Welcome back everybody! It’s been awhile since you’ve heard from me.
Between hunting, reading Jim Rickard’s new book, business travel and Christmas preparations, December just kind of got away from me.
But before 2016 comes to an end I wanted to slip in one more post that I hope will help you make 2017 an incredible year for you.
The New Year’s Resolution – Feel Good Folly
This week millions of people will set New Year’s resolutions for themselves. For most people this will be a mental list of things like “save $100 per paycheck” or “work out for 30 minutes 3 times a week”.
Sadly, we all know that by January 21st most people will have given up on their resolutions.
Based on no more scientific evidence than my own experience I believe a huge reason for the rapid failure of most resolutions is that people are attempting to change their behavior without ever answering the more critical question of why they want to change.
The “why” is everything. When you close your eyes and try to envision a healthier, wealthier and wiser version of yourself 12 months from now, the person you see is the “why”. That “why” should be the driving force that defines your specific goals.
Any change brings discomfort and pain. However, without a vision of the benefit the pain will bring there is no purpose in your suffering. Without purpose it is easy to abandon your efforts to make that pain go away.
A Better Way – The Master Plan
I’ve messed around with New Year’s resolutions over the years and had the same lack of success most people experience.
For 2016 I decided to try creating a master plan for the year rather than a list of disparate resolutions. Rather than starting out deciding what I wanted to do during 2016 I started by planning what I wanted to become this year. During the last week of 2015 I used the time during my morning routine to plan out what I wanted to be by the end of 2016 and then made a plan to make it happen.
I set just 3 objectives for the year with a broad 1 year goal for each objective:
Objective: Get to a weight where I feel healthy
Goal: Lose 18 pounds
Objective: Increase my Circle of Influence
Goal: Start a blog
Objective: Develop a new income stream and diversify into non-paper assets
Goal: Buy a rental property
Having this short list of objectives and goals proved to be far more powerful than the long lists of unfocused resolutions I’d set in the past. First because the objectives provided a vision of what I was becoming and second because having fewer goals made it easy to focus lots of energy on accomplishing each one.
The goals also provided a simple and easy way to know at the end of the year whether or not I’d been successful.
So how did I do?
It’s been a great year! Despite some setbacks, discouragements, frustrations and steep learning curves I am extremely happy with the progress I’ve made this year.
Physical freedom: Lose 18 pounds – Check! I not only feel great but because I used simple strategies to get to where I am I believe this weight will be sustainable in the years ahead.
Intellectual freedom: Start a blog – Check! Lever Builders went live on March 17th and with just a few lapses I have published regularly ever since. We are still a very small community; nevertheless, I have grown immensely from this journey. That progress would not have been possible without you, my dear readers and I sincerely hope that you have likewise gleaned some measure of personal growth or benefit from what you’ve found here.
Financial freedom: Buy a rental property – Semi-accomplished. Although we have not yet purchased a property, I made significant progress this year and if all goes according to plan we should be closing on a property in the first quarter of 2017.
All in all 2016 has been a year where I finally did things I’d only talked about in years past. It wasn’t perfect by any means but amid life’s bumps and bruises I made some meaningful progress towards becoming the person I want to be.
Time to Do it Again
So here we are once again with the next 12 months of potential staring us in the face. Each of us is going to live through the next 12 months one way or another. So ask yourself this question:
Is 2017 simply going to happen to you or are you going to take the bull by the horns and turn this into a year where you make meaningful progress towards becoming the person you know you can be?
When you emerge at the other end of these 12 months what will your life look like? Will you be healthier, wealthier and wiser than you are today? Or will you, like Ebenezer Scrooge, simply find yourself “a year older, and not an hour richer”?
Creating Your Master Plan
I hope you’ll decide to make 2017 a breakthrough year for yourself.
This week I will spend several hours creating my 2017 master plan. I will be using the same pattern I used this year:
- Determine an objective and 1 year goal for each pillar of my Place to Stand: Physical, Intellectual and Financial Freedom
- Establish a general schedule for executing and set shorter term interim goals that will allow me to accomplish my 1 year goals.
- Share my goals with my readers and others who will help keep me accountable for my progress throughout the year
Whether you use my system or another one you like better doesn’t matter. What matters is that you take the opportunity to create a vision of who you want to be 12 months from now and then create a plan to make your vision a reality.
So now you have a decision to make. Will you close this article and go back to life as usual? Or will you take the harder but infinitely more meaningful step of getting out a piece of paper and jotting down a set of objectives for 2017?
If you’ll take a few minutes today to create that vision and then a few hours during the rest of this week to create a plan to make your vision a reality you can make 2017 a breakthrough year for yourself.
While most everyone around you is spending their free time next year freaking out about stupid things politicians say, posting cat memes, bemoaning the state of the world or frying their brain in front of the television/computer/phone you will be quietly and consistently taking action that will change your life for the better.
The choice is yours.
I’ll be back next week to share my 2017 master plan. I hope by then you’ll have your own master plan ready to share with someone who can help hold you to it.
Now put your phone down and go find a pen and paper!