Here’s the transcript from this podcast episode, please excuse any typos!
In today’s episode, I’m going to give you 10 steps to be successful and take control of your life.
So another year has passed and you didn’t quit smoking cigarettes, you didn’t lose those extra 30 lbs, you didn’t get that promotion, and you didn’t start that new business you’ve been dreaming about.
Well hopefully this will motivate you to change your life even by 10%. You can achieve any goal you set for yourself if you follow these 10 simple steps.
Over the years, I’ve tried so many different things and I realized that literally anything is possible as long as you put in the work. I think the main issue with a lot of people is they’re afraid to put time into something that may not give them the results they want, but also I noticed a lot of people are lazy, and unmotivated, they feel as though it’s too late in life to get something done because they’re getting older.
That’s what people always say to me, “Oh it’s just too late to learn, I should have done it years ago when i was younger.”
Really? It’s too late? But did you die? If you’re still alive, then let’s jump into step 1.
STEP 1 – writing down a list of priorities
By writing down a list of goals or priorities with dates and deadlines that you want to hit, puts things into perspective. This means that you should spend at least an hour really focusing on what you want out of life and writing it down and then putting it into a cohesive list of goals that you’ll try to reach by the end of next year. Yes, I said next year.
So don’t say, “Oh I have to do this within a month.”
See that’s the first issue. People try to reach a goal within a day or a week or even a month and that’s unrealistic. Sure you can probably reach part of the goal in that short amount of time, but in order to actually complete the goal or get some form of satisfactory feeling as if you reached a certain part of the goal, you have to definitely work toward it for a long time. You kinda have to hold out for a year. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and we didn’t land on the moon overnight either. Having a list written out will help you stay on target.
Step number 2 is When you are trying to reach one of your goals; you have to do as much research as possible. Knowledge is power. For example, if you want to quit smoking, don’t just chew nicotine gum. That’s not going to be good enough and you might have a relapse more often than not. Do some research on how to kill the urge to smoke while leading you to cessation. So maybe chewing nicotine gum is part of your plan. Maybe the next is to join a gym to exercise and get your lungs back to where they should be. Maybe you have to start eating carrots to keep your mouth busy or join a cigarette smokers group to see what other people are doing to quit. You can always research natural or herbal remedies to help quit smoking. At least when you feel as though it’s too difficult and you’re about to relapse you’ll have this information ready to help you fight for your goal.
As an example, I had a problem with my blood pressure and cholesterol being too high and I kept going to the doctor and trying to figure out what was going on and the doctor kept insisting that I get put onto a statin you know a drug, a pill. I really didn’t want to take the easy way out, and poison my liver for the rest of my life, so for the past couple of years I started to do research on how to lower cholesterol, how to lower blood pressure and a lot of it turned me towards the vegan or whole foods plant based diet – and after trial and error and experimenting on my body for years I finally was able to get my cholesterol and my blood pressure down to average levels. I did this all without pills, but it didn’t take a month, it didn’t even take six months, it took me about 3 years of trial and error and a ton of research.
Now I probably could have gotten it down within six months if I really put myself through a rigorous diet and exercise program, but instead I did it gradually and I set goals for myself of losing a little bit of weight every month and I started to notice that it was working. I started to feel better, more energized. And when i visited my doctor every 6 months my numbers went down every and he was super happy. He kept telling me to keep it up and asked me what i was doing. So i told him i did a ton of research, I constantly read articles on how to lose weight, how to lower your cholesterol, how to lower your blood pressure, watched a lot of documentaries lol and in the end it took me a of couple years. I got my weight down about 40 lbs, I got my cholesterol levels down 30 points which is insane, and my blood pressure is pretty much normalized. So do your research, that’s one of the most important steps.
Step number 3 is to surround yourself with positive people who will support you. Friends and family are obviously your first choice, online groups work too. Make sure you keep yourself active and busy with people; so if you’re trying to lose weight like I did – going to the gym helps and joining groups with other people like you will help motivate you to shed those lbs. And there are tons of groups out there.
There’s meetup.com, you can go to your local church, your community organizations, even your neighborhood groups. Find people who are trying to reach the same goals you are. That actually helps because when you find people that are trying to do the same thing you’re doing – you’re motivating each other. You’re pushing each other to reach those goals. You’re asking for accountability.
Like “Hey Cheryl so how many lbs did you lose this month?”
and she’ll say, “Oh I only lost 2 lbs.” and I’ll say, “I lost 5 so you have to lose 3 more.”
“Come on let’s just go to the gym tomorrow morning.”
Get it? You gotta motivate each other to hit these goals.
Maybe you started a business and you really need help to move it along. You’re not hitting the sales you want. So you find another fledgling business owner who just opened a new shop and they’re also struggling to learn the ropes. Maybe they’re making a lot of mistakes.
Well, you can help each other out. Maybe you can show up at each other’s stores once a week and talk about your challenges and the things you did right, the things you did wrong and try to figure out how to move forward without making mistakes. Maybe you need that extra motivation.
Friends and family are always a good way to go because they’re always going to support you no matter what – but keep in mind friends and family are biased so they’re always going to give you that positive reinforcement when what you really need is a reality check.
So also look for a friend, a colleague, a peer, or someone who you may not know that well who’s going to give you the harsh truth and the reality behind what you’re doing – to tell you what you should be looking for opposed to what you are trying to reach. Because a lot of times when you’re trying to reach a goal, you’re not looking at the bigger picture so you miss a lot of things along the way and you hadn’t thought of things, but people who have been through those things before have thought of it before. So think about that.
Step number 4 is to push yourself to stick to your new routines. So you have this new routine now but you might be missing some days or skipping a week and you can’t do that. So if you don’t feel like sticking to your priorities list one day then guess what? Too bad – you have to stick to it every single day and you have to force yourself to do it anyway. It’s the only way you’ll succeed.
So some days I wake up in the morning and I don’t really feel like doing the same routine. But the little guy in my head, whatever his name is, tells me, “Dude stop being a baby, get up and do it.” And that’s what it is, you have to just get up and do it. You have to tell yourself to do it. You have to motivate yourself. Look in the mirror and tell yourself to go do it. Even if you don’t want to, even if it’s painful or it hurts or you’re tired or you’re stressed out; force yourself to go do it. It’s really a mental thing. It’s a way of thinking. It’s a mindfulness technique. It’s a way of being your own boss and telling yourself what to do. You have to stick to it. I know it’s hard. I know it sucks. I know you don’t’ want to wake up and do it. Nobody does, but it’s the only way you’re going to get this thing done whatever it might be is to force yourself to physically get up and go do it.
Think of it this way make it seem like you’re a puppet but you’re also the puppet master and being the puppet master means you can make your puppet do whatever you want it to do. Be the puppet master and make yourself do what you want to do. Force yourself to make the moves. Force yourself to go downstairs and do the thing that’s on your list. Just tell yourself in your head that this is something you have to do no matter what. Trust me it works.
Step number 5 is something that I notice business owners never seem to do. And to me it’s just common sense. Take plenty of breaks.
Everyone always asks me how I do so many things? How do I run so many businesses? and as many businesses as I run and as many things as I do; I take that many breaks as well. It’s 50/50. You have to have fun. Life can’t be all about hard work and no play. I know so many people who are burned out from work because they don’t’ take enough breaks. I get burned out too. I get stressed out too, but when I do I take breaks instead of forcing myself to do more work. So make sure you take plenty of breaks and keep your mind stimulated by doing something that is not on your list; that’s important.
For example you can learn the basics of a new language. There’s a cool app called duolingo. It’s free you can: learn Portuguese, French, Spanish, or Chinese. Or learn how to play an instrument; like I’m doing right now. I bought a keyboard recently and I’m gradually learning how to play the piano. I do have a goal of a year from now to play at a friends wedding but that’s the thing it gives me a whole year to learn the basics instead of forcing myself to be a concert pianist. That’s an unrealistic goal. Just learn how to play the basics. Learn the basics of a language, watch a movie, play a video game, take your dog to the park, or teach your cat a new trick, learn how to cook a new recipe. You know learning how to cook a new recipe is always therapeutic. You’ll have a new food to eat and your taste buds will thank you. Or meet your friends out for a drink one day or have dinner at a restaurant with your friends just to catch up on normal stuff or anything else that will help you smile and get you out of work or that daily routine or that list item you are trying to reach. The more breaks you take, the more refreshed you will feel and the more willing you will be to accomplish this goal or to tackle a part of this task. Make sure you get plenty of fresh air, and walk away from your desk every hour or so.
Step number 6 is to help other people who need a push as well. You’re not the only one going through this. And this step is different from number 3 because it’s not about seeking out people to help you with your goals, it’s actually the opposite. There are millions or billions of people out there who need help with something in their life. So if you volunteer to help them you’re also helping yourself because
- you’re going to feel better about yourself and
- you’re going to see their motivation which will motivate you to complete your goals
So a lot of times I notice when I help entrepreneurs or business owners the passion they have and the motivation they now have and the answers I gave them fuels them to work on their next goal. Like now they can get their powerpoint presentation done, or get a survey out to people, or design their new logo and start an online business.
Giving people knowledge and wisdom and helping them learn from your mistakes makes them move and then also you feel better and you feel like okay now I’m going to tackle something on my list because they’re tackling something on theirs and when you catch up with them a week later to see how they’re doing – you can give them a list of stuff that you’re working on too. And sometimes, when I needed help with something they were there to help me as well so you might get help in the future and that’s really cool. It’s usually unexpected – and you shouldn’t expect it. Don’t help people just so that they help you back. That’s a bad way to look at it. Let it come naturally. It’s worked wonders for my non-profit, my technology company and other companies I ran where people just started helping me because I helped them in the past. So volunteer for something, or help people out whenever you can. The universe will give you back ten times what you put in.
Step number 7 is to limit your online life which means facebook, twitter, snapchat, instagram, and the multitude of other social networking sites out there. Now I’m not saying to stop talking to your friends online because then I’d be a hypocrite because I definitely use social media. I’m just saying limit yourself to a few minutes every few hours. I’ve seen people work in offices where every so often they pick up their phone and they look at facebook status updates. They look at instagram and the photos and the videos and they ‘re looking at memes.
Smart phones are amazing devices, but they make it super easy to distract yourself and that’s the problem – there are too many distractions. So when you’re working on your goals do yourself a favor: Put your phone on vibrate or silent, turn it upside down and put it somewhere where you can’t see it going off and then just forget that the phone even exists. Just focus on the task that you’re working on and just block the phone from your mind. I know it’s hard because it’s ingrained in our damn brains now and we have these phones readily available with the power of the internet at your fingertips but when you’re trying to accomplish your goal or a task on your priority list you really gotta block out social media and put your phone down. So just put it away and focus on the task.
You can be on the computer to work on your tasks obviously if most tasks are computer related but don’t have your social media pages open. If you’re researching on Wikipedia or on google or you’re reading an article just don’t pay attention to social media. This way your energy levels will be up because you won’t be sucked into people’s drama online and you’ll also feel like you’re in the real world and not the online world.
Now, I know I talked about exercise and losing weight and your health but that’s step number 8: eating healthier and exercising regularly. So even if you aren’t trying to lose weight, eating healthy is a smart move. If you want to feel good and live a long happy life the kind of food you eat is important. If you’re going to eat McDonald’s and pizza everyday you’re going to feel like crap and you’re not going to be in good shape and your body is going to be screaming for nutrition. So instead maybe eat your McDonalds on the weekend but during the week eat salads and plant based foods and beans and vegetables and even smoothies and some animal proteins. You know, stick to the good stuff that’s going to really fuel you through the day so you’ll have the energy you need to actually complete the tasks.
The problem with eating fast food and unhealthy options is after you eat them you usually crash and then of course you’re not motivated to get any work done – so try to eat healthy food before you’re going to work on something productive – this way you’ll have the energy to keep you moving and of course exercising helps your blood flow and helps your energy levels rise.
So, I stand at my desk every day and I go to the gym 3 days a week. I also do yoga or stretch or take my dog for a walk throughout the week. If you don’t have a dog you should still go for a walk at least once or twice a day outside to get fresh air every few hours. And you should definitely get away from your desk – especially if you work in an office all day you definitely need to eat well and exercise regularly.
You know it’s funny I notice people at their office jobs take potato chips and other unhealthy snacks to work. Why don’t you take a bag of vegetables to work or in your car? You know when you’re driving and stuck in traffic, if you’re hungry, you just go for the first option that you can get. Now if you have a bag of carrots and celery in the car and you’re hungry just start eating that and then you won’t be frustrated and hungry and you won’t have to stop at McDonalds. This way you won’t grab junk food as your first option. I keep vegan powerbars in my car for just this reason.
The next thing I noticed people do often, is drink soda. Who still drinks soda? It is pure sugar and poison. Drink water! If you want something else besides water put some lemon in your water. Or sparkling water like Perrier and put a little 100% natural cranberry juice in it to give it a little flavor. But don’t buy flavored drinks; because those are proven to be bad for you. You can drink coffee, you can drink tea, you can drink water. Occasionally you can drink fruit juice. But squeeze some oranges yourself to drink fresh squeezed orange juice but don’t drink it every single day. It’s just too much sugar.
And a lot of people tell me, “Well I don’t have time to go to the gym, or I don’t want to go to the gym, I don’t like working out.”
Geez, fine then don’t go to the gym. Buy a treadmill or an elliptical and use it at home. Do it 30 minutes everyday when you get home from work or before you leave for work and you will feel 10 times better doing that. People say well I don’t have time to do that. Seriously? But you have time to binge watch 4 hours worth of American Horror Story on Netflix. Please if you have 4 hours to binge watch a show on Netflix, you can spend 30 minutes on your elliptical – best part is, you can put the elliptical in front of your TV so you can still watch your show. That’s what you should do; exercise while you’re watching TV and that way you’re just watching your show but at least you’re exercising. I promise you will feel so much better if you do this.
Step number 9 is to visualize your goal. And this is important to do on a regular basis because this way you can kind of see what the end result will be which will make it much more realistic. Have you ever dreamed about being at the beach or Disney World or even Paris when you’re sitting at your desk at work?
Let’s say you always wanted to go to Paris but can’t quite afford it or take the time off of work. Well maybe you can set aside $5 to 10 dollars every day instead of buying lunch – just brown bag it. Now, close your eyes, relax, and dream about the smells in the streets Paris, the coffee, the pastries, and the amazing food, picture the romance in the air around the Eiffel Tower and the majestic beauty of the champs elysee. Imagine seeing the Mona Lisa at the Louvre and hearing music and seeing art in the streets.
Now take that same way of visualization and apply it towards your goal. Let’s say you want to move out of your apartment and finally buy your first house. What does the house look like? Is it a townhome, a condo, a rancher, or a big house in the suburbs? How many rooms does it have, what kinds of things do you have on the walls, what does your yard look like, do you even have a yard, does the yard have a garden, what’s in the garden, do you have pets or kids running around the yard, what kind of furniture do you have, what kind of kitchen do you have, I know this sounds crazy, but by visualizing what you want your house to look like, you’ll work that much harder to reach that goal. Because, as you visualize the goal, sure it’s in your mind, but it becomes real in someway. Because you can see it.
You should always visualize what it is you want out of life no matter how small or big the goal is. Make it real by thinking about it, fantasizing about it and dreaming about it. The more you do this, the less unrealistic it’ll seem, and the more realistic it becomes. Then when you finally reach the goal, it’ll be exactly what you imagined, just what you hoped for, and it’ll seem as if anything is possible. But it won’t seem unusual because you had been thinking about it so much that it almost seems as if it was normal for you to reach the goal. And that’s the idea, you want it to seem normal when you reach your goal and not extraordinary, and that’s how you’ll be able to achieve many more goals from then on.
As you’re working hard toward you goals and visualizing them, the time it takes to reach the goals gets shorter and shorter, because as you’re reaching them, you’re visualizing them. It’s a magical thing, and it works. So visualize!
And the last step, number 10, is to congratulate yourself and celebrate once you reach the goal. You deserve it. Invite your close friends, family, supporters and have a fun get together. Celebrate the win, no matter how big or small. You reached your goal you deserve a celebration. So enjoy the moment because you worked hard for it.
So anytime you reach a goal whether it’s losing weight, or you open a new business, or you finished your book you gotta celebrate the win.
The best part of all this is if you follow these steps and you reach a goal that’s when you realize, “Oh I can reach a goal if I work hard, “and then guess what? The next goal is that much easier to reach and the next goal even easier. I’ve been able to reach so many goals that I’m kind of running out of goals to reach and they’re getting a lot easier as they come along so just remember that the first one is always the hardest whether it’s quitting smoking or losing weight. If you can tackle one of those, you can start a new business, you can buy a new house, you can learn a new language, you can learn an instrument. They’ll become so much easier because you’ll realize that you have to pick away at them everyday little by little.
And like i said before, they’re not going to happen overnight; they’re going to happen in weeks, months or even years. As soon as you put that fact in your mind and you forget about how old you are you can start reaching a goal. who cares how old you are? You can be 30 you can be 10 you can be 80 it doesn’t matter how old you are. All that matters is that you put the time and effort in and you stick to the plan, you stick to the lists you create, stick to the routine, and you’ll eventually accomplish the goal – even if you don’t accomplish it completely to the end of what you wanted.
Let’s say you wanted to learn Spanish so when you go to Spain with your friends to travel you can speak enough Spanish to get around town. Maybe you end up learning enough just to get by just enough to understand what they say at the hotel, the taxis, and the restaurants. So maybe you can’t engage in meaningful conversations with people you meet. Fine, but at least you know how to navigate, talk to the hotel manager, the taxi drivers, and the servers at the restaurants. Just enough to get around. That should make you happy because now you know you can learn the next bit of Spanish so you can talk to people next time.
So remember each goal doesn’t have to have an ending. You don’t have to learn to play the saxophone and be able to play at a jazz club next year. That’s unrealistic. But maybe you can learn the saxophone enough to play for friends and family, at a social occasion, a couple of songs, and then once you reach that you’re next goal can be to play at a jazz club. Well maybe you have to practice for a couple more years and play at a couple improv sessions or practice with some students. You know you have to take the steps. It can’t be just an end goal it has to be the first part of the goal, the second part of the goal, the third part and so on. Eventually you’ll reach the end of the goal.
Oh and one last thing, we’ll call this step 11.5 – don’t get discouraged!
It happens way too often. A lot of people notice they’re not reaching their goals quickly enough even though they might be working really hard. They get frustrated and tired and then they get depressed about it. Look I told you from the beginning it’s not going to happen overnight. You have to give yourself time. At least a year to reach most major goals. If you’re having these discouraging thoughts and you’re not happy – like i said before, reach out to somebody who can maybe help you reach your goals. Or better yet just someone you can talk to. That’s the problem, as soon as you start realizing that you’re feeling defeated and you’re feeling kind of like “Oh I can’t do this anymore this is just too hard.” You gotta snap out of it. Find me on social media or call me and I will make you snap out of it. I will tell you, you can do it. I will tell you that you can actually accomplish your goal. You just gotta snap out of it and stick to it I promise you when you reach the goal you’re going to feel so awesome that you did it and it’ll all be worth it.
So good luck out there and start setting some goals to reach!
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