Every past New Year I set an ambitious set of resolutions. I wrote them down, made sure they were SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-Bound), psyched myself up and then failed!
This year, the prospect of yet another New Year’s round of resolutions left me feeling discouraged and not wanting to try for fear of more failures. I needed a far better plan for reaching my most important, and difficult to achieve goals. Thankfully this book taught me how.
This goal setting system is much better than the standard trite advice you have read before.
Refreshingly, this book starts by confirming, what I had long suspected, that 80% of all New Year Resolutions fail. In fact, some industries, such as fitness centers bank on our failure. One gym chain has over 6,500 members but only space for 300 people at a time. It works out because the gym owners know that your payments will arrive but you won’t.
From the start, his approach is radically different from other goal systems, which solely focus on work and money. His system is for the whole person incorporating the vital human components of emotion and spirit. It is also simple, proven and back by modern research.
The author’s big thought is to set your goals in your discomfort zone and then take actions to their achievement in your comfort zone. Mind blown! This totally different approach gets you started, reduces fear and resistance, beats procrastinating and build positive momentum which increases your confidence and motivation.
About the Author
Michael Hyatt is the bestselling author of several business and personal development books including, Living Forward and Platform, as well as, the popular podcast with over 14 million downloads, Lead to Win (previously titled This is Your Life). He is also the founder and CEO of Michael Hyatt & Company, a leadership development firm specializing in transformative live events, workshops, and digital and physical planning tools.
Hee is an expert in how to become a great leader of others and yourself, teaching top business leaders such as, John Suh, CEO at Legalzoom how to succeed both in business and life.
5 Step Process to Your Breakthrough Year
The core of the program is these 5 steps, which are not your ordinary, read somewhere else before, steps. Each one has surprising, contrary and super effective elements.
The book covers these in great detail with multiple chapters on each, complete with clear illustrations to explain complex subjects, in addition to a summary and action plan at the end of each step.
This thoroughness, of both explanation (in both text and visual formats) repetition and summary helped me learn and incorporate his techniques quickly.
The author suggests, that to begin your best year on the right foot take his easy (took me 10 minutes) free Life Score Assessment quiz to determine exactly where you are now and where you want to improve.
Step 1 – Believe the Possibility – Our beliefs shape our reality so the best place to begin changing our reality is in our thoughts. This was a huge breakthrough for me since I have been struggling with a certain personal development goal for years. I learned that I had limiting beliefs, of which I was unaware, which were sabotaging my progress. He enlightened me and showed me how to break through. This alone was worth the price of the book for me!
Step 2 – Complete the Past – Contrary to other experts, who tell you to only look forward, his wisdom is to look back and determine what worked and did not work to use as this information as building blocks to a better future.
Step 3 – Design Your Future – Going beyond the standard SMART goal formula he delves deep into crafting goals that inspire and stretch us. Then he proceeds to demonstrate how we can develop habits that support our achievements – seamlessly with less effort.
Step 4 – Find Your Why- Mr Hyatt teaches us how we can master our own motivation. This was a totally new concept to me. I had thought that my motivation was innate and uncontrollable. It either was or it was not. Happily, this is not true.
Step 5 – Make it Happen – Your journey to your goals will take many steps. Here is how to make those steps happen, instead of just wishing they would occur.
Tips I Found Most Helpful
These are the hands-down most helpful tips in this book. The author calls them his foolproof-tricks, and I am finding them working well for this fool!
These simple statements and actions are the secret sauce to my, and will be for your, goal achievement. Psychologists call them implementation intentions. They lock in your decisions in advance.
By anticipating situations and obstacles we will inevitably face on the road to our goals, and planning a desired reply we lock in our decisions in advance. Instead of relying on our decision-making power in our moments of weakness we pre-think and pre-plan our actions. This type of preparation levels the friction we experience trying to maintain progress and gives us a way to master obstacles. I found it hard to make progress when I was stuck in familiar behavioral ruts.
Begin by brainstorming actions, that are easier to achieve than your actual goals. Here are examples the author uses; “program the lights in my office to turn off automatically at 6:00 pm so that I follow through on my goal of quitting work at 6:00 pm, and ask my assistant to automatically get dinner reservations for me each Friday night at 6:00 pm so that I follow through on my goal of a weekly date night with my wife.”
The best triggers use less of your thinking and actions by utilizing elimination, automatic and delegation.
To lock-in, your positive response, first identify possible obstacles then set forth actions such as these the author suggests. To support his goal of stopping work at 6:00pm he designed these responses; “If I get a phone call at 5:45 pm, then I’ll let it go to voicemail, if team members want to talk to me on my way out of the office I tell them I’m happy to talk tomorrow and If I have to attend a meet at 5:00 pm, then I’ll tell the organizer I must leave the meeting at 5:55 pm.”
Low-Bar Next Actions
He recommends that we set goals that stretch us into our discomfort zone but take actions to achieve them deep in our comfort zone. If the next action towards your goal is easy and doable, you are more likely to actually do it.
This technique of front loading with easy tasks worked so much better for me. The forward motion helped to feel good about my progress encouraging me to continue along on my goal plan.
Essentially F the FROG! Surely you have heard, or tried using, Brian Tracy’s advice from his best-selling book, Eat that Frog!. It suggests you start working on your hardest task first to beat procrastination and kill fear. That just never worked for me. I simply avoided that task even more strenuously. These well-planned, baby steps were far superior for this procrastinator to get going.
Treat yourself to success this year by reading and following the steps in this book. As I write this, it only the first quarter of the year and I am happy to report better progress on my most stubborn, and also my most personally important, goals that I have ever achieved in previous years.