Last week I mentioned that one of the first things for any entrepreneur to decide is how youll know when youve won the game youre about to play (such as starting a new business). For example, football has rules about the methods and time constraints for scoring points. At the end of the prescribed period, the team with the most points wins. You must define your goals in equally specific terms. For example, passive income of $5,000 per month within one year is very specific.
Defining specific goals is a mandatory first step and laudable in its own right. The danger is that saying you want to achieve something is a far cry from actually doing it. The things you say you want to do and accomplish are the things youre interested in. The things you actually invest time and resources in are the things youre committed to. If your interests and commitments match, then all is well. The problems begin when commitments dont match interests. Think about it: If you say you want to build a passive income of $5,000 per month and spend your time sitting around dreaming about how youll spend all that money instead of taking steps to earn it� See where Im going?
Thankfully, reconciling interests and commitments is very easy.
Begin by writing down your total net monthly earnings on a sheet of paper. Now itemize each of your expenses by category (food, shelter, utilities, debt, entertainment, etc.) making sure to include everything, even incidentals and investment contributions. Subtract your expenses from your total earnings. How much is left over? On a side note, if this number is zero or less than zero, then you may be using debt and/or draining assets to maintain your lifestyle- an extremely dangerous habit.
Look at your schedule next. A week has 168 hours, 56 of which should be spent getting 8 hours of sleep per night, leaving 112 waking hours. Add up all of the time you spend working, playing, commuting, bathing, eating, waiting in line, etc. On another side note, if your time commitments exceed 112 hours per week, then you are not getting 8 hours of sleep per night, which could be causing or contributing to any number of health problems.
In theory, all unallocated funds and time are available for any purpose you choose. Question: Are these resources enough for you to achieve your goal? If so, great! But if not, then you need to start making some choices.
Can you divert funds and time away from other pursuits towards this goal? For example, could you eat out less often to save money or shop at different hours to save time? If so, then making these changes will help you on your way. If not, if you are truly locked into your financial and time constraints, is there some lesser goal that you can achieve on your way to the bigger one? I for one have yet to see anyone unable to make at least some progress.
Are you willing to make whatever changes you can for the sake of achieving your goal? If so, go ahead and make them. If not, thats OK too. In this case, however, you must adjust your interests to suit your commitments. This may mean deciding to build only $1,000 of passive monthly income in the first year to help you take the next step. You could also decide to give yourself two years to achieve the whole thing. The bottom line is that you must make adjustments because you cant or wont act on your stated goal for whatever reason. Your commitment does not match your interest.
Keep in mind that this has nothing whatsoever to do with judgment or blame. It has everything to do with balancing your interests (what you say you want) with your commitments (what your actions create for you) so that you can decide and act on the things that matter the most to you. Life is too short to waste doing anything else.
This lesson applies to any goal in your business or personal life because each is a series of choices and compromises. Want to launch a new marketing campaign? If so, how will you measure its success and what are you willing to do to accomplish that success? Want to hire some part-time help to reduce your workload? If so, can you afford it or make changes to be able to afford it?