You and I have one shot at this. One trip around the track. Will you invest in yourself, or will you simply take what life gives you?
When we hit 40 or so, this reality begins to sink in. Sure, it’d be better if we came to this realization earlier, but better late than never.
Coming to the realization of our finite existence, how did you (or will you) respond? Did it hasten your thinking and doing? Or did it hasten your resignation?
I hastened my thinking and doing.
I took a harder look at myself and my future, and asked pointed questions like, “Is this the body you want to take with you into older age?”
We all have the capacity to learn and to change. One of our superpowers is our ability to decide how we’d like our futures to be, to make plans and to go about the work required to make them our reality. Or, we have the capacity to do nothing. To remain static.
You have choice.
How do you want your future to look?
Obviously, most things are out of our control. But many really important things are well within our control. You decide whether or not to move your body. You decide what you put in your mouth. You decide what you give your time and attention to. You decide how you spend your money.
You decide whether or not to invest in yourself. And that’s what I want to talk about today. If you’re interested in moving internationally towards the life you want, read on and I’ll share a four-step process for making it happen. If not, get lost.
Here’s what we’ll cover:
- Audit your life
- Decide what you want
- Invest in yourself
- Structure, thank self-discipline
Let’s get started.
Audit your life
The starting point for a successful life is accepting personal responsibility for it. You need to own your successes as well as your failures.
As I mentioned in the intro, when I turned 43, I asked myself, “Is this the body you want to take with you into older age?” My answer was, “No.” I recognize many things get harder as we get older. Certainly, physical fitness is one of those things. So I made the decision to change. I decided how I want my physical health to be. I put a plan together for achieving it, and I got to work.
And I did this with every aspect of my life. I audited my life, and I suggest you do the same.
Ask yourself these questions:
- Is this the body I want to take with me into older age?
- Is how I’m spending my mornings and evenings getting me closer to the life I want?
Is what I’m giving my time and attention to serving me?
- Is how I’m spending my money aligned with who I want to be and where I want to go?
- Is what I’m doing working?
- Is my current thinking serving me?
Be hard on yourself. I’m all about giving myself grace, but I’m also all about calling myself out on my BS.
Decide what you want
In order to get what you want, you need to know what you want. Put another way, the only way to live how you want, is to know how you want to live.
So what do you want?
If you can easily answer that, great! I’ve found it’s difficult for many people to get their arms/heads around that question, and halfway through trying to answer, they give up. This was true for me for a long time.
In service of helping you to do that, I invite you to go through our Goals course (it’s free). It will help you to gain clarity on what you truly want.
Short deadlines and high expectations.
You’re capable of a lot. In fact, I think you can do most anything you set your mind to. In terms of goal setting, think about what you want, and then think about what it will take to make it happen in the next three years.
Humans have a tendency to overestimate what we can accomplish in one year, and underestimate what we can get done in three. Can you lose 100 lbs in a year? Maybe. Can you lose it in three years? Most certainly
In fact, your life can be completely different three years from now. The first step is getting crystal clear on what you want.
Invest in yourself
Once you know what you want, it’s time to figure out how to make it happen.
Odds are, there will be new learning required, or some form of outside help needed. Sure, it’s possible you know how to eat right and exercise, but you’re just not doing it. It’s also possible what you think is true is not, and or you could greatly benefit from an outside influence.
This is where you must be willing and able to invest in yourself.
For each area you’re wanting to make a change, ask yourself these questions:
- Do I know how to do it?
- If not, where can you get the knowledge?
- Will you DIY it”
- Will you take a course?
- Will you hire an expert to help you?
With the internet, it’s possible to learn things on our own. Paying for knowledge speeds up the process. Paying for and learning for an expert dramatically speeds up the process.
Structure, then self-discipline
I’m a massive fan of self-discipline, and I live in the real world. Self-discipline is not something we can simply tap into whenever we want. It’s a muscle that needs to be exercised and strengthened. Until we get to the point where our “muscles” are strong enough, we need to put structure in place.
Structure can and should take many forms. It can come from an accountability partner. It can come in the form of calendar reminders. It can come from automatic contributions to a retirement account. The more we can automate things, the better.
Once you’ve audited yourself, figured out where you’re headed, invested in yourself to gain the requisite knowledge, put as much structure and automation around yourself as you can.
After six months, you’ll be well on your way. After a year, you’ll see great progress. After three years, you’ll have changed your life.
You’re worthy and deserving of the life you want.
But getting that life will require sacrifice and hard work. It will require you to accept personal responsibility for everything.
Making the required sacrifice(s) and putting in the work will be a reward in and of itself, but you’ll also reap the additional rewards of getting to live the life you want.
You’ve got one crack at life, make sure you’re doing it how you want.
If you’re ready to take control of your financial life, check out our DIY Financial Plan course.
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