Your Ideal Self Starts with a Purpose

ideal self

I’m blogging hopefully to better my reader’s financial lives. I write about how to save thousands a year, how to become a millionaire, developing your career, and everything in between. These are things I advocate because these are components that I can see my ideal self having. However, with every end goal to be the best that you can be, the first step is to determine your purpose.

When I Had a Wrong Purpose

I’ve put myself in situations before where I was working my hardest to be richer. I worked two jobs a semester in college. During summers, I interned in finance to beef up my resume and be more marketable to employers.

Employers said they liked candidates who were “well rounded” so I double majored in finance and economics and triple minored in math, computer science, and accounting. How can I be more well-rounded than that? I was also involved in organizations and took on leadership roles. Why did I do all of this?

At the time, I thought my ideal self was someone who didn’t have to worry about money later down the road. I thought that if I had a good job after college, I wouldn’t worry about money. It is why I worked so hard to be marketable to employers.

Looking back on it now, I realized that it was the wrong “why”. I’m not happy with the choices that I made because everything that I’ve done was to be better to someone else (a future employer). It wasn’t to be better to myself.

Your Ideal Self Needs to Have a Good Why

Knowing the why is a derivative of a situation. It’s not the situation itself, but something that’s derived from the situation. There are things that almost everyone wants, but a bad why will make you unfulfilled and have regrets later once you achieve your goals.

My biggest regret with how I spent my time during my college days is that I did all this extracurricular activities for someone else. For someone else who doesn’t even really care that I had 2 majors and 3 minors.

The work that I did through my internships was good, but did I spend too much time doing internships? I did 4 internships in college when it was the norm to do 1 – 2.  If I could do it all over again, I would do 2 – 3 max and start this blog earlier because I’m passionate about personal finance.

Examples: 

Becoming a Millionaire

Do you want to become a millionaire? If you do, what are your reasons for doing it? Is it just to be rich and to be able to say you have a lot of money? If so, it might lead to an unfulfilling life later down the road. You shouldn’t pursue money for the sake of wealth and material things, you should pursue it for the sake of freedom.

Freedom to spend more time with family and friends. Freedom to never have to worry about money ever again. This is why I personally want to be a millionaire, not for the sake of being wealthy.

Becoming an Influential Person

Maybe it’s the power that comes with becoming an influential person. Maybe it’s the fact that you like it when people are listening to you and think you’re credible. It could be one of a million reasons why you would want to be an influential person. Make sure that it’s something that you truly want and take time to figure it out. 

Getting Out of Debt

Getting out of debt is such a noble goal that you should pursue if you are in debt. It’s the #1 priority you should have to have in personal finance. I’m lucky that I had scholarships throughout college that I didn’t have to take on debt. I also pay off my credit cards in full so I never carry a balance. Debt is the enemy of freedom so any reason to get out of debt is a good one.

Never Forget the Why

As an immigrant who came from a middle-class family, I desperately want to reach financial freedom. It’s a part of my ideal self in the future. None of my family has been able to do it. I want to do it because I’m actually almost scared that my parents don’t have enough of a stash saved up for retirement.  

It’s the reason why I constantly look for the extra. Asking for more work at work, starting a side project such as this blog, and researching extra income opportunities in my spare time.

To help me never forget the why, I taped a sheet of paper to the wall that says “Never Forget The Why”. It looks very crude but I look at it every day coming home from work. It’s a constant reminder. The why is motivating me to go forward.

You shouldn’t ever forget the reason you make your choices. Living a purposeful life matters. There’s been actual studies done that the why matters more than we think. Two people had to achieve the same goals but with different reasons. The one with a better and meaningful reason led a happier life than the one with a worse one. The happiness of your ideal self depends on the why.

Constantly Reflect On Your Goals

The regret that I had in my college years could have easily been avoided had I just reviewed my goals throughout the years and asked myself if that’s what I really wanted. I didn’t review my goals at all. All I had was an endless list of to-do’s with no reflection whether I was making the right choices.

Having goals is fantastic. It lets you see your progress throughout the year to see if you’re achieving them. The next step to having a goal and working towards them is to reflect on your goals. Your wants and needs can be constantly changing and the goal you set out one year from now may not be what you want 6 months down the road. 

Conclusion

Becoming your ideal self starts with your why. Your why is so important to give you the motivation to continue making progress with your goals. Making sure the why fits in with your wants leads to a happier life.

Otherwise, after achieving your goals, you may find out that you didn’t want that in the first, second, or third place. This is my biggest regret to date and hope that I don’t make the same mistake in the future.

Readers, what does  your ideal self look like? Have you figured out why you want what you envision or ideal self to be? Let me know in the comments below!

ideal self

Finance Solver

I grew my net worth to $40,000 as a college student through hard work, discipline, and a little bit of luck. I graduated college in 2016 and will be starting to plan for my retirement once I start working.I am planning on reaching financial independence by my early 30's and I will document my moments of inspiration all the way to desperation here.

My goal is to enable your success in personal finance so that you can realize the American dream. The first step is starting today!

Read more about me here.

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10 thoughts on “Your Ideal Self Starts with a Purpose

  1. I like the distinction between improving yourself for someone else vs. improving yourself for yourself. We’re taught that you need to improve yourself for someone else. You need to get good grades and participate in extracurriculars so that you look good for college admissions boards. You need to do well in college and study specific subjects to look better for an employer. You need to work hard and go above and beyond so that you look good to the boss and he or she will promote you.

    I think we would all do well to follow your advice and figure out how to improve for ourselves.

    • Finance Solver says:

      Yes! There’s definitely times when we need to improve ourselves for others. Maybe we want that promotion, the A in a test, or get a good job after college. But what I’ve learned is that there’s 168 hours in a week. Maybe we spend 40 hours of that trying to be better for someone else and the other 128 hours, trying to be better for ourselves (ok, subtract 56 hours from that for sleep, but still, that’s a lot of hours!).

      It’s a bit different culturally because America really values individualism and I come from Asia, where we value teamwork above all else, but I fit in better with the individualistic culture, personally. Took me a while to figure it out but I’m so glad that I did!

  2. While it is difficult to do so much hard work and then regret that you were pursuing the wrong goals, it’s good that you were able to realize while you are still young that you need to find your why. I think I came to that realization rather late in life, and while it is never too late to change, it certainly becomes more difficult as time goes on.

    • Finance Solver says:

      I’m so glad that I learned and realized this earlier than later. I’m hoping that I’m not making mistakes currently that I will regret later on but I want to take it one day at a time!

  3. This is such an awesome post. For years we worked to accomplish things because we wanted to be successful in the eyes of others. Now that our main concern is reaching our own personal “why” goals, life is so much happier, and we are reaching those goals!

    • Finance Solver says:

      Yes! The own personal why matters so much. Otherwise, we can easily feel like we’re living someone else’s life. I’m glad I got to figure this out relatively early in my life so I don’t do the same thing going forward. Thanks for stopping by Laurie!

  4. “Living a purposeful life matters.” This is great! Without that “why”, it’s hard to have direction. It becomes easier just to do what we think we “should” do. You seemed to be doing what you thought you should do in your college years. I did the exact same thing. Pursued degrees with no solid understanding of my purpose. It took me a long time to figure out my why. I’m glad you found it much earlier in life! 🙂

    I love this: “You shouldn’t pursue money for the sake of wealth and material things, you should pursue it for the sake of freedom.”

  5. Good advice. Money itself should not be the purpose but rather a byproduct of what you love to do or want to accomplish in life.

    For me, money has always followed what I have done in my life and career and it has worked out quite well. Even now, with investing which I actually enjoy, I tend to make good investment decisions which then lead to more profits and success.

  6. You hit out of the part bro! Keep it up, awesome post.

    I have always gone by my convictions – never lived a life to impress anyone or fit in to feel accepted for the most part. So, when I write down goals, it based on a “why”.

    I have goals written down, in fact, I have one goal hand written that I carry in my wallet and it is a constant reminder to me of the goal at hand.

    However, I have not written down the “why” next to each of my goals. Going forward, I ‘m going pen down the “why” so that it is not just in my head but clearly spelled out in paper to reflect upon.

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