Financial success is all about balance, perspective, knowledge, values, and how you define what is most important to your happiness. For some, the idea of “more” holds a level of allure and enticement that will motivate their actions to make more money and surround themselves with the trappings of wealth. For others, the idea of financial success means “less”; as in, less debt, less stress, less possessions, less complications. Whether you consider yourself a “more” or “less” person, it’s all perspective and the level of energy you are willing to invest in order to live aligned with your values.

To begin figuring out your goals, consider the following:

  1. Determine your ultimate outcomes first—work backwards. Ask yourself, what do you REALLY want and why? Write it down; make it concrete, despite how vague or general the wants may be. Without this knowledge, it’s like driving to a new destination without GPS, a road map or any idea of what you’ll need along the way.
  1. Understand the components of what you seek to accomplish. In other words, what is really involved in your road map, and what other aspects of your life are impacted along the way? Some things you need to do more and others less, but only your deep understanding will help you make that happen to get on the right track.
  1. Consider unanticipated consequences. There are always unexpected results from the decisions we make. While we can’t predict the future, we can make an educated guess using cause and effect knowledge. Invest the time to consider what might occur before it happens. Too often, we miss potential problems due to our desire to get started—and we skip over what may seem like trivial details, but in the end, can accumulate to disaster. Use plenty of “what if” questions to best outline the possibilities.
  1. Line up the experts. Who do you need to help you implement your plan and what are your expectations? Most people need the guidance and advice of experts. Think about it: Would you treat a medical condition based on what you read on a website, or would you line up the best doctors to help? The stakes—your future—are too important to fly solo. Seek the help of others who may change your life for the better.
  1. Ready-Aim-Fire. Too often we get so caught up in the excitement of “doing” that we don’t properly establish a process to get there. You’ve waited this long—make sure your actions will take you in the right direction. Set up a thoughtful road map that gets you from Point A to Point B using the most efficient route possible on the safest roads.
  1. Monitor-Monitor-Monitor. Like anything new, it’s vital that you check and review your progress, look for potential problems, and make course corrections as necessary.

You are more likely to be successful if you have a process that aligns your goals with the steps necessary to arrive. There are multiple factors that you cannot control, such as interest rates, economic cycles, stock market reactions and world events. But there are plenty of factors that you can control and predict. Determine what you need “more” of and what you need “less” of. Create a process to support your dreams and live more fully in the moment with less stress.