As I sat on the couch last year, watching the clock countdown to midnight and listening to my friends discuss their goals and resolutions for 2019, I had an unexpected epiphany…
99% of the population is insane!
No, I don’t mean that they are suffering from mental disease or secretly hiding high levels of psychopathy.
What I mean is that most people approach each and every year in the exact same way while (somehow) expecting drastically different results.
You know what I’m talking about…
Each year, you start out with great intentions and probably tell yourself, “This will be my year. This is it!”
This will finally be the year where I:
- Start going to the gym and lose all the weight I’ve been carrying around since college.
- Finally, meet that girl/guy and get into the relationship of my dreams or improve my existing relationship
- Quit smoking, drinking, and drugging
- Start that business and finally achieve the financial freedom I know I deserve
Yet, like every year before it, most people will fail to execute and actually make this “The Year”.
So what’s going on here?
I mean, it’s not like you want to live the same humdrum lifestyle that you did last year. It’s not like you want to continue procrastinating on the most important things in your life, ignoring the things you claim to value, and slowly but surely letting your potential not see its true heights.
You want massive success!
We all want to achieve success (whatever that word means to you).
We all want financial abundance, intimacy, love, peak physical health, joy, and happiness.
So why is it so hard to actually get off our butts and do it – consistently?
After working with hundreds of men 1-on-1 and indirectly coaching many more through my books, seminars, and online courses, I’ve realized that almost everyone wants to succeed.
The problem is that we’ve been systematically lied to and deceived by the media, our families, well-meaning “gurus”, and friends.
We’ve been told that if we will just “Be disciplined” if we will just “Do it!”, if we will just take action then we will finally get the results we want.
But after several attempts at “Just Doing It”, we start to get tired and give up.
We don’t see the results that we want, we get frustrated with ourselves because we think that we are lazy, we fall flat on our faces, and eventually give up.
So if “Just Doing It!” won’t make 2019 any different than 2018, then what are you supposed to do to make this your best year ever?
That is the question I am trying to answer with this guide.
I am going to lay out a simple and proven framework that I have distilled after interviewing 400+ high achievers, reading hundreds of books, attending dozens of seminars, and spending (literally) tens of thousands of dollars on my own education and skills.
If you follow the steps that I am about to share with you, I promise that 2019 will be the year you’ve always dreamed of having.
You will put yourself on the trajectory to achieve your biggest goals and become the man or woman that you’ve always dreamed of being.
Before we get started I have two quick favors to ask.
- Please bookmark this page and use it for future reference. This guide is long and actionable. Set aside 20 minutes to read this and apply.
- If you find anything in this article helpful or think of someone who would find this information useful, please share this article on Facebook or your favorite social media channel. I could charge hundreds of dollars for the information I am about to share but I am giving it away to you for free. Please pay it forward by sharing it with the people you care about so that they can achieve the success and fulfillment that they’ve always desired.
Now it’s time to pull out a pen and a notepad and get ready to take notes and take massive action.
The New Year awaits…
Why You Shouldn’t Set New Year’s Resolutions (And What to Do Instead)
“Year’s end is neither an end nor a beginning but a going on, with all the wisdom that experience can instill in us” ~Hal Borland
You’ve all heard the saying that 80% of people will fail at their New Year’s resolution after three weeks.
Did you know that of the remaining 20%, only 8% of the population will actually achieve the resolutions they set on January 1st?
So why is it that our society seems obsessed with a system that clearly doesn’t work?
Most people think that setting resolutions is a good thing, but they fail to realize that the entire concept of a New Year’s resolution is inherently flawed.
When you set a resolution, you are putting yourself into a situation where:
- Your resolution is too big and you must have near perfect discipline in order to achieve it
- There is a specific start and end date during which you will pursue your goal.
These might not sound like issues, but when you break it down, I think you’ll reconsider.
For 99% of resolutions, there is no room for error.
- I will quit smoking in 2018
- I will go to the gym every day
- I will quit watching porn
- I will quit my job and start a new business
These things all sound great on the surface, but what happens when you have that one cigarette after a stressful day in the office? What happens when you miss a training session because your girlfriend or wife needed you to stay home with the kids? What happens when you can’t quit your job because of new financial constraints?
As soon as these setbacks happen (and they do happen), your resolutions quickly join the 92% and become nothing more than another statistic.
The second problem with resolutions is that they are, by nature, contained to a single year.
Instead of telling yourself, I want to make healthy choices for life and I will start doing the small things I need to do today so that I can enjoy physical vitality until I die, we say:
“I’m going to completely change everything about how I eat, sleep, and move in one single day so that I can burn out, feel like a failure, and make myself less healthy than before!”
The simple fact of the matter is this (and this is a theme you will see throughout this entire guide), real results take time.
As Tony Robbins says, “Most people overestimate what they can do in a year but underestimate what they can do in a decade.”
When you set a New Year’s resolution you are limiting yourself to the scope of twelve months, a relatively short amount of time in the big scheme of things.
And it is this narrow focus and short-term thinking that has generated the results that you have right now.
So what are you supposed to do instead?
Set an Annual Theme
In 2018, I want to challenge you to forgo traditional goal setting and instead do something that I call “Theme Setting”.
Here’s how it works.
Instead of asking, “What specifically do I want to achieve in 2018?”
Ask yourself, “In what general direction do I want my life to move this year? What is the overarching theme that I want to live out in 2018?”
For some of you, it might be health or finances or your relationship.
For me, my theme for 2018 is “Lifestyle”.
I’ve spent the past five years grinding away 60-80 hours a week to build Knowledge for Men into the 7-figure brand that it is today and during 2018, my overarching goal is to build a business around my lifestyle instead of a lifestyle around my business.
I plan to create more automated processes, reduce my workload, and find more creative ways to make passive income.
With this theme in place, I can now weigh every new decision and opportunity against it.
If I have a new business opportunity that can make me an extra $25,000 a month but will require an extra 40 hours of work each week, then I know that the opportunity is not congruent with what I truly desire for 2018.
Conversely, if I have an opportunity that will help me make an extra $25,000 a month passively after 90 days of grinding (e.g. launching a new online course, book or business opportunity), then I know that ultimately, the opportunity will help push the needle forward in 2018 even if it might take me away from a freedom based lifestyle in the short run.
Now it’s your turn.
What theme are you going to set for 2018?
Will you focus on your health? On rebuilding the foundations of your personal growth? Your marriage?
Write it down and leave a comment below to let me know what your theme will be in 2018.
Clear the Clutter: Reviewing the Last 12 Months & The Lessons You Learned
“He who does not learn from history is doomed to repeat it” ~George Santayana
Before we can start discussing the concrete strategies and tactics that you can use to actually stick to your resolutions and have your best year ever, we must first begin by examining the past.
Like Albert Einstein says, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again while expecting a different result”. So it’s imperative that you actually understand what things you did that generated the results you now have, for better or for worse.
*Credit where credit is due, this annual review process was stolen, er… “Borrowed” from podcast guests James Clear and Chris Guillebeau. If you want to see this process in action and dive even deeper into the content they share you can check out their annual reviews by clicking here and here*
What Went Well
The first step of your annual review process is to look back at 2017 and ask yourself, “What went well?”
I want you to pull out your pen and notepad and write out 5 columns using the following categories.
- Health & Fitness
- Career & Business
- Personal Growth
Now go through each category and write down at least three things that went well in each category.
Here are a few snippets from my own annual review:
- Health & Fitness: I was consistent with my training regimen and I’m in the best shape of my life. I ride my bike daily and now follow a diet that is heavy in healthy fruits and vegetables and very low in meat (still love steak!). I’ve also completed my third year of daily cold showers.
- Business & Career: 2017 was a record year for me. My company broke 7-figures, I expanded my team to 12 highly talented people, my podcast has grown to 4.5 million downloads and my books and courses are selling more than ever before.
- Finances: This has been my best year financially, I no longer have to worry about bills or look at my bank account when I want to buy something. However, I keep a minimalist approach to my life so I rarely spend money on “things” and instead invest in my team, friends, and family.
- Relationships: I dramatically improved my networking and social circle in 2017 and have enjoyed a great romantic relationship. I’m learning a lot, growing, and getting outside of my comfort zone on a daily basis.
- Personal Growth: In 2017, I gained massive clarity on who I am and what I want out of life. I no longer suffer from “Guru” worship and have found a way to tailor personal growth to my life in a way that brings me more joy and fulfillment. (Goodbye “Crush it work 18 hours a day!” mentality)
Many of you are probably scratching your heads at this point thinking to yourself, “Andrew, I can’t think of ANYTHING that went well in 2017!“.
If this is the case, then don’t worry. This process isn’t about logging big wins or grand results, it’s simply about identifying patterns, habits, and activities that helped move you towards the life that you want.
If you can’t think of anything that went well in 2017, then think smaller.
Did you go to the gym at least once? That’s something that went well in your health and fitness.
Did you tell your wife or girlfriend that she looked beautiful? Did you talk to at least one attractive woman even though you were scared? Regardless of the outcome, that’s a win.
Did you have at least one day, heck even just one morning, at work where you got into flow an achieved high levels of productivity? Then write it down!
No matter how bad you think 2017 was, I promise you that there were small moments of excellence that you can find if you look hard enough.
Don’t worry about big wins here, just think of the small things that went well and write them down.
Now that you know what was great with last year, it’s time to take a look at the things that didn’t go so well.
But before you dive into this section and start madly scribbling down everything that sucked about 2017, I want you to take a deep breath and pause.
This part of the review process is not about beating yourself up or getting pissed off about the projects that didn’t pan out, the people that betrayed you, or the relationships that imploded, it’s about honestly assessing the areas of your life where you failed to take the correct action.
For example, if you had a massive business deal fall through or an employee stabs you in the back, I want you to think about how your actions were responsible for the outcome.
Instead of writing, “The idiots trying to set up this business deal dropped the ball and screwed me out of a six-figure payday”, consider the role that you had in failings of your year.
Did you do your due diligence on the business deal and the marketplace? Did you fully vet your partners and associates? Were you fully aware of the risks and rewards associated with the deal?
It’s important that you use this part of your annual review to take personal responsibility for the outcomes of your year.
Yes, there are some things in your life that you simply cannot control and it’s important to write those down too.
But at the end of the day, the most important part of this process is identifying the actions that you took or didn’t take that hindered your results and success.
I’m sure that other people messed things up and I’m almost certain that there were circumstances outside of your control that influenced your results. However, if you want to succeed at the highest levels, you must eliminate the “Blame Game” from your mental vocabulary and take full responsibility for your results (or lack thereof).
Here’s my review so you can get a better understanding of how this process works.
- Health & Fitness: The main issue with my health and fitness in 2017 was chronic pelvic and knee pain which reduces overall quality of life. And, as I’ve expanded my network and social circle, I’ve allowed my social drinking to increase in the past few months.
- Business & Career: Even though 2017 was a great year, Knowledge for Men did experience some growing pains. Early in the year, I didn’t focus heavily enough on creating systems to successfully scale the coaching side of my business and ended up overextending myself as a result. I also didn’t focus on scalable assets like books and online courses. Also an employee of mine flooded my office by accident which cost me nearly $25k in damages to the structure of the building.
- Finances: Although I made plenty of money in 2017, I didn’t do very well investing that money into long-term cash flow producing assets. I’ve also struggled to keep up with taxes as my income has increased.
- Relationships: Although my relationship is great, I’m still working on improving my communication with my partner so that I can show up as authentically and honestly as possible. I’ve also struggled to keep up with old friends while expanding my social circle.
- Personal Growth: 2017 was the first year in nearly a decade where I didn’t do much reading. I used to read 2-3 books a month and this year I read maybe 5 books total. I also stayed very close to San Diego for the entire year and didn’t travel the way that I wanted too.
What Did I Learn
Finally, to end your annual review, I want you to ask yourself a simple question, “What did I learn?”
In my own life, I absolutely crushed it in the gym this year.
I became stronger, leaner, and more physically fit than I’ve ever been in my life.
But I also severely injured my knee and will likely need surgery in 2018.
From this, I learned that flexibility and longevity are equally as important as strength and stamina.
Sure, I deadlift more than I’ve ever been able to in my life, but at the end of the day, it’s not worth it if I can’t keep my body healthy and pain free for the long haul.
In your own life, look at what went well and what didn’t and ask yourself the simple question, “What can this teach me?”
Whether you suffered a catastrophic loss or experienced abundant success and fulfillment, look at the actions, habits, and mindsets that got you there and what you can learn from each one.
How to Identify What You Really Want in 2018 (And Avoid B.S. Goals that Aren’t Congruent with Your Ultimate Life Vision)
Now that you have figured out where you have been, it’s time to move on to do something much more exciting and inspiring.
Where you are going.
Since I have already explained why I don’t like setting resolutions, I’ll suffice it to say that, recently, I’ve become much less fond of traditional goal setting.
I still believe that it has its place, but after years of setting, failing, and achieving my goals I’ve found a system that I believe to be much more effective and empowering.
I’m not telling you that you must do things my way.
I am simply encouraging you to try a different approach to setting “Goals” in 2018.
If it works for you, it might just change your life.
If it doesn’t, that’s ok.
This isn’t gospel. It’s simply what works for me and 1000s of other men and what I believe will work for you too.
1. Contemplate Your Mortality (dark topic but highly profound)
Before you begin envisioning your future life and the man that you want to become by the time 2018 is over, it is important to start with the end in mind.
Specifically, you must start this process by accepting and internalizing the fact that you are going to die.
You do realize this right?
I know this isn’t a popular fact to remind readers of, but it’s one of the most important truths of life.
No matter who you are, how much money you make, what women you date, what ethnicity, religious, or political doctrine you subscribe to… your time will come and so will mine.
In our disconnected world, we have lost touch with the fact that you are only one mistake or doctors visit away from the end.
You are only one Doctor’s visit away from finding out that you have 6 months left to live.
You are only one wrong turn away from an early death.
You are only one misstep away from losing everything that you now hold dear.
So why aren’t you acting like it?
Why do you spend your days pursuing things that mean nothing to you, things that don’t matter, that don’t spark joy, and that don’t bring more life and love into your world?
Why are you acting like you will live forever when you know with 100% certainty that you won’t? There is no speculation here…
Before you can create a vision for your life you must first accept that everything in your life will ultimately come to an end.
That is both the beauty and tragedy of our existence.
If you have the time, I want you to go into another room where you won’t be disturbed and sit down comfortably with your phone or laptop in front of you.
Then, for the next 23 minutes, I want you to follow this guided meditation (if you have strong religious beliefs I would recommend finding something specific to your faith that will work for you since this particular meditation is very secular).
Put a pen and notepad in front of you and write down anything that comes up for you during the course of this meditation.
I know that you’re busy and that you probably don’t want to sit still for 23 minutes thinking about how you and everyone that you love is ultimately going to pass, but I promise you that, without this exercise and perspective, nothing that I share with you throughout the rest of this guide will matter.
If you don’t have the time now, then bookmark this page and come back when you do.
How was it? What feelings came up for you? How did this perspective make you feel about the life that you’ve been living and the life you want to live?
I know it was uncomfortable, but taking the time out of your day to contemplate the brevity of your existence is one of the most powerful things that you can do.
Now that you have a little bit more perspective on your life and what truly matters at the end of the day, you are ready to seriously consider what you want for your future and how you are going to get up and go get it.
2. Ask Yourself “What Would I Do if I Couldn’t Fail?”
Now that you are in a state where you fully appreciate the gift of life, I want you to ask yourself a simple question.
“What would I do if I knew I couldn’t fail?”
I know it sounds cliche, but I challenge you to answer this question honestly.
Considering every emotion that you just experienced as you contemplated the shortness of your life, considering the fact that you will pass, what dreams would you pursue if you knew that you were going to be successful?
Would you write that novel? Would you start acting, pick up the paintbrush, travel the world, marry that girl, or finally start that business?
Or even would you want to keep living the life that you are currently living?
Keep in mind that you don’t actually have to do these things exactly as you write them out, this is simply a thought experiment to help you identify the things that you really want out of life.
I want you to come up with at least five things that you would do in 2018 if you knew that you couldn’t fail.
Got em? Ok great! Now let’s move on to the final step of this process, creating your compelling vision.
3. Create a Compelling Vision for Your Year
Now that you have contemplated your mortality and spent a few minutes mentally removing all limitations from your life, it’s time to come back down to reality.
Yes, you are going to die.
But you still have a mortgage to pay.
Sure, if you couldn’t fail you would move to the beach and write the next great American novel.
But you have a wife and two kids and real-world responsibilities.
So what in the world are you supposed to do?
You should already have your theme prepared for the next 12 months and now, it’s time to take that exercise one step further.
Instead of creating societally motivated goals like making a certain amount of money, driving a certain car, of living in a certain neighborhood, I want you to think about your life 5, 10, and 20 years from now.
Ignore any specific details such as where you live, what career you have, or how much money you are making.
These factors are all important, but in the grand scheme of things, it’s almost impossible for you to definitively say “This is exactly where I want to be in 10 years.”
So instead of setting specific goals, I want you to think broadly about your life in terms of general emotions and themes that you want to experience more of.
Who do you want to be 10 years from now?
What does your daily routine look like? What feelings do you experience on a daily basis? What kind of environment are you in? What sort of financial infrastructure do you have in place?
Again, you can determine the specific details at a later point in time but for right now, I just want you to develop a general idea of the life that you want to be living.
An overall vision.
So take the next 5 or 10 minutes to really think about the vision that you have for your life.
And once you have a general vision written out, you can move on to the next step in this process.
Mastering the 6 keys to success.
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