“Consistency trumps intensity; all the time. That intensity is born from consistency.”— Mark Reifkind, Strongfirst

Every New Year, for one reason or another, people make resolutions. When I was young, I didn’t understand this. You really don’t have a grasp of the big picture in youth. [I guess that is why experience is so powerful.] The simple life of a young person is to simple go to school, do well, eat, sleep and enjoy. Perhaps some chores are thrown in there as well. Quite often we don’t even know what we want to be when we grow up. Imagine that, showing up, doing the work in school, helping Mom and Dad with chores around the house, eating/sleeping/enjoying and this magically takes us to college, career and beyond. Sometimes the magic is right in front of us and we don’t even know it. The great Dutch-Indo Silat instructor, Paul DeThouars referred to this as, “..truths yet to be uncovered.”

There are many books on successful planning, goal setting and vision. I tend to avoid the vaporous, spiritual stuff since it is often just smoke and mirrors, meant to line the pockets of those who promote it. I like the hard core, backed by evidence and result type guidelines. Bare bones minimalism, devoid of fat and flash.

So here are the steps. Not so much sequential, but more bullet points.

1. Consistency. Simply show up. The quote by Mark Reifkind at the beginning of this article sums this up nicely. Rather than be a flash in the pan or peak with no base, do the work and shut up. You should feel rewarded from the process or find another a process.

2. Task Oriented. Rather than make a mystical, “vision board”, with a picture of the Bentley you want to drive. Figure out what a Bentley costs, what financing is like, what the insurance cost is and the maintenance cost. Now you have concrete numbers,… reality in front of you. Your daily task is to inch your way to owning a Bentley. When you take a day off, the ownership gets further away. Don’t focus on the Bentley or stare at car magazines, focus on the work required to own the car. A very simple tool for this is a calendar and some colored markers. I outlined this in an article, HERE, for Stephen Vinson’s blog.

3. “Dan John says,.. The Goal is to keep the Goal, the Goal”. So you either have some sort of quasi attention deficit issue or you are commitment-phobic. Why decide to do something then make DRASTIC changes to the end result that require re-tooling, re-planning or utter chaos? Simply stick with the plan. If you chose something overwhelming, perhaps set less daunting goals to build confidence. Building your achievement muscles and using short term goals as stepping stones to a unique and powerful outcome.

4. Daily Task List. While this is older than carbon dating, it’s been around because it works. I personally think lots of things in life should be on auto-pilot and you don’t need to list, “brush your teeth, wake up, eat”. However by making a list of about three things pertinent to your business/life and another three that brings you closer to your outcome, you are way ahead of the game. There is the ideal that if you write things down, rather than being a passing thought, the ink and paper note make it tangible and therefore actionable. When I go through old notebook and training logs, I find that all the goal/task lists have been completed. No magic, no BS,.. just planning and action.

5. Review and Adjust. Life  is not static. It is dynamic and just when we think we have it figured out, it kicks us in the ass. Goals can change and this is valid. Notice I didn’t say to constantly change your goals, I’m saying that the closer you get to your end results, you may have more evidence at to what outcome is best. This aligns itself with the concept of experience. You will find that the closer you get to your goals, the harder it is to progress. For example, if you are 100 pounds overweight, that first 60 lbs lost is a snap. The rest, not so much. When you want to get athletically lean,.. it will be like watching paint dry. That is when review and adjustments will save you rather than distract you.

6. Reward, Renew, Rest. Progress is not linear. There will be bumps in the road and remember, staying on the road and moving ahead will always trump, “Wishcraft”, “The Secret”, “Daily Horoscope”. Problems, like conflict, are not cured, they are managed. Achieving a goal is it’s own reward, but it’s time to breathe, accept, adapt,…. then attack again. You can choose play, vacation or simply managing the pay off. If the pay off is financial, I remember the words of martial arts master Ki Whang Kim to his student, Mike Warren. It was after winning 600 dollars at a karate tournament. Mike asked his instructor what he should do with his winnings. Master Kim replied, “Put 200 in the bank, give your family 200 and spend 200 on yourself”. I think that advice still holds up.

7. Get Uncomfortable Often. As Churchill said, “Life is one damn thing after another!”. You must be challenged or you cease to be human. Hence goals that make us stretch. There is nothing more important than getting out of our comfort zones. You should do things that make you feel like a rank beginner often. Realize that growth at the beginning of any process is almost magically explosive. Towards the end is miserable. Olympic athletes will get excited over 1/10ths of a second. Their process is so powerful because of that ability. Having trained a few, world class, athletes, it’s other worldly. You tell them to lift and they say, “give me a number”. They simply thrive on being challenged, being uncomfortable and strategizing the minute changes need to exceed. That’s why they are champions. As a training buddy says, “Embrace the suck”.

8. Don’t Be a Victim. [covered HERE]. Simply don’t be a blamer or conspiracy theorist. Rather than giving those “Men in Black” the power, take it back yourself. It’s called being responsible. Adult Responsibility is a lost value. It’s too easy to blame others.

9. Don’t Beat Yourself Up. Don’t kick your own ass because there are plenty of people around who will kick it for you. In fact many people feel so badly about themselves, watching you kick your own ass or having someone else do it is appropriate distraction from their own self loathing experience. Do you think I’m lying? Watch a fight on Youtube and see how many spectators do nothing, walk away or just watch with glee.

10. Attitude/Outcome Rule. Figure out your outcome and see if your attitude matches it. If it does, fine, if it doesn’t, change it. While this has been around for many years, I first heard it from Tony Blauer, on mma.tv years ago. It works like a charm.

My parting words are my personal adaptation of a statement from success guru, Anthony Robbins. He used to mention challenge and taking action as the best means of personal growth or power. He said, “If you CAN, … you MUST!” I’m taking it one step further, I tell people, “If you CAN’T, … you MUST!.