“A” people: These are people in your immediate family and your closest friends.
“B” people: There are co-workers, buddies in online forums, distant relatives, etc.
“C” people: These are reaction gauges and typically people that have never met you.
- The “A” people”: Influences from “A” people are the drivers to most life changes. Generally, “A” people are the ones that define and voice our inefficiencies and want us to change. I am not saying they are always correct, however, people closest to us are the ones comfortable enough to say that we are ‘idiots’ or “are doing is wrong”. This will generally be your spouse, boss, kids, and in some cases, it can even be you. Maybe it is you that had an epiphany and finally realize a life change needs to occur.
- Ask for input from “B” people: By researching through “B” people, you can get an idea of the components needed to achieve your main goal. Odds are that you are not the first person to embark on this mission. “B” people will also provide un-bias support as I explain later in the process.
- Make Goals realistic: In the past, I have always chosen huge macro changes that were frankly intimidating. This was a huge mistake. Once you understand what goals needs conquering, it’s important to reduce them to their lowest level by defining the smaller elements. By chopping large tasks into a series of smaller ones, you will be encouraged to continue. As you complete each mini-task, your mental “yes I can do it” factor will rise exponentially. It is critical to keep positive motivation and reinforcement. By reducing obstacles to their lowest level, you will not be overwhelmed.
- Are YOU a believer?: Take your goals and literally breathe them everyday. What I mean is make them critical to your existence. I know it’s easier said than done. When you wake up in the morning, think about your positive progress over your morning cup of coffee or while in the shower. You must live as you want to be.
- Does it matter?: What are the consequences of NOT hitting your goal? Maybe you miss a raise at work, maybe your wife leaves you, maybe your kids hate you, or maybe all of the above. The point is that you must understand the consequences to appreciate the steps you take to achieve the goal.
- Make them your own: Is someone forcing these changes on you? If so, you need to have a straight-up conversation about it. Making life changes under duress is going to make it 1000x more difficult and you are going to resent the person that’s forcing you. YOU must want to define, understand, and remedy the issue in your heart.
- Go public: Here is where the “A” people come in again. You MUST tell 5 “A” people about your goal and the mini-steps you are taking to achieve it. Being accountable to people you care about is powerful for several reasons. First, having loved ones happy with you during your progression will obviously motivate you. On the flipside, letting them down will punch you in the gut and make you work harder. This step also illustrates the importance of the “B” people from step 1. “A” people and “B” people have different reasons for wanting you to change and you need to hear both sides of the story and motivations.
- The Daily Report: I don’t care what the task is but every single day you have to review your results with someone on the “A” list. Let them know in advance so they know to call you and inquire. Without daily motivation, some tasks will overwhelm you to the point of letting go.
- Test it out: Depending on what your goal is, try it out on some “C” people. If you are an introvert trying to be more vocal, test it on strangers so see how they react. It’s common to have to tweak your plan as you progress. Constructive criticism is just that – constructive – and you should not take it personally.
- Tracking: I don’t care what you do, but you need some form of tracking system. There are 2 reasons why this is important: 1) If you win the battle, you have a record to admire, 2) if you lose, you must know what step in the process failed so you can correct it next time. I don’t care if it’s a diary or a PDA, just be sure to have a log.
- One at a time baby: My chubby Italian buddy a while ago tried to quit smoking, drinking beer, drinking coffee, and eating fast food all at the same time. Guess what? He failed at all of them. Choose one goal and stick to it. As you succeed, you will gain will power and/or the motivation it takes to move on to bigger tasks.
- Remember the past: After you succeed, it is crucial that you remember the strength you had to overcome it. Never forget the pain and never forget the process.