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How to Set Goals like John Kennedy

moon_footprint"Houston, Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed." ~ Neil Armstrong

Today we’re celebrating one of the biggest successes of all time. Forty years ago today, on July 20, 1969, three men – Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins – landed a spacecraft on the moon for the first time.

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They had launched their mission 4 days earlier, flying 203,000 miles to get there.

About six-and-a-half hours after they landed, with one-sixth of the people in the world tuned in to watch, Neil Armstrong descended down the ladder of the lunar space module. As he became the first person to walk on the surface of the moon, he uttered those famous words:

That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” 

We never get tired of hearing those words. It gives us goose bumps. They are so inspiring.

But we have to remember that it didn’t just happen. It began as a bigg goal over eight years before.

On May 25, 1961, President John F. Kennedy said:

I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth.” 
 

How to set goals like President Kennedy

President Kennedy’s goal was very well-stated. It was a SMART goal. SMART is an acronym for:

Specific
Measurable
Action-Oriented
Realistic
Time- and Resource-Constrained

Let’s look at each of these five components of a well-stated goal using President Kennedy’s goal as an example.

Specific
President Kennedy said that we were going to do two things:

  • land a man on the moon
  • return him safely to earth

You can’t get much more specific than that. In this case, it may be easier to think about what wouldn’t be specific. He could have said, “We’re going to land a man somewhere in space.” That’s not specific. He clearly articulated the destination.

Measurable
President Kennedy’s goal was clearly measurable. We would certainly know if a man had landed on the moon. We could certainly tell if he returned safely to earth.

Note, though, that landing on the moon and then not being able to get back safely would have meant the goal was not reached.

Let’s bring this point on being measurable safely back to earth. Here’s an example of a goal that is not measurable:

“I’m going to increase my income next year.”

What does that mean? If you increase it by $1, did you really accomplish what you set out to do? A well-stated goal would be:

“I’m going to increase my income by 5% next year.
“I’m going to increase my income by $2,000 next year.”

Now you’ll know if you accomplish what you set out to do.

Action-oriented
When President Kennedy called for this mission to send man to the moon [PDF], he made clear that it would take a tremendous commitment by the entire nation to reach this goal.

He called for innovation. He called for new money. He said it would take a concentrated effort for an extended period of time. But it would get done.

And get done it did. In a similar vein – with our personal goals or the goals we set for our businesses – we must commit to taking the necessary steps to achieve the goal.

Realistic

President Kennedy said, “I believe we have all the resources and talent necessary.” 

Your goals can and should be bigg goals. They should stretch you beyond anything you’ve ever accomplished before. But they have to be realistic.

Otherwise, they don’t lead to bigg success. They only lead to discouragement.

Time- and Resource-constrained

This one’s easy. President Kennedy said we would accomplish this goal by the end of the decade. It was 1961. The goal was reached July 20, 1969.

He made it clear that resources would have to be diverted from other good causes if this goal was to be reached.

When you set your goals, be sure to give yourself a due date. When will you accomplish this goal? What resources will be required to do it? Do you have them?

Goal-setting is not goal-getting

John F. Kennedy was able to reduce all of this into a simple goal statement of 31 powerful words that set this course of events into action.

Because he wasn’t just a bigg goal-setter, he was a bigg goal-getter.

Setting goals is just the first step in that process. We have a great tool – the Bigg Goal-Getter’s Workbook – which takes you through the entire six step process to put goal-setting and goal-getting to work for you. It’s free when you subscribe to our free newsletter, The Bigg Success Weekly

Just one final point:

Good goals have a reason behind them. They serve a bigger purpose. Every goal should lead you closer to the bigg success of which you dream. So we’ll close with John F. Kennedy himself explaining why sending a man to the moon was so important:

We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too.
 

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(Image and quotes in today's post from NASA)

This Word Helps You Keep Your Resolutions

no We found a list of the thirteen most popular New Year’s resolutions. It’s a great page full of links to tips on how to keep them.

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The list itself doesn’t contain any real surprises:

  • lose weight
  • manage debt
  • save money
  • get a better job
  • get fit
  • eat right
  • get a better education
  • drink less alcohol
  • quit smoking now
  • reduce stress overall
  • reduce stress at work
  • take a trip
  • volunteer to help others

As we discussed this list, we realized that there is one word that can often make all the difference in keeping our resolutions.

That word is … No!

You can’t keep putting yourself, or your goals, on the back burner and expect anything to change. You have to say, “No!”

Say no to everything that doesn’t help you achieve your goals.

Say no and get fit

For example, assume your resolution is to “Get fit.” Depending on your commute to your preferred fitness center, it will take at least an hour every time you work out.

But it’s really important to you so you’re going to make time to do it.

Then a co-worker or a friend asks you to serve on a committee or join a club that has weekly meetings. Just say No!

Your “No” doesn’t have to be forever. It just has to be for right now while you fit (pun intended) exercise in your daily routine. Once you’ve made it a habit, then you can consider something else.

Say no and get out of debt

Another common resolution is to “Manage debt.” Of course, the first step is to stop getting further in debt.

Since this is really important to you, you’ll find ways to control your spending.

Two common things that hurt our budgets are major purchases and daily decisions. Get in the habit of saying no to things you don’t need so you stop getting further in debt and save money to pay your debt down.

No – it’s a negative word that will positively help you reach your goals!

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Would you like help setting strong, achievable goals? Get our FREE Goal Planning Workbook when you subscribe to our FREE weekly newsletter. That’s something you’ll want to say “Yes” to!

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We really appreciate you checking in on us today. Next week, we’ll look at what’s hot in 2009. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

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Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file:
http://media.libsyn.com/media/biggsuccess/00300-010208.mp3

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Don’t Just Make New Year’s Resolutions, Get Them

How Do You Define Success?

(Image in today's post by Cieleke)

Keep Your Resolutions In Your Face

new_year Here we are in a New Year with many of us clinging tight to our New Year’s resolutions. We found a poem by Herbert Kaufman that is perfect for this time of year:

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You are the man who used to boast
That you’d achieve the uttermost,
Some day.

You are the man who used to boast
That you’d achieve the uttermost,
Some day.

You merely wished a show,
To demonstrate how much you know
And prove the distance you can go …

Another year we’ve just passed through.
What new ideas came to you?
How many big things did you do?

Time … left twelve fresh months in your care
How many of them did you share
With opportunity and dare
Again where you so often missed?

We do not find you on the list of Makers Good.
Explain the fact!
Ah no, ‘twas not the chance you lacked!
As usual – you failed to act!

A putdown or a kick in the seat?

It sounds kind of negative doesn’t it? We shouldn’t see it that way. We should view it as a kick in the seat. If you feel like you missed out on some opportunities this year, ask yourself why. Is it because you failed to act?

We all begin each year with a precious inventory of time. It’s up to us to make the most of it before it’s gone. Many people set New Year’s resolutions. Most soon forget them.

Bigg goal-getters understand that setting bigg goals for yourself isn’t good enough. It’s may be only one percent of being able to live the life you want. You have to take action!

Keep your resolutions in your face to keep your resolutions

We have a friend who has a great method to make sure he keeps his resolutions top-of-mind. He writes three or four goals for the upcoming year on a small card.

He laminates three copies of that card. He tapes one on his bathroom mirror so he sees his list every morning when he’s shaving. He puts another on the rear-view mirror in his car so he remains conscious of his goals while he’s driving around. He keeps the third copy in his billfold so he says it every time he pulls out his wallet.

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georgePlease note: Just like your insurance broker, we’re not advising you to place a copy on your rear-view mirror.

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marylynn
But it’s what our friend does, so we felt obligated to report it to you!

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He told us that he almost always reached the goals he has on this laminated. Every year, he has other goals but he said he almost never reaches them. Keeping these goals in his face helps keep them top-of-mind which helps him keep these resolutions.

We all have many things that demand our attention. It’s easy for our goals to fall by the wayside. The secret is …

Keep a short list of goals,
put them in writing, and
keep them in your face!

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We have a great resource to help you set goals – our Goal Planning Workbook. It’s free when you subscribe to the Bigg Success Weekly
our free weekly e-newsletter.

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Thanks so much for stopping by to read our post. Join us next time when we’ll look at the one word that makes a bigg difference in keeping your New Year’s resolutions. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

Subscribe to The Bigg Success Show in iTunes. 

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Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file:
http://media.libsyn.com/media/biggsuccess/00299-010109.mp3

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Don’t Just Make New Year’s Resolutions, Get Them

How Do You Define Success?

3 Questions for a Brighter Future

questions You and you alone create your future. You are the only person, place or thing with that power. With that being the case, it's up to you to create the future of your dreams.

One way to do that is to look back so you can look forward. Reflecting upon the past and pulling lessons away so your future is bigger and brighter. With the New Year upon us, now is a great time to review last year so next year lives up to its promise for you.

There's a simple three-stage framework for performing this exercise. It involves asking yourself three questions:

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What?

Start with the actual events of this year. What happened? Describe major events in your life. As you record your answers, test your perceptions to make sure they reflect the reality of the situation. If it helps, pretend that you are a reporter objectively recording the facts of the event.

So what?

At this stage, you move from reporting to understanding, from logic to emotion. That's why it was so important to get the facts right in the first step. What did this experience mean to you? How did it make you feel? Why did you feel that way? What have you learned?

Now what?

The previous two questions lead to this one. How will you apply the lessons you learned? What specific actions will you take as a result of the events you've outlined?

These three simple questions serve as a great outline to review major events in your life and develop forward-thinking plans to be a bigg success.

Let’s look at a couple of examples, using events from 2008.

Example: Volatile stocks

What?
The stock market can be very volatile.

So what?
I can lose money if I don’t understand the risk and how to manage it.

Now what?
I will learn more about investing and asset allocation. I won’t invest money in stocks that I will need in the next ten years. I will pay closer attention to my quarterly reports to make sure I maintain the proper asset allocation given my age and goals.

Example: Layoffs

What?
Times are tough at work; layoffs are possible.

So what?
It makes me nervous. I think I could lose my job.

Now what?
I will look for ways to help my company save money. I will make sure my boss is aware of the projects I complete successfully. I will look for opportunities to add additional skills so I’m more competitive.

Solid goals

In our examples, the “Now what’s” are a little bit fuzzy. You really want to refine them to turn them into solid goals. For instance, looking at the second example, instead of saying “I will look for ways to help my company save money,” turn that into “I will find one way to save my company $X (you pick a relevant amount) in the next 30 days.”

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Would you like more help turning your thoughts into concrete goals? Get our FREE Goal-Setting Workbook when you subscribe to the Bigg Success Weekly – it’s FREE too!

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We really appreciate you taking the time to read our post today. Join us next time when we look at the most important people of 2008. We think you’ll be surprised at our choices! Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

Subscribe to The Bigg Success Show in iTunes. 

Subscribe to the Bigg Success feed.

Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file:
http://media.libsyn.com/media/biggsuccess/00297-123008.mp3

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One-Up Yourself for Bigg Success

(Image in today's post by nookiez)

One-Up Yourself for Bigg Success

one When the phrase “one-up” is used, it’s usually referring to the competition. We had an interesting discussion after working out recently.

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marylynnI was on the treadmill and noticed that I was running slower than others around me. I’m competitive but I just can’t sustain the higher speed that other people can.

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That led to today’s show topic … one-up yourself!

Think one percent better or one percent more. Self-improvement requires patience. A little bit of improvement over time makes a bigg difference.

1% a week leads to a 50% improvement

For example, let’s say you walk two miles in thirty minutes. If you can just do one percent more the next time out, you would walk 2.02 miles in thirty minutes or you might stick with the two miles and plan to do it in 29 minutes and 40 seconds. Either way, it’s a one percent improvement. If you do that every week, over the course of the year, you would have improved over fifty percent!

It’s easy to get discouraged if we don’t see results right away. We’re bigg goal-getters so we always shoot high. However, shooting too high is a recipe for de-motivation. Take baby steps rather than a leap that you can’t sustain!

There are five steps to one-up yourself:

Find the baseline. Measure where you are now so you compete only with yourself, not others. It doesn’t matter what that point is; it’s just important to know it because it’s your starting point.

Set your initial one-up goal. You may want to go faster or longer. Are you in a sprint or a marathon? Are you trying to improve quantity or quality?

Determine the time frame. Do you want to improve one percent every time, each week or some other period? Specify a time frame for your incremental improvement.

How will achieve it? What specific activity will get you that extra 1%? Let’s look at an example, using a savings goal:

Assume you have a base line, how much you’re saving now, of $500 a month. You want to save more money in the same time (each month). In other words, you want to go “faster.” So next month, you plan to save $505 next month.

Okay, so you want to save $5 more next month. How will you do it? You decide that you’ll pack your lunch one more day.

See how easy that was!

As you do it, analyze your results. If you hit your one-up goal, congratulate yourself. But then set your next one-up goal and go get it.

If you didn’t hit your goal, analyze why. Then try, try again. Don’t get down on yourself for missing your goal one time. You’ll one-up yourself next time!

One-up leads to bigg success

There are things in our lives that are sprints; others are marathons. Set your goals accordingly and one-up yourself for bigg success!

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Did you know that you can get our free Bigg Goal-Getters Workbook
when you
Subscribe to the Bigg Success Weekly you'll get the
tips and tools you need to be a bigg success! And it’s FREE too!

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We thank you so much for spending your time reading our post today. New research shows that there is a fountain of youth. Join us next time when we tell you where to find it. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

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Pages

Hot Businesses in 2009

By Bigg Success Staff
12-17-08

2009_hot

It’s not easy to succeed in your own business even in good times. So why would anyone consider starting a business now?

You might be surprised to know that many people think it is a good idea. They learn they can’t easily replace the income earned from a lost job and decide to try their hand at self-employment. In addition, after losing a job, a person might want to feel a stronger sense of control over his or her own life. Being your own boss may be the answer.

Whether you’re considering starting your first business or adding to your empire, it pays to think about what will be hot in the near future. Here are our picks for the best businesses to be involved in for 2009:

Repairs

Consumers and businesses are expected to cut back on their major purchases in 2009. So rather than replace their old do-hickey, they will repair that old do-hickey. This will create tremendous opportunities for repair businesses.

As an example, shoe repair shops are reporting incredible demand. This is a highly fragmented industry with lots of possibilities. How about a service that picks up and delivers shoes that need to be repaired? A good place to start your investigation would be the Shoe Service Institute of America

Reports are that more people are staying home more often. So home repairs of any kind should do well in the coming year since people will be home to see, hear, or smell the problems they may not notice in good times. For example, handyman services were booming even before the recent financial storm. They are expected to continue to thrive in the current economy.

These are just two examples of repair businesses that are likely to thrive in 2009. It is impossible to list all of the possibilities. So think about your own repair skills or find a partner who can do the repairs while you run the business. Then research the industry to see if the service you’re thinking about is experiencing growth right now.

Used

Consumers and businesses are also expected to purchase “used” more often in 2009. In fact, used may become chic in a world where frugality is a status symbol. So look for opportunities in industries that offer lower-priced second-hand products rather than something new.

If you have a flair for fashion, consider starting a resale clothing business. There are many possibilities even within this category. In most cases, these businesses are racking up sales almost as fast as they can get clothes on the rack. 

Beyond clothes, there are many more businesses that sell second-hand items that are reporting boom times. From books to office furniture, if there’s been demand for new products in the past, there is probably demand for used items now.

Think about what you like to buy and then do some research to see where it’s being offered second-hand. Don’t be discouraged if you see some competition. Instead, think about what you could do differently (and better).

Seniors

The baby boom is starting to retire. This will create demands for products and services for seniors like never seen before. Many of these businesses will thrive in spite of economic conditions.

Start a senior service business to and help seniors do things that they don’t know how to do, don’t want to do, or can’t do. There are a number of ways to service this large and growing market including starting a(n):

  • adult day-care center
  • relocation service
  • home health-care service
  • concierge service

You could also think about combining opportunities. By this we mean, you could target seniors with your new repair business or think about used items that would be useful to seniors.

Free agency

Here’s something to ponder – if you have a job, you essentially have one customer. What kind of security does that offer? We think it’s possible to have freedom with security.

The overwhelming majority of small businesses are micro-businesses, often consisting of a single person. We think more people will continue jumping on this free agency bandwagon in the years ahead.

So instead of going for a new job, why not try to land two customers that pay you what you would expect to earn from a single job? Take that special skill you have and market yourself as a specialist rather than an employee.

Like any business, it’s usually not easy to get started. While start-up costs can be minimal, you still need the financial resources to weather times with little income or you can start part-time. However, many people find the lifestyle of a free agent very rewarding.

Consider a franchise

Franchisors often state that, when layoffs occur, they get more prospective franchise buyers. So expect franchise sales to do well in the coming year. Another piece of good news is that many franchisors will be more likely to help with the upfront financing, directly or indirectly, in light of the credit markets.

In addition to that, when you think of investment alternatives (e.g. stocks, real estate), a franchise may seem like a good option. Many people may prefer to invest in something over which they feel they have more control after the volatility of the last year. 

Many franchisors offer a proven business model. They are often less risky than a new franchise system. However, there may be more opportunity in a new franchise system. You have to determine what is best for you. Start by learning how to buy a franchise.

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Beware of scams

One word of warning – in tough economic times, scam operators come out in full force. Kiplinger has a great quiz that tests your ability to spot a scam. They present you with eight business opportunities, some which are legitimate and some which aren’t. See how you do!

Then apply this to the real world. With any opportunity you consider, trust your own instincts and do your own research. Prove to yourself that it is the right opportunity for you and the right time for the opportunity.

Hear today's lesson and laugh on The Bigg Success Show. 

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(Image in this article by -MISHA)

Success Breeds Bigg Success

By Bigg Success Staff
04-30-08

Wynn Bigg Today

mother_foal 

The value of a horse that wins the Kentucky Derby rises immediately and immensely. That’s because they’ll be in great demand for breeding. Being the direct descendant of a Derby winner is presumed to be a leg up in winning the bigg race.

Success breeds success.

But there’s a more important way to think about this old saying. Think about how success is achieved in the first place – one success after another, one at a time.

In other words, we become a success by breaking down the bigg success we desire into a series of little successes.

As we achieve these little successes, we gain confidence and momentum to reach the next level of success. So we keep pushing on. Before you know it, we’ve succeeded bigg! That’s why we say …

Success breeds bigg success!

So how do you start your string of successes leading to bigg success?

Determine what bigg success means to you

Create a clear picture in your mind of the life you want. That’s your bigg success! Use all your senses to visualize it as if it has already happened. Write it down and read it twice a day until it becomes etched in your mind’s eye.

Set achievable interim goals
You want your goals to be clearly defined. Many people have “fuzzy” goals. You want measurable goals with a deadline. These goals should stretch you, but not too far. As you reach each goal, you’ll gain confidence and skills to reach the next one. That’s success breeding bigg success!

Get the Goal-Getters Workbook, a step-by-step guide to setting clear goals.
It’s FREE when you sign up for The Bigg Success Weekly!

Be a goal-getter
It doesn’t do you any good to come up with goals, or even to write them down, unless you go and get them. You’re a goal-getter, not a goal-setter! Before you know it, you’ll be a bigg success!

Hear today's lesson and laugh on The Bigg Success Show. 

Subscribe to the Bigg Success feed.

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Rich Dad, Wise Son

By Bigg Success Staff
01-31-08

Timeless Principles

eyes_of_a_child_jpgHere’s a great story about a rich dad who wants to show his son the difference between rich people and poor people. But, in the end, it’s the rich dad who learns the lesson!

One of our Bigg Success Weekly subscribers sent this story our way. Bigg thanks, Richard!

With a little research, we believe this story is by Gradly. We send him a bigg round of applause!

Through the eyes of a child
“One day, the father of a very wealthy family took his son on a trip to the country with the express purpose of showing him how poor people live.

They spent a couple of days and nights on the farm of what would be considered a very poor family.

On their return from their trip, the father asked his son, ‘How was the trip?’

’It was great, Dad.’

‘Did you see how poor people live,’ the father asked.

‘Oh yeah,’ said the son.

‘So, tell me, what did you learn from the trip,’ asked the father.

The son answered:
‘I saw that we have one dog and they had four.’

‘We have a pool that reaches to the middle of our garden and they have a creek that has no end.’

’We have imported lanterns in our garden and they have the stars at night.’

‘Our patio reaches to the front yard and they have the whole horizon.’

‘We have a small piece of land to live on and they have fields that go beyond our sight.’

‘We have servants who serve us, but they serve others.’

‘We buy our food, but they grow theirs.’

‘We have walls around our property to protect us, they have friends to protect them.’

The boy’s father was speechless.

Then his son added, ‘Thanks Dad for showing me how poor we are.’”

Subscribe to the FREE Bigg Success Weekly newsletter for quick links to the very best articles, tips, and tools for your professional success and development. Sign up now and get the Bigg Goal-Setters Workbook. It’s FREE, too!

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to get your mojo going. Published every weekday, you’ll come away with a bigg tip or two, and maybe even a bigg laugh!

We develop our point-of-view from our experiences. Obviously, we want to learn from our experiences, but we need to be careful not to take away the wrong lessons.

Try looking at the world through the eyes of a child. Look at things as if you were seeing them for the first time. Be innocent again.

You just might like what you see and be more grateful for what you already have! That’s what the wise son taught his rich dad.

Find out when we post new articles. Subscribe to the Bigg Success Weekly.

Hear today's lesson and laugh on The Bigg Success Show. 

See more Timeless Principles

John Wooden’s Pyramid Of Success

W.Clement Stone’s Success System

Relationship Building Blocks

Life Goes On

Benjamin Franklin’s Thirteen Virtues

The Face In The Glass

How To Get Rich

Frank Bettger’s Thirteen Secrets To Success In Sales

How To Succeed The George Costanza Way 

(Image by jenn_jenn, CC 2.0)

6 Easy Steps To Financial Freedom

By Bigg Success Staff
01-17-08

Bigg On Money

dollar_sign_jpg

It’s easier than you might think to accumulate a nest egg. However, it’s becomes more difficult every day. That’s because time is on your side, when it comes to money.

Let’s say you want at least $1 million when you retire at 65. We know … you want to retire earlier than that. We’re glad to hear it! But keep reading our example so you understand the point. It’s important!

At 25, all you need to do is invest $10 a day to reach that goal. If you wait ten years to start, you’ll have to set aside $22 a day. So our point is …

Start today!

Here’s how to retire earlier – if you’re 25 and you want to retire at 55, just find $22 a day to invest. But no matter how old you are, get started right away!

In the above example, we assumed you could earn 8 percent on your investments. If you can earn more, you could retire earlier. But be careful – increased returns usually carry higher risks.

Before we get started on the steps, there’s one thing we want to talk about. It’s important that you have a well-defined goal. For example, our goal above was to accumulate $1 million.

Want some help writing a well-defined goal?

Our Bigg Goal-Setters Workbook is your answer!
It’s FREE when you subscribe to our FREE newsletter

At Bigg Success, we think about this way –

Your money makes money so you don’t have to.
Then you’re free to do what you want.

How much will that take for you? That’s your goal! Now, let’s talk about the six steps to get there.

#1 – Automatically pay yourself first.
Many people are confused by this concept. Of course, you pay yourself first, right? After all, your money is yours to do with as you please. However, they miss the point – at the end of the month, they have nothing left! Pay for your future just like you pay for every other bill.

Set up an automatic deduction from your paycheck or your bank account. People report that if they don’t see the money, they don’t miss it! This is the most critical step because it gets everything started. Don’t stop until you reach your goal.

#2 – Purchase with purpose.
We all make many spending choices every day. Do you really need that plasma TV now, or could you wait awhile? If you don’t have the cash, don’t spend it. Also, look at the annual effect of your daily decisions (e.g. coffee or lunch out every day).

Can you find a way to save an extra $10 every day? As we’ve already seen, that can turn into $1 million in 40 years. As you see your accounts grow, you’ll be inspired to keep going.

Keep your financial goals fixed clearly in your mind. Picture yourself free of all financial worries. That helps you make the best choices today. See our blog on The Marshmallow Test for more tips.

#3 – Own your own home.
We can make a good case for renting. Research shows that you’re better off “renting and investing” than owning your own home. However, most renters never get to the second half of that phrase.

That’s one of the reasons why the net worth of homeowners is so much greater than that of renters. Owning your own home forces you to save money. It’s very much related to the first step.

Don’t be “house-poor” – it’s not that good of an investment! Find a house that meets your needs. You can always trade up when you don’t have to worry about money anymore!

#4 – Pay off debt.
You’ve probably heard people say, “I want to buy a house because renting is just throwing money away.” Why are we so opposed to “throwing money away” to our landlord, but we think nothing of throwing it away to our banker or credit card company?

After all, the interest they charge is a rental fee on the money you’re using. There’s no difference! So pay off your debt so you stop paying interest.

Start with one obligation, like the one with the highest interest rate. Pay it off. Take the payment you’ve been making on that and add it to another one. Pay that one off. Eventually you’re debt-free! Don’t stop! Keep making those payments – to yourself! It will jump start your future! That’s another secret to reaching your goal early!

#5 – Invest wisely.
A lot of people don’t accept enough risk. If you invest too conservatively, it’s hard to reach your goal. There’s a basic financial principle – increased risk deserves increased rewards.

But here’s the secret – time takes away much of the risk. If you’re investing money that you don’t need for five years your risk is generally less than if you need it in one year.

Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. The easiest way to do this is to invest in a no-load mutual fund balanced for people in your age bracket. Don’t touch this money until you’ve reached your goal.

#6 – Prepare for the unexpected.
Here’s what you can expect – you will face some obstacles on the way to your financial freedom. Prepare for them. Make sure you’re insured properly, including disability insurance.

Stash away an emergency cash reserve. Most experts recommend that you have three to six months of living expenses in an account for unexpected events. If you have equity in your own home, you may be able to establish a home equity line-of-credit to cover these emergencies. Then you can invest the money you have kept in reserve.

You won’t get rich quick with these six steps. However, they will put you on the road to financial freedom. Enjoy the trip!

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