The Journey Begins…
The insurmountable can be conquered when we decide to take the first step! Taking the first step most of the times is a struggle preceded by procrastination and indecision. Taking the first step is a crucial defining moment for any success you are going achieve. It is only when we take that first step towards change that things start falling in line, ideas begin to pop up, and that feeling of not wanting to fail intensifies thereby pushing you to become better or to quit altogether. It all comes down to how badly one wants to succeed, and for the one who wants it badly, quitting is never an option because they understand that obstacles are there to be overcome, therefore every challenge is to be relished and conquered and perceived as a stepping stone.
When I started on my journey to financial freedom, I had to make and implement various decisions faithfully in order to be where I am today. Had I been stuck in the drudgery of indecision and procrastination, I could still be mourning about my lack of sufficient income to sustain me. I lacked not because I didn’t have, but because my perception of the limitless possibilities in front of me was limited.
I was stuck in cycles of bad financial habits that contributed to my financial failures, and had a lack of perceived access to the steps that would bring about change. I needed a breakthrough!
Being in the position I was, I realised I had to do something in order to change my circumstance then, and so I started digging. I researched about personal finance by way of reading self help material, watching relevant personal finance videos on YouTube, and I even sough after someone who could mentor me and hold me accountable in order to save me from myself. I started to think long-term and see the bigger picture in all of this. A lot of people are struggling with financial shortsightedness, and for some it’s even worse, they are financially blind, with no plan for the future, or any course of action to secure a comfortable retirement.
All these actions came about because I decided to take the first step in order to change my present and future, and that step was realising I needed to change. After realising I needed to change, I had to do my due diligence and research on personal finance material. Not only did I research, but I implemented what I started to learn bit by bit. I started to gain knowledge and understanding, and apply all that I understood. Knowledge is useless without application, therefore application of knowledge was another important step I took, and the rest is history.
I have listed below some of the important decisions I made and the steps I had to take in order to progress to a better me financially.
Read How I managed to raise 80,000 in 3 years
Step 1. Realising the need to change
Had I ignored the need for change in my life, I could still be in the same position I was then, scrounging for pennies and yet making a decent salary. Sometimes we are in denial of the need for change and look for other people or things to blame like our jobs, our salaries, our bosses, our bills! There’s always something and someone to blame for those who decide to give their personal power away. It’s amazing how the one thing we never blame is ourselves and the bad decisions we make. Realise you are the one responsible, and the one to blame for where you are today, whether you like your present state or not! Acknowledging you are the one to blame will help you realise you are the one to enact the change you want to see. Be grateful for having a job and salary, for some are struggling to get one. Most of us have the resources we need to succeed and lead a good life, some more than others, and yet the majority do not use those resources wisely. Having the best resources, and a lack of understanding on how to maximise on those resources will always lead to cycles of poverty and lack. Do one thing today that your future self will thank you for.
Step 2. Apply yourself to knowledge and understanding
You cannot progress in life without knowing how to get where you want to go. For me to be successful, I had to apply myself to gaining knowledge and understanding. I did all that I could to get wisdom, and to get understanding on financial matters. I purchased books, watched educational material, read blogs and even joined finance forums. All of a sudden, my eyes were open to this world of possibilities. I became like a sponge, absorbing all the knowledge that I could get. Having all this knowledge, I then drafted an implementation plan in order for my education to be complete. It’s like my perception of what I could achieve had changed for the better. All of a sudden, my outlook had shifted, and my financial paradigm changed. I researched on topics that included investing, tax, the different types of savings and investment accounts, etc. I was eager to broaden my knowledge on the matter, and the more knowledge I gleaned, the better I became at it. I even took an investing course to further my personal finance education. I also started to educate and help my family members who were willing enough to learn, and now most of them have improved their circumstances. I was not selfish with what I knew because I also wanted them to succeed.
Step 3. Write down the vision
It is not enough to think about financial freedom and hope that one day it will come by. You have to be proactive, and write down the vision. Writing down the plan helps solidify the goal in your mind and heart. When something is written down, it helps make everything clearer the more times you read it, and prevents brain clutter. When it is written down, you can use it as a reference point when checking progress. It is a good feeling when you go back at the end of the year and tick all the things you managed to accomplish on your list. I have a journal that I keep locked away, which has all my plans for each year , some accomplished, and some still in progress. Just because something is not accomplished within a particular period does not mean failure. It is important to understand that some things take longer to achieve and need copious amounts of patience. When writing down your vision, break it down to goals which are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, and Realistic. (More to come on this subject)
Step 4. Get a reliable accountability partner
Having someone that can hold you accountable for your actions can prove beneficial. This needs to be someone trustworthy, and reliable. Your accountability partner doesn’t necessarily need to be your mentor, but the same person can carry out both roles if they have the qualities. You need to present your financial plan to this person so that they help you stay on track when it comes to achieving your goals. This person is more or less like a coach, who’s main purpose is to check progress and motivate you. Draft a spreadsheet of your income and expenditure, plus savings progress and show this to your accountability partner so that they are aware of how you are progressing and implementing positive change. Maintain an honest relationship with this person to avoid backsliding. To make it even more fun, both of you can be accountable to each other if the chosen party is willing, that way when the other sees their partner’s progressed, they are also pushed to do better. Nothing wrong with healthy competition.
Step 5. Have a mentor
Having a mentor is to your advantage if you are to progress on this journey. Usually, an ideal mentor is someone who is where you want to be in life and you can look up to this person for guidance and advice. This person must have qualities you can emulate so that you become a better person, or improve your present circumstance by mirroring their habits, and listening to their advice. Having someone who knows what they are talking about and have something to show for it is of importance as it will help expedite your success. The mentor knows what to avoid, and how to manoeuvre life’s obstacles because they have been there themselves. This is not to say they know everything, but they can offer support and advice for what they know about the journey you want to embark on. No one can say they have know it all, for if we stop learning, then we stop growing. A mentor should be a must in your tool bag. There are various ways one can get mentored, and some of them include books by authors who address subject matters that are of interest to you, videos, blogs and forums. Personally, my mentorship is mostly in the form of books, 90% of my mentors are found on my bookshelf!
These are the initial steps I took to change my personal finances. Feel free to share with anyone whom you would want to see their circumstances change for the better. Remember, sharing is caring.