"Destiny is a matter of choice, not a matter of chance. It is a thing to be achieved, not a thing to be waited for." - William Jennings Bryan
It's probably safe to assume that all of us want a secure financial future. Many dream of becoming financially independent, others are working unwaveringly to make that happen, and some feel like that will never be in the stars for them. I love this quote by William Jennings Bryan. It basically states that we can elect to be proactive and make the choices to create our own Destiny. The other choice is to live in a reactive mode, waiting for our future to create itself. If we do that, there is a strong possibility we will not be happy in the future we will be living. Making the decision to create our own Destiny is one that each of us can make at any point in our life. The following are four basic steps to begin creating the future of your dreams.
Start with Baby Steps - How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time! Often we procrastinate starting a journey that seems way too overwhelming because we don't know where to begin. Review some of the difficult choices you've made throughout your life such as getting married, raising a family, getting your degree, or relocating to another city or state. Since we are all different, you may or may not have anguished over these major decisions. But we all accomplished these complex feats by following the same principle. We put one foot in front of the other, taking one step at a time, to accomplish our goals. When I feel overwhelmed, I always remember to tell myself to slow down and repeat the words "baby steps, baby steps, baby steps." Life is a journey to be taken one step at a time. You will create your Destiny by the steps you take and the choices you make. If you take one step each day, you will have taken 365 new steps toward your future in one year! Begin by taking baby steps, and as you progress on your journey, you'll gain momentum. Examples of baby steps to help secure a comfortable financial future might include ideas such as taking your lunch to work each day, renting a video instead of going to the movies, not buying anything from the vending machines this week, or having friends over for dinner rather than going to a restaurant. Whenever you are in the midst of something that is overwhelming, remember that you can and will get through it. Just start taking baby steps.
Set Specific, Relevant and Achievable Goals - Make sure your goals are relevant and meaningful to you. In order to accomplish any task, we have to "own" it. The goal will come alive for you if you are passionate about achieving it. Whatever you choose to attain must also be realistic and specific. Whether you want to pay off a credit card, or add an additional $6,000 to your savings account, what tasks would you need to accomplish during the coming year to carry out your objective? Review steps you can take each day and each month to achieve your goal. For example, you can stop using your credit card for any future purchases unless an extreme emergency. Examine your expenditures and "find" a few hundred extra each month by reducing spending in flexible spending categories. De-clutter and sell some items on eBay to bring in a couple hundred each month. Ideas are limited only by the invisible boundaries we place. If you approach every problem in a way that you know there is a solution, you will find limitless ideas that can work. Commit your goals in writing with specific dates and numbers. Brainstorm and write the steps you will take this year to work toward the desired outcome. Schedule steps for each month of the year and schedule specific calls and appointments into your daily planner.
Visualize Successfully Accomplishing Your Goals - Visualization is a method practiced by many successful people and remains an untapped resource by most of us. Practice visualizing in your mind's eye what it is you are going to accomplish, including how you are feeling when you have achieved your goal. Envision where you are and what you are doing. Visualize all of the specifics and details of the event. Let's imagine that you have been dreaming of publishing a book. Picture yourself at your first book signing. Where is the signing taking place, who is with you, what are you wearing? Plan the details. Is it indoors/outdoors, day/night, sunny/cloudy, warm/cold? Are you feeling triumphant, exhilarated, relieved? When practicing visualization, the more detail the better. Replay the tape of this movie each day at least twice in the morning when you awake and at night before you go to sleep. Make your "wishes" and "dreams" become your Destiny. Place visual pictures and reminders where you see them constantly. The process of visualization has been proven to work over and over again. I am always moved by stories of ordinary people who have triumphed and accomplished extraordinary deeds because they made the choice to create their Destiny and visualized their achievements for years before they ultimately succeeded. Faithfully practice this exercise and you will reap the rewards.
Deepen Your Resolve and Determination - One big difference between those who create their Destiny, and those who wait for it to happen, is found in their personal level of determination. The good news is that resolve and determination can be developed and built. If you start off feeling you don't have adequate commitment to make big things happen in your life, you don't have to be branded with that label forever. Just return to the process of starting with baby steps. Over time, as you enjoy one small success and then another, your commitment begins to grow. Like a snowball rolling downhill. After working longer toward a goal, you will find your resolve and determination deepening to the point that nothing will deter you from accomplishing what you want. There are ways to strengthen your resolve as you are starting on the journey to accomplish your objectives. Surround yourself with positive people and those who have been successful in areas you are working to achieve. Let go of negativity and people who complain, criticize, and/or demonstrate what I call the "poor-little-me's." Although we've all felt like this at times, this isn't what is needed to develop commitment. Find a mentor at work or in your personal life that exhibits the kinds of positive characteristics you admire. Read books to increase your knowledge in areas of budgeting, saving, investing, and frugal living. Surf the net to research these topics further. Listen to motivational audiotapes while you are driving in your car, going for a walk, or exercising. Read books about people who have overcome adversity and those who have created their own Destiny through hard work, determination, and the ability to visualize a better future.Remember to celebrate your successes along the way. Although creating your own Destiny requires work and determination, it can be a fun journey. Abraham Lincoln said, "Most people are about as happy as they make up their mind to be." Choose to be happy, enjoy the journey, celebrate milestones, and look forward to a wonderful future of your making!
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