5 Wealth Building Habits to Secure Financial Freedom

This article is an excerpt from the Shortform book guide to "Unscripted" by MJ DeMarco. Shortform has the world's best summaries and analyses of books you should be reading.

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Do you want to become rich one day? What are the three steps to building wealth?

If you’re serious about getting rich, let go of the belief that there’s a shortcut to wealth. You’re more likely to acquire wealth if you define your goal and commit to making it happen. This involves three simple (but not easy) steps: 1) set a measurable goal, 2) create a daily routine, and 3) identify and remove distractions.

Let’s explore each of these three steps in detail.

#1: Set a Measurable Goal

The first step to building wealth is to set a specific and measurable goal. A clearly-defined, measurable goal gives you a clear target to move toward and provides opportunities to measure your progress. For example, “I want to be rich” isn’t measurable, whereas, “I want to earn $500,000 a year” is.

(Shortform note: Charles Duhigg (Smarter Faster Better) offers additional advice on setting measurable goals: First, define your overall objective and break it down into subgoals so you can track your process. Ensure that these subgoals are achievable and realistic—because if they don’t seem possible, you won’t be motivated to achieve them. Then, set an expected timeline for accomplishing each of your subgoals and your overall objective—because giving yourself continual deadlines will prevent procrastination.)

#2: Create a Daily Routine

DeMarco suggests that you break your goal down into a series of daily tasks that will help you make progress toward achieving it. For example, your initial daily tasks toward achieving your goal of earning $500,000 a year may involve researching business ideas and developing a detailed strategy to increase your income.

(Shortform note: Brendon Burchard (High Performance Habits) expands on DeMarco’s method with in-depth advice on breaking your goal down into productive tasks. First, write down five major steps you need to take to achieve your goal. These are big steps that require many smaller tasks to achieve. For example, if your goal is to generate $500,000 in profit, one of your five major steps might be to market your business. Then, under each of your five major steps, write down a list of tasks you need to complete to accomplish that step. For example, to market your business, your tasks might include copywriting and designing marketing materials. Finally, create deadlines for each of these tasks and factor them into your daily schedule.) 

#3: Identify and Remove Distractions

DeMarco recommends that you consider what might prevent you from working on your daily tasks and find ways to remove their influence over you. For example, if you have a habit of binge-watching Netflix when you should be working, canceling your subscription will make it easier to focus on what you need to do.

(Shortform note: In addition to removing all distractions, James Clear (Atomic Habits) provides another practical way to stay focused on what you want to achieve: Add visual reminders of what you intend to accomplish. Visual cues instigate action because they trick your brain into thinking that it’s convenient to act on them. For example, email pop-ups trigger you to automatically check emails. Without them, opening emails requires a conscious decision. Likewise, clearing your desk of all distractions and leaving just one project on your desk makes it convenient to foc

The 3 Simple (But Not Easy) Steps to Building Wealth

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  • Why the only way to achieve financial success is to adopt an entrepreneurial mindset
  • Eight beliefs about money that prevent you from achieving wealth
  • Actionable ways to adopt an entrepreneurial mindset

Darya Sinusoid

Darya’s love for reading started with fantasy novels (The LOTR trilogy is still her all-time-favorite). Growing up, however, she found herself transitioning to non-fiction, psychological, and self-help books. She has a degree in Psychology and a deep passion for the subject. She likes reading research-informed books that distill the workings of the human brain/mind/consciousness and thinking of ways to apply the insights to her own life. Some of her favorites include Thinking, Fast and Slow, How We Decide, and The Wisdom of the Enneagram.

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