New Year, New You? Sound Familiar?
If you’re anything like me or most people, you have goals & dreams in life. It’s usually around New Years when we here about all these changes people or making, or it’s when we make the proverbial change. It's like when the calendar changes it gives us the approval to finally make changes in our lives. We all want to change yet less than 10% of the population can actually keep up the change year round. Why is that?
After 21 years, I made the switch
I remember last January like it was today, it was when I made my health switch. Except funny enough I didn't start kicking it really in gear until February. I had a partial day to myself after New Years and I thought about what I wanted out of 2016. What I wanted out of my life. I would have to say it was one of the best decisions I ever made. I say this because it gave me a sense of direction.
I sat down took a day to myself and analyzed critical areas of my life. I'll admit I didn't focus on them all equally. The major areas are health, wealth(career/finance), social/relationships, impact/significance, mind (personal development, education). Last year I primarily focused on significance, health and my mind. I rated where I was in all of them and what I wanted to improve. It wasn’t until; I gained clarity of vision, created a plan of action then took action, I created the results I always wanted. Then I tweaked and refined as I went.
This is similar to the concept Ready, Fire, Aim. Which means you take action, you try, make mistakes, iterate, refine and try again.
Self Awareness, Understand Yourself
The truth is you need to be a mix of both. You have to plan but you also have to take action.
Discipline, planning and taking action on the plan creates freedom. Winging it and hoping you’ll do the right things creates stress, uncertainty and blind optimism.
If you’ve ever been in school and remember taking exams, ask yourself, was it easier when your teacher gave you a study guide or you just had to wing studying?
When you’re driving somewhere you only faintly know where it is, do you use a GPS? Or do you just drive around hoping you’ll figure out how to get there? If you’re living in 2017 you’re likely using your smart phone as a GPS.
The same thing goes for business, your personal life and really everything we want to achieve in life. Having an idea of where to go and how to get there makes it a whole lot easier.
If you follow Tim Ferriss there's 3 essential pillars to life; Healthy, Wealthy, & Wise. If you follow Tai Lopez there's 4; Health, Wealth, Love & Happiness. Either way Tim's is like a tripod, Tai's is like a table. You knock out one leg and it collapses. Just like our lives, we neglect a major area, everything falls lower with it.
Type A: Go-Getters
"A Failure to plan, is a plan to fail" - Winston Churchill
Without taking the time to really think about why you’re doing something, what you are planning on doing and how to do it, you are just taking misguided action. You have blind optimism you'll reach your destination without a map. It is very likely because of that you will quit because you won’t have a reason to keep going. If you don’t know why you’re doing something or have a good enough reason, why would you continue doing it?
I’ll start tomorrow, next week, after vacation, after …
There’s always a reason to delay. Until we place real significance we never make it a part of who we are and how we go about our lives. The truth is, if we procrastinate something we are essentially saying it doesn't really matter to us.
There’s no if, ands or buts around that. But... I have a lot of work, school, blah, blah, blah. I know people, like my self, and others, who would always say after work slows down I’ll start working out. The problem is life doesn't slow down, it just speeds up. As long as you’re continually growing and moving forward life throws new challenges at you.
There’s always millions of reasons to wait, instead we need to find a good reason not to wait. You’re telling me, out of the 168 hours in a week you can’t spend 1 hour to plan, 30 minutes to workout, and extra 20 minutes a day to read, an extra 2-3 hours a week to build your business or brand?
It’s not that we don’t have enough time, we just aren’t making the time for it.
Think of all the things you do, if you watch TV, play games, sit on the couch, drink, go out with friends, play, have fun, you have spare time. It’s all about managing time better to fit in what matters to you.
Type B: The overthinkers
"Stay in your head and your dead" - Anthony Robbins
Then there’s the other group. The people I tend to be in from time to time. We over think, over complicate and come up with 100’s of reasons. I’m not ready. I don't have workout shoes. I don’t have a gym membership. I don’t have the supplements. I don’t have the perfect camera. I don’t have a professional ______. I don't have (insert excuse).
What ever excuse we come up with why we shouldn’t do something, it's exactly the opposite of why we should. We don’t need all this fancy gear, gyms, equipment, the right tactics, supplements. The right plan, the right trainer. You get better as you do.
Remember Ready, Fire, Aim.
You tweak and refine as you go.
What’s the essentials you need to get started?
If you want to run, all you need are gym shoes and the outdoors.
If you want to lift weights, all you need is weights, a jungle gym or a gym membership.
If you want to do yoga (like I did for awhile) all you need is a computer or phone and a place to do it. I kept putting off yoga forever and literally just said screw it. I have youtube and a yoga mat, I can find good instructors on Youtube to at least get started.
No More Excuses
"Most people do not really want freedom, because freedom involves responsibility, and most people are frightened of responsibility." - Sigmund Freud
1. Clear Vision and Clarity of your life
"If your vision doesn't make you feel like jumping out of bed in the morning you need a new vision. A powerful vision emerges when we couple our dreams with a clear set of goals." - Lewis Howes
Vision is the driving force. It’s the reason why we start things, why we continue them eve when it gets hard. It's the reason we see things through.
If work got hard, things weren’t going your way and you had a bad day, bad customers, or maybe you lost a few clients, would you quit? Maybe if you didn't know why you were working. Lets face it though, it’s not likely you’ll quit because you’ll start asking how will I make money? I need money to support myself or my family. Or maybe you’re earning money in order to help pay for school, or you need to money to feed your kids. Or you want to work to support your business goals, life goals or family goals.
You won’t quit because you know why you’re working.
The biggest reason most people quit in health and fitness is because they “think” they are working out for the body. The fact is you and I do not want to make the health change solely for the body.
You may be thinking well I wanted to look good for… summer, this girl, guy, a bathing suit or for a wedding. But ask yourself why do you want to look good for (insert reason)? ... Because (insert answer). But why? I mean you really don't have to, so why do you want to?
For me at first I looked at myself in the mirror and I wanted to get healthier & fit. Once I asked myself why did I want to get healthier? I answered because I wasn’t as fit or healthy as a kid. I asked but why do I want to be now?
I wanted more confidence in myself. I didn’t want to look at myself in the mirror and be disappointed. I didn't want be afraid to take off my shirt. I wanted to create a health app and health product. How could I do that if I wasn’t healthy myself? I wanted to help other people, how could I possible teach others on how to be healthy if I wasn’t myself. I didn't think it was fair we are pushed an agenda and told to listen because it worked.
Those were deep enough reasons. Those were the real reasons. I attached real emotions, disgust, disappointment, embarrassment as well as significance, impact and happiness. I had negative reasons not to be unhealthy and positive reasons to be healthy.
It can’t be someone else’s reason. If it’s someone else’s you won’t take ownership & it won’t be emotionally charged. No one can make you do anything except yourself.
It can’t be a small insignificant reason. If it doesn’t excite you it won’t motivate you to take any action. If it’s just a surface level BS reason you won’t stick through the hard times. Joe Vitale says the clearer you are the faster the results. (He went from homeless to having over 50 books, 15 movies, produced tons of music and now he gets paid a lot to speak, coach and teach others)
It has to be real. You may have to spend sometime on this part.
What is your 5-10 year vision of yourself, your career and your life?
2. Chunked Goal Setting: Lowering time increases intensity
"What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as who you become by achieving them" - Henry David Thoreau
There needs to be a long term vision, this can be more conceptual (3-5+ years). Then there needs to be 1 year goals and then short term (you can take the 12 week years ideas and set 3 month goals). There needs to be some urgency. If there’s no urgency to start today you will procrastinate.
If you need to lose 20 lbs. by March then you won’t wait till February to start. If you live in shorter time frames you have more urgency for now.
If you want to be 35 lbs. lower by Summer, well you’ll have to lose 10-15 lbs. by March to even be on track for that.
Last year I had a goal to reach 15% body fat by May, 10-12% by August and 8-10% by December. I wanted to read 50 books by the year so I needed to read about 15 by April. Both goals I crushed, and last year I didn't review like I should've. I could have bumped up my goals.
Think of what you need to get done in 90 days in order to stay on pace. The 12 Week Year teaches making goals only as far out as 12 weeks, or about 3 months. This creates some time under tension. Where your goals are time sensitive and you don't have a whole year to start up. You have to start soon or you’ll get off pace.
I remember when I tried to set yearly goals or goals without meaning. I would be halfway through the year and I would wonder where the year went. I would have made very little progress even though several months have passed by.
Again this can be in any area of life you would like to improve. You want to stick to maybe 2-3 key areas and usually 1-3 goals in those areas. Having too many too soon can be overwhelming. Nail and master then change. If you want to improve all just make sure you dont have 3 focuses for each, refine to 1-2, primarily 1 key focus. You don't want to be focusing on 10 goals at once.
What are the 1-3 goals for the year and your main 1-3 goals for the next 12 weeks ?
3. How-To Tactics: The more you sweat in peace, the less you bleed in war
"The difference between ordinary and extraordinary is just that little 'extra'." - Unknown
This is slightly easier, what do you need to do day to day, week to week to stay on pace.
If you want to lose weight, it may be that you need to start working out 30-60 mins. a day, 3-4 times a week. Maybe you need to run for 20 mins. 3 times a week. Maybe you have to eat less food or better quality food. Maybe you have to eat more protein, more vegetables, drink more water and eat out less.
If you want to wake up earlier, maybe you need to go to sleep earlier.
If you want to start reading, plan on reading 20 pages a day.
If you want to increase sales maybe you need to make 10-20 more calls a day. Send out a marketing email weekly or monthly. Or you need to create an advertising or content marketing campaign.
Whatever it is, you need to think about the few core habits that will get you there. There is usually only a few key habits that get most of the results. For losing weight it’s usually eating less, eating better quality food and exercising.
Focus on the few important habits then add in bonuses once you’ve truly made the core habits actually habits. Once it becomes second nature.
The less you sweat in peace the less you bleed in war. The more clear, truthful and specific you are the easier it is. If you know what to do and what to put in your schedule you’re not wondering what you need to do or acting on emotion. You are acting on logic on what you know you should do. We've all had those days where we thought, What do I need to do? What's the most important? What's coming up?
What are the few (2-5) How-To Tactics to reaching your goals?
4. Plan it out, Create your schedule
"If you take care of your minutes, your months and years take care of themselves" - Unkown
This can seem like one of the most boring parts, but it's one of the most crucial. Here’s the deal you may or may not stick 100% to the plan but it gives you something to shoot for. If you don’t have a target you’ll never hit anything.
You want to have an idea of what your week will look like. Creating an ideal schedule lets you know where you may be falling short, or where you can make better use of your time. This doesn’t mean you’ll always stick to it completely, but it does give you an idea.
Usually breaking your day by 15-30min. not hours. If you give something too much time you’ll find a way to fill the space. However if you give yourself little time somehow you find a way to do more with less. It’s because it creates a sense of urgency. You can plan the most important producing work early in the day and give yourself 2-3 hours to finish it.
If you take care of your daily activities you will make progress. You must take action, try things, make mistakes, iterate, refine and try again then eventually your results will compound. Ready, Fire, Aim.
What does your ideal schedule need to look like?
5. Accountability. Stay Committed
"Surround yourself with people who force you to be better. Accountability is what connects thinking & actions to results" - Unkown
This can come in several forms from; tracking, scoring, self accountability, or groups.
This ties everything together the goals, tactics & schedule. There needs to be targets to hit, things you have to do weekly to stay on pace. Then you have a way to reflect, look back & improve.
I for one am not someone who “generally” likes tracking. Just like I generally didn't used to like reading, working out, eating healthy etc. What I realized is if I just started doing it and stayed consistent with it, the better I got at it. The more I practiced the better I became. Never again can I say I'm not a “good reader”, I suck at tracking. It became I’m getting better at yoga, reading, tracking, meditation, eating healthy etc.
I will say that there is a nice gamification to tracking things you want to turn into habits. It’s kind of like checking off the list that you’ve done it. Simultaneously it's accountability seeing if you didn't do as well. I took this concept from www.kevinhabits.com because I saw it and it just clicked.
I’m not normally one to track and I honestly used to hate it and think it was a hassle. I think my appreciation for tracking grew last year when I began tracking my food. I began tracking any fats, protein, and bigger carb foods I ate with myfitnesspal. I thought, I can take a few seconds to figure out the amount and enter it in, it's not a big deal. It helped me really gauge how much I was eating and how much I could eat. A few months in and it took less work, it was second nature and I didn't think twice. As I continued if I didn't want to track I didn't have to, I already knew how much I was eating by glancing.
What was funny came next. I didn't mind tracking, I kept it up. I enjoying learning, knowing, tweaking and getting better. There were times were I thought of myself as an athlete tracking my eating & workouts.
Accountability comes down to creating some type of gamification where you can keep score. This creates self accountability. There is also external accountability where you have a group or person you report to. Like a peer group with similar goals or a coach.
In the 12 Week Year book it talks about ownership as accountability. This comes when you are committed to what you’re doing not just interested. A mentor of mine told me once, “Being excited or passionate is like candy it doesn't last. You have engaged, you have to be committed.” It’s not just about being passionate about something, it’s also about having the grit or perseverance to see things through. (Check out the book Grit) We need to have the commitment to something to stick it through even when it may not be fun.
Marisa Peer (one of the most renowned hypnotherapists & behavior specialists, her client list involves International Superstars, Olypmic Athletes, CEO's, and Royalty) explained there are 5 principles to super successful people.
Create your accountability measures. Who, What or How are you going to keep score? Or stay accountable?
Bonus: Review. Enjoy the mistakes, but Learn and Reapply
This goes hand and hand with the accountability step. If you aren't keeping score or recording what’s happening it will be much harder to review what’s going on. Reviewing your activities is crucial. Reviewing your end results isn't as crucial as review the actions you took.
It’s easy for us to get hung up on the end results when really the process is what dictates the results. When you review you see the holes in the ship. You learn from the mistakes you made and then you apply what you learned and improve the results.
There are several ways to go about this. Many professionals and really successful people have a morning and night journaling, the morning gets you primed for the day & the night helps you review the day. Then at the end of the week it’s much easier to look at your daily reviews and create a weekly review. This weekly review makes planning for the next week easier. Then at the end of the month all you have to look at is a few weekly reviews to help plan for the following month. Then after your 9 days you just have to review 3 months. Then after your year you only have to look at a few 90 day blocks to review the year.
This concept is also called chunking. Chunking can be used differently for many different things. In this particular method you are chunking your time to make it much easier to digest, analyze an diagnose.
This allows you to take action, try things, make mistakes, iterate, refine and try again.
All of this may have been a mouthful. At hindsight it may seem hard or a lot to do. That’s because you’ve never done it, you’ve never tried. Find what works best for you.
Ready, Fire, Aim.
To your best year, Andrew Bayon
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