What is your superpower? Have you ever thought about that?
We (Homo sapiens) have been on top of the food chain for 2 million years, and there are many reasons for this.
We’ve got these amazing opposable thumbs that allow us to grasp and manipulate objects better than other species.
We’ve got great big brains. Based on the size of our bodies, our brains are 7 times larger than they ought to be.
While these two advantages help, it’s the neurons that really separate us from all other species. We’ve got a lot more than everybody else.
My favorite human superpower is our ability to think about the future we want. To make plans for bringing our desired future into our current reality. And to then execute on those plans. It’s truly amazing and one reason we are who we are. We commonly refer to this superpower as setting goals.
Yet, most of us squander it.
I think most of us know how important goal setting is, but not very many of us do it. We neglect our superpower and in so doing, limit our potential. What would you say to someone who could fly, but never did? You’d incessantly question them as to why they weren’t using their amazing gift. It wouldn’t make sense to you. This should be true for goal setting as well.
My goal is to convince you to set goals for your life, and to give you the tools for doing it.
As a financial advisor, I’ve been helping people gain clarity over their financial futures for over 20 years. I’m honored to be named to Investopedia’s list of the top 100 financial advisors many years running.
Here’s what we’ll cover:
- Understanding the process
- Who you are
- What you want
- How you do things
- Your superpower
Let’s get started.
Understanding the process
It’s better to have goals than to not. It’s also way better to write them down. But it’s way, way better to have a process for doing it.
New Year’s resolutions are evidence of this, with only around 12% of people sticking with them. We’ve all got intentions, but good intentions don’t make for effective goals, nor do they equate to sustainable change. And I want you to get what you want. Literally, whatever you want, I want to help you get it.
Having a step-by-step process to follow increases our chances of success. Before I go any further, know this; what I’m proposing is not a “hack” or shortcut. It will require you to invest time and attention. If you do it, I’m confident you’ll position yourself for long-term success.
Who you are
The only way to live how you want, is to know how you want to live. The only way to do that is to first know who you are.
There’s a lot that goes into who we are, what we believe, and what we do. For our purposes here, it’s important for you to gain clarity around your beliefs and your values.
Each of us have beliefs about life and the world. We formed most of our beliefs from birth to around six years old. We’ve got beliefs about money, relationships, responsibility, success, and everything else. When our beliefs are negative, they can be limiting. When we have a limiting belief, it will cap our ultimate potential. When we cap our potential, we will not have the lives we want.
For example, if you want to enjoy financial success, but you think money is the root of all evil, you’re going to have a hard time. You can explore your beliefs in this post.
Your values are what you believe to be of greatest importance. They help inform how you operate in the world, and how you make decisions, and how you allocate your resources. Without clear values, you’ll have a difficult time making consistent and aligned decisions.
The more consistent and aligned your decision making, the more optimized your life will become. You can explore your values in this post.
You can also access our Values course for free.
What you want
Again, the only way to live how you want is to know how you want to live. Goal setting is the process for determining that. It’s a superpower that allows us to create the future. To create your future.
There’s a lot of evidence on the power of setting goals. A famous survey from Harvard Business School showed:
Prior to graduation, it was determined that:
- 84% of the entire class had set no goals at all
- 13% of the class had set written goals but had no concrete plans
- 3% of the class had both written goals and concrete plans
10 years later, the 13% that had set written goals but had not created plans, were making twice as much money as the 84% of the class that had set no goals at all.
The 3% of the class that had both written goals and a plan, were making ten times as much as the rest of the 97% of the class.
I think those numbers are way too powerful to ignore. I also find them to be exciting.
Because life offers no guarantees, and we have very little control over what happens to us, goal setting promises some control over our futures. I like to focus on six areas when thinking about and setting goals:
- Money and Career
- Personal development
- Peace of mind
You can further explore goal setting in this post
You can also dig deeper into the framework by accessing our Goals course for free.
How you do things
Goals = What you want.
Values = Who you are.
Habits = How you do things.
People make this mistake of trying to form a habit without doing the work of goal setting and value exploration. While thinking about habits without following the first two steps is better than nothing, the results won’t be satisfying or sustainable. You won’t form long-term habits.
Another way to think about the relationship between goals and habits is to think about them as strategies and tactics. If your strategy is to be a successful investor, your tactics could be consistent monthly investing, daily research, and balancing immediate and future needs.
To develop habits, we must align them with, and in service of, who you and what you want. You need to recognize it may take longer than you’d like to develop them, and that making the sacrifices will be worth doing.
When you’ve done the work and aligned these three areas, you’re maximizing your superpower of goal setting.
You can further explore habits in this post.
We are all unique. There’s been no one like you before, and there will be no one like you again. You should lean into what makes you unique. So what is it?
You can explore your superpower by thinking about what comes easily to you and what you enjoy spending time on. This intersection will give you clues what yours are. When you recognize yours, you need to put them to work.
When you don’t embrace yours, you squander it. When you don’t put it to work in the world, the rest of us are worse off. Alternatively, when you lean into your power(s) and do your work, we all benefit. As you work to maximize your potential, you make yourself better. When you make yourself better, you become an additive force in the universe. You make things better.
When you understand what yours is (are), I believe it’s your responsibility to use it. And I hope you decide to use it for good instead of evil.
You’ve got one shot at life, and our lives are both too long and too short to not do our best to live how we want. Setting goals and working towards them won’t guarantee success, but it’ll get you a lot closer to what you want. Get started.
If you’re ready to take control of your financial life, check out our DIY Financial Plan course.
We’ve got three free courses as well: Our Goals Course, Values Course, and our Get Out of Debt course.
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