Is there some part of your plan that you need help with? Tell me in the comments!
Photo by Tim Green.