Or, let’s put it another way. Are you reactive or proactive. What I mean by this is, does life keep on throwing wobblies which you have to sort out in-between trying to sort out the big picture? Or do you plan, on a regular basis for ways of dealing with any wobbly that might crop up, so you can spend more time on the big picture?
Goals are a kind of plan. There are several types of goals but here I want to deal with the goals you need to plan your entire life on.
And, these have to be written goals. But, before I go into this more deeply, let me try and describe how helpful goals can be.
Imagine leaving home, getting in your car to drive to “Much Binding-in-the-Marsh”. You couldn’t be bothered to bring your map, your SatNav is on the blink and you drive, and drive, and drive. Eventually you return home, never getting within a hundred miles of your destination. The SatNav gets repaired and, next time, you take a road map for backup. Question: Will you get to your destination this time?
Of course you will, and written life goals are just that. A map to guide you on your life’s journey. You won’t make it without one!
There are many ways of dealing with Goals. I have listened to many experts’ opinion, including “Anthony Robbins” and “Zig Zigler” and have come up with a simplified but powerful method which should be easy for anyone to adopt, no matter their age. Naturally the earlier you start to do this, the better off you will be on retirement.
The most important thing to do before you start, is to enter into your computer diary, a recurring task that comes up every month. Call this “Update my written life goals” Do it as I have suggested as you may, as time goes on, develop other goals for specific purposes.
Now discuss with your spouse, parent or mentor (but someone who knows you well) whether you are the type of person who would benefit by retiring early, or would get more out of life if you worked on. After this, decide on a retirement age. This is where we will set our life goals for.
Whilst you are discussing the age of retirement, think also whether you are a person who measures their success by material considerations, or the esteem of your peers or perhaps true knowledge?
Whatever it is, you need to firm up in your mind exactly what you want in life before you start. Incidentally, if you get this far and no further, you will have firmed up something of importance.
Now, take a sheet of paper and put the age of retirement at the top. 50, 55, 60, 65, 70, whatever you have decided.
Underneath, leave room for a short paragraph, and then add diminishing numbers in five year intervals – each with room for a paragraph. When you get to the five year division above your present age, carry on but with one year divisions.
Look at the following example for someone of 26 who wants to retire at 60.
As you can see, you should be able to keep it onto one sheet of paper.
When you first do this, be wild with your dreams. Don’t hold back. Practicalities will come into this but not for the first few months. The idea is to be as wild as possible for month 1. On month 2, as you update the sheet, a little practicality will enter into things, as will it with month 3 and so on. It will not settle down until month 10, 11 or 12. Then after the first year it will have firmed down into something practical.
Revising it each month is important. The revision is of secondary importance. But looking at it and refocussing on it, is of primary importance.
Asking you to look at it every month is my way of making a task acceptable. However, the successful look more often.
I know of one successful businessman who looks at it every morning when he wakes up. And, his ToDo list has a horizontal line half way down. Everything he has to do that fit in with his goals go above the line, and everything he doesn’t goes before the line. Guess which items get done first? He retired well under fifty, and swans around the world enjoying himself. Even now with interest at 2%!