We are who our thoughts tell us we are.
We cannot become someone we don’t think we are. We cannot change behaviors we see as a part of our identity. One of the reasons why New Years Resolutions so often fail is because they often oppose who we see ourselves as.
It’s not that they’re too difficult – they aren’t. (read: can you change your life? With these daily decisions you can)
It’s not that they aren’t worth it – they most often are.
We so often fail at succeeding with our resolutions because we expect something different than the goal written down.
So, how do you actually achieve your resolutions?
And more than that, how do you use 2020 as the year you become who you deep down want to be, who you ought to be, and achieve more than what you currently think is possible?
In this article you’ll get a step-by-step plan to win, no, to dominate in 2020. And yes, that’s been written a million times before in articles that give you empty platitudes and weak words and even weaker action steps. They’re devoid of reality, of the internal and external battles we face, but they’re also devoid of the power we hold over our life, over what we earn in this life.
Having spent a fair amount of time around millionaires and even a billionaire or two, you realize what sets them apart. It’s never what they’ve innately been blessed with. It’s not talent. It’s not the family they were born into. (read: expect more from yourself; nothing from life)
“We’re all just guys” is a profoundly true statement.
We’re not the same, some are better at some things, others at others things, but the ones who do achieve great things in any realm, be it raising a good family, making millions upon millions of dollars, building a massive company, or writing great books, don’t do so because of talent.
We know this because there are humans that are just as talented as them who never achieved shit. There are humans who showed greater promise early on that eventually went unfulfilled. There are geniuses who are broke, even more geniuses who come up with and teach false theories and predictions that prove to be wrong, and others who lack financial discipline or a strong moral backbone to do anything worthwhile with their lives.
Greatness is caused by choices and standards.
That’s it. Choices and standards. Over time these choices and standards are shown in habits and rituals that eventually lead to wealth, power, peace, happiness, meaning, purpose, and a life well-lived.
To believe anything else is to give up before the race has started. To see a stat like 70% of billionaires are self-made in America and focus on the 30% who aren’t is to excuse yourself from the battle that is life and achievement, to pity your position, to be weak. It’s a mindset that is hopeless, and for those who hold it there truly is no hope. (read: stay in your lane)
Do what you can with what you have, where you are. ~ Theodore Roosevelt
Being that he was born sickly and weak and yet grew up through effort and struggle to become one of history’s most active and successful humans, Roosevelt did just that.
He didn’t have natural endurance, but he – like all of us – had the ability to struggle, to endure pain, and on the other side of pain and struggle is progress. He struggled his way to endurance, health, and a daring life.
Progress is what we all need to feel. It should be the focus of every day, month, and year. It should be the focus of life. Not the end that progress may get us, but the act of progression. By committing to progress you commit to success and greatness, you commit to a standard of living that will get you the end you deserve, one likely greater than you can currently comprehend.
How do I know?
I’m not great, yet. I haven’t done anything great, yet. I’m still at the very initial steps of a massive mountain that I’ll climb for my entire life, but just over a year ago I was lost. My business was not where I wanted it to be and I was not doing what I wanted to do. It was too small. The game I was playing was tiny. I didn’t know what I wanted to do or where I wanted to head, but I knew that there were certain habits I had to adopt and risks I had to take.
I eventually took what’s becoming a good risk, putting every penny I had – and then some – into a single supplement that I knew needed to be made. I needed a greens supplement that helped increase testosterone, that had full amounts of the highest quality ingredients, because I needed/wanted that fuel to help me live just a little bit of a more productive life.
Now, where I am is still pitiful in comparison to where I want to be. But the work I’m doing, compared to the work I was doing, is far more fun, important, and meaningful, and solving that puzzle of what do to when it was initially something I didn’t think I could do, began with standards and choices.
This article isn’t motivational. Motivation is a fart in the wind. For a second it’s powerful, and then its stench is lost in the coming moments. This article is, however, true. It’s tactical. You can use it and apply it and allow it to push you closer to your potential. These steps will help you progress.
A note on time: Failure doesn’t just happen, nor does success. They’re habitual. They are seen in your habits and rituals. The great have great habits, the useless have useless habits. By committing to the right habits, allowing them to evolve into even better ones, the laws of momentum will see a brighter future realized. It’s just simple math.
Let’s get into it.
Step 1: What do you want to change?
Let’s start with a negative, a very specific negative. How many pounds do you want to lose? How many zeroes do you want to add to your bank account? What is it about your day that you want to change, about what you do that you want to alter? (read: why goals make you unhappy)
A problem I’ve identified that I’m changing:
I don’t get enough of the right work done because I’ve stopped grading my day and planning the next one. That is, at 8pm every single day I have to grade the day. I also have to put considerable time into thinking about what the best thing I can do the following day is.
If I don’t spend time really thinking deeply about what must be done, a lot of useless crap gets done. The wrong things make their way into my planner.
Taking too long to do something. Picking up the phone before I write. Waiting, even reading for too long before I workout. That time adds up, it has added up. There’s no sense in taking time to do what has to be done, and what has to be done is what has been set out to do.
Those two things will change the work I get done, which will grow the business, which is what I really want. What do you want to change?
Maybe it’s a lack of money, maybe you’re too fat, maybe you’re too weak, maybe it’s something like your thoughts or how you view yourself. Be real with yourself. Understand what you want to change so you can change the bloody thing.
Get off autopilot and have a plan.
Step 2: The Inspiring Vision
This is the most important step, figuring out what you really want. This isn’t at the front of your mind. What’s likely at the front of your mind is what society tells you to want, or what you’ve thought you wanted up to this point, which is more based on what you’ve done and who you think you are, which is a degraded version of who you ought to be and can be.
Dig deep. What do you really want? Add this question: What’s most important to you?
Who do you want to be? What do you want to accomplish? What do you want to build?
This has to be something you’re strongly attracted to. Something that pulls you forward, like metal to a magnet. Something you can envision that inspires you. Something you really want, not just an idea of what would be nice, but something that you’ll work 16 hour days to build.
Spend time to think about this. Craft it. Envision it. Be in it. Feel its achievement.
Step 3: Reasons
Why do you want this thing so bad? This can be positive or negative. Often we feel the negatives more strongly, so I suggest making it a negative.
Maybe you’re damn tired of living paycheck to paycheck. Maybe you want true financial freedom. Maybe you want to live longer. Maybe you’re fed up with being fat. Maybe mediocrity haunts you, you know that this isn’t all life is, that there is more, that more would make you feel alive.
Give strong reasons, reasons that light a fire under your ass and get you to work at whatever it is you’re pursuing, every single day.
Step 4: Review it daily.
Lasting change is different than a goal, and it’s lasting change that we’re after. Reviewing what you want and what you want to change and the reasons for this desire to change every single day keeps it relevant.
A big reason why goals suck is because we only look at them once or twice a year. You’re not trying to get something, that’s the wrong outlook.
You’re trying to become someone, and that someone is the man who has earned and deserves that vision.
When I review what I want, the reasons, and what I want to change on a daily basis, it’s clearly reflected in my performance.
It forces you to judge what you’re doing.
It makes you discern between correct action – what gets you the thing you want – and incorrect action – what pushes you further away from that thing. When you have your ideal in mind daily, you can’t help but act in accordance with it, instead of simply acting as you’ve acted thus far, which is often not in a very purposeful manner at all. (read: don’t be good, be a man)
Step 5: Define your standards
This can be as simple as something I write down daily: I expect more from myself than anyone expects from themselves.
That idea applied to a moment makes the action in the moment pretty clear. It’s working not texting or watching TV. It’s reading, not picking up the phone and surfing that devious device. It’s training harder, longer, running every day. It’s even being in the moment, being present, slowing things down, not getting worked up by a past that’s already happened or a future that has yet to happen.
It’s thinking deeply, not reacting. It’s being calm and strong not emotional and chaotically weak. It’s being certain.
We are who we expect ourselves to be. If we expect ourselves to not workout, we won’t. If we expect poverty, we’ll find it. If we expect failure and mediocrity, we’ll find that too. If we see ourselves as a smoker, we’ll smoke.
Hold yourself to a higher standard. Define on paper what that standard is and how it plays itself out on a daily basis and over the course of your life.
You won’t get what you want if your standards remain as they are right now. They have to be improved, grown, expanded.
You have to see yourself as impressive to do impressive things.
Step 6: Define the Rituals and Habits
People are rewarded publicly for what they do privately.
What do you do when no one’s watching?
This is the determining factor of what you’ll achieve.
Some rituals I like:
Running once a day. Working out at 6am. Reading for 1.5-2 hours a day. Reviewing and grading the day. Reviewing my vision, what I want. Spending an hour thinking every day, maybe on the walk or run.
You should have a few rituals that bring you closer to your vision, that make you better, that help you improve.
Have a wake up time. A morning routine. A reading time. Work blocks. A review time. A workout time. Have them automatic and set in stone. You do these things daily, that’s just the way you live and it’s who you are.
Each of the things on this list helps you progress. They help you improve. That’s all you’re really after. The great things in life can only come on the back of personal progress.
Where you are right now, where I am right now, is exactly where we deserve to be. To get more we have to become better. That happens daily and habitually.
It happens by being true, but really understand why we want what we want and aiming high enough that it excites the hell out of us while also reviewing it daily, keeping it in mind, and having every action in our day take us closer to the desired result.
That’s how you make 2020 an epic year.
That’s how you look back at the end of 2020 and thing, man, I did a lot this year. It will only be in an annual reflection that you see it as a lot, that you understand the achievements you made, the rest of the year will be spent in the moment doing the things that yield the result.