Step 1 – Envision Your Ideal Self
Do you want to be productive, efficient, and wealthy? If you’re reading this, it’s likely that you answered yes to at least the part about money. It may sound silly, but visualizing yourself as these things can increase the likelihood of them becoming a reality. Your mental picture of yourself has a powerful effect on your behavior, and it is your behavior that will lead you to where you want to be. All the improvements in your outer life start from your mental picture of who you are. So, start envisioning your ideal self, and move on to the next step when you’re ready.
Step 2 – Write Your Goals and Plan
Do you have clear goals? Have you written them down? Have you identified the obstacles you need to overcome to achieve them? To be successful, you need clarity. The more clear you are about your goals and objectives, the easier it will be to achieve them. Think on paper and write down exactly what you want. Set a deadline and subdeadlines, and make a list of everything you need to do to achieve your goal. Organize your list into a plan and take action. Resolve to do something each day toward your goal, no matter how small. If you have multiple goals, prioritize and focus on the one that will have the most positive impact on your life.
Step 3 – Apply the 80/20 Rule to Your Tasks
The most valuable tasks are often the hardest and most complex. The payoff for completing these tasks is often multiple times that of lower-value tasks. Therefore, always ask yourself, “Does this task fall within my top 20% of priorities, or is it part of the less important 80%?” Before diving into any task, apply the 80/20 rule to ensure you’re working on the most valuable tasks.
Step 4 – Consider the Consequences
Think about the consequences of your actions. If you do X, what will happen? If you don’t do X, what will happen? Your goals will have long-term potential consequences, so plan your time carefully. Continually review your activities, and consider if you’re staying on the right track. If not, go back to the planning stage. Be honest with yourself and make adjustments as needed.
Step 5 – Don’t Strive for Perfection
Perfection can be a roadblock to progress. Remember how you learned to ride a bike – by getting on and falling off repeatedly until you succeeded. Don’t wait for perfection to start taking action. Focus on doing the work and making progress.
Step 6 – Invest in Yourself
Investing in yourself means identifying your core skills, determining which ones will have the greatest positive impact on your goal, and taking action to improve them. Take a class, read a book, experiment, and iterate to hone your skills.
Step 7 – Embrace Failure
Failure is inevitable, and it can be discouraging. But it’s important to keep going, even when you fail. Don’t give up on your goals. Be single-minded in your focus, and keep moving forward. Remember Rocky Balboa’s words: “It ain’t how hard you hit; it’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward.”