What do you want in life? Do you cherish any goal or ambition? Do you want to have a good job, a fancy car, or a nice house? While it is not possible to get everything in life, literally, you can aim high, dream and achieve a lot. However, you will need to formulate a clear plan, act, and demonstrate commitment, discipline, and determination. Your dreams will not come true through illusions.
Part 1 of 3: Make a Plan
Step 1. Assess your needs and wants
The first step is to know what you want in life. We are not referring only to material objects, but to goals, achievements and feelings. Reflect and ask yourself what you want the most.
- Ask yourself what it is you want in life and what is most important to you. Try to write the answers as they come, without thinking about them.
- When defining what you want, be as specific as you can. "I want a lot of money" is one way to start, but "I want to be financially secure and retire at fifty" is more specific and better.
- Are your wishes achievable? Are they realistic? Do they have to do with you? They need to be. You may have a good job, but could you handle early retirement? How would you do it?
Step 2. Focus on what is most important and achievable
Let's face it: you may not be able to achieve everything you want in life. Cars, clothes, fabulous riches, and luxuries take a lot of effort and divide energy. Focus on what is most important to you and do your best to achieve it.
- Go back over your list of needs and wants, and reevaluate it. What is at the top of the list? What you really want most in life is to have financial security and to retire early?
- Ask yourself again if that is feasible. Are you sure you can handle that goal or do you run the risk of failing?
- Try to be realistic and understanding. Don't embark on an overly ambitious dream if you have doubts that you will be able to achieve it.
Step 3. Set a long-term goal
If you have a long-term goal, you will be able to focus on your ambitions, you will have a goal and you will be aware of possible obstacles. For example: Where and how do you imagine your future life? What lifestyle are you looking forward to? What things do you not want to do?
- Identify a long-term goal. Try once again to write it down and be as specific as you can. "I want to retire at fifty" is not as specific and achievable a goal as "I want to own a home, be debt free, and retire at fifty with an annual income of at least fifty thousand dollars." The last part sets concrete goals for success.
- Think of all the possible ways to achieve success. How could you do it? What kind of work would you need? How much would you have to save annually?
Step 4. Plan
A long-term goal requires a long-term vision. You must have a clear idea of how you want to get from one point to another in your life and consider that you may have to unexpectedly deviate into alternate paths. You will also need a calendar and goals.
- Consider breaking your ambition into smaller chunks. This will make the plan less daunting and help you stay motivated as you work toward smaller, incremental goals.
- Again, be specific about your timelines and what you want to accomplish in a given time frame. For example, instead of saying that you want to "retire at fifty", put it in the following terms: "When I am thirty years old, I would like to have two hundred thousand dollars in stable and growing investments. At forty years old, I would like to have advanced 75% on the path to my financial goal. " Ambitious? Yes, but concrete.
- You could even subdivide the steps so that each stage has its own plan. For example: How do you plan to invest two hundred thousand dollars before the age of thirty? You would need to save enough money, speak with a financial advisor, and develop an investment plan.
Part 2 of 3: Sticking to the Plan
Step 1. Get the plan in motion
Now is the time to take the first step. To do this, consult with people who can help you, find the resources and start working on your long-term goal. Everything will depend on you.
- Seek help from the experts. For example, if you want to get in shape, talk to a personal trainer. If your goal is financial, talk to an advisor who specializes in the matter.
- Find out and use the available resources. For example, you could learn a lot about investing by doing your own research or taking a financial planning course.
- The most important thing is to be proactive. Your goals will not materialize only with illusions.
Step 2. Develop your willpower
Stay focused on the long-term vision. Along the way you may have to make some sacrifices and for this you will need discipline and willpower. Willpower is the ability to resist short-term temptations to achieve bigger goals. You put it into practice, for example, when you go to the gym even if you are sleepy or when you work an extra hour instead of watching your favorite show.
- Cultivate discipline. For example, research shows that students with more willpower generally perform better. Avoid procrastinating, as that would prioritize short-term satisfaction.
- Adopt a routine that helps you progress toward achieving your wishes. For example, if you follow an exercise program, it will be easier for you to be in good physical condition. If your goals are financial in nature, sticking to a budget will help.
- Develop the habits that help you stay on track and avoid the ones that derail your progress. For example, if you tend to buy on impulse, avoid going to the mall. To meet your savings goals, get in the habit of immediately depositing part of your salary.
Step 3. Monitor your progress
Do it as you work to achieve your dreams and aspirations. Have you reached any goal? Are you following the schedule? What short-term goals have you achieved? To carry out your plan and stay motivated it is important that you know how far you have come.
- Assessing your progress will allow you to make any necessary adjustments. What if you couldn't achieve any of your goals? Even if you try by all means, when you turn thirty, you may only be able to save a hundred thousand dollars. You may need to change your long-term goal, either by delaying retirement or committing to saving more.
- You should probably change your plans. Perhaps your original goal is very ambitious. A home, insurance and a family could cost more than expected, and that could make early retirement impractical.
- Progress is also a powerful motivation. Normally, when you see how far you've come to reach a goal, short-term or long-term, you get a mental boost.
Step 4. Celebrate small victories
In life, the road to achieving your dreams will be long. When you monitor your progress, take pride in reaching your goals. Celebrate when you fulfill a short or long term object and you will feel refreshed and revitalized.
- Be grateful for your accomplishments, pause, reflect, and indulge yourself. Did you finally run a full marathon? That deserves a toast! Did you get the promotion you were waiting for so long? Celebrate with a special dinner.
- Those small victories show progress and show that you are moving slowly but surely to achieve what you want, which will help you stay focused for the long term.
Part 3 of 3: Overcome Obstacles
Step 1. Identify the obstacles that arise
When evaluating your progress, you must be aware of obstacles, big or small, to meeting your long-term goals. The important thing is that you recognize the root cause and address the problem. Inaction will only hinder your efforts.
- Try to get to the bottom of any problem. What is the cause? Be honest with yourself. Let's say you haven't saved enough. Is it a matter of income (you don't earn enough) or do you spend too much? Maybe it's a matter of time and you need to spend a little more time.
- Decide to do what it takes to achieve your goals. If you face a major hurdle, reassess the plan and try to adjust it.
- Some things are beyond our control. You may face illnesses, job difficulties, or family problems that make it difficult for you to long-term vision. Focus on what you can control.
Step 2. Be flexible
Setbacks are very likely on the way to your dreams. Daunting as it is, you shouldn't let that derail you. Flexibility and adaptation are important. Adaptable people have the ability to take control, seek alternatives, and overcome the setbacks of the past.
- First of all, don't panic. Failure may be difficult, but it is not the end of the world. Remember that your expectations must be reasonable and that you should try to look for the opportunities that arise from setbacks.
- Make the proper adjustments. Let's say your original dream didn't work out and you don't have enough money to retire at age fifty. But can you make a commitment? Could you have an extra job for another ten or fifteen years and save more money? Then, you will have a suitable age to retire and a well-off position.
- Having an alternative plan is a good idea. Hopefully, you will analyze the different scenarios and anticipate setbacks. It's smart to have a clear backup plan. Will you be able to keep working? Would a career change help you reach your goal?
Step 3. Learn from failure
View failure as a form of learning. Highly motivated people are able to use failure to learn, adapt, grow, and advance. Try to do the same and make the most of setbacks.
- Evaluate what went wrong. First, review your plan. Didn't you foresee an obstacle? Didn't you give yourself enough time? Was it your mistake or was it something that was out of your control?
- Check the preparation. Let's say you lost ground when it came to financial planning because you had to use your investments to deal with an emergency. Was this setback inevitable or was your emergency fund insufficient?
- Evaluate the execution. Try to honestly judge your effort. Was it consistent? Was the setback due to some external factor or did you make a mistake?
- After evaluating the effort, try to use what you have learned. In the future, anticipate similar problems and make sure you don't make the same mistakes.