It continues to amaze me how many people forget all the hard work, drive and time it takes to become an overnight success.
The blueprint below, is exactly that, a blueprint, something to base your success off. There is also no single way, as everyone has their own approach and style. Some people can completely focus on one thing, most need a balance in their lives. The blueprint is a synthesis of extensive research of some of the most successful personal development programmes, personal experience and a dose of common sense or reality.
One defining factor is that while most (successful) programmes are designed to spur up your emotions leaving you excited and motivated, by the end of the programme (or even the next day), you have probably defaulted to the old ways, the changes are all short term. They don’t account for the real world, they require the dedication of an olympic athlete, which is unsustainable, unless you are…. well, an Olympic Athlete.
Step 1 – Start with your why – Why you want to achieve what you do? – It needs to be enough to motivate you every day.
“People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it. And what you do simply proves what you believe” – Simon Sinek
If you start with “I should”, I anticipate you will fail. “I want to” has far more likelihood of success. When the “Why” is not clear enough or the goals are not aspirational enough, it will not motivate you to “want to”. Similarly looking for quick fixes rather than the utilising the compound effect of sustained good habits & routines will not work long term. So start with the “Why “and then proceed to step 2 to set achievable goals identifying the habits and actions needed to achieve them.
Practical Step 1 – Use prominent visual reminders (I use a collage of photos on the front of my plan and as my Facebook cover photo). Define your life priorities, recognising these can and will change over time. Identify 10-15 core principles and core values, these should change less frequently, if at all. If you need more – define 5-15 rules to live by e.g. “I am on time”, “I drink 6 glasses of water a day”, “I don’t eat gluten”.
Step 2 – Goal Setting – Specific, Aspirational – Be fabulous failures
“What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals.” – Zig Ziglar
The universe loves specificity. Don’t say £3m, say £3,014,023 and avoid relying on SMART Goals, they are too safe and generally not aspirational enough, they miss the “Why”. Rather be a fabulous failure. Recognising that if you are targeting (expecting) a perfect record, you will fail. When you don’t factor in failure, one “slip-up” and you may reset to your starting point.
“How you do anything is how you do everything.” – Zen Buddhist saying
Use an holistic approach. Bucket them into four core pillars of:
- Wealth – Career, Business, Finances and Job
- Individual – Internal focus on Personal Development
- Social – External focus on relationships and network
- Health – Fitness and Diet
I have seen more buckets before, my fear with too many is that you end up over filling them and it becomes distracting. Make sure to develop specific goals – what you what to achieve and remember they need to be big enough to drive you, but not so big that you don’t think they could ever be possible. Think in terms of 1 month, 6 months and 12 months, perhaps even 3 years. Dependent on what the goal is.
Practical Step 2 – Develop goals across Wealth, Individual, Social and Health. Define them clearly with specific timelines and detail. Include behaviours that will be required to achieve them. For example – Run a marathon next May. So I need to spend 1 month working on form, 2 months on strength and 3 months on getting miles under my legs.
Step 3 – Structure & Plan
“Most people over plan a day and under-plan a year.” – Kelly Ritchie
Once you know what goals you want to achieve, the next step is to make sure you have accountability & structures in place to succeed. Remember what get’s tracked, get’s done. While allowing for the normal peaks and troughs in life, commit to planning & preparing for activities and aim to entrench good habits to replace bad habits (reducing decision fatigue).
While goals are great motivators, focusing on them daily may cause you to become disheartened. So it is better to focus on the process and inputs in the short term, then review the output at designated points. I have found a 12 month focus plan really helps put things in perspective. Done monthly or weekly, what are your key priorities or focus. Perhaps you want to complete a 30 day challenge to replace some bad habits.
The next key element is the “Perfect Week” , based on Early to Rise‘s perfect day. Plan each hour of every week and what you plan to do in this time. Paradoxically gives you more freedom to do what you want. It is important to recognise that this is not a school regiment, what you are doing here is define what you want to do with your time. Let the decision be, to not do it, not to do it.
Practical Step 3 – Create a 12 month focus plan, with what you want to focus on each week. Set up a “perfect week” plan to reduce decision fatigue and spend the time doing what you want to do.
12 Month Focus Plan – Set key area you wish to focus on each month across all pillars. So in the marathon example you can plot out how you would get there.
Perfect Week – Map out a week as you would plan it to occur, perhaps 3 training slots (1st month may be mobility, then conditioning, then fitness but all in the same rough time slot). Add tasks in those time blocks. Identify non-negotiables, such as:
- Weekly plan review (30mins suggest)
- Morning routine at least 5 times a week (Mon-Fri suggested)
- Bed time routine at least 5 times a week (Sun-Thurs suggested)
Of course, we are here to support, so have a look at our personal development programme. Lastly, remember to celebrate success. Get your mind trained to identifying success, then associate the good feeling with it, leave your brain wanting more!
- Example morning routine
- Mindfulness – meditation, mantra, affirmation, visualisation and/or grounding
- 5 Minute Journal
- Get dressed
- Example bed time routine – early enough so you don’t typically need an alarm to wake up
- Change in to bed time clothes (signals the body)
- Switch off electronics or at least switch to flight mode
- 5 Minute Journal
- My why – An example of developing a “Why”
- My transformation – Highlights of how I have applied this process in my own life
- Compound effect – The power of the compounded effect of habits over time
- Business Accelerator – Take that business idea from idea to launch
- Smart Goals – Smart Goals missing the “Why”