10 Steps to Become a Millionaire in 5 Years (or Less)
Increase your income, lifestyle, and joy
It doesn’t matter where you currently are in your financial situation — whether just starting out or already making lots of money.
Most people, no matter what their income, are treading water. As a person’s income rises, so does their spending.
Few people understand how to continually increase their income, lifestyle, and joy at the same time.
In this article, you will learn:
- How to become wealthy
- How to build a life that continually increases your level of confidence and joy
- How to continually expand, learn, grow, and succeed as a person
- How to develop mentorships, friendships, and strategic partnerships with nearly anyone you want
If these things are not interesting to you, then this article was not written for you.
Here’s how it works.
1. Create a wealth vision
“When riches begin to come they come so quickly, in such great abundance, that one wonders where they have been hiding during all those lean years.” — Napoleon Hill
Step one of becoming financially successful is to actually create a vision for yourself financially. Einstein said that imagination is more important than knowledge. Arden said creativity is more important than experience.
How much imagination do you have for your future?
Do you see huge potential and possibility for your life?
Or, do you see a pretty average life?
Creating a vision is an iterative process. You don’t just create a vision once and then never look at it again.
You continually create and write your vision — every single day.
Look at any area of your life in which you’re doing well, and you’ll find it’s because you see something beyond what you currently have. By that same token, look at any area of your life that isn’t exceptional, and you’ll find that you don’t see something beyond what you currently have.
Most people are living in and repeating the past.
Having a vision is focused on the future.
Your life and behavior immediately shift when you begin imagining a different future and stridently strive for it.
In order to do this, you must obliterate your need for consistency. From a psychological perspective, people generally feel the need to be viewed by others as consistent. This need causes people to retain behavioral patterns, environments, and relationships that are ultimately destructive and unsatisfying for far too long.
Instead, you could abandon your need to be viewed as consistent by others. You can be OK with the fact that you’re not perfect. You can be OK with messing up. You can be OK with having values you stand for and goals you want to accomplish, regardless of what those around you think.
Having a vision for your life means you no longer care what other people think of you. It means you’re ready to begin actually living the life you want. It means you’re no longer going to just go with the flow, as you have for most of your life. It means that regardless of what your parents, peers, and social environment have presented to you thus far, you’re going to create the life you want.
The more detailed your vision the better. The more quantifiable your vision the better.
Your brain really loves numbers and events. These are tangible. Thus, your vision should center around specific numbers and key events.
- “I will be making $1,000,000/year by January 1, 2022.”
- “I will get a check for over $100,000 by October 2020.”
- “I will take a six week vacation in Thailand in the next six months.”
Get excited by it.
The more detailed the vision in your mind, the more believable it will be to you.
It’s OK if you don’t know exactly what you want right now. Having more money, creating powerful experiences, and continually growing as a person are all goals that will push you in the right direction.
As you build confidence through successive, small wins over time, your vision and imagination will expand.
Thus, in order for your vision to become clarified and congruent with your values and genuine desires, you’ll need to start building confidence.
That’s where the next step comes in.
2. Develop a 90-day system for measuring progress/future pacing
The following are four questions Dan Sullivan, founder of Strategic Coach, has his clients answer every 90 days:
“Winning Achievements? Looking back over the past quarter, what are the things that make you the proudest about what you have achieved?”
“What’s Hot? When you look at everything that’s going on today, which areas of focus and progress are making you the most confident?”
“Bigger and Better? Now, looking ahead at the next quarter, what new things are giving you the greatest sense of excitement?”
“What are the five new ‘jumps’ you can now achieve that will make your next 90 days a great quarter regardless of what else happens?”
Every 90 days, you want to review the previous 90 days and then set measurable and challenging goals for the next 90 days.
In the book “The Art of Learning,” Josh Waitzkin said:
“Short-term goals can be useful developmental tools if they are balanced within a nurturing long-term philosophy. Too much sheltering from results can be stunting.”
Short-term goals are how you build progress. Working toward a timeline is crucial for productivity. Focusing on only a few key milestones each 90 days is how you build momentum.
Every 90 days, when you look back on the previous 90 days, you want a system for tracking your learning and progress. You want to get out of your routine environment and take a recovery break. Tim Ferriss calls this mini-retirements.
Every 90 days, you want to take a few days off. You want to get away where you can ponder, reflect, think, visualize, strategize, and play.
During this recovery session, you want to pull out your journal and take time to reflect on the previous 90 days.
What went well?
What were your key wins?
What did you learn?
What has you most excited?
Where do you need to pivot?
Given what you’ve done and what you’ve learned, what do you want to do in the next 90 days?
What two to five jumps or wins will make the biggest difference toward your ideal vision?
Every 90 days, when you review your progress, you could be increasing your confidence, because confidence comes from watching yourself succeed.
Very few people truly take time to reflect on what they’ve actually done. We’re very good at seeing where we’re coming up short. We are less reflective of where we’ve succeeded.
Chances are, you don’t even remember what you ate for lunch three days ago.
Chances are, you don’t recognize all of the good things you’ve done in the past 90 days. However, you can train your brain to notice, focus, and pay attention to the progress you’re making. When you begin seeing progress, you’ll start to feel excited.
These feelings are very important.
Feeling movement and momentum gives confidence.
Confidence is the bedrock of imagination, action, and power.
Want more confidence?
Start setting short-term goals (every 30–90 days), track your progress, count your wins, recover, reset, and start again.
When you have a big vision, you don’t need to make HUGE progress every day. You only need to take a step or two forward daily. You then track that progress and watch as the compounding effects take over.
Every 90 days, track the key areas of your life.
Track your money.
Track your health.
Track your time.
Track the progress in the areas you want to succeed.
3. Develop a daily routine to live in a flow/peak state
“Assume the feeling of your wish fulfilled.” — Neville Goddard
Alright — so you’ve created a big picture vision that inspires you.
You’ve also set 90-day short-term goals to help you build confidence and keep you progressing on that path.
Now, you need a daily routine to keep yourself in flow.
If you can get yourself into a flow-state every single day, and live in and operate from that flow state, you’re going to feel really good.
It is your responsibility to organize your life so you can be in flow as much as possible. In positive psychology, a flow state, also known as being in the zone, is the mental state in which you are fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment.
In essence, flow is characterized by complete absorption in what one does, and a resulting loss in one’s sense of space and time.
That’s a great way to live.
Flow creates high performance.
High performance creates confidence.
Confidence creates imagination and excitement.
Imagination and excitement lead you to thinking bigger and differently about yourself and your life.
With that in mind, it’s key to look at why most people are not in flow most of the time. Not surprisingly, it starts first thing in the morning. Momentum is activated with the first decision of your day. Rather than proactively putting themselves into a flow state, most people put themselves into an unconsciously reactive state.
People are not the product of habits, they are the product of environments (see point four below). According to Stanford psychologist and behavior expert, BJ Fogg, design beats willpower. Design is about how you’ve set things up. Most people have not designed their environment for flow. Instead, most people’s environment and life have been set up for continual distraction, which is the opposite of flow.
Flow is something that must be designed for.
You have to decide to live in flow. You have to commit to it. The reason flow is so commonplace in extreme sports is because extreme sports require a great deal of commitment, risk, and focus.
If a motocross rider loses focus while trying a back flip over a 100-foot dirt jump, they could die. Therefore, the situation evokes deep flow.
Flow comes by not over-thinking it.
Flow comes when you just let it happen.
For example, when I’m writing a blog post, my best writing is when I stop thinking altogether. I just let it rip.
That’s how high performance works. You put in the preparation, then you just let your body take over.
When it comes to morning routines, the primary purpose is to put yourself into a flow or peak state. There are some useful activities for putting yourself into flow.
First, you want to change your environment to change your mindset. Begin visualizing and imagining your desired future. Affirm powerfully to yourself that you are going to achieve that future. Florence Shinn stated, “Faith knows it has already received and acts accordingly.”
That’s what morning routines are all about. You put your mind into the mode of your future. You emotionally commit and connect with that future. You then be that future self.
You act as that future-self would act.
This is why the need for consistency needs to drop from your life.
Instead of being consistent with who you’ve been, you want to be consistent with who you’re going to be. If you’re going to be a millionaire, you need to start acting like one now.
Recent research studied the brains of actors with MRI machines. What they found is that, when the actors were in character, their brains showed significant change.
In other words, acting a different role changes your brain. And this is actually what you want to do every morning in your morning routine.
Rather than triggering the brain of your former self and addictions, you want to trigger the brain of your desired self, or character.
Who do you want to be?
Imagine that self.
Feel that self.
Assume the feeling of your wish fulfilled.
Affirm the reality of that self.
Know that what you want, you can have.
Invest yourself in that reality.
Begin, right now, acting consistent with that reality.
Enjoy the rush of flow that comes from being present and congruent.
4. Design your environment for clarity, recovery, and creativity
“A lot of people think we are creatures of habit but we’re not. We are creatures of environment.” — Roger Hamilton
In order to truly upgrade your life, you can’t just set goals, build morning routines, and begin acting differently.
You need to reshape your environment.
You need an environment that matches the future you plan to create.
You need an environment that not only resonates with your values and vision, but also propels your values and vision.
Most people’s environment is like a rushing river, going the opposite direction of where they want to go. It takes a lot of willpower to tread upstream. It’s exhausting. Instead, you want your environment to pull you in the direction you want to go.
You want to proactively surround yourself with people who inspire you.
How many role models do you regularly encounter?
How many role models are you helping?
Different environments have different purposes. You want separate environments for rest and rejuvenation, for focus and work, for meditation and clarity, and for excitement and fun.
The more mindful you become as a person, the more you realize that you and your environment are two parts of the same whole. You cannot disconnect yourself from your environment. Therefore, you want to be mindful and intentional about your environment.
This means that you do not contaminate recovery environments with things like cellphones. If you’re going to go to the beach to relax, don’t ruin that amazing opportunity by bringing your phone.
When you change a part, you change the whole system. Don’t spoil the whole barrel with one bad apple.
5. Focus on results, not habits or processes
“In polite conversation, most of us will say we admire successful people for their hard work, positive habits, and ironclad principles. That’s not really true. It doesn’t take much digging to uncover a major disconnect between what most of us say we respect and how most of the icons of our age actually behave… Keep in mind that the only thing most people really care about is the score on the board. Everything else is hype.” — Forbes
It’s quite hilarious, really. Nowadays, you hear people talking about how goals and results don’t matter.
This is totally nonsense.
It’s also a lie.
It’s not about habits or processes. It’s about results.
The reason we admire certain people is because of the results they get. There are countless other people who have habits that are just as inspiring,” but who fail to produce powerful results.
Tim Ferriss, in his book “The 4-Hour Body,” defines what he calls “minimum viable dose.” Basically, this is the minimum amount of effort to produce the desired result. 212 degrees is all that is needed to boil an egg. Anything beyond that is wasted effort.
Therefore, what result do you desire?
What is the most effective way to get that result?
Rather than obsessing about the habits and processes, you want to gain clarity on the result you want, and then reverse-engineer how to achieve it.
It is the goal that determines the process, not the other way around. Moreover, it’s the results that also determine the process. If you’re not getting the desired result, then you need to adjust your process. Don’t be insane, doing the same things over and over and expecting different results.
Even still, we live in a culture that is obsessed with habits, hacks, and processes. None of these things make any sense in and of themselves. They only make sense in the context of a specific goal.
My process won’t look like your process, because my goals aren’t the same as your goals. My goals are what determine my process.
My habits won’t look like your habits, because my goals aren’t the same as your goals. My goals are what determine my habits.
When you get serious about big results, you stop obsessing about process altogether. Big and bold goals require ingenuity. They require courage to attempt stuff that might not work. They require going above and beyond anything you’ve ever done.
In reality, your goal is the process. You set a goal and that goal organizes your life. Once you hit it, you then set a new goal that re-organizes your life.
Goals are the means, not the end. They are means to growth and progress. Once you hit a goal, you take what you’ve learned and continue expanding.
6. Identify ideal mentors/partners
“Everybody wants to be somebody’s Yoda.” — Aminah Mae Safi
Don’t just look for a job. Instead, create a job.
You create a job by providing opportunities to ideal people you want to learn from and work with.
This is how you can come to work very closely with your ideal mentors.
Wealthy people work to learn. Poor people work for money.
So, who do you admire?
Who is a role model to you?
Who is doing work you absolutely love?
Who has a life you want to emulate?
How can you help them achieve their goals?
How can you use your skills and abilities to enhance and improve what they are doing?
It is really so easy to get close to just about anyone. I’ve observed this over and over in my life. I’ve been able to develop very close relationships with anyone I’ve wanted.
It started with a vision.
I wrote down that I was going to learn from and work with certain people.
I studied their work.
I developed skills that would be useful to them.
I got myself into their environment.
I offered my skills to them in the form of an opportunity, one in which would help them further succeed.
I spent my time and effort helping them and learning a great deal in the process.
I became part of the inner-circle.
Being in the inner-circle, I’m now afforded rare knowledge, experiences, and opportunities.
This is what you want.
You develop mentorships and partnerships by being useful. You dedicate your thoughts and efforts to helping them. By helping them, you position yourself in a unique place. In this unique new position, making lots of money becomes easy.
7. Become a brilliant listener and observer
“Listening is such a simple act. It requires us to be present, and that takes practice, but we don’t have to do anything else. We don’t have to advise, or coach, or sound wise. We just have to be willing to sit there and listen.” — Margaret Wheatley
“Seek first to understand, then to be understood.” — Stephen Covey
Interestingly, in helping ideal mentors and role models, I’ve seen time and again how people overly value their own “wisdom.”
Recently, I was on a call with one of my mentors. There were three of us on the call. The mentor, myself, and one other. We were all discussing my mentor’s goals and plans for expanding their business and simplifying their life.
The conversation lasted about 90 minutes.
60 of those minutes were the other person spouting endless ideas without clear context. They were trying too hard to be useful or smart.
It wasn’t helpful.
Instead, it’s better to ask thoughtful questions.
What are they really trying to accomplish?
What are the current challenges?
What do you feel needs to happen?
Why do you want to make these changes?
Once you understand the context, then and only then will your words be useful. When it comes to relationships and communication, sometimes the stakes are very high. In these cases, you want to measure ten times and cut once. In other words, you want your words to be relevant and on-point. You want it to be obvious that you’re there for them, and not to boost your own ego.
If it’s really about them, then make it about them. Ask questions before providing ideas.
Help them get clarity themselves through their own talking.
Make sure they understand what is really going on in their head by helping them clarify.
Then, when you feel you could provide insight, do it in the context of what they’ve already said.
They will then know that you are truly listening to them and that you’re truly trying to help them. They will love and respect you, because unlike most people, you are genuine. You’re a listener.
8. Focus on who instead of how
“Stop asking ‘how’ and start asking ‘who.’” — Dan Sullivan
Part of becoming a millionaire, or financially successful in whatever way you define that, is by evolving beyond what Dan Sullivan calls “rugged individualism.”
When ambitious people set goals, they often ask themselves, “How do I do this?”
When you’re first starting out, this is a fine question. But when your vision expands and your time becomes more valuable, you start asking a different question.
“Who can either do this for me or help me do this?”
Rather than trying to do the how yourself, you find the who to take care of the how.
Hiring people or even using services like Upwork is so easy these days. There are people all over the world with time and skills who are ready and waiting. Utilize these people.
You get the best people on board with whatever you’re trying to accomplish by powerfully and clearly conveying the what and the why.
What are you trying to accomplish?
Why is it so important?
This is how you get people excited and committed. Simon Sinek, an expert of work culture, explains that everyone needs more from work than simply a paycheck. We all want to feel like we are a part of something important, meaningful, and worthwhile.
You offer that to people through the what and the why.
You may not see yourself as an entrepreneur. And you certainly don’t have to be one. But if you want to start making more money, you’ll need to stop doing everything by yourself.
Becoming a millionaire doesn’t happen by being a one-person show.
You need to start building a team. And like everything else, you want to do that before you feel ready. Because in truth, you’re never ready before you start. You’re never pre-qualified to do anything. It is always the leap itself and then working through the process that qualifies you.
9. Continually update your values/definition of success
“If you’re not [different from] who you were 12 months ago, you didn’t learn enough.” — Alain De B0tton
Transformative experiences can change your life. Similarly, transformative relationships can change your life.
You want to regularly have experiences and engage with people who upgrade your current approach and perspective of life.
Right now, you see the world a particular way based on your environment, your goals, and what you’ve been conditioned to focus on.
You can only see what is relevant and meaningful to you. Psychologists call this selective attention. What you focus on expands.
Right now, what you focus on may be different from what you were focusing on two to three years ago.
When you were young, you were focused on what your friends thought about you. As you got older, your focus shifted.
Peak experiences are a certain type of experience that bring something that has been out of focus into focus. When you have these experiences that shift your focus and attention, you begin to see the world differently.
You want to continually shine the focus of your attention on things that are meaningful and valuable to you.
How much of your time and attention is on things that don’t really matter?
How much energy to you put into stuff that isn’t serving you?
What could you be focused on, that would be way more worth you time?
I recently met a person who helped me focus way more directly on my relationship with my kids. He told me a story that really changed my perspective. I was really listening and receptive to what he was saying.
The story he told me hit upon things I’d already heard before, but that weren’t strong enough signals to shift my attention. But his story and the whole experience really made it real for me, enough so that it changed my values and goals.
There are things you’ve heard before which went in one ear and out the other. Those are things you know, but don’t do. Stephen Covey said, “To know and not do is really not to know.”
Just because you’re aware of something doesn’t mean you pay attention to it. Becoming emotionally connected to something is how you begin paying more attention to it. As you engage in something, and begin to identify with it, it becomes a bigger part of your life.
Right now, look at your health. How much attention do you give it? You’ve heard a million times that your health is important. You’re aware, but are you paying attention? Or, is your attention on other things?
Your attention can be measured by what triggers you in your environment. Hence, people who are addicted to alcohol are triggered by many things in their environment to think about alcohol.
What triggers you?
That’s what you’re focused on. That’s what you identify with. That’s what is meaningful to you. That’s where your story of yourself lies.
You can design your focus so that your external environment triggers what you want to see.
Similar to attention, there are things you know are valuable, but that you personally don’t value.
For example, you probably believe that good health is something worth valuing, but your behavior demonstrates what you really value. What you pay attention to is what you value.
So, you want to have experiences that shift what you could value to what you do value. You want to truly value things that will make the biggest difference in your life. You want to stop valuing the things that are sabotaging your success.
You want to set goals around the values you aspire to have. You want to create routines and an environment that bring those values to the forefront of your attention. Your input shapes your outlook. You then want to live out those values daily. Then, you want to regularly have experiences which upgrade, expand, and refine those values.
If your definition of “success” hasn’t changed in the past 12 months, then you haven’t learned very much. If your definition of success hasn’t changed, then you haven’t been having powerful experiences.
10. Don’t wait too long when you know it’s time to change
“What got you here won’t get you there.” — Dr. Marshall Goldsmith
“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” — Albert Einstein
“The way to enjoy life best is to wrap up one goal and start right on the next one. Don’t linger too long at the table of success, the only way to enjoy another meal is to get hungry.” — Jim Rohn
Goals are means, not ends. Once you’ve achieved something big, don’t get stuck there just because it worked before.
Everything you’ve done has brought you to this point.
What is the next big adventure?
What does the situation call for?
What does your imagination inspire?
What’s the next big mountain?
One of the fundamental problems with success is that it becomes a trap. People who have succeeded big get stuck living in their past. They continue to explain themselves based on what they’ve done, rather than what they’re doing.
Elon Musk is a powerful exception. You never hear Elon Musk talk about the Paypal days. Instead, you hear him talking about the problems he’s currently solving and the vision he is currently pursuing.
He’s not stuck in the past. Instead, he’s using all of his past experiences to propel bigger and bigger results and goals and challenges.
He’s always growing, transforming, changing, striving. This is a very healthy approach to life.
It’s surprising how simple it actually is to become financially successful.
It’s not hard.
You just need to know what you want and then become the person that gets it.
You can become a millionaire.
It may take five years. But five years of focused attention on something can take you a really long way.
What’s the minimum viable dose for the results you want?
Becoming a millionaire will require you to change. But as Albert Einstein said, “The measure of intelligence is the ability to change.” Jim Rohn said it best: “Become a millionaire not for the million dollars, but for what it will make of you to achieve it.”
Here’s the reality: you are currently fixated and focused on something. That’s a fact. If you want to understand who you are, all you need to do is discover where your current focus and attention lies.
A fundamental part of conscious evolution is learning to control and direct your attention — so that you can shine that spotlight onto what you want, rather than what you’ve been conditioned to want. Fundamental to that is updating your environment and values, since these things center your attention.
What are you currently focused on?
What is currently meaningful to you?
What could be meaningful to you?
What could you value?
Who could you be?