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The third law of money: Setting the ultimate personal goal

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You recently read a book on self help, attended a course on personal development or simply have a New Year’s resolution of making the best out of 2012. You’ve listed all the things that you have to do, a nice long list, one personal goal after the next. After all, that’s what they say right? You need to have goals to be successful.
 
With your list in place, you organise how best to start tackling things, placing all your activities into categories, like friends, health, money, new job etc. Friends you have to see, your new gym programme, that promotion you’ve eyed out or that new job your friend told you about. Ready, set, go!
 
Is it as easy as this? Will simply writing a few pointers on a piece of paper motivate you to succeed? Well, in my experience, instead of making life easier, it complicated it immensely!
 
Unfortunately, having many personal goals can actually confuse one. And you’ll run out of time very quickly. What should you focus on first? How much time do you dedicate to each goal, and when do you call it quits? It can get pretty disorganised!
 
Here’s why it was so difficult for me.
 
About two years ago, I wrote down 12 goals on a piece of paper and pinned it up on my notice board. Everything from buying a new house, expanding my property business, starting a family, making more money to getting my new online business up and running.  
 
The idea was to complete everything in one year! Challenging? Yes! Realistic? Not quite. After almost half a year I gave up on my list of goals. With all the things I had to do, I eventually lost focus.
 
But what really killed the project were my emotions, specifically that little gut-wrenching feeling of failure. When I found myself going round in circles, I did the best thing I could’ve. I tossed my list of goals into the garbage and started from scratch.
 
The truth is goal setting must be as simple as possible. And that means having only one personal goal. Yup, one life goal, however it must be challenging, it must be realistic and it must be BIG.
 
The following three steps willhelp you reorganise your thinking and get you back on track to creating your ideal lifestyle:
 
Step 1: Identify your big personal goal
 
Envision how your life will look. What will you be doing in five, ten or twenty years from today? Are you working for a boss, do you own your own business, are you travelling the world. Be specific.
 
What is most important to you: financial freedom, visiting each continent, owning a four bedroom house and seaside apartment or having a big family?
 
Now for the all important question: How badly do you want your goal to become reality? This is the perfect goal worth pursuing. Something that adds purpose or creates meaning in your life, something that gives life to your God-given talents. Without energy, goals will remain ideas.
 
Once you’ve identified your goal, write it down and put it somewhere you can see it every day. One great tip I picked up from Robert Shemin is to own a wealth check. There are four components. Here’s my very first wealth check:
  • [Date]: When would you like to be financially free? My date: On my 37th birthday.  
  • [Amount]: How much passive income would you like to earn each month at age 37? My amount: R100000 (~$12500).
  • [Services]: What service(s) will you render to enable your goal. You have to give before you get. My service: teaching people how to build passive income businesses.
  • [Pledge]: Sign your wealth check and place it in your wallet. Your signature is your pledge. You must make good on it. on your goal.
Step 2: Select the path you will take to reach your goal
 
This relates directly to the third component in your wealth check. It’s your mission statement. How will you make the world a better place? What product will you sell? What service will you render?
 
How will you do it, as an employee or as a business owner? Will it be as an intrapreneur, investing in property or selling one of your own products?
 
This may sound like something out of ‘The Secret’, but your path must support your goal. It doesn’t make sense to want $10000 passive income every month if you only plan on working behind a till in your boss’s candy store. However, a sensible path may be to own a candy store franchise. You need to be realistic.
 
Step 3: Plan your journey
 
Don’t just plan. Decide what activities you have to do every day to take you to your goal. What tasks do you need to accomplish to achieve your ideal lifestyle?
 
The best thing to do is write them down and assign dates to them. Timelines will keep you focused and accountable. Ideally, your to-do list must cover work activities for the next three months.
 
Once a certain task has been completed, cross it out and move onto the next one. To keep you on track, you must monitor the number of tasks you complete in each month or week.
 
The one thing I learnt is not to get too stressed out or discouraged when you fall behind in your work. If you miss one, prioritise it for the next day and get it done. Also, don’t forget to celebrate your successes and progress. This will keep you motivated.
 
Keep at it and don’t forget about what you’re working towards, your ultimate personal goal.  
 
All the best! 
     

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