I recently conducted surveys with the self-made rich and found that the more financially successful you are, the greater the likelihood that you've set personal financial goals to help you achieve that success.
The data also shows that highly successful entrepreneurs are about three times as likely as ordinary people to write down their goals as a way of motivating themselves to keep achieving.
As the saying goes, "Nothing measured, nothing managed." If you don't set down your financial goals in plain black-and-white, how do you expect to reach them?
Take 10 or 15 minutes to answer these five simple goal-setting questions and you can set a fresh new course for wealth-building in the new year:
1. "Where do I want to be in 2023?"
Remember 2003? If you're like me, it seems like just yesterday. The next 10 years will fly by even faster, so now's the time to figure out exactly what you want for yourself and your family when you get there. Whatever net worth goal you choose, staying mindful of that specific number is guaranteed to help you make smarter choices about your partners, customers, and projects in the coming months. Bet on it.
Take out a lined sheet of paper. On the very top line, write "2023" followed by the net worth number you want to attain on January 1, 2023.
2. "What are my annual income goals for the next five years?"
With your net worth goal set for 2023, it's not so hard to figure out how much money you'll need to start socking away in the next five years if you really want to get there. Ask yourself what income you'll need to achieve in each of the next five years to put yourself in position to reach your 2023 goal.
On the line below "2023," write "2017" and then on the next four lines below, list down to 2013. Beside each year, write down your target annual income for that year, and your target average monthly income for the year.
3. "What are my monthly goals for 2013?"
Now you've got your work for the next 12 months. A set of interim income goals for each month will help you be clear about your priorities right away. That's because now you can see, maybe for the first time ever, the direct cause-and-effect relationship between what you choose to do this month and what you're building toward 10 years from now.
On the next 12 lines down the page, starting with "D" for December, count down the initials of the next twelve months: "D, N, O, S, A, J, J, M, A, M, F, J." Then put your magic monthly number next to each initial.
4. "Where can I post my goals so I don't lose sight of them?"
Some of you are lucky enough to attain your dreams without giving much thought to your goals, but most know that the obligations of daily life will always conspire to distract you from the prize. So if you really want to achieve the 18 important benchmarks you've just committed to paper, make sure you don't put them away, and forget about them.
What do you have posted on the wall at eye level above your workstation? Whatever it is, even if it's a picture of your family, move it nine inches to the left, and fill that empty space with your goal sheet!
5. "How can I keep raising my game throughout 2013?"
Here's a New Year's resolution that might prove to be the most valuable one you've ever made. Resolve to celebrate every great new deal you close this year by redoing this 10-minute exercise. Every time your business takes a leap forward, every time you find that you've exceeded your monthly goal, create a new map of your goals, for next month and the next decade.
Write "Resolve, Review, and Revise" at the bottom of your sheet. Each time you write up a new goal sheet, keep lifting your vision of what you can achieve in the coming months. There's no telling just how happy 2013 will be!