Every January, I fail miserably. Like most people, I’ll make New Year’s resolutions with good intentions, but other things get in the way, and by the end of January, despite my best intentions, I’ve already failed.
Hell, I usually fail within the first few DAYS of the new year.
The problem is, despite the best of intentions, most goals and dreams never come to pass. Most people are the same, and chances are, you’ve been there too. Maybe you’ve dreamed of quitting your job, earning more money, or starting your own business. Or maybe you want the freedom to take a day off whenever you want, or to be able to pay off some debts.
We all have hopes, goals, and aspirations. But typically, we fail.
But this year was different: I discovered a way to succeed. (But more on that in a minute).
How to actually create the change you want–and stop failing
You might want to quit your job this year, or earn more money, or have more flexibility or freedom.
Those are all possible, but before I tell you how, I need to warn you about a few things.
First, there’s no quick fix. If you’re looking for get-rich-quick, you’re in the wrong place.
Next, we don’t set out to fail, but somehow it happens. Let’s look at what happens when you fail to achieve something you’ve set out to do:
- You start seeing yourself as someone who can’t achieve anything–and that belief will, ironically, cause you to fail.
- You stick with your current situation–whether it’s a lousy job, a bad boss, or whatever you don’t currently like.
- You don’t reach your potential. One of the reasons I care so much about consulting is that it can truly transform your life. Our time here is short, so don’t settle for mediocre.
- You begin believing that your dreams aren’t possible.
- You give up.
You’ve been there before, and it sucks. So let’s change it.
A proven way to reach your goals
Lacking a specific plan is one of the biggest things that prevents us from reaching our goals. So first, clarify exactly what it is you want to achieve.
“Quit my job” is a hope, not a goal.
“Earn enough from consulting to quit my job by December 31st” is a specific goal with a specific timeframe.
The “earn enough” part is a bit vague, but you can figure out a specific monthly income amount that would work for your situation. Don’t spend hours on it–take 5 minutes to figure out a rough number to shoot for.
Next, it’s crucial to have some basic knowledge about how to do whatever it is you want to achieve. If you’ve never done something before or if it’s unfamiliar, it can be overwhelming.
It’s much easier to have someone show you the ropes instead of slogging through and trying to figure it out on your own–and getting frustrated, failing, and giving up in the process. So, having a template for how to do something makes it far easier, and vastly increases your chances for success.
For starting a consulting business, it’s helpful to have a mentor to show you the ropes. That’s exactly why I created Breakthrough Consulting and this blog: to provide the guidance I needed when I started out, and to help you transform your life.
For years, I’ve been sporadic about exercise. Yes, we all know how great it is for our health, etc. We’re sold on the benefits, but making it happen is where we get stuck.
Last fall, I decided that I wanted to just make exercise a habit–to do it every single day. Once I created a basic habit, I figured I could experiment a bit with it, and expand on it.
My goal was “exercise at least 10 minutes every day.” There are a couple important pieces in that goal:
- I made it specific: “at least 10 minutes” and “every day.”
- I made it easy to start: just 10 minutes was all I had to do. If I did that, I succeeded. Lowering the bar makes it far more likely that you’ll start, and far less likely that you’ll be overwhelmed.
Next, I learned as much as I could about building habits, and then applied what I’d learned to my situation. (A fantastic book on habits is The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg; it’s both interesting and practical). I also joined Leo Babauta’s (from Zen Habits) Simple Fitness Habit course to learn even more and provide support & guidance–this course was a huge help in both understanding exercise habits, and in figuring out exactly how I could do it for myself.
Based on what I learned, I created a routine in my day for my exercise habit: doing at least 10 minutes of yoga every morning when I go downstairs from my bedroom. Going downstairs was already a habit for me, so I just tacked on the exercise piece. I also knew from past experience that doing the exercise in the morning made me feel better, and meant I wouldn’t be preoccupied about having to do it later in the day–when I’d be more likely to blow it off.
Next, I made the start of my exercise extremely easy–just a super-easy yoga pose (child’s pose). I found that once I did that pose, I could string more poses onto it, and before I knew it, I’d done my 10 minutes of exercise for the day. It felt great to have done it, and savoring that good feeling has been one of the key pieces to being successful with the habit.
Finally, I tracked my progress each day with a couple apps on my phone–CardioTrainer and Routinely. Routinely is cool, since I check off when I’ve done my habit, and then I can see the string of successful days on the calendar–it’s the Jerry Seinfeld “Don’t Break The Chain” productivity hack.
How have I been doing? Well, I’ve exercised every single day since November 17th. As of today, that makes about 11 weeks. Not bad. This is by far the longest I’ve ever exercised on a consistent, daily basis.
Great, but I really want to quit my lousy job
I know, I’ve been there too.
Coincidentally, the process I used for exercise was similar to how I started my consulting business, where I’d do something–anything–every single day, then logged what I did. After even a few short weeks, I could see significant progress.
Granted, when I started out with my consulting business, I was fumbling in the dark, and spent a ton of time on useless, low-value tasks. In retrospect, I could’ve gotten things off the ground WAY faster. But the process was similar.
Steady, consistent, sustained effort.
Whatever it is you want to achieve, the first step is to get specific. Figure out exactly what it is you want to achieve, and what your timeline is. Then make a specific plan.
Work backwards from your goal so you can see what steps you need to take that will get you to your goal.
If you need help on ramping up your consulting business or have questions about how to start, e-mail me or leave a comment below. Some of you have been asking when Breakthrough Consulting will open again, and though I haven’t set a date, it is in the works. I’ll keep you posted.
Here’s where you come in
For most of the time I’ve been running this blog, I’ve focused on my experiences and sharing them with you to help you start and/or build your own consulting business–and create the kinds of changes in your life you’ve always wanted, then asking you to comment on it. This has been a good start, but can feel a bit one-sided.
I want to engage you–yes, you, the person who’s reading this right now–to share your experience and inspire us all.
So, for now, either comment below or e-mail me with:
- A specific goal that you want to achieve, why you want to achieve it, and how you’ll do it.
- Or, if you’ve failed at something, tell me what goal you’d like to reboot/reset for this year, and how you’ll use what you’ve learned to improve your results this time.
Life is short.
What will you do TODAY to start realizing your dreams?