How to Create an Effective Plan for Radical Self Improvement

Two months ago I made the decision to radically transform my life – this new website a by-product of that decision. I’ve created a plan of action that includes the steps I’m going to take to make this transformation a reality, and I want to share it with you.

Pen and Paper

I’ve been struggling with intense fear, worry, and depression for as long as I can remember. I’ve reached the point of saying ‘no more’, and I’m going to do whatever it takes to escape these feelings of powerlessness and hopelessness. I’ve created this plan of action as a tool to guide my efforts.

Most of the content that follows originally appeared as two posts on my other website: Financial Security by Age Fifty and Master Plan for Achieving My Financial Goals. I wanted to share this content on here because it is what Brand New Chapter is all about. I hope that by sharing my plan, it is going to help you to create your own plan for the radical improvements you want to make.

Financial Security by Age Fifty

Becoming financially secure by age fifty is now my priority in life. I have slightly less than six years to achieve this goal – it seems like a long time, but I know it will pass by all too quickly. I’m going to tackle this project with the intensity it deserves, but there is going to be plenty of fun along the way.

My current financial situation is unacceptable to me. Living from month-to-month was fine as a single guy, but I now have a family. I’ve wasted far too much time worrying about my finances – if I’d used this energy to actually do something constructive, I’d be in a much better position now. I’m completely to blame for my current situation and now is the time to put things right.

What Does it Mean to be Financially Secure?

‘Financial security’ is a bit of a woolly concept. My current definition of what this means is modest and would include four elements:
• Clear my debts – I owe €6000 (about US $8000)
• Buy a house – a starter-home here in Rayong averages 1,000,000 THB (about €25,000 or US $31,000).
• I need to be earning the same amount of money from writing as I would get working as a nurse back in Europe (my old career) – this would be about €30,000 (US $39,000) a year. I’ve no savings or retirement plan so it needs to be at least this amount.
• I need to be earning the bulk of my money from my own writing rather than the content I provide for clients.
I know that these goals are realistic and achievable within a six year period.

The Cost of Financial Worry

Worrying about my financial situation has cost me a great deal of money. This stress has been a drain on my motivation, and it has interfered with my ability to make good decisions. Worry only makes me feel tired and depressed. It means that my focus is always on the obstacles rather than the opportunities available to me. Worry is just an excuse for failure, and I’ve already overindulged at the self-pity pot.

I work as a freelance writer, and there have been a few periods when the work has dried up. The truth is that these periods don’t justify my financial struggles. I regularly turn clients away with the excuse that I’m too busy. My problem is not really lack of work, but my inability to make the most of my opportunities coming my way. Up until now, I preferred to waste time worrying rather than doing the work that would lead me to financial freedom.

The Motivation Needed to Achieve Financial Security

I didn’t break away from my almost two-decade long alcohol addiction by worrying – that is what kept me trapped for so long. In order to escape, I needed to make it my number one priority in life. I’m going to do the same here. For the next six years I’m going to make achieving financial liberation my main focus. I’ll start by eliminating everything that is getting in the way of reaching this goal – this means worry, negativity, and excuses have to go (no exceptions).

I’m going to make everything in my life serve this goal of financial security. I will exercise daily and eat sensibly because this will give me the energy I need to succeed. I’m going to continue to meditate every day so I can enjoy good levels of concentration. I’ll make time for my family because taking care of them is really what this goal is all about. I’m also going to have plenty of fun because otherwise there is no point in trying to achieve any goal.

Enjoy the Process of Achieving Financial Security

A mistake I’ve made too many times in the past is focusing on the destination rather than the journey. The problem with this is that life happens on the way to a goal – that’s where the real happiness is to be found. I feel super-excited about this six-year project. It is going to be such great fun to work on this challenge – it is going to give my life a new meaning and purpose.

Here is My Plan:

Goal

I Will Be Financially Secure By Age Fifty

Start – 01 September 2013
Finish – 20 August 2019

Motive

I will be able to protect my family and enjoy the benefits of financial stability.

My definition of Financial Stability

I will be earning €30,000 (US $39,000) per year, and this will come from my own writing (not writing for clients). I will have no debts, and I will have bought my own house.

How Will I Achieve This Goal

• Reaching financial security before age fifty is now my main priority in life. I can’t care for my wife and son properly while our finances are so unpredictable. I will do whatever it takes to make this a reality.
• I will be self-disciplined enough to do what needs to be done. I will not stop until I reach this goal.
• I will be willing to work long hours, without complaint, to reach my goal.
• I’m going to be grateful for what I have in my life right now.
• I’m going to enjoy the process of achieving my goal.
• I’m going to celebrate my small victories because this is going to keep me motivated
• I will do something every day to bring me closer to achieving my goal
• I will stop listening to the negative bullshit inside of my head – I’m going to make this happen.
• I will gain the knowledge I need to make my goal a reality.
• I will meditate for one hour every day to keep myself in good mental shape.
• I will eat well and keep and work on my physical fitness.
• I will learn from my failures.
• I will be accountable by monitoring my progress closely – daily progress tracking and weekly progress tracking.
• I will keep on asking myself if what I am doing is helping me achieve my goal – if not, is it worth doing at the moment?
• I’m going to eliminate anything from my life that is holding me back
I’ve been using this plan for one month so far, and it is working to keep me focused. I’ve also developed a ritual where I visualize achieving my goal, and I do this ritual at least twice a day. I’m not performing this visualization to magically fool the universe into manifesting my desires (I’m not convinced this works), but to keep me motivated – this is also working really well.

Achieving these goals does mean getting out of my comfort zone, but it is definitely within my ability. I’ve already made significant progress. I’m so glad to have such a clear goal for my life. I feel strong, positive, and excited about the future – basically I feel unstoppable.

The structure I’ve used here for creating my plan for financial independence would be suitable for anyone. I think it is vital to clearly state the goal, have a compelling motive for wanting to achieve it, as well as a list of steps for how to achieve it.

4 Comments

  1. Talen

    Paul, this was a great post. I, much like you, am a freelance writer and I am in pretty much the same situation as you are and looking at doing everything in order to make financial independence happen. And you are so right when you say all the worrying about money keeps you from achieving the goal. I have spent a lot of time worrying instead of being proactive and keeping the money wheel spinning.

    Good luck to us both but I don’t think luck will be needed.

    • Thanks Talen, worry is just such a huge waste of time – it’s a form of self-abuse and it just paralyzes me – I hate it. I don’t think we need to rely on luck too much if we can both focus on action instead of worry.

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