It’s not complicated to achieve financial independence but it takes discipline and mental fortitude to implement and follow a plan that will get you there. Avoiding the pitfalls of spending too much of your income is challenging in this world of consumerism where hundreds of billions of dollars are spent by companies to advertise and market their products. There is pressure to have a nice car like your friend is driving, splurge on a vacation to match everyone else’s vacation photos on social media, get your kids the newest soccer shoes or IPhone, etc. Some days it is easy to block out these things but other days are challenging. You need conviction to push through the days you don’t want to do something, including the times you don’t want to save, work on generating more income, etc. You should consider taking these steps to strengthen your inner resolve to achieve financial independence:
Identify your motivation behind wanting to achieve financial independence.
You need to find the reason you want to achieve financial independence and use it as motivation. You may dislike your job, you may feel like you have no flexibility with your time, you may want to spend more time with friends and family, you may be unhappy with the effects on your health from the daily grind, you may feel that your career is not allowing you to do meaningful work. Find the reason and turn it into motivation. I personally enjoyed what I did during my corporate career and it paid me well but I knew that other things in my life were going to be more important to me. I also realized after about ten years of working how weight gain, stiffness, and other minor health issues were creeping up on me. I knew I wanted to be present for my family and I also knew I wanted to live a healthier lifestyle. My job made it very difficult to achieve either of these goals. Health and family became by concrete reasons for wanting to achieve financial independence.
Gather powerful evidence to support your motivation and develop a strong level of conviction to achieve financial independence.
Go out there and find evidence that supports your motivation to achieve financial independence. For example, I wanted to have a healthier lifestyle after achieving financial independence. The research supports my reason; according to the National Institute of Health, living a sedentary lifestyle like I was living during my corporate career can lead to a number of health issues, including increased risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and certain types of cancers. Yuck. I’ve been healthy most of my life and I didn’t want to keep living in a way that may cause significant health problems as I got older.
I also wanted to be a good dad but it was challenging while I was working hard and trying to be a high achiever in the corporate world. Again, I did some research to support my motivation to be a present, engaged father for my kids; research shows kids who grow up with a present, engaged dad are less likely to drop out of school or wind up in jail, they’re less likely to have sex at a young age and they tend to avoid other high-risk behaviors, and they’re more likely to have healthy, stable relationships when they grow up. Find the support for your motivation and it should give you more conviction to do what is necessary to achieve financial independence.
Find your poster board material to keep you going when it becomes difficult.
We’ve all seen the movies where the fighter tapes a picture of his/her competitor on the bathroom mirror and uses it as every day motivation to wake up and train. You need to find some poster board material to push you through the tough days. Perhaps you have a family member that died suddenly on the job, or someone close to you had significant issues in his/her life because of poor financial choices, or you know of a family with screwed up kids because the parents were never home and rarely spent time with them. Find your poster board material. My parents, who I love dearly, would frequently comment on my frugal spending habits with a sort of disdain. I wanted to prove to my parents that there was another way to live besides their way and their statements were the poster board material I needed to help me follow my plan and achieve financial independence.
Take consistent steps to develop the good habits to achieve financial independence.
The last step I recommend is to develop good daily habits that make it easier to execute on your plan to achieving financial independence. Actions, good or bad, are more likely to happen if they are habitual. Set-up good, regular, habits on spending, saving, and investing in order to increase your likelihood of success. I implemented several good habits to help me achieve financial independence such as saving a fixed amount from every paycheck, paying off my credit cards every month, paying extra on my mortgage every month, and reading financial literacy books on a routine basis. Establish your good financial habits and it will become easier to execute your plan to achieving financial independence. Here is a post on the power of habit and how to think about ways to change bad habits or create good habits.
As you probably know if you are following my journey, I was able to achieve financial independence when my kids were 6 and 9 years old and it has been a blessing to be able to spend significant time with each of them. I also am able to now do things to live a healthier lifestyle like walking my kids to school, exercising daily, and eating home-cooked meals more often. My reasons have been worth it! The above approach helped me stay disciplined and it can help you. You can do this!