“When everything seems to be against you, remember that an airplane takes off against the wind, not with it.” — Henry Ford, automobile manufacturer
When you see successful people, who have done well for themselves and achieved a great deal, you may wonder just exactly how they did it. Here are eight tips we can glean from some of the world’s most successful people.
1. Visualize Your Ideal Future
Setting goals can be abstract, and as humans, the more something is abstract, the harder it is for us to focus on it. Instead of writing down goals like "retire at 50", try and visualize exactly what you want your future to hold, and plan it out in as much detail as possible. So "retire at 50" might be "Build a successful engineering firm. Retire at 50, but still sit on the board. Pay off your home in New York and have second vacation home in Florida. Be able to fund all children's college accounts in full", etc.
Once you can really visualize the specifics of your ideal future, that's when you will gain the clarity you need. The goal-setting process becomes the framework for creating the kind of bigger future you are looking to achieve.
2. Work Backwards From Your Goal
If you don’t know what you want, then how will you achieve it? Once you lay out exactly what you want to achieve, then simply work backward to get there. Try setting quarterly goals or 90-day goals and evaluate them accordingly, while constantly reviewing them as you move forward. Clearly outlining goals will make them seem much more realistic. It’s a good idea to have a mix of goals such as financial, strategic, relationship and personal goals.
3. Hold Yourself Accountable
Staying accountable to yourself is incredibly important but incredibly difficult. Working with a business coach, a life coach, or even just sharing your goals with others can provide a real incentive to continue on your path and work hard to achieve the outcome you desire. Additionally, consider surrounding yourself with others who will lift you up and share with them what you hope to do. This will help you push yourself and come up with new ideas since you’ll be surrounded by people that you respect.
4. Set Clear Deadlines
Make sure that you set clear measurements with realistic deadlines when setting your goals. When the goal is realistic, you will feel more properly and emotionally invested in the outcome. It should feel challenging yet also achievable.
5. Write Down Your Goals (Morningstar Goals Worksheet)1
Studies show that we become 42 percent more likely to achieve our goals and dreams, simply by writing them down on a regular basis.2 There is more of a personal commitment when you put pen to paper and physically write your goals down. When a goal is embedded in your mind, subconsciously you are looking at every opportunity to achieve that goal. Also, if something is written down, then you can look back for motivation when you need it. As mentioned previously, holding yourself accountable is so important, and writing something down is another way to do that.
6. Break Your Goals Down
Every successful person knows that you must break your goals down into action items. Setting a big goal helps you to picture the end result, but small goals are easier to work toward. Think of your goals a "pyramid" - your main, over-arching goal is at the top, but in order to reach it, there are a series of smaller goals you must first work achieve.
Breaking your goals down into smaller, actionable items not only feels more "doable" from a psychological standpoint, but there is something to be said about checking those smaller goals off you list - you'll feel empowered every time you hit another milestone, and your success will propel you to keep going.
7. Own Your Future
As the saying goes "A dream without a plan is just a wish". If you’re not in charge of where you spend your time and energy it’s easy to become distracted. Keep in mind that you are personally responsible for your future and only you can change and work towards a better outcome. It’s important to work in the present but still have a strong plan for the future.
8. Use Your Goals in Every Aspect of Your Life
Goal setting is obviously pertinent to your business, however, it’s important that you set goals in every aspect of your life, not just in your business. What is the motivation or desire for why you set your goals? Think about:
- Why are These Goals Important?
- How Will you Achieve Them?
- How Will They Make a Difference?
Once you know the answer to these questions, it will really help you to strive for a stronger future and understand what you need to change to achieve your dreams.
When we get busy with work and everyday life, we often put our big dreams and goals on the back burner. Spare time doesn’t often come, so it’s important to use it when available to work towards and achieve your dreams. These eight steps can help you to visualize and actualize achieving what you really want, as they have helped highly successful people for many years.
FROM A FINANCIAL PLANNING PERSPECTIVE, YOU SHOULD EXPECT YOUR ADVISOR TO HELP YOU DEFINE YOUR GOALS ACCORDING TO PROFESSIONAL STANDARDS3:
IDENTIFYING AND SELECTING GOALS
- Identifying Potential Goals. A CFP® professional must discuss with the Client the CFP® professional’s assessment of the Client’s financial and personal circumstances, and help the Client identify goals, noting the effect that selecting a particular goal may have on other goals. In helping the Client identify goals, the CFP® professional must discuss with the Client, and apply, reasonable assumptions and estimates. These may include life expectancy, inflation rates, tax rates, investment returns, and other Material assumptions and estimates.
- Selecting and Prioritizing Goals. A CFP® professional must help the Client select and prioritize goals. The CFP® professional must discuss with the Client any goals the Client has selected that the CFP® professional believes are not realistic.
This content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information, and provided by Twenty Over Ten. It may not be used for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. The opinions expressed and material provided are for general information, and should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security.