Introduction: Setting goals is basically putting your dreams down on paper. The bigger the dreams, the further you will go. You may not reach the goal, but the goal will cause you to focus on progressing further than you are today. The paths may be altered as you go, the tools you use may change, and even those distant goals might change as you proceed in creative ways. Developing goals should not be a drudgery, but an exciting procedure. It's like planning a vacation. Choosing a route, picking the hotel, looking at maps and fun things to do along the way are an experience of creative discovery. If not, who'd bother?
But first you have to have a dream. For some, dreams are a part of life. Some people can remain planted firmly on the ground, yet move along with their heads in the clouds, while others live totally in the clouds. For others, dreaming is not in their repertoire. They grew up learning to accept what they are, what they have, and never risking a rupture in the status quo. People are different. Where ever you fit into this concept of dreams, you don't have to stay there. If you've always been afraid to have big dreams, you should examine why. Maybe you just never considered dreaming big, because you have no experience around people who do. Possibly you have a huge fear of risk or of new experiences.
Whatever your experience or your comfort zone is, you can change by developing the mindset of a millionaire, or you might think of it as the mindset of someone who wants something beyond their current reach. If you are happy, fulfilled, and content where you are, then you have reached your nirvana, your peace in life, and you are already living your dreams. If not, then in this article you will figure out how to hop on the train that will take you there.
It all begins with strategic thinking. Setting goals, dreaming, and building a plan to reach those dreams is based in passion, mindset, and focus. You've found your passion and built the dream on it. Now is the time to create the mind of one who wants to live in that dream, develop the focus to see the various paths to the dream, and work hard to make progress to that dream. Once you have a goal, and develop the right mindset, then you are ready to focus on reaching those goals.
Reaching your main goal requires you to set up objectives or short-term goals. By accomplishing short-term goals, you will have concrete proof that you are progressing. Short-term goals are the objectives by which you will reach the ultimate goal. By the way, most people as they approach the reality of meeting their main goal, boost that goal to something more -- a new dream.
This article is about learning to break down that target goal -- the one in the clouds -- into smaller chunks that you can wrap your head around and give you the reality that you can get to that pie in the sky.
The Relationship Between Strategic Planning and Goal Setting: After you have developed the mindset of a millionaire, and you are ready to do some strategic planning, remember that this stage of your work is constantly in progress, and needs to re-evaluated and changed as your creative thinking blooms. Your mind, if you work at it, will increasingly take you from dull concrete ideas, up the ladder to ideas that you will spread across boundaries, find application in many areas, and change lives all the while building your assets.
Though we live in the technology age, because you have to turn on a computer, click to get to your work or reading material, you might prefer to use large chart paper for goal planning, setting your objectives and marking paths. You can tape the paper on the wall so it is available even if you wake up with an idea. It is important that you never let any idea fall by the wayside. It may be the one that breaks through and makes the most money. Also if your goal chart is up on the wall, you will constantly have it in your mind. As you study ideas on line, cook dinner, listen to an opera, or tinker in your garage, you will never be far from your main focus in life.
With that in mind, and only after you have rid your life of uncharacteristic qualities for a millionaire lifestyle, have spent time to get your mindset in the right direction, spent time studying information, found a mentor, and talked to friends or family about your plans, get your chart paper and markers out. In a big circle either in the center of the paper or at the top write your big dream. Keep it simple. I want to make a million dollars is better than: I want to make a million, go to France, and buy a boat. If you make million, you can do those other things. For now keep it simple.
Now write down those things that you think you must do to get you there. Put them either around the center, or below where you wrote the dream at the top of the paper. Circle each on in the same color, but not the color that you used to circled the big goal. This is important. Using color makes it easy for your mind to see the flow. It will take the confusion and keep your focus on the big idea. I will remind you again, to not engage in this activity if you have not worked on your characteristics and mindset. If you do, you will be limiting yourself.
Take a big breath and remind yourself that this is not carved into stone, and it is a working and fluid plan. At any time, you can rip it off the wall and begin again. When you do things like that, it means your mind is working creatively and not allowing you to go in default mode. You are practicing the new thinking that you want to take hold. Don't block it off. You are setting your goals, both long-term and short-term, or you can think of it as setting a goal with objectives you will pursue to reach the goal. Think in a way that will work for you. You have set the goals and they will guide your strategic planning.
The Plan: At any time, you can change any of your goals. If you are thinking strategically, you will find yourself doing just that. Don't look at changes as a problem, but as an opportunity to broaden your thinking about your business. Hopefully, as you plan, you will begin to see new avenues, new ideas, and new ways to go about your affairs.
You have the large piece of chart paper with a big goal circled. Below, or around, that goal, you have listed the steps or things you need to accomplish to get you to that big goal. Those might be to refine a product, develop a product, and brainstorm ideas for a product or service. They might also include meeting with supporters, a mentor, cleaning out the garage or spare room to have a place to work, or visit a local manufacturer to get an understanding about how it works. Don't be afraid to put down a visit to China to compare how their manufacturing works, or a visit to a head of a corporation that makes similar products to learn from him. Put down things you need to learn -- for example: building a website, setting up an online store, learning to use social media, finding places to market online, and getting a handle on the competition. You will need to find out about filing for a patent, the cost of material, visit stores to see what retail price similar items are going for, and read sites where people make comments about similar products. They are everywhere, and you will see the good and bad. This is important. Write as many things as you can think of, and add to as you progress and learn more. You will find that the more you learn, the more you will see that you don't know.
Take pencil now and number these in the order that you currently see they should be accomplished. Using a pencil will help when you decide to change the order. You can also move the information to a new chart. It is good to leave all ideas hanging around, though, because you may go back and rethink your changes and decide some of the ideas you crossed off should be back on the list. This process should take you many days, or even weeks; however, you can go ahead and focus on the first short-term goal. As you work on that, you will continually reassess and re-evaluate your strategic plan. The numbering of your objectives is your path. Don't be afraid to veer off the path in another direction. If you keep it all up in front of you, you will see how the different directions intersect or move parallel. In other words, as you study other companies online, you might also be cleaning out the garage. It is okay to have parallel paths. Your strategic movement will be dictated by your strategic thinking.
Plan to stop every few days, or even each day, and reflect, think, and -- most importantly -- give yourself time to allow your mind to digest all the new information you will be receiving. Make sure you are opening your mind each day by paying attention to the way the brain works and using that knowledge brain research has produced to make you think with more creativity and diversity. It will make your business richer with depth, and help you to achieve your goals on a more solid foundation.
If anyone tries to tell you to get your plan set and stick to it, they are not working with the millionaire mindset, so ignore them. Ignore them politely of course. You will fall into the millionaire habits and characteristics that will keep you focused, progressing, and discovering success.
Set the Dates: Now that your plan is up and working, you have to do something that is very difficult for most people. If you don't do this, you simply aren't serious. You have to write down goal dates. When do you want to arrive? Of course, your answer is today, but you have to use some common sense. Look at the short-term goals and decide, starting with number one, a goal date to accomplish it. Then go to number two, and so on. Some short-term goals will have the same date, because they will be on parallel paths. After you get through the many short-term goals, you will have an idea about when you will reach the main long-term goal -- or your million. If this date is not acceptable to you, work backwards and decide which of the objectives you can meet faster, then reset the dates. You can see that these dates should be written in pencil, because new goals will turn up and some will be accomplished faster than anticipated, so dates get changed. Be sure to put a big X on every goal as it is accomplished.
Potholes in the Road: Along the paths that you walk in this mission, you will meet storms and walls and difficult people. You must be prepared for these by thinking strategically and putting into your plan some goals that will help you move through them. One of these goals might be taking a class on anger management, getting physically healthy and fit, or developing a positive attitude. You might need to bone up on your social skills, find different friends, or cut your spending.
You should be ready and alert to those things that you have been working to change in your life, the negative attitudes of others, and the difficulty of the task. You will not, however, be prepared for everything. There will be those potholes in the road that appear instantly and without warning. You cannot safely avoid taking a direct hit and ruining your tire, or other important and expensive parts. What happens when that happens? One of your short-term goals is to set up a business account at a bank where you can stash every penny you find toward money for just this purpose. You may have to live more frugally. Find a cheaper apartment, stop spending money, ride a bike instead of using a car, shop at a thrift store, learn to sew, go to discount groceries, and stop eating out. Decline invitations to expensive events, stop donations to everyone's niece's charity, and do not join clubs, services, or subscribe to anything, unless it is free. Know what is necessary for survival and discipline yourself. Tell people you are working to save a million dollars and that if they want to contribute you are open to their help. This will create a fun way to inform people of your plans and allow them to feel okay with their own life goals. You will probably set a new trend among those around you and inspire new ideas to live cheaply.
Another way to respond to potholes is to spend some time thinking about the worst things that could happen, write them down, and write down beside them what you think you will do. Just by thinking through things that probably won't happen, but could, you will be more prepared to survive the damage. Some damage will be emotional, not financial. Your boyfriend might decide he doesn't like the change in you. Good to know before you become a millionaire. You might decide to move to a part of the world where you can work more effectively, and where you know no one. You might decide you need to change jobs, or give up a job that takes too much time away from your up and coming business.
You do want to make a list of all the resources available to you in your community that cost nothing. Be prepared. You might actually be very surprised at what you find. Your local library is one resource that opens up many more. They have free reading material, free online resources, free Internet, and often free classes or events. That's just the tip of the iceberg.
Summary: When setting goals and developing your plan of action to accomplish those goals, it is important to keep that plan out where it is easily available to you at all times of the night and day. It serves several purposes. It makes it easier to access when you want to jot down a new idea. It keeps your focus on the goals and the plan, and it helps you to see the path as a work in progress, allowing your mind to maintain the creative spirit of the process.
There are three main parts to goal setting. One is to decide on a simplified big goal. Next is to list all the things that are between you and that big goal. Those are the short-term goals or the objectives you must meet to attain the target goal. The third part is to number them in the order that you think they should be accomplished, making parallel paths for some. This also includes setting dates for the accomplishments. This is the most trying part, but necessary. If you don't set a deadline, you will find yourself not completing the short-term goals, which implies never reaching your big goal.
Example: Trenton decides he wants to make a million by the time he is 30, or 10 years from now. He has no idea how he wants to get there, so he simply starts by developing the characteristics for a millionaire mindset, and characteristics that will help him be successful. He sees himself develop discipline in all areas of his life, he is getting healthy and fit, and he is learning. His focus improves, and when he turns 22, he recognizes he has a passion for working with people. He searches for careers and jobs that might be good for him. He studies to find something that will develop some of the skills he has in math and mechanics that could lead toward becoming an entrepreneur. He decides to pursue the restaurant business in fast food. This leads him to look at the cost of licensing into a brand, or creating his own. He discovers the idea of food trucks in big cities, so finds out what foods in what cities are the biggest sellers.
He is ready to start his strategic thinking, so he hikes into the woods and camps for a week. Upon his return he feels ready to set his goals and make a plan.
1. A third of all millionaires today still worry about having enough to retire.
2. Only a small percent of millionaires do not continue to save money.
3. 15 percent have no degree, 85 percent have some degree, and 31 percent have advanced degrees.
4. 57 percent shop at Lowes, Home Depot, Target, and Costco.
5. 30 percent struggled in their youth.
6. Most invest in value stocks with little overhead, not fast growth or expensive investments.
7. Most millionaires do not live like millionaires, though some do flaunt their wealth.
8. A million dollars does not really go very far today.