I want to ask you two questions. One, do you have a Will? And two, do you have written goals for the next one, three, five and ten years? If you answered yes to the first question but no to the second, you are planning more for your death than you are while you are here. Think about it. I want to challenge you to start setting some goals but remember if a goal is not in writing, it is simply a conversation. It must be in writing and it must have a deadline. Here are a few guidelines for setting goals. Oh, by the way… you need a Will also.
I want you to be specific and include details but start rough. When you start rough for example, you want a family vacation in Europe. You do not have to get into the details about what cities you will see, what museums you will see, that sort of thing, just write it down. Make your list huge, what kind of home do you want, what you want for your family, college education, spend more time with the kids, travel, anything you can think of. You can come back later and prioritize them and set them up as to what you want in one month, three months, six months, twelve months, then one, three, five, ten, twenty, thirty-year goals. The more goals you have, the happier you will be, the longer you will live, and the more prosperous you will be.
Remember this, your goals must be believable, by you, or you will not pay the price. They must be believable, they must be just out of your reach, but you must know you can reach them if you really strive to do it.
You cannot set a goal to be financially independent. There is no way you can measure that. You need to set a goal for the amount of income you want per month, per year, the amount of equity that you want in your properties one, three, five, ten and twenty years. It must be measurable. That way you can break it down to what I call “reducing it to the ridiculous.” If you know you want to earn $100,000 a year, you know that is $8,333 per month. That could be just one deal a month. One of the things I have learned is, successful people set their goals quickly and they make adjustments as they go along. Just like successful people make decisions quickly, they do not vacillate in indecision or what I call sometimes; get mixed up in a funk of negativity.
Your goals must also be congruent with your actions. You cannot set a goal to work harder, longer hours AND a goal to spend more time with your family. Those are not congruent. They must be congruent with your actions.
Another good thing that will help you with your goals is to picture what you would look like when you accomplish a goal. If you see yourself as already having achieved the goal, you will fake out your mind and your mind sees the goal as already having been achieved. It’s called “fake it till you make it.” I used to do this all of the time. Just take a minute or two each day and think about life as it is with your goals already accomplished. It’s really easy when you get used to it.
The next thing you want to do is work your goals, work on the priority that moves you closer to your goals every day.
Number your goals in the order of importance. Not only is the goal important but so is the reason and priority. Sure you want a car, but why do you want the car? Sure you want more money, but why do you want money? You want to be able to spend more time with your family, you want to be able to travel, you want to buy a Hummer, and you want to have an ocean front condo or send your children to the best college. Whatever it is, the reason must be there. The reason is more important than the goal itself.
Another thing you need to do is to review, monitor, and make adjustments to your goals. You have to be flexible. Some things are not going to happen, you have to face that, but you need to continuously strive to get better every day. If you will work harder on yourself than you do your job, then you will always be growing. Remember that last sentence and write it down as it is worth repeating.
As I mentioned first, your goals must have a deadline. A goal without a deadline is just a conversation. When beginning to set your goals, I want you to set your goals in four basic areas:
You can’t really separate your business from your personal goals…
You will set goals based on income, equity or net worth and cash flow. All of these are financial goals.
This is your health. If you aren’t taking care of your health, chances are that you are not working at your maximum capacity. So, it’s important to set some fitness goals to stay healthy. Remember “an apple a day?” What if this is right and you are not doing it? Start small though, you don’t try to tackle all of these at once, but you need to be healthy not only for you but for your family as well.
Set family goals. What is an example of a family goal? Maybe you want to take four vacations a year. Maybe you want to visit a new state, three times a year or five times a year. Maybe you want to go see the Grandparents two or three times a year; but maybe not. Anyway, you get the point.
You need to set some spiritual goals, some faith goals. I am not going to get into a lot of detail about that but that will help you along your way because that is at your core. Remember, if you slip in one area of your goals, you are probably slipping in some other areas.
Write everything down. Keep it in a notebook that you keep at your desk or by your bed. Record your successes and update it regularly. Review your plan daily. Unless it becomes a part of your daily life, it won’t be effective. As you accomplish each “baby step,” you are that much closer to achieving your goals.
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Bill Manassero is the founder/top dog at “The Old Dawg’s REI Network,” a blog, newsletter, and podcast for seniors and retirees, that teaches the art of real estate investing. His personal real estate investing goal, which will be chronicled at olddawgsreinetwork.com, is to own/control 1,000 units/doors in the next 6 years. Prior to that, Bill and his family lived in Haiti for 11 years as missionaries serving orphaned, abandoned and at-risk children.