Start small

“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step” –┬áLao-Tzu

Financial Independence may seem like such a hard thing to achieve, and to many it seems impossible. However, as the famous saying goes, the journey begins with a single step.

As with all challenges, you have to start somewhere, practice daily and build on your experience to eventually reach your goals. It is really easy to start and although the daily decisions may not always be easy, working towards Financial Independence can be a reality.

If the thought of Financial Independence is too daunting and you think that you cannot achieve it, start with these 4 easy steps and enjoy the journey.

Decide to be in control of your money

The first step to any financial goal is to decide to be in control of your money. Being in control of your money has nothing to do with how much your have or earn, and all to do with how you spend it and invest it. It is knowing what every cent is going towards and understanding how different spending decisions can impact your goals.

All it takes in one simple decision saying “I’m gonna take control of my money”.

Right now you don’t need to know much about finances as you can learn it all; just make that decision!

Set a realistic goal to start with

The best way to motivate yourself is set a small goal which you can achieve relatively easily. Focus on achieving it and you will see how your perspective of finances changes as you see yourself reaching the goal.

When setting a goal though be sure that it is measurable and achievable. Instead of being vague and stating that you want to save “some” money, specify the exact amount and the date by when you want to have done it.

Start off with something that won’t be too hard, goals should be motivating and not depressing or something that makes you feel guilty.

Create a budget and vague path to your goal

If you don’t yet have a personal budget, then you need to create one as a matter of urgency! There are many resources online about this but the basic concept is simple:

  • List your income (stable and reliable income)
  • List your expenses (if you’re unsure if where to start have a look at the 30-day challenge to keep track of expenses)
  • Make sure that you earn more than you spend!

Have a look at this to get you started.

Reassess often

This is a very important step and something people don’t do often enough. You need to reassess your current situation, spending pattern, budget, goals, etc on a regular basis. Circumstances change and your own experience and confidence levels change. Embrace these changes in your journey to financial independence.

Allow yourself to embrace change and keep a journal of your experiences along the way.

Take Charge of Your Money

Taking charge of your money has nothing to do with how much you earn or spend, but rather how and where you spend it. And knowing why! It’s being concious of all your financial decisions and realizing that everytime you spend money, you are actually making a decision to do so.

Looking at your spending pattern can show you what you prioritize in life. You may not even know how much you spend on what, but where your money goes is a good indication of what you value. If you find that your money is going to things that you don’t value then it’s a sure sign that you need to take charge and re-align your spending habits!

Taking charge of your money is all about knowing what you are doing with your money, and understanding the consequences of each transaction.

Consider how hard you work for your money, isn’t it silly to just spend it so frivolously?

Set an intention

I’ve been struggling with my early morning yoga routine recently and I messaged my yoga instructor saying “Help – I can’t get myself out of bed in the morning! Need motivation”. Her response was probably something she was taught in yoga-school (some mystic place in India no doubt) because it’s so simple and yet profound.

Her answer was simply “When your alarm clock goes off, place both feet firmly on the ground and think ‘Don’t listen to your mind, do it for your body and soul’.”

Further explanation led her to say “Simply set an intention and when the time comes, follow through with it.” It’s really as simple as that.

yoga

So even though that advice is meant to help me wake up at 5am, it’s equally true for anything; especially things that require willpower such as sticking to a budget. Simply set an intention, and then do it! No need to think about it and argue with yourself. If you were in a conscious and focussed space when you made your intention (goal, plan, decision) then there is no reason to not follow through with it. Just don’t give yourself that option.

Not much more I can say other than “Set an intention; and just do it!”