By Melissa Shaw, CFP®
We have all heard that only 5% achieve financial independence in life. They are the ones that are able to retire and financially take care of themselves. They are the ones that achieved their retirement goals. What is it that they did right in life?
They practiced simple disciplines everyday, toward their predetermined objective. They paid themselves first. They didn’t spend everything they made. And they lived within their means.
They knew what they wanted life to look like when they were “retired.” They had dreams, and worked towards achieving them. They had a “blueprint” upon which they built their life. No matter how rough your blueprint is, it programs your mind for action. Then your mind can go to work to get started. This is the only way that your mental picture can become a reality.
It’s like building a house one brick at a time. Your life is built the same way. If you don’t have a blueprint or plan to build a house and just add a brick at random, it will ramble all over the landscape, and never become anything more than a disarray of brick and wood. This would, of course, be disastrous for you. Do you know anybody whose life looked like that? These are people that only accept what is given to them and do not plan their life.
When you let your minds eye visualize your plan, in most cases, the final product from the plan is much better than the first sketch because the vast creative power of the mind will pull in all the facts and improve on them. The part of the mind that does this work is the subconscious. It is, without doubt, the greatest creation on the face of the earth because it is not only the thing that separates man from animal, it is also the very foundation of creation itself. It’s power is without limit.
Have you ever gotten anything that you wanted? Of course you have! We learn to want things, to dream, and make things happen. A wish or a hope lacks direction or a plan. However, a dream has pictures and feelings. It is part of the basic formula: Want, Picture, Plan, and Get!
You are totally responsible for yourself and are really, in fact, the only person that has ever denied you anything. To blame anyone else will get you nowhere. To dream, you let your mind wander and determine just exactly what you want out of life. If you don’t know exactly, make approximate plans so that at least your life will have some degree of direction and not just be blown around by the events and conditions of your time. Don’t start out with goals too high. Make them just high enough to make you stretch a little. No goal is too small to write down. These little goals help you build a picture of wanting and getting things you desire. At first, the size of the goal is not as important as the habit and self image you are building as a goal setter and achiever.
Life is just a string of “want, picture, get!” All you have to do is want! That gets the process started. The subconscious mind uses this want-picture-get system, but with the limitations you have placed on it. When you develop the want-picture-get system to work with a plan it will carry you where you want to go faster and easier. A want is just a wish without a plan. A wish lacks direction or a plan. But when you can dream, and picture the goal, it’s easier to get.
To add strength to our desires, we use a plan. That is the magic word in goal setting. We believe that to live one’s life without a plan, and not know, is sad. For those who live their lives without a plan, and know better is a crime; and they should not expect pity for the final results. We ask you to use the goal sheets religiously, as well as the financial statements and create a life’s plan. They will help you see that you are getting things that you want. You will see the pattern of success. Then don’t ever stop setting goals. The universe will help bring things to you when you let it.
People’s life goals and short term goals greatly affect their attitude and are a basic. Basics are the good solid foundation from which to jump again. It’s important to know where you stand, so you’ll always be able to “Get back to basics!” when necessary. We believe goal setting is one of the most important basics you can have. Without them it’s almost like trying to spring off water. You can’t, because it offers no resistance.
There must be something about writing down goals that scares people, because so few are willing to do it. It must be the fear of failure of a written commitment. The written com- mitment makes the goal like a contract with yourself that you must fulfill. As a rule, people take failures far too seriously because our society is so geared to winners. But, it is a strange thing that the biggest winners are also the biggest failures. In other words, they fail time and time again before they become winners. Many people have failed many times and come back stronger each time.
What we are talking about probably all comes back to the word “pain.” Failure is interpreted as pain and people want to avoid pain. However, for a real change to take place in people’s lives, the pain of unhappiness must be greater than the pain of change before a meaningful change can take place. It is our hope that you are dreaming and longing for success in every bone in your body. Picture it and feel it and plan it and you will not be denied.