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3 tips to keep you focused on your wealth plan

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by Paul Kindzia in Happiness, Personal Finance
May 25, 2021

I remember back in my early triathlon days when I was making the transition up to the Ironman distance.  In running, you have four typical race distances; 5k, 10k, half marathon (13.1 miles) and full marathon (26.2) unless you bump up to the ultra-distance events (like 50 and 100 milers).  In triathlon there are also four typical race distances;

  • Sprint distance – a 750 meter swim, a 12 mile bike ride and a 5k run
  • Olympic distance – 1,500 meter swim, a 25 mile bike ride and a 10k run
  • Half Ironman – 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike, 13.1 half marathon run
  • Full Ironman – 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, 26.2 full marathon run

As you can imagine, when I was making the move up to full Ironman I was really nervous but also really excited about the challenge.  When I asked a veteran triathlete for advice on what I was in for he said something to me that I never forgot.  He said,

“You better have a damn good reason for doing this.  Because if you don’t, there’s so many distractions and excuses that you’ll never do the work necessary to accomplish your goal.”

Picking a big goal and dreaming of accomplishing it is the easy part.  The hard part is making all of the changes necessary to give yourself an honest opportunity to reach your goal.  What I eventually learned about Ironman triathlon racing is that you don’t become an Ironman when you cross the finish line, you become an Ironman when you have changed your entire life to that of an Ironman.  That means waking up and jumping in cold pools at 5:30am when others are sleeping.  That means going to bed early.  That means doing long bike rides on weekends (like 100 mile bike rides).  That means stretching, eating healthy, doing drills, running, lifting weights, dialing in equipment, and pushing through personal limits over and over again often while physically exhausted.

You will not have that kind of dedication or commitment unless you REALLY REALLY have a damn good reason for doing it.  If you think that you are going to do all of that work and sacrifice to show off to a girl, or impress your neighbor or lose 10 lbs, then you are fooling yourself.  You are only going to do all of that work and sacrifice for a reason that is burning deep inside of you.  Otherwise, there are too many opportunities to stay up and watch another TV show, go out with your friends on Friday night, skip a morning swim, cut your bike rides short when you are too tired, or taking a week off of training because you have the sniffles.

The same is true for wealth building.  You better have a damn good reason for doing it because there are way too many distractions to take you off of your path.

  • There are too many things to spend money on.
  • Too many people to keep up with.
  • Too many luxuries to buy now.
  • Too many places to experience fine dining or vacation.

Here are 3 visualization techniques I use to help me stay focused on my wealth goals:

  1. I keep excellent records that show my month over month process. Sometimes it feels like things are going too slow in life.  It’s like being a kid waiting for birthdays or Christmas/Hanukah.  It just feels like I will never get here.  But when I go back and review where I started (which is laughable) and see my progress over the years, it reminds me of the progress and projected path that I am on and provides me the necessary internal motivation to follow through with my own goals.  If you want to play pro football, you can’t stop playing high school football because you are tired and want to watch cartoons on Saturday mornings.
  2. I accumulate pictures and details of things that I want. Wanting nice things and a better life is not a bad thing (that’s why we are working so hard isn’t it?)  Think about what you want, cut out pictures, describe it in detail and then hang that collage around your desk or on your fridge (or keep a copy on your mobile phone).  If I feel distracted or focused on something unusual, I go back to my pictures/collage and ask myself, “What is it that I REALLY want?”  Do I want this right now, or that later in life?  You have to focus on the long term and not keep getting sidetracked with every distraction to spend time and money.
  3. I visualize and imagine my life down the road. Do you want to be financially free?  Do you want real peace of mind?  Do you want a comfortable retirement?  What does that look like in your head?  How do you imagine that?  What would you do?  How would you feel if you accomplished it?  What would you need to feel like “you’ve arrived?”  I visualize and imagine what I want my life to be like tomorrow to make sure I am doing the right things today to stay on track.  If you don’t know what you want your future life to be like, then how will you know what to do now to accomplish it?

You can reach your wealth goals if you do the required work.  You’ll do the required work if you are really committed to your objectives.  But you better have your reasons other than, “I just want easy money to buy more toys.”  That’s not going to cut it in this competitive world.  There aren’t any shortcuts.  You don’t need a special invitation by an approval committee to become wealthy.  You can do it on your own without permission from anybody else.

Good habits lead to good behaviors.  Good behaviors lead to good decisions.  Good decisions lead to a good life.  Live by principles and choose wisely.

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