Achievement = Discipline x Time
January is a time when many reflect and focus on achievement. We create goals, resolutions, and changes we want to make to impact our lives positively.
It could be professional achievements, physical achievements, educational achievements, or anything else you can imagine. While the range of achievements can vary greatly, I believe there is one constant. The formula for success:
Achievement = Discipline x Time
Let us dive into that formula a bit further.
Achievement – As mentioned above, an achievement can be classified as any goal we want to accomplish that will take effort. It is important to note that achievements will vary from person to person. A physical achievement for some will be running a 5k, while for others it may be a marathon.
Discipline – The ability to perform activities again and again consistently. This is a big challenge for many. The gym is packed with people in early January who have made a New Year’s resolution. That same gym is much emptier come February. Discipline is the ability to stay with it!
Time – The time over which you carry out your discipline activities. This is vital to success. No achievement can happen overnight. Time is needed as most people make small incremental improvements over time. For those small incremental improvements to grow into something substantial, you need time.
While this is very simplified, I think it shows that you cannot achieve anything of value without these two inputs. You will need discipline to consistently perform the activities that will ultimately drive your achievement. You need time for that discipline to take shape and those incremental improvements to add up to create the achievement you are looking for.
How does this apply to financial planning? I am a financial planner; I help people create and work toward their goals every day. One of the challenges of financial planning is that people want the “quick” solution. Often it does not exist.
Let us use an example of a client who wants to save and invest enough to be able to retire comfortably. They will need two factors to achieve that goal. They will need the discipline to consistently set money aside and invest that money for the future. This can be accomplished by taking advantage of contributions to a company's retirement plan from each paycheck. And they will need time for that money to grow to meet their goals. This means starting that investing process early and not stopping if it gets hard.
If someone tries to achieve that goal and they are disciplined but don’t have time it will be almost impossible for them to grow their worth that much. If they have time but don’t take the steps necessary, then the time will pass but the money will not grow.
It is easy to get sidetracked by procrastination (I’ll save later when it is easier) or get rich quick schemes found on the internet. But these are not consistent repeatable paths to achieving your goal. You may win the lottery but if that is your retirement plan, I don’t love your odds for success.
If you started the year with grand ambitions and want to accomplish great things, then I encourage you to remember this simple formula.
Achievement = Discipline x Time.
Determine what disciplined activity you need to do, and the time you need to stick with it.
And if you need help getting started or guidance along the way, that is what we are here for.
Author: James (JT) Cox
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