“If you don’t design your own life plan, chances are you’ll fall into someone else’s plan. And guess what they have planned for you? Not much.” ~ Jim Rohn
So very true.
This month, a word on goal setting following on from my last blog “What would you do if you knew you could not fail?” (You can read it here if you haven’t already)
Goals can be split into three main areas; financial, personal and health. Try not to make them so huge or unrealistic that they freak you out every time you read them! That’s a recipe for disaster. Start with maybe 2 things under each category – a 3 month goal and a 12 month goal, that way you can add in between as you go. Don’t write something down for the sake of writing it down either; you have to be super passionate about whatever it is you want to achieve!
One of my financial goals is to be in a position financially that I don’t need to work full time by the age of 40. So many people have laughed at me over the years when I tell them that. And that’s ok. They are probably the ones that “talk about” all the things they are “going” to do and never do them. You know the ones that are “experts” about everything and brazenly hand out there advice and views to anyone that will listen but really have no idea what they are talking about? They are probably the ones that end up saying many years down the track “I wish I had done that sooner”. Whilst they are playing negative Nancy; each year I will do the numbers and make sure I am tracking in the right direction to achieve this goal. I don’t want to decrease my work hours because I am lazy or hate my job. I want to travel the world, see more of my friends and family, race sporting events whenever I want and go to the beach more! These are the things that I am passionate about. I can’t get more of these things unless I stick to my financial goals.
To move forward, you have to take the first step, just like I did with triathlon. If someone had said to me in March 2014 “Your goal is to win your age group at an Ironman race and qualify for the world championships by August 2015” I would have been so overwhelmed that I probably would never have even got started. In fact, I probably would have got back on the couch and eaten another tub of ice cream while I thought about how ridiculous that was. It would have seemed too hard. And when things started to get difficult, I have no doubt I would have given up.
Property Investment is no different. If I told you you have to have 3 properties in your portfolio (not including the home you live in) to live the kind of life you want to live when you’re not working anymore it would probably seem impossible or too overwhelming. But if I told you you just need to invest in one property to get started and be well on your way, it would more than likely seem achievable. And I bet that once the first one was done you would probably build from there and each time would get easier. We have many clients who came to us to buy their first property 4 years ago and are now the proud owners of more than 3 properties each.
Over the last 18 months, goal setting has been absolutely critical to turning my life around. I now realise how important it is to always have something to be working towards.
Everyone is different; however here are some of the things that worked well for me:
1. Write it down/make it visual
I’ve never really been able to plan more than a year in advance. I think there are too many variables in life and it gets harder to see things further than one year ahead. I also find it difficult to stay motivated to try and achieve something that seems so far away. I have my goals written on a white board at home and at work and also saved in my phone.
2. Be vocal and share
Once you are happy with your goals, share them. By nature, I am competitive, a high achiever and afraid of failing. So for me, sharing and being vocal about what I want to achieve it keeps me accountable. If I don’t share my goals I feel like it gives me “an excuse” or an easy “way out”. By sharing your goals I don’t mean plastering them all over social media, choose a group of friends or family who understand what you are trying to achieve and who support you and give them a copy.
3. Let yourself fall off the bandwagon sometimes
There will be times you will slip up. Or want to give up. You might go off track for a few days or even a few weeks and that’s ok. Sometimes I actually think it helps! The important thing is to get back on track and not to fall into a pattern of giving up for extended periods of time.
4. Surround yourself with good people
Get rid of negative people and influences. I can’t recommend this highly enough! Life is too short to waste on people that are constantly draining you and bringing you down just to make themselves feel better. “Dream Stompers” I like to call them!
5. Seek out professionals
When I started to get serious about triathlon I spent hours and hours researching the best coaches in the sport. I “googled”, I read reviews, I asked athletes and other people in the sport for their opinions and feedback, I looked at athletes race results. To achieve my goals I wanted to be coached by the best in the business. Note that I didn’t research how to train myself. There is a difference. There are professionals in every sport and industry for a reason. They have years of experience and offer support and guidance and keep you accountable. They also help expedite the process for you as they can save you making mistakes that you would have otherwise made on your own. Having a sports coach is no different to engaging a property advisor for the correct property investment advice, a mortgage broker for a loan or a financial planner for super advice. Seek out the best to assist you. Read reviews. Analyse results. Choose someone to partner with on your journey. I can just about guarantee you won’t be able to do it better on your own.
6. Get healthy
Almost everything in life is easier when you are fit and healthy. Friendships, socialising, holidays, confidence levels, shopping for clothes (sounds simple but it’s downright depressing when you are overweight)…. Even the way we view the world and what we think we are capable of. If you are overweight I urge you to make changes for the better. It will be hard. But it will be worth it.
I am a dreamer! I love the word. I have it engraved on my favourite necklace. I will never stop dreaming. I love thinking about how I can achieve the impossible. I love visualising what I would look like when I achieve a goal…. How I would feel. How it would affect or impact my life. How it would make it better. To dream this day and age is a very special thing. In a world of technology, gadgets, general everyday craziness and noise… It is important to stop every now and then and spend time thinking (or dreaming!) about the next part of your life and what you want.
To those that have set goals and are working towards them every day – great work! You are definitely part of the minority so you should be proud. To those who feel like they are drifting around a bit at the moment – I challenge you to take some time out in the next couple of weeks and write down a couple of goals. Even in just one area of your life – financial, personal or health – perhaps where you feel is most neglected at the moment. Take action. Stick with it for 30 days. Don’t give up. You never know it just might change your entire life!