I will make a bold prediction about whether or not you will ever become wealthy. But first, you need to give an honest answer to the following two questions. Are you happy? Do you live a healthy lifestyle?
I really believe that it takes the same qualities and characteristics to build wealth as it does to be healthy and happy. And I believe that everyone has the capacity to achieve each one. I think that most people know what it takes to be happy. Most people probably also know what it takes to be healthy. But the secret is to actually do more of what we know.
If you are happy, you probably do many of the things that increase happiness. You probably make an effort to keep in touch with family, see friends and treat people with respect. You may be involved in a meaningful cause where you work to improve your community, or you may have a hobby that allows you to create something of value. These all require a few common characteristics: you have found something you value and you spend your time and energy there.
If you are healthy, you probably make choices that keep you healthy. That’s not to say that you never indulge, but you can find a balance. You probably eat a variety of healthy foods. You may have a regular exercise program, or you may focus on creating healthy mental habits. These all require a measure of self-discipline and the ability to balance your choices.
If you are happy and healthy, I am confident that you can become wealthy. All you need to do is add a couple habits to what you’re already doing. Set goals. Save. Invest. Check that you’re on track and make any necessary adjustments. This is even easier if you get advice from an advisor that you can trust.
If you are not yet happy or healthy, ask yourself: would you rather have wealth or happiness? Would you rather be rich or healthy? I imagine that wealth without happiness and without health would be useless, so I will assume that you can understand the priority I will suggest.
I am not sure that it’s possible for most people to make an abrupt change to become happy and healthy. When I decided that the course of my life needed to change for the better, I started by gathering many ideas for improvement. Then, I tried implementing one at a time. With several false starts or improvements followed by regressions, I slowly replaced bad habits with healthy habits. As examples, I started eating more balanced meals, then I worked on treating my family members with more respect, followed by an increased effort to have a positive outlook on life and other people, before adding a regular exercise routine. If I had tried all of these improvements at once, I would have quickly become frustrated. But as I strengthened my resolve, I experienced success and increased my confidence, which strengthened my resolve again, in a virtuous cycle.
Building wealth is much the same. It wouldn’t be practical to try and tackle every area of your financial life all at once. You could become overwhelmed and discouraged. Instead, choose the one area where change will have the greatest impact. Develop a new habit and appreciate your success. Then, choose a new area to work on. If you find you are not motivated to make the effort required in a given area, such as curbing compulsive shopping, choose another area to work on, such as choosing wise investments. Seeing success in your investments will build your confidence that you are capable of success and will also motivate you to save more, so that you will have even more funds to invest.
If you have the strength of character and conviction to take the necessary action that will create a life of health and happiness, I am certain that you can become wealthy. After all, developing habits that lead to wealth requires similar discipline to forging habits that create health and happiness. Work on all three simultaneously, because wealth is meaningless without your health and your happiness.