If you’re reading this post, chances are that one of your financial goals is early retirement. One of your broad financial goals most likely includes having a steady, passive income from which you can live comfortably and have true financial freedom.
Those goals are huge and admirable, but what about your ultimate goal? What are you ultimately working towards accomplishing in your life? What is that one thing that will bring you joy, happiness, and fulfillment if you are able to achieve it?
There’s no point in earning, saving, and investing money, if you never plan to enjoy it or have no ideas of how you will enjoy it. If you don’t know what you’re working towards, chances are that you will never achieve it.
Before your time slips away, ask yourself, “How are your working towards your ultimate goal?”
Draw out a plan
I’m not speaking theoretically. I want you to literally pick up a pencil and sketch where you see yourself in 10, 20, or 30 years. Draw a picture of your ultimate goal. You don’t have to be an artist for this exercise to be beneficial. Trust me, I’m a terrible artist, but this exercise really helped me to truly think about my future.
If you want to be an author living on passive income, draw a picture of yourself on beach with a laptop or in a villa with a typewriter. If you want to live in a cabin in the mountains, then visualize your homestead and sketch out your plans.
About six months ago, another finance writer tasked me with this same exercise of drawing out a plan for my future. I picked up the pencil and sat there. For 30 minutes I stared at the blank page and could think of nothing to draw. Outside of my financial situation, I had no idea what my future looked like. Not being able to draw out a plan, or visualize my future, was a tremendous wake up call.
I sat there thinking, “If you can’t visualize your future, then what on earth are you working towards?”
Solidify your goal
Eventually, my drawing was a simple canoe. I don’t know exactly where life will lead me physically, but I want to have the freedom to go on adventures. My ultimate goal is to reach true financial independence so that I can travel the world, explore new places, and take a simple canoe trip down a river without worrying about vacation days and lost income. I want to have the financial freedom to be a minimalist nomad who can pick up and go with all of my belongings condensed into a suit case and a bank account.
Give yourself a deadline
In order to reach that goal, I need to give myself a deadline. Deadlines turn dreams into real, achievable goals. Having deadlines gives you smaller footholds of success on your path to your ultimate goal.
My ultimate goal, of having the financial freedom to live or travel anywhere, has a deadline of the year 2032. I want to be able to pick up and go anywhere the moment my son (my youngest child) graduates from high school.
My first step towards reaching that deadline is to make $500 a month, through affiliate links and advertisements alone, by the end of 2016. Having an extra $500 a month to put into dividend paying investment accounts, will get me started on my next goal of starting to bring in true passive income, so that I can actually achieve my ultimate goal.
If, like me, you have a hard time visualizing what your ultimate goal looks like, spend some time thinking about your dream job and take it from there. Don’t wander aimlessly through life, to one day realize that you never made it to your destination. If you don’t visualize your ultimate goals, make a series of deadlines, and actually get started working towards those goals, you will never get to where you truly want to go.
Stop delaying. Stop waiting for your life start, or for things to change financially, before you start setting deadlines. If you start working towards deadlines, you will actually start achieving your goals.
Pick up that pencil and paper, visual your future, set a deadline, and get started.
What is your ultimate goal? Have you already achieved it? If not, what deadlines do you have in place to keep yourself in active pursuit of your ultimate goal?
Image credit: by Dru!
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13 thoughts on “How Are You Working towards Your Ultimate Goal?”
I would add a suggestion of also having a backup plan to your ideal retirement picture. My picture was hiking in the mountains and lots of outdoor activities. I retired a year ago last February. But I was thrown a curve ball. 5 months after retiring and training to hike Grand Canyon rim to rim I injured my hamstring. Not only did it prevent exercise I’m unable to sit for more than 15 minutes. So for the last year no driving outside of town, no travel, no restaurants, no couch time watching the NFL, not even a meal at the dinner table. It has been quite a challenge. But I’ve slowly been adapting; I started substitute teaching at the local high school (only lunchtime is the sit challenge), got my contractors license and have been taking small handyman jobs, remodeled the bathroom, and enjoy short walks around the neighborhood. I don’t mean to be a downer, but be ready for what you don’t expect too.
I am partially retired from nursing (22years) and working on my dream now. I’m getting focused on setting up my financial freedom which should solidify in the next two years. My big picture is to live financially free 2 ‘million per year to start so I can live way above personal expenses, minimalize things and serve others through my business. This is where I will find my biggest need for finances. The ability to offer food, create events and
travel as a team. The finances are to be used mainly to create space and opportunity to help others to do the same. They may want to make an extra 500$ , learn a better
lifestyle or to serve others on a leadership platform. No matter what they want to do I want to financially stable and prepared to serve them and their families!! Great article and community!!
I want the financial freedom to write whenever and wherever I want, so that my current day job (medicine) is something I do for fun instead of as an obligation.
Arguably, I’ve reached that stage, but I’m not ready to let that security blanket go.
I would love to see the pictures, once you do go to hike Machu Pichu. Congratulations on reaching financial independence so young!
I’m already financially free at 42 and can travel anywhere and do anything I want but to find my ultimate goal I’m going to cheat, go to Peru, do Auyuhuasca, and hike Machu Pichu. I’d die with a blank paper in front of me.
I’d love to retire early, but I’m already past the 40 date, and the way things are looking, I would say that early retirement is a ‘nice goal’ but one that I’m not counting on. Right now my wife doesn’t work so that she can be with our kids, and that’s a definite trade-off. Combine that with the increased costs to employees for things like retirement savings, health care, and such, and it’s a steeper mountain to climb.
I agree with you, completely. There’s definitely a trade off with just one parent working. Early retirement is a great goal to have, but it’s not for everybody.
Great advice, Kristi. I like to set short term (less than 6 months) and longer term goals. I’ve reached my goal of Financial Independence, but I love to blog so my next big goal is to get my blog under 200,000 ranking in Alexa. I have done what you are suggesting: I’ve created a plan and I am working that plan.
Congratulations on reaching financial independence! That’s a tremendous goal that you’ve reached. Good luck to you with your next goals with your blog!
I have lots of goals, but when I think about my ultimate goal it’s being happy every day, doing what I do, and in that sense, I’m kind of already there. It took me about seven years to get to this place, but I’m kind of obsessed with it almost to the point of being afraid to move forward, not career wise but certainly personally. I have this fear that having children or getting married or whatever will disrupt this ridiculously awesome lifestyle it took me so long to discover. It’s kind of strange, but honest.
I think it’s both refreshing and fantastic that you are so honest with yourself about your personal goals. Do what brings you joy, and don’t worry about what others have to say about it!
My ultimate goal is to write a book on a new way to look at the world of retirement. I want to give hope to people that are stuck in a job they do not like because they feel trapped by the pension that is waiting for them at the end of the line. To exist for another 10+ years going through the motions just trying to survive the boredom is insane. Also the book is intended to serve as a guide for my kids to figure out this crazy world that we live in. Hopefully they will benefit from my past successes/failures and things that I learned along the way. I had originally set a Oct 2015 completion date for the book and current plans are to send it off to my editor in two weeks so things are currently on track. Once finalized I will hit the seminar circuit and start preaching the concept of financial freedom. Helping others find their way instead of just chasing the money makes a lot of sense to me and will make me a better man. That’s the plan!
Congratulations, Mike! It sounds like you are well within reach of your goal! That’s amazing. I hope to hear more on the publishing date very soon.