“New beginnings are often disguised as painful endings.” — Lao Tzu
Make this your greatest year.
Whether you think of it as a refresh, a reset, or a total transformation, it’s time for a fresh start.
Hack a Happy New Year!
Carry the good forward, let the rest go, and change whatever isn’t working.
Here is a powerful collection of high-value hacks right at your finger tips to help you create your best year ever.
Pick and choose the hacks you need the most.
Share your favorite hacks with a friend to help them get ahead this year.
1. Get the power of a New Year’s Resolution on your side
Let’s start the new year off right with a hack that might change how you look at New Year’s Resolutions …
Make a New Year’s resolution to increase your chance of success.
That’s right. New Year’s Resolutions can actually work.
According to Dr. John C. Norcross:
“Contrary to widespread public opinion, a considerable proportion of New Year resolvers do succeed.
You are 10 times more likely to change by making a New Year’s resolution compared to non-resolvers with the identical goals and comparable motivation to change.”
2. Limit yourself to one big resolution at a time
This is a hack to help you New Year’s Resolution actually work.
Focus is your friend.
It takes a lot of willpower to make a significant change.
Focus on one big change so that you can prepare for it, manage it, and monitor it.
You can do great things when you focus your time, energy, and resources around your one big worthwhile change.
Your emotions are a great source of input to help you know what you need to focus on, if you listen to them.
What’s keeping you up at night?
If nothing were to change in your life, what’s one attribute or quality that you need to fully enjoy it?
Work on that.
3. Get specific with your goals
Make your New Year’s Resolution specific.
Keep it clear, compelling, and concise.
Turn a vague intention like “get in shape” or “lose weight” or “eat better” into something more specific. For example, you might set a goal to lose a pound a week.
By getting specific, you have something to aim for.
4. Dream bigger to realize your potential
This is a hack to remind you to dream big again.
You don’t just think a dream.
You feel it in your bones and in your heart.
Dreams breathe life into everything we do.
You can use your dreams to inspire yourself, to shape your life, and to do what makes you come alive.
Dreams help us realize our potential and to tap into our greatest resources within us, and around us.
Our dreams act as a compass and help us choose a path, among our many options.
Dreams shape our choices that shape our way forward.
5. If you want change, you must change
When you change, your world changes.
There is a great little video that reminds us of one of the greatest lessons in life:
Here is my favorite part from the video:
“One of the great lessons in life is that nothing will change unless YOU change.
Nothing will get better, unless you get better.
It’s not about circumstance. It’s not about “luck.” We all get the good and the bad. We all get the challenging events that arrive in our life.
That’s a normal part of being human.
I’m talking about what you CHOOSE to do with those circumstances.
If you are waiting for the economy to change, if you are waiting for your paycheck to change, waiting for your relationship to change, waiting for something to change …
Nothing will change
If you want change, YOU must change.”
6. Guide your path with vision, values, and goals
This is a hack to help you get out of bed each morning.
Your mission is your map.
When you don’t even have a model, a map, or a path, then it’s hard to make meaning and even harder to balance work and life, because you have no gauges – it’s like flying blind.
With your mission as your map, your vision as the destination, and your values as your guide, you instantly have a way to center yourself and lead your life from the inside out.
Mission Statement – Your missions answers the question, “What’s the purpose?” or “What’s the job” or “Who are you?” or “What are you about?” Ideally, you have a differentiator.
Vision statement – Now that you know the purpose, the vision answers, “Where do you want to go?”
Values – Values help you prioritize and shape your actions. They answer the “Why.” They are what you care about. The more your work matches your values, the more enjoyment you will find.
Goals – Goals answer the question, “What do you want to accomplish?” A good away to make goals useful is to make them SMART: specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-based.
7. Change a habit with Habit Stacking
If you want lasting change, hack your habits.
Habits are powerful stuff.
As Mahatma Ghandi said:
“Your beliefs become your thoughts,
Your thoughts become your words,
Your words become your actions,
Your actions become your habits,
Your habits become your values,
Your values become your destiny.”
But how do you actually change a habit?
If you’ve tried in the past, but failed, it’s time to try some new tools.
One powerful tool for changing habits is what S.J. Scott calls Habit Stacking.
Habit stacking is simply linking or chaining actions together to create a routine.
Within this one routine, you stack or link multiple mini-habits.
S.J. Scott provides us with an example of his Habit Stacking morning routine:
- Get out of bed and make it. (Reason: I work from home, so having an orderly environment helps me stay productive.)
- Walk into my bathroom and weigh myself. (Reason: I run marathons and need to maintain a specific weight to have a good performance. Having a daily ‘weigh-in’ keeps me focused on my running goals.)
- Wash my face with hot water and a facial cleanser. (Reason: Studies have shown that washing your face helps you feel awake and energized in the morning.)
- Walk into the kitchen and pour a 16-ounce glass of ice-cold water with lemon. (Reason: Lemon is another way to feel awake–plus, I instantly get two of the eight servings of water that I need every day.)
- Take daily vitamins. (Reason: Most diets are nutrient-deficient. Following a regular vitamin regimine introduces what I’m missing in my diet.)
- Make a power smoothie. I mix up different recipes, but I like to make ones that include proteins, potassium and antioxidants. (Reason: This simple shake is another way to create energy for the rest of the day.)
- Text my girlfriend with a loving message. (Reason: The key to a successful relationship is to do the ‘little things’ on a daily basis.)
- Update my mobile phone app with the habits I’m currently developing (Reason: Tracking habits on a daily basis is the best way to make a permanent change.)
8. Create mini-feedback loops
Hack away at your feedback loops for actionable insight.
Feedback is your friend.
If you don’t create a feedback loop, you’ll lose momentum when you don’t know whether you are making any progress.
You also need feedback so you can adjust whatever isn’t working for you.
Smaller, tighter feedback loops can work better at helping you make decisions during your day. For example, according to John Tierney, research shows that daily weigh-ins work better than weekly weigh-ins.
9. Bounce back from a setback
Hack away at your resilience.
As Vince Lombardi said, “It isn’t whether you get knocked down, it’s whether you get back up.”
You will face setbacks.
When they happen, get back up and try again.
10. Avoid “All or Nothing” thinking
“All or Nothing” thinking is when you give up because you didn’t do it all, or not everything went the way you expected.
Rather than give up, remind yourself that something is better than nothing.
Maybe you can only do part of your workout. Go for it.
Maybe you messed up on breakfast. Try to eat better for lunch and dinner.
If there is one hack that will help more people achieve their goals, even if it takes longer, or it’s not all of their goal, it’s this one.
11. Choose progress over perfection
This hack is for all of the perfectionists out there.
When you focus on making progress, and you give up the need to be perfect, you free yourself up to find creative ways to reach your goal.
You also take off pressure that doesn’t help.
When you try to be perfect, you will just lie to yourself or to other people, while trying to live up to a fantasy.
Instead, get real and enjoy learning how to make progress on your goal.
Ask the tough questions, that help you move forward:
- What did you learn that you can use for next time?
- What’s the next step to make a little progress now?
- What can you focus on that will help you move forward?
12. Reward yourself more often
Rather than wait until the very end, find a way to reward yourself along the way.
That’s the power of positive reinforcement.
When Tony Robbins was writing his book, rather than celebrate when he was all done, he decided he would take a dip in his hot tub each time he finished a chapter.
It was a little reward, but it went a long way to helping him write his book in record time.
13. Gamify it
The secret to a great hack is to add the fun factor.
Find a way to make it fun.
Add the fun factor to your New Year’s resolution.
For example, when I dropped 30 pounds in one month, I made it a game to lose a pound a day.
This made it more fun for me, it gave me a mini-goal to focus on, within the bigger goal of losing 30 pounds for the month.
This also helped me quickly adjust my approach for the day, if it wasn’t working. For example, do I need to eat more, eat less, change what I eat, work out more, work out less, or change my workout routine.
I gave myself the freedom to experiment and try to win each day.
14. Adopt a Tiny Habit
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” — Will Durant
According to BJ Fogg, a Tiny Habit is when you do something very, very small.
Here are some examples:
- floss 1 tooth
- do two push ups
- drink one sip of water
But there’s one more tiny piece. After you do the tiny behavior that you want to repeat, or expand in the future, you immediately celebrate victory.
Fogg shares an example of how he now does 50, 60, 70 push ups a day.
He decided that after he takes a pee, he will do 2 push ups, and then say, “I’m awesome.”
2 push ups turned into 5, and then 8, and for extra credit he sometimes does 12. Over the course of a day, this adds up.
15. Just Start
“Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.” — Arthur Ashe
Sometimes the best way to get started is to just start.
Don’t wait until the moon is full or the stars or aligned or you’ve figured everything all out.
Instead, just get started and figure out things as you go.
As long as you focus on learning, improving, and making progress, you can keep moving forward, and sometimes that is the best strategy to actually achieve your goal.
16. Adopt a growth mindset
“It does not matter how slowly you go so long as you do not stop.” – Confucius
Hack your mind for better results.
When you adopt a growth mindset, you open up a world of possibilities for your personal development.
You break the limiting beliefs that a fixed mindset creates.
With a fixed mindset, you believe your basic qualities, like your intelligence or talent are simply fixed traits.
In other words, you can’t change them.
With a growth mindset, you believe that you can change, develop, and improve your abilities.
Rather than worry about whether you were born a great athlete or a great writer or a great genius, you decide you can learn whatever you put your mind to.
17. Create if-then plans to stick with your goals
This is another hack to help you stick with your goals and your New Year’s resolutions.
Decide ahead of time how you will handle challenges that come up:
If this happen, then I’ll do XYZ.
The key to making this work is to focus on positive statements.
Rather than this negative statement:
If someone brings cupcakes, then I won’t have one.
Create a more positive statement you can act on:
If someone brings cupcakes then I’ll treat myself to hummus and crackers.
18. Start with Great Expectations
This is a New Year’s resolution hack inspired by Tony Robbins.
Don’t start by expecting failure.
Expect great things to happen.
If you don’t expect great things, then great things are never going to happen.
Not because of fate, or destiny or because you are doomed to failure, but because you will limit yourself.
You won’t try very hard if you start off by thinking you will fail.
If you think you will fail, you won’t tap your most resourceful self. You won’t motivate yourself. You won’t inspire your creative genius.
Remind yourself that you get what you expect.
19. Adopt 7 beliefs for personal excellence
Great results are the by-product of great actions, and great actions are the by-product of great beliefs.
What are some great beliefs to adopt?
According to Tony Robbins, here are 7 beliefs for personal excellence:
- Everything happens for a reason and a purpose, and it serves us.
- There is no such thing as failure.
- Whatever happens, take responsibility.
- It’s not necessary to understand everything to be able to use everything.
- People are your greatest resource.
- Work is play.
- There’s no abiding success without commitment.
20. Master the art of goal planning
Setting goals is easy.
Achieving them is not.
It takes planning.
You can master the art of goal planning by asking yourself 5 questions:
- What is the specific work or effort required to achieve your goal?
- What resources or dependencies do you need to help you succeed?
- What is your action plan to achieve this goal?
- What time investment is actually required? What should your weekly schedule look like to support achieving this goal? (Can you be a world-class violinist if you practice 5 minutes a day?)
- What obstacles will you face and how will you respond?
21. Prime your mind for greatness
This is a hack you can use everyday to light your fire.
Use priming to set the stage for your success.
In practice, you can just think of priming as to make ready or to prepare.
You might hear people say “prime the pump” to mean encourage the growth or action of something.
Or you might see an athlete who is primed and ready for action.
Whether priming works because of mirroring and our innate tendency to imitate, or our reticular activating system (RAS), or our subconscious mind, or whatever, what’s important is that you can prime yourself for better results.
You can create new frames of reference to draw from.
You can fill your mind with hope, aspirations and bold ambitions to crowd out fear, failures, and regrets.
One way to prime your mind is to ask 3 questions:
- What do you want?
- Why do you want it?
- What do you need to learn or what quality do you need to build to achieve it?
Yes, it sounds simple, but we get resourceful when we ask the right questions.
Ask these three questions to start priming your mind to figure out what do you want for this year.
If you know WHY you want it, and your WHY is strong, this will keep you going through the tough stuff.
When it comes to the HOW, you first need to identify what you need to learn so that you can find the right strategies.
If you turn reaching your goals into a learning journey, you win along the way, and avoid putting your success “out there” or far off in the distance.
22. Use dreams, goals, and habits to pull you forward
This is a hack to help you put it all together as you turn your dreams into action.
A good way to think about dreams, goals, habits, and inspired action is “better together.”
The dream is the vision that inspires you.
It needs to reflect your passion and your purpose, and it needs to be actionable and believable.
You can have a dream for your career, a dream for your health, a dream for your relationships, etc.
Once you have a dream that you believe in and that can inspires you and pulls you forward, you can chunk it down into goals.
The goals are simply your meaningful milestones, or the stepping stones or the mile markers on your journey.
Goals are a way to see and feel your progress, and to funnel your focus along the way.
And, of course, when you have a meaningful dream, you can add habits that help support you.
After all, trying to achieve a goal, where there are no habits supporting you, is a setup for failure.
And, having habits without any goals or any dreams to inspire or pull you forward, may get lost along the road to good intentions.
23. Use the Exponential Results Formula to make a big change
This is a powerful hack for making leaps and bounds in your life.
The Exponential Results Formula is a method for rapid results.
The beauty of The Exponential Results Formula is that you can enjoy both the journey and the destination toward achieving your success.
If you have a trusted system, then you can explore and experiment with speed and skill in a more reliable way.
You can learn at a faster pace.
You can enjoy a higher level of success.
You can reduce the pain along the way.
You also learn how to more effectively avoid the dead ends and fruitless paths.
Here is a summary of the Exponential Results Formula:
- Step 1. Envision the Future Capability
- Step 2. Map Out the Goals
- Step 3. Model the Best
- Step 4. Map Out the Possible Paths
- Step 5. Identify Your Tests for Success
- Step 6. Test Your Results
- Step 7. Change Your Approach Based on Feedback
24. Adopt the 7 Habits of Highly Motivated People
Hack your motivation so that you have the juice to keep going and to face your challenges.
You can think of motivation as a driving force, stimulus, or influence, or as an internal or external desire to achieve a goal.
According to Wikipedia, motivation is “these inner conditions such as wishes, desires, goals, activate us to move in a particular direction in behavior.”
My favorite definition of inspire is “to breathe life into.”
So, effective motivation is the ability to continuously breathe life into whatever you do.
Here’s my take on the 7 habits of highly motivated people:
- Find Your WHY
- Change Your Beliefs About What’s Possible
- Change Your Beliefs That Limit You
- Spend More Time In Your Values
- Surround Yourself With Catalysts
- Build Better Feedback Loops
- “Pull” Yourself with Compelling Goals
The sum of the whole is more than the sum of the parts.
By stacking these habits, you compound your ability to create your own motivation to help you jump out of bed in the morning, ready to dominate your day.
25. Use Trigger Moments to activate your higher self
This is a hack to help you stay on track every day so you move closer to your goals and bold ambitions.
Sometimes, all we need is just a gentle reminder.
In psychology and NLP there’s the idea of a trigger or stimulus. Brendon Burchard calls them your trigger moments.
The idea here is when you trigger happens, choose a better response.
You can use trigger moments to add or reinforce habits, build better routines, change how you show up, and to energize yourself throughout the day.
Here is how to setup and use Trigger Moments:
- Set Up Triggers Throughout Your Day. You can setup alarms to trigger you to do the things you need to do. For example, you can set an alarm on your phone or on your computer to go off at a certain time. It’s like a little angel in your ear reminding you of who you want to be. Other triggers might be when you wake up in the morning, or when you walk through your door, or when you open the refrigerator.
- Practice Your New Behavior. When your trigger happens, use the reminder to choose your new behavior. Practice the response that you want to get better at.
When your trigger moment goes off, perform your action.
Each trigger moment is another chance to practice or to choose a better response.
Let’s say you want to add a workout routine to your life. Set a trigger that when you wake up in the morning, you drink water, put exercise shoes on, go downstairs, or go you go to the gym.
That’s the trigger.
When you wake up in the morning, nothing interrupts that action. You don’t start something else, you run your routine.
26. Use Door Frame Triggers to inspire a better version of you
This hack can help you be the person you really want to be.
You can use a trigger to remind yourself of a new habit or a new way to show up in the world.
One of Brendon Burchard’s favorite triggers is walking into a new room.
When you walk into a new room, you can associate a trigger with that door frame.
When Brendon walks through his front door, he repeats three words to himself:
Those three words reflect how he wants to show up. When he walks through the door, his mind automatically triggers those three words.
What words do you love to describe you?
Have those three words and set those up in your life.
Each time your pass through a door frame, remind yourself of those three words that you want to demonstrate more in your life.
27. Find your purpose
This is a hack that will help you face your Mondays with a smile and get up on the right side of the bed in the morning.
When you know your purpose, you make more impact.
Your purpose also keeps you grounded among the chaos.
It’s your North Star. It guides you. It helps you adjust your sails to the winds. It gives you the strength to fight your good fights.
When you fall off your path, it helps you get back on the saddle again.
Perhaps, most importantly, your purpose helps you find your drive when you need it most.
I’m a fan of one-liner purpose statements.
It keep them simple and sticky so you don’t have to look them up. For example, Google’s is “Organize the world’s information.” Starbuck’s is “World’s best coffee.” Apple’s purpose for ITunes is “World’s best online music store.” Microsoft’s is “Help people and businesses realize their full potential.”
They’re aspirational and they inspire.
More importantly, they are easy to say, which means they are easy to use.
To find your purpose, keep it simple:
- Write your One-Liner purpose statements down
- Say some out loud
- Choose one that resonates right now
To give you an example, my purpose statement is:
To improve the quality of life for as many people as I can, as long as I can
That’s what gets me out of bed in the morning.
28. Figure out what you really want
Hack away at all the noise until you figure out what you really want.
What if you spend your years climbing the corporate ladder, only to find that your ladder was up against the wrong wall?
What if money can’t buy what you’re really looking for?
What if there’s a simpler or more effective way to get what you want?
Nancy O’Hara writes about an approach to help you figure out what you really want:
- Write a random and comprehensive list of all the tangible things you would like to have that you don’t now have (in no particular order.)
- Now prioritize the list by placing numbers before each item, with the number 1 being assigned to the most desired thing.
- Then for the top ten items on the list assign a number from 1 to 5 that indicates the intensity of your desire, with 1 being low and 5 being high.
- For each of the ten items write a paragraph or two about how having them would change or not change your life and how not having them now affects your life.
- Repeat exercises 1 to 4 with a list of intangible things you would like to have in your life. (This could include relationships, feelings, states of mind.)
- Repeat exercises 1 to 4 with work-related desires (perhaps your ideal job, a new boss, a different schedule.)
- On a separate piece of paper write down the most-desired thing from each list and put it aside for the moment.
- Afterward sit quietly again and absorb the impact of this ritual. Write about the feelings it evoked and what effect, if any, it had on your wish list.
- Now look at the three desires you wrote down and set aside. Is your level of desire for these things the same as it was when you first wrote about them?
29. Use 3 Wins to Rule Your Year
This is a simple but powerful hack to change how you look at your entire year.
You can think of the Three Wins for the Year as three stories of personal change that you’d like to be able to tell at the end of this year.
Does it get any better or more simpler than that?
Three Wins for the Year helps us dream big and play out “what if” scenarios in a simple way.
It gives us a way to very quickly, and very easily re-imagine what we can achieve this next year, before we get bogged down, or over-engineer, or over-analyze our goals, or lose site of our bigger picture.
To do this, simply push aside your over-analytic mind and simply ask yourself the following question:
“If this were next year, what are three great results I would want under my belt?”
If you do this right, your answers might surprise you.
Not because they are things you don’t expect, but because you finally give yourself permission to acknowledge what you really want.
30. Commit to your best year ever
This is a surprisingly simple, yet surprisingly powerful hack.
The secret to your best year ever is to decide to commit to your best year ever.
I’ll share a little story of how I this changes the lives of 8 people I know.
As we turned the page of the previous year, and headed into the next, our team faced a lot of big challenges and a lot of unknowns.
We were understaffed, over committed, and pulled thin in all sorts of directions.
Our team was crazy busy and putting in all sorts of hours, and everybody felt under-appreciated.
In a lot of ways, you might say our team felt defeated.
It had been a year of great sacrifices and not much reward.
We all knew that we didn’t want another year like it.
We all wanted a year of meaningful impact.
Among the chaos, confusion, and ambiguity, we wanted one thing to hold on to, and one thing to be true:
Our best year ever. Period.
So, as a team, and individually, we committed to having our best year ever.
A funny thing happens when you choose up front to have your best year ever.
You actually do.
31. Find your Signature Strengths
Hack away at your strengths to become your greatest version of yourself.
Finding your Signature Strengths is one of the best ways to improve your energy and effectiveness.
To find your Signature Strengths, familiarize yourself with the 34 key themes of strength.
If you can identify your top five Signature Strengths, you can use the information to cultivate your strengths for personal excellence.
If you know your unique combination of Signature Strengths, and if you play to your strengths instead of focus on your weaknesses, you can dramatically amplify your impact.
You can also use your Signature Strengths to get into your flow state on a more consistent basis.
See Why Strengths?
32. Practice a “lighter feeling”
This hack will help lighten your load.
What if you could release negative emotions and feel lighter and ready for anything as you go about your day?
You just have to find your lighter feeling.
A “lighter feeling” is a big deal.
Practice feeling lighter.
According to Larry Krane, the key is to build a habit of letting your feelings flow through you versus hold on tight.
When we hold on tight, we get heavy.
When we release, we get lighter.
If you know what it’s like to travel light, whether it’s a lighter backpack, or simply lighter shoes, you can imagine the value of traveling emotionally lighter on this journey we call life.
Crane says our energy is made up of particles that, although they are small, have size and weight, and we can measure it. He was an engineer so maybe that’s true. Either way, what’s important is that the feelings we hold on to can have psychic weight.
And that’s what bogs us down.
33. Let go of regrets
Here is another hack to lighten up a heavy heart.
It’s easy to regret.
It’s easy to second guess yourself, especially with 20/20 hind-sight. It’s easy to ponder the “what if’’s” and “what could have been’s.”
It’s not so easy to let your regrets go.
In essence, you could have taken your other path and been hit by a bus.
My take is, you never know how things will go.
Instead, you make the most of where you are now, and you carry the good forward — the rest is experience.
34. 15-Minutes of Fulfillment
This is a hack to help you start your day the Tony Robbins way.
What if you could start your day like Tony Robbins? …
Would you move mountains?
Would you change the world?
Or, would you simply have a better day?
Tony Robbins has a specific startup-routine that he uses to condition his mind, body, and emotions to bring out his best on a daily basis.
He calls it 15 Minutes of Fulfillment.
Tony Robbins focuses on fulfillment over achievement. The point is to enjoy the journey.
He’s seen too many people that achieved great things, but weren’t fulfilled.
The key to fulfillment is gratitude.
And, an interesting thing about gratitude is that you can’t feel fear while you’re feeling extreme gratitude.
Tony Robbins startup routine is simple and has three parts:
- Moving and Breathing (5 minutes)
- Emotional State of Enormous Gratitude (5 minutes)
- Incantations (5 minutes)
Start your day like Tony Robbins and see if you can unleash your own giant within.
35. Create your ideal day the Tony Robbins Way
This is a hack to help you envision how much better you days could be.
It all boils down to how you spend your days and the environment you create to support you.
What would your ideal day and ideal environment be?
If you want better days and a better environment, it starts with your mind. Put on your director’s hat and imagine your perfect day. Break it down: morning, noon, and night. See the scenes and imagine the experience.
Walk through your ideal day and your ideal environment.
Imagine the scenes and the people involved.
Get specific and write it down. Writing it down will force you to get more clarity on what you really want.
It works because you get your mind, body, and emotions all going in the same direction, instead of riding off in all different directions. It also works because you have a target to aim for.
36. Master your emotions for power, passion, and strength
Hack away at how you feel.
Feeling great is a habit you can build.
That’s right. — Choose the emotions you want to feel more of, and practice them until you do.
You can cultivate your 10 Emotions of Power to flourish and fulfill your highest potential.
After all, what good is building your emotional intelligence if you don’t use it to feel your best.
Tony Robbins shares the 10 Emotions of Power that help you feel power, passion, and strength. By working on your emotional intelligence in this way, you can reach new levels of personal greatness.
Here are the 10 emotions to master for power, passion, and strength:
- Love and warmth
- Appreciation and gratitude
- Excitement and passion
Tony Robbins says to think of your emotions like a garden. Pull the weeds, or the negative emotions that you don’t want, while your nurture and cultivate more of the emotions that you do want.
37. Start your year in February
This is a hack that will help you stay ahead for the New Year.
Use February as your starting point.
Use January to recover from the holidays and make February your focus for getting down to business.
So, if you didn’t get the start you wanted in January, then don’t sweat it.
Instead, get ready to make things happen in February.
Use January as your time to plan things out, decompress from the holidays, and get clear on what you want out of the year.
I like this idea on multiple levels. For one thing, it’s a forward-looking mental model.
Instead of trying to play catch up or worry about how you missed your great start in January, plan your great start for February.
This will help you feel like you are on top of things, rather than playing permanent catch up for the rest of the year.
38. Build your personal effectiveness toolbox
This is a hack to amplify the impact of all other hacks.
If you want a better year, then gear up for it.
Invest in yourself and equip yourself.
Maybe you don’t have any tools in your Personal Effectiveness Toolbox.
Use my Personal Effectiveness Toolbox as a starting point, and go from there.
Pick one tool you want to try, and do your own experiments to find what works for you.
Most of all, remember that it’s not the tools you have or that you know about.
It’s the tools you use, and how you use them.
Enjoy the Personal Effectiveness Toolbox and please share it with 10 of your family, friends neighbors, or colleagues that need a lift up in work or life.
39. Write your story for the future
Hack away at the stories you want to tell about your life and about your amazing future.
As we turn the page of a new month or a new year, it’s a chance to write a new story.
You can write your story for the future.
I’ve been helping a few friends and colleagues write their stories for the future.
I see too many people jumping into goals and habits and New Year’s resolutions without first taking a step back and figuring out who do they want to become.
If you can get a clear picture of who you want to be and what experiences you want to create, it will help you focus and prioritize your time, energy, and attention.
To write your story, simply write a narrative about “future you.” Describe the kind of person you want to be and what life is like. If it helps, imagine “a day in the life” and walk through a day.
The more clearly you can see it, the more fully you can sense it, the more you will be able to feel it, and the more you will be able to realize it, and make it come true.
Write your story using very simple “I am” and “I feel” statements. For example, “I am strong and fit like a Navy Seal.” Or, “I feel calm, cool, and collected even under my otherwise stressful situations.” Step into the future, see it, feel it.
Don’t let fears and limiting beliefs hold you back.
Write a story worth making come true.
40. Get out of a slump
It’s hard to hack when you feel like you’re stuck.
How do you get out of a slump?
A common cause of getting in a slump is low confidence.
To get out of a slump, stop focusing on what can go wrong.
Instead, focus on what to do right and take action.
According to John Eliot, Ph.D., the key is that you need to change your focus.
Focus on the steps you’re going to take, not the outcome.
41. Give your best, where you have your best to give
There is a hack to multiply your productivity by 10,000 times.
The key is to give your best where you’ve got your best to give, in an arena that supports you, with a network on your side.
It’s how you’ll hit your high notes and quit the right Dips, and lean into the right ones.
Stephen Covey wrote about how to multiply your
“Do you believe that the Information/Knowledge Worker Age we’re moving into will out produce the Industrial Age fifty times? I believe it will. We’re just barely beginning to see it … Nathan Myhrvold, former chief technology officer at Microsoft, puts it this way: ‘The top software developers are more productive than average software developers not by a factor of 10X or 100X or even 1000X but by 10,000X.’ Quality knowledge work is so valuable that unleashing its potential offers organizations an extraordinary opportunity for value creation.”
To do this well, it takes extreme self-awareness. The first step is to discover your unique strengths where you can amplify your impact.
42. Ask more empowering questions
You can hack your thinking for better results.
Thinking is just asking and answering questions.
If you want better answers, ask better questions.
When you ask better questions, your brain gets more resourceful.
Here are a few examples of better questions that empower you:
- What do you want your life to be about?
- Who do you want to be and what experiences do you want to create?
- How can you stop holding yourself back?
- If this situation were to never change, what’s the one quality I need to truly enjoy it?
- What do you want to do more of each day? … What do you want to spend your time doing more of?
- Are you giving your best where you have your best to give?
- What are you pointing your camera at? (a simple way to direct your day on a scene by scene basis)
43. Surround yourself with better people
As Jim Rohn famously said:
“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”
The key to this hack is to surround yourself with better people.
Better is relative.
You just need to find people that are better for you.
Find some friends that lift you up or help you grow or that help make life a little sweeter.
You friends can rub off on you, in good ways, if you pay attention.
Similarly, if you spend too much time with people that drag you down, find a way to surround yourself with more people that bring out your best.
Whether you think of it as running with the right wolf pack, or standing on the shoulders of giants, or running with the titans, you can be more deliberate about who you spend your time with to help you survive and thrive in our ever changing world.
44. Find better mentors
Hack away at your sources of inspiration and insight.
This hack helps you climb ladders faster, find the right ladders worth climbing, and make sure your ladders are up against the right walls.
Mentors are the ultimate short-cut.
Whatever you want to go do, you can find somebody who has been there and done that.
The right mentor can save you a ton of wasted time and help you avoid some nasty pitfalls.
The right mentor can share strategies that work.
You can read all you want, but the beauty of a great mentor is that they can tailor advice to be more specific for you.
The key here is that people that are great at what they do, tend to like to teach others and share their passion. So whatever you want to learn, you can most likely find somebody willing to show you the ropes.
45. Do the opposite
This is a surprisingly simple hack that can produce some amazingly effective results.
Sometimes the best way to change things up is to do the opposite.
Just do the opposite of whatever you would normally do.
If you are always late, try being early.
If you are a morning person, try being a night person.
If you always do things slow, try doing some things fast.
Treat it like an experiment and be open to the results you get.
You might surprise the people in your life, and you just might surprise yourself.
See Do the Opposite
46. Try a 30 Day Sprint
This is one of the most powerful hacks I know for creating great changes in your life.
Try something for 30 days.
Simply spend a little time in whatever you choose each day, for 30 days.
Whether you want to learn something new, or change a habit, it helps if you know that every day, you have another chance to try again.
You’ll be surprised by how many breakthroughs you will make, often after the first few weeks.
In the past, I used to give up within the first two weeks, because I didn’t see quick enough results.
I’ve since learned that it’s better to try something for 30 days and allow myself some slack for experimenting and figuring things out, while making slow and steady progress over the course of a month.
47. Grow 10 Years Younger
What if you could end this next year younger than when you start?
Hack away at how you age.
Instead of aging, try youthing, or growing younger.
Dr. Julian Whitaker and Carol Colman wrote the perfect book just for the occasion:
What if you could shed 5, 10, 15 years or more.
While it sounds like a big bold goal, there is a wealth of information on pragmatic things you can do to reverse aging.
Some simple shifts in your eating, sleeping, and exercising can work wonders when it comes to building a younger, stronger, more capable you.
The keys to remember with growing younger come down to your mindset, how you deal with stress, and the old adage of “use it or lose it.”
Worried about your face?
Try the Face Yoga Method with Fumiko Takatsu, or Mei Zen “beautiful person” cosmetic acupuncture.
Worried about your body?
Find a Beachbody program that’s right for you, where you can exercise in your own living room. (I used Tony Horton’s 22 Minute Hard Corps Workout Program to lose 30 pounds in a month.)
BTW – how cool is it that Sanford Bennett grew younger from age 50 to 70. He got rid of his wrinkles, grew muscles, and even reversed his baldness!
See 10 Years Younger
48. Don’t get sick this year
What if you could go the whole year and never get sick?
Hack away at your immunity.
According to Dr. Furhman, the key is nutritional competence.
The big idea is that with nutritional excellence, we can both reduce our changes of getting sick, and we can reduce the impact if we do get sick.
Fat is not the enemy. In fact, fat can actually help the absorption of micronutrients. It’s the lack of micronutrients in our system that hurts our immune system.
See Never Get Sick
49. Know Thyself
“He who knows others is wise; he who knows himself is enlightened.” — Lao Tzu
Hack away at your self-awareness.
To be yourself, you need to know yourself, and what you’re capable of. And, limitations, and opportunities for growth, too.
The more you know yourself, the more you grow yourself, and the more you can bring out your best. And, the more you know yourself, the more you can also understand and appreciate others, and deal with differences. This will help you connect better and build better bridges.
So you think you know yourself?
Let’s take a quick check …
- Do you know WHY you do what you do?
- Do you have your short-list handy of your top values that shape your priorities in life?
- Can you name your top 5 strengths?
- Do you know your preferred learning styles?
- Do you know your preferred thinking styles?
- Do you know how you like to deal with conflict and your preferred conflict management style?
- Do you know your NLP meta-programs that you use to drive your mind?
- Do you know your personality and work environment type that shape your career path?
50. Decide Who You Are
Hack away at your identity.
Your identity can limit or empower you. It’s up to you.
Don’t let others define you or what you’re capable of.
My favorite answer to “Who are you?” is from Scott Adams:
“You are what you learn.”
Another favorite answer to “Who are you?” is from Peaceful Warrior:
51. Decide Who You Want To Be
Hack away at your future identity and the person you will become.
Your past doesn’t predict your future, even if it does provide some strong indicators.
You are free to change, but that’s up to you.
You might find you are only able, if you are willing.
In the Last Lecture, Randy Pausch asks us to decide if you’re Tigger or Eeyore
Own your choice and live it like you mean it.
One day when I was running around the halls at work, putting out fires, one of my mentors stopped me and asked, “How do you want others to experience you?”
Not like a chicken with its head cut off.
More like James Bond and on top of the situation.
How do you want others to experience you? How do YOU want to experience you?
Start from there, and drive from that.
You’ll immediately start creating more of the experiences that you want, and less of those that you don’t.
52. Cultivate an Attitude of Gratitude
“Happiness is not having what you want, but wanting what you have.” — Rabbi H Schachtel
Hack away at your fear and build a sense of contentment at the same time.
Acknowledgement and appreciation are the most powerful rewards on Earth.
You can cultivate your attitude of gratitude by being thankful for the good choices you make during your day.
Acknowledge and appreciate when you make the tough call, do the right thing, or take the high road.
Tony Robbins starts his day from a place of strength by reminding himself what he’s grateful for.
Whenever you can’t find a way to be grateful for what you’ve got, remind yourself how things can always be worse, and if you look for examples, you’ll find plenty.
There is always somebody worse off than you.
See Gratitude Quotes
53. Try 20-Minute Sprints
Hack away at your productivity by using time as opportunity.
Sometimes your day can feel like a marathon, but it’s actually a good idea to break it up into smaller sprints.
If you want to make fast progress on something or tackle something you’ve been worried about, try using a 20-Minute Sprint.
Give yourself 20 minutes to make progress on something and see how you do.
At the end of the 20-minute Sprint, you will have either made progress or you will have at least learned something (even if it’s just how to waste 20 minutes.)
But more importantly, when you chunk your day up into these little 20-Minute Sprints, you can keep your energy going strong.
There is something reassuring when you know that you are just doing something for 20 minutes vs. going on an infinite march until it’s done.
54. Create a vision board for your year
This hack is about inspiring yourself with great images.
Do you have compelling images of the future life you want to live?
As Stephen Covey said:
“All things are created twice; first mentally; then physically. The key to creativity is to begin with the end in mind, with a vision and a blue print of the desired result.”
A vision board is simply a mash up of the images that represent your future picture of your life.
It doesn’t matter how you make it. Have fun with it. Find images that really excite you. Find images for various aspects of your life, such as mind, body, emotions, career, finance, relationships, and fun.
55. Adopt some meaningful mantras and affirmations
Hack away at how you talk to yourself.
Your self-talk shapes who you are and who you become.
Pick a few mental mantras or affirmations that mean something to you.
Swap out negative self-talk and trade-up for some uplifting or inspiring words that remind you of the kind of person you want to be.
Here is a sampling of some ideas to draw from:
- All my actions support my dreams.
- I abandon my old habits and take up new, more positive ones.
- I act right now like the person I dream of becoming.
- I am bigger than my challenges.
- I am enough.
- I am feeling exhilarated, agile and alive.
- I am learning.
- I am my message.
- I am resourceful.
- I am the author of my life.
- I am the change I want to see in the world.
- I am worth it.
- I focus on what I control and let the rest go.
- I have the willpower and perseverance to overcome all obstacles.
- I inspire myself and those around me.
56. Practice your mindfulness
Hack away at your thoughts.
Mindfulness is the mind of just being.
As simple as it sounds, many people struggle with actually being in the moment or being present.
Their mind is distracted. Either dwelling in the past or fearing for the future compete for attention.
And they miss out on what’s right here, right now. They miss the chance to think better thoughts, enjoy the moment, or take better action. And they let their buttons get pushed by every event throughout their day.
Practice mindfulness can help you develop your Emotional Intelligence and your ability to be in the moment. You can practice mindfulness through simple meditations and mindfulness exercises.
You can start with the two-minute mindfulness exercise, to get started. From there, you can invest 10 minutes (or more, if you like), to really practice your mindfulness with a Mindfulness Meditation.
57. 15-Minutes of Happiness
“Wherever you go, go with all your heart.” – Confucius
This hack is a way to help you master your happiness.
It’s the secret of “the world’s happiest man”, Matthieu Ricard.
You can train your brain to be happier (and in turn, healthier.)
Matthieu Ricard is a Tibetan monk that meditates on compassion for 15-minutes each day.
Richard Davidson, a neuroscientist, led a 12-year brain study on compassion and meditation.
When Davidson scanned Ricard’s brain, here’s what he found:
“The scans showed that when meditating on compassion, Ricard’s brain produces a level of gamma waves – those linked to consciousness, attention, learning and memory – never reported before in the neuroscience literature.”
Great but how do you start?
According to Ricard, practice thinking happy thoughts:
“Start by thinking happy thoughts for 10 to 15 minutes a day.”
“Typically when we experience feelings of happiness and love, it’s fleeting and then something else happens, and we move on to the next thought.
Instead, concentrate on not letting your mind get distracted, and keep focused on the positive emotions for the next stretch of time.”
It’s another reminder that you get more of what you focus on.
58. Breathe better
This is a hack that helps you mind, body, and emotions.
Some times the best way to have a better moment is to just breathe.
But did you know that you could breathe better to improve your health, too?
This hack is from Tony Robbins. It’s a way to breathe that cleanses your system.
Tony Robbins says:
“Inhale one count, hold four counts, exhale two counts.
If you inhaled for four seconds, you would hold for sixteen and exhale for eight.
Why exhale for twice as long as you inhale? That’s when you eliminate toxins via your lymphatic system. Why hold four times as long? That’s how you can fully oxygenate the blood and activate your lymphatic system.
When you breathe, you should start deep in your abdomen, like a vacuum cleaner that’s getting rid of all toxins in the blood stream.”
According to Tony Robbins, you should take 10 deep breaths, 3 times a day.
59. Become your own gym
This is a simple fitness hack that can help you build lean muscle, or at least move your body more.
What if you learned some simple exercises so that you could work out wherever you go, with just your body?
There are a wealth of exercises you can do with your body that will help you build muscle, or at least strengthen your muscles.
One of my favorite exercises is just doing push ups. I do 60 in a row, and I find that this really builds strength in my triceps and chest.
I also like to do lunges. Lunges are a great way to build my glutes.
I can almost always find a way to do a “One-Minute Workout” and crank out 60 push ups. Actually, this takes less than a minute, so even better.
If you really can’t get to a gym or can’t adopt a real exercise program, maybe you need to find something small you can do with your body to at least keep things moving and to build some strength.
60. Master your wealth
This is a hack for building your wealth and winning the game of money.
Tony Robbins provides a simple and timeless formula for financial independence:
- Spend less than you earn and invest the difference
- Reinvest your returns for compounded growth
- Reach a critical mass of investment capital that creates the annual income you want.
According to Tony Robbins, the game of money is a very simple one:
“The only reason to invest is to have income for life without working. Accelerate to make it happen.”
How do you know you are playing the game of money well?
- Are you spending less than you earn and are you investing it?
- Are you reinvesting and getting compounded growth?
- Are you moving toward that critical mass that will get you free and do you even know what that number is?
61. Learn how to read faster
This is a hack you can use everyday to breeze through information overload and get an edge in work and life.
if you want the short answer to reading faster, simply use sticky notes.
As you read through pages, ask yourself, “How can I use this?” and turn the information into a one-liner insight or action, write it in the sticky note and stick it on the page.
You can turn a several hundred page book into a short-set of actionable sticky notes.
Here is a summary of the steps:
- Build a mental model of the material.
- Read to answer your questions.
- Use sticky notes to capture and consolidate insights and actions.
Additionally, you should learn how to stop subvocalizing and train your eyes to move faster.
62. Let go of negative feelings
This is a hack to help you relearn how to feel better, maybe for the first time.
If you’ve been stuck in your thoughts, maybe you need to let some feelings go.
One negative feeling can generate thousands of negative thoughts (or you can recycle the same negative thought, thousands of times.)
What if you could feel light-hearted and free?
The truth is, the answer is within you. If you know where to look.
You can let go of a feeling, to let go of associated thoughts.
Thoughts are painless, but feelings are not.
One feeling can be a never-ending flow of thoughts.
We hold the power to let go of negative thoughts.
According to David Hawkins, author of Letting Go: The Pathway of Surrender:
“The great value of knowing how to surrender is that any and all feelings can be let go of at any time and any place in an instant, and it can be done continuously and effortlessly.”
Practice letting go of feelings you no longer need to feel, and notice how your thoughts and feelings change.
63. Live a meaningful life
Hack away at how you create meaning in your life.
You can live and operate at a higher-level if you know what to focus on.
The challenge is there are a lot of distractions and it’s easy to lose your way, especially if you don’t have a North Star. What is the North Start for living, leading, and learning at a higher level?
Lucky for us, Martin Seligman outlined 3 path of happiness long ago.
The three paths are:
- The Pleasant Life
- The Good Life
- The Meaningful life
The Pleasant Life is about pleasure in the moment. The more you master your ability to respond to challenges, and raise your frustration tolerance, the more you can thrive in Level 1 Living.
The Good Life is about living your values. This is where you take control of your life and you create your own happiness and fulfillment. Simply choose to spend more time in your values. Anybody can do this.
The Meaningful Life is where is a deeper level of living. This is where you give your best where you have your best to give, in the service of others. To do this, simply apply your unique combination of strengths to help others your unique way.
See Level 3 Living
See Find Your Values
64. Establish a routine for eating, sleeping, and exercising
This hack is really to help you build a strong backbone for your day.
This is the true secret of productivity superstars and CEOs.
They prioritize taking care of themselves so they can take care of everything else.
It’s easy to skip meals, miss workouts, and throw off your sleep if you don’t have a set schedule.
Experiment with your eating times, sleeping times and when you exercise to find what works best for you.
When you change your energy, you change your results, so you can very much surprise yourself with what you are capable of.
65. Improve your likeability
Hack away at your social intelligence.
Likeability is a skill, and you can improve it.
Likeability is a form of social fitness and unless you’re naturally a 10 on the likeability scale, it takes work.
Perhaps the single biggest improvement you can make in your life is likability. From winning elections to having the best job … it’s all about likability.
The more likeable you are, the happier your life will be.
Likability impacts your health, wealth, and happiness. People choose people who they like. They hire them, vote for them, buy from them, and spend time with them. Research even shows that doctors spend more time with those they like.
Here are the key keys to mastering likeability:
Friendliness is your ability to communicate liking and openness to others.
Relevance means you know what matters to people and you can connect with others’ wants, interests, and needs.
Empathy means your ability to recognize, acknowledge and experience other people’s feelings.
Realness means your authenticity and integrity behind your likeability.
66. Win friends and influence people
Here is another hack for achieving great things this year.
Influence is a powerful skill in today’s world.
You can’t tell everybody what to do, but you can influence people to play well together and to help get people on your side.
If you assume that those you need to influence are your allies, you’re in a more resourceful state.
If you don’t clarify goals or understand the world of those you influence, then you can miss out on finding mutual purpose or understanding why or where you get stuck.
You improve your influence if you speak about currencies that the other person values.
Currency is more than money; it’s any type of exchangeable value, such as expertise, resources, … etc.
Here is the model for influencing without authority in a nutshell:
- Assume all potential allies
- Clarify goals and priorities
- Diagnose the allies’ world
- Identify relevant currencies
- Deal with relationships
- Influence through give and take
You can learn more about the “Influence without authority” model from the book, Influence Without Authority.
67. Improve your charisma through power, presence, and warmth
Yes, you can actually hack at your charisma.
The keys to charisma are power, presence, and warmth.
In The Charisma Myth: How Anyone Can Master the Art and Science of Personal Magnetism, Olivia Fox Cabane shatters the idea that charisma is something you either have or you don’t.
She shows how charisma comes down to power, presence, and warmth, and how you can develop these attributes to be more influential at work and in your relationships.
One of the key surprises is how charisma can be turned on or off, and that people we might assume are always charismatic, actually have to turn it on.
Guess what? Marilyn Monroe actually had to turn it on, she wasn’t born that way and she wasn’t charismatic 24×7.
68. Fill your mind with a few good good thoughts
This hack is for a healthier, happier, more abundant mindset.
Choose your thoughts and don’t let thinking happen to you.
You can actively and intentionally create a better garden in your mind.
You can squeeze out more negative thoughts, by filling your mind with more positive ones.
As Dr. Amit Sood says:
“Try not emptying the mind; instead, fill it with kinder, happier, fewer thoughts.”
According to Dr. Amit Sood:
“Telling the mind not to think is like telling the heart not to beat.
Pick the right battle in your life—don’t silence your mind; instead, cultivate a mind that thinks kinder, happier, and fewer thoughts.”
Take charge of your thinking and rise above your default state of thinking instinatice thoughts.
According to Dr. Amit Sood:
“Instead, I should redirect my flow of thoughts.
I should think thoughts that are lush with meaning, that breathe gratitude and compassion and bring peace to others and myself.
I should take charge of my thinking, which means thinking more intentional thoughts.
But I haven’t exercised that choice yet.
My mind is thus busy in its default state, thinking instinctive thoughts—about people, daily chores, trivial details, selfish interests. I find this state dissatisfying.”
69. Ask for help more effectively
This is a hack for getting whatever you want in life.
According to Tony Robbins, we can get whatever we want if we learn how to ask more effectively.
To ask more effectively, Tony Robbins provides a simple formula:
- Ask specifically
- Ask someone who can help you
- Create value for the person you’re asking
- Ask with focused, congruent belief
- Ask until you get what you want
See How To Get Whatever You Want
70. Attract everything you’ve ever wanted
Hack away at becoming a magnet for your greatest desires.
Everything is energy.
You can attract whatever you want with the right energy.
According to Melody Fletcher, the steps to attract whatever you want are simple:
Test Your Program
Find the bugs
Fix the bugs
Make sure you’re running the right program
Receive your manifestation
Start with visualizing what you want. It’s like a dry run.
Isolate the thoughts that don’t feel good. These are the bugs in your thinking.
Fix these bugs, or negative thoughts that create negative feelings, by either shifting your thinking to a place that feels better, or by changing your visualization over time.
Make sure you focus on what you want, not on what you don’t want.
Pay attention to synchronicities or coincidences that create opportunities to manifest your desires.
71. Catch the next train
This is a hack to help you stay focused on the road ahead, without feeling like you’ve fallen behind.
If you miss the train, don’t chase it.
Catch the next one.
Missing a train is only painful if you run after it.
Don’t chase the train or the lost opportunity. Let it go, and get ready for your next chance.
It’s such a simple point, but it’s a sticky idea.
Instead of dwelling on what you missed, prepare for your future opportunities.
Or, in the words of Bruce Lee:
“To hell with circumstances; I create opportunities.”
If You Miss the Train, Catch the Next One
72. Unleash You 2.0
You 2.0 is a hack to unleash a version of your better self.
You 2.0 cuts to the chase to help you quickly find your purpose, your why, your how, your values, your strengths, and your personal success patterns.
Once you’ve mapped these out, you have a firm foundation to be your best in any situation.
By finding and living your process, you lead a life by design, not by default.
Here are a some key benefits of reading You 2.0:
Success by design. Rather than luck into success, you’ll know your personal combination for results.
Live your purpose. Nothing fuels life like knowing what you want.
Live your values. Living your values help you enjoy more moments in your life, a moment at a time.
Play to your strengths. When you play to your strengths, you improve your energy, and you amplify your results. It’s the simplest way to get more impact each day.
Improve your results. You’ll improve your results. A little self-knowledge goes a long way. You’ll be a better, faster, stronger you for whatever you want.
The real secret is life gets better once you have your personal map.
You 2.0 helps you create that map.
See You 2.0
73. Learn anything in 20 hours
If you really want to change your game, hack away at how you learn.
What if you could learn anything in 20 hours, what would you learn?
Would you learn how to dance? Would you learn a new language? Would you learn an instrument?
In the TED talk, The First 20 Hours — How To Learn Anything, Josh Kaufman explains how to practice intelligently and how to learn any new skill in 20 hours.
It takes 10,000 hours to achieve mastery in a field. But it only takes 20 hours to get good at something, if you practice intelligently.
The key is to practice intelligently:
- Deconstruct the skill
- Learn enough to self-correct
- Remove practice barriers
- Practice at least 20 hours
74. Use stress to be your best
Stress can get the best of us, so here’s a hack to turn the tables.
The real enemy is not stress.
According to John Eliot, Ph. D., stress is your body’s response and anxiety is your cognitive response:
The physical symptoms of fight-or-flight are what the human body has learned over thousands of years to operate more efficiently and at the highest level.
Anxiety is a cognitive interpretation of that physical response.
Learn to love the pressure. It can help you perform your best.
According to Eliot:
“You learn to love pressure by performing under pressure. You must put yourself into pressure situations in which you get nervous and then practice assessing what the pressure can do for you, as an asset, a welcome friend.
Pressure often signals an opportunity to excel. You must practice understanding that by making a conscious association between the “nerves” and the potential to perform, as the Olympic Creed says, ‘Higher, faster, stronger.’”
if you can unlink arousal to anxiety and learn to love the pressure, by practicing under pressure, you can use stress to be your best.
75. Take worry breaks
Here is another hack to help you own your stress in your life.
Do you let your problems bother you throughout the day or into the night?
Consider taking a Worry Break to beat your stress.
Worry Breaks could be your best way to consolidate and beat stress with skill.
Just schedule 30 minutes each day to batch and focus on all your problems.
This way you know you have a time and place to do your worrying.
When you find your mind getting distracted by your worries, just remind yourself that you have a Worry Break, and you’ll worry about it then.
76. Use the Rule of Three to rule your day
This is a hack you can use every morning.
When you start your day, just think of Three Wins that you want to achieve today.
To do this, simply ask yourself, “What are Three Wins you want to achieve today?”
Take a moment to get intentional about what you want out of today, and what you want out of yourself.
This is about taking your power back. Your power is your ability to act. It’s that simple.
Maybe a win today would be just making it through your workout. Or maybe a win today would be really doing a great job at a task you hate. Or maybe a win today will be winning over a new customer.
See My Three Wins
77. Have better days
This is a hack to help you have better days more consistently.
There are 3 keys to starting your day off on the right foot:
- Practice an attitude of gratitude
- Use the Rule of Three to design your day around Three Wins to focus on
- Lift somebody up
Maybe the best thing you can do today, is help somebody else.
Help them out of a jam. Find a way to boost their spirits. Make them laugh. Maybe they just need to be tickled.
Or maybe they need a strong shoulder to lean on. Or maybe they need a gentle shoulder to cry on.
Or maybe they just need to hear from one more good person like you, that they matter.
Sometimes, the best words anybody can hear are:
“I’m glad you are here.”
See Feel Great Today
See Good Morning
78. Read 5 powerful personal development books
This hack is the gift that keeps on giving.
Pick five books to help you realize your full potential.
Here are five to read or re-read:
- 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, by Stephen Covey
- Personal Development for Smart People, by Steve Pavlina
- The 8th Habit, by Stephen Covey
- Unlimited Power, by Tony Robbins
- The Inner Edge: 10 Practices of Personal Leadership, by Joelle K. Jay
79. Practice the 10 Skills of Personal Leadership
This hack will help you live and lead a life you love.
Personal leadership is a powerful thing.
What makes personal leadership so powerful is that it applies to you. It’s personal. It’s you at your best. Personal leadership is a way to lead yourself from the inside out and apply proven business skills to get more out of life.
According to Joelle K. Jay, the 10 practices of personal leadership are:
- Get Clarity
- Find Focus
- Take Action
- Tap Into Your Brilliance
- Feel Fulfillment
- Maximize Your Time
- Build Your Team
- Keep Learning
- See Possibility
- All … All at Once
You can find out more about each practice in Joelle K. Jay’s book, The Inner Edge: The 10 Practices of Personal Leadership.
80. Develop your Emotional Intelligence
Hack away at your emotional intelligence to improve all aspects of your life.
What if you could stay calm, cool, and collected under stress? Or, what if you could show better empathy towards others?
Emotional Intelligence is essentially an ability, capacity, or skill to assess, manage, and regulate the emotions of yourself and others.
According to Stephen Covey, there are five primary components of Emotional Intelligence:
- Self-Awareness — The ability to reflect on one’s own life, grow in self-knowledge, and use that knowledge to improve oneself and either consume or compensate for weaknesses.
- Personal Motivation — What really excites people — the vision, values, goals, hopes, desires, and passion that make up their priorities.
- Self-Regulation — The ability to manage oneself toward achieving one’s vision and values.
- Empathy — The ability to see how other people see and feel about things.
- Social Skills — How people resolve differences, solve problems, produce creative solutions, and interact optimally to further their joint purposes.
Stephen Covey shares a way to use the 7 Habits to build your Emotional Intelligence:
- Self-Awareness – Covey says, “You are aware of the space between stimulus and response, you’re aware of your genetic, biological inheritance, your upbringing, and the environmental forces around you. … You sense you are or can become the creative force of your own life. This is your most fundamental decision.” Practice Habit 1 – Be Proactive.
- Personal Motivation – Covey says, “… decide what your highest priorities, goals, and values are. … This decision to direct your own life is your primary decision.” Practice Habit 2 – Begin with the End in Mind.
- Self-Regulation – Covey says, “ … once you decide what your priorities are, then you live by them; it is the habit of integrity, the habit of self-mastery, of doing what you intend to do; of living your values. Then constantly renew yourself. Execution strategies and tactical decisions are your secondary decisions.” Practice Habit 3 – Put First Things First and Habit 7 – Sharpen the Saw.
- Empathy – Covey says, “It’s learning to transcend your own autobiography and get into the head and hearts of other people. It’s becoming socially sensitive and aware of the situation before attempting to be understood, influence others, or make decisions or judgments.” Practice Habit 5 – Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood.
- Social Communication Skills – Covey says, “You think in terms of mutual benefit and mutual respect, you strive for mutual understanding in order to have creative cooperation.” Practice Habit 4 – Think Win-Win, Habit 5 – Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood, and Habit 6 – Synergize
81. Cap your day with four powerful questions
This is a simple hack that helps you remember the highlights each day.
Here are four questions to cap you day:
- What did I learn?
- What did I improve?
- What did I enjoy?
- What kind act did I do?
You don’t have to adopt these all at once to get the impact.
Simply start with the ideas that tickle your fancy the most.
You’ll quickly find that the more you drive your day, the better you’ll feel.
Your success will spread to other areas of your life and as you adopt more of the hacks, you’ll be able to deal with any curve balls life happens to throw your way.
82. Build mental toughness like a Navy Seal
“See if, feel it, achieve it.” — Mark Divine
This is a hack to help you keep going when the going gets tough.
According to Bakari Akil, the Navy SEALs use a 4-step process to build mental resilience:
- Set goals to chunk things down
- Practice mental rehearsal
- Use positive self-talk
- Use breathing to practice arousal control
If you want to do better in your most stressful situations, remember to set micro-goals, rehearse successful actions in your mind, use positive self-talk and focus on your breathing.
83. Feel In Control
Here’s another hack to help you handle your stress.
Whether you feel you are in control or you don’t … you are right.
Stressful situations are less stressful than a lack of control.
The most powerful way you can cope with stress or anxiety is to create a feeling of control.
Without a feeling of control, you physically can’t think straight under stress. The lizard brain takes over.
Anything that gives you a feeling of control over your situation helps you stay calm and perform better.
Whether or not a stressor impacts you negatively, depends on whether you feel you can control the stressor or not.
Even picking out a plant can give us a feeling of control over our environment.
Navy SEALs need to stay calm, cool, and collected under high-stress scenarios.
Samurai knew the key to victory was the ability to stay calm and focused under pressure.
The 15th century samurai Suzuki Shosan wrote that only when you overcome your own mind, are you free.
See Feel in Control
84. Transform your job
This is a truly powerful hack for creating a new future for you and the impact you make in this world.
You can transform your job, right from where you are.
Srikumar Rao shares three steps to transforming your job:
- Get out of the space from which you are observing. Take a notebook along with you at all times and systematically note the things that are pretty good about your job. The act of doing this moves you to a different space.
- Pick something significant. Pick any one of these things that you came up with that is important to you and significant for the company. For example, if you like working with a particular customer, you can challenge yourself with, how do you get more customers like that, or how do you transform your relationships with all your customers to be like that.
- Make it a one month project. Simply come up with a one month project where you are going to increase that one component. Every day do one thing. Do something every day, ideally in the morning.
You can change your focus each month to another aspect that you enjoy.
If you don’t make the progress you expect in the month, then give yourself more time.
Unless, the excuse is you didn’t do anything during the month toward your project. Then there is no excuse.
But if you did a little something toward your project each day, then simply give yourself more time.
85. Use work as your ultimate form of self-expression
This hack will help you show up at work like a new person.
As one of my most profound mentors put it, “work is the ultimate form of self-expression.”
We need to do the work that makes us come alive, that helps us operate at a higher level, and that makes our soul sing.
His advice was to think of work and life in an Arête way:
Like a garden in full bloom on a warm Summer’s day.
If you want to do more great work, then treat work like a chance, not a chore.
If you don’t like the work you do, then change your WHY or change your HOW.
WHY are you doing your work?
If it’s just to pay the bills you’re missing the chance to use it as a platform for your growth and greatness, or the chance to be a leader in your field, or the chance to provide great service to others.
HOW are you doing your work?
If you are just slogging your way through or just going through the motions to try and get it done, you’re missing the chance to master your craft, sharpen your excellence, or even make a game of it.
A game of skill.
Your work is how you leave your mark and your legacy is a by-product. It’s a by-product of how you show up, how you respond to challenges, and how you inspire changes.
If you want to live your legend, then express yourself through great work in the service of others.
See Be a Craftsman
86. Be the one who gives their all
Hack away at your effort and feel your power grow.
I got a card from my Dad.
Here’s what it says:
“The guy who’s ‘got it all” might be the one who stands out in the crowd — but the guy who gives his all is the one who stand out in the world.”
87. Live without the fear of death in your heart
Hack away at fear and free yourself up for more powerful possibilities.
Imagine if you could live without fear.
Imagine a life of self-expression where you live your life, and not the life that others expect for you.
Imagine a life without regrets.
That’s the life Chief Tecumseh wrote about in his inspiring poem:
“So live your life that the fear of death can never enter your heart.
Trouble no one about their religion; respect others in their view, and demand that they respect yours.
Love your life, perfect your life, beautify all things in your life.
Seek to make your life long and its purpose in the service of your people.
Prepare a noble death song for the day when you go over the great divide.”
88. Find your personal high-performance pattern
Hack away at your personal power.
Your High-Performance Pattern is how you do your best work.
You can find your personal High-Performance Pattern by exploring your past experiences where things went better than expected, and identifying the sequence of action steps that were common across those experiences.
In the book Patterns of High Performance: Discovering the Ways People Work Best, Jerry L. Fletcher shares a process for finding your high-performance pattern:
“Make a list of the times when you’ve had the experience of having something take off and go better than expected.
Select three or more different stories, and write them out in detail. Spend some time analyzing them.
Note the actions that were common to every story and see if you can put them into a sequence that feels right to you.
Then show the resulting pattern to people who know you, preferably people who ere part of the experiences that you have used as your examples.
Ask them for feedback.
Then try your pattern out and see if it works.”
89. Create unshakeable confidence
Hack away at your confidence.
What if you could flip a switch and talk to yourself in a way that’s more assertive, confident, and believable?
And, imagine having a more powerful voice on your side to give you an edge in everything you do, and to help lift you up whenever you need it most.
You don’t have to change your clothes to get into Superman mode.
Just change your self-talk.
In The Ultimate Guide to Mental Toughness, Daniel Teitelbaum shares a simple exercise to help you get into Superman mode and create unshakeable confidence.
Say the script below 3 times.
The first time, say it slowly and deliberately.
The second time, say it with more emotion and more conviction.
On the third time, picture your victory moment in your mind and feel the full emotion, before you say your script.
Here is the script:
“I HAVE ABSOLUTE CONFIDENCE…
I HAVE TOTAL FAITH…
I WILL MAKE THIS GOAL HAPPEN…
THERE IS NO FORCE ON EARTH THAT CAN STOP ME…
IT IS MY DESTINY TO MAKE THIS HAPPEN…
I WILL NOT BE DENIED…
THERE IS NO QUESTION IN MY MIND…
I WILL ACHIEVE THIS VICTORY!”
90. Lead a charged life
Hack away at your energy and zest for life.
Be like a kid again, but with wisdom and wonder.
Make your life your ultimate self-expression.
Live your life like a garden in full bloom.
Design a conscious existence to live your best life, enjoy the journey, and realize your full potential.
You were born for something more.
Make your soul sing, and challenge you to bring out your best, in all arenas of your life.
Here are 10 drives you can activate, according to Brendon Burchard, to lead a charged life that makes you come alive:
- Control – Control Your Outlook and Your Character; Control for New; Control Workflow
- Competence – Assess and Direct Your Desire to Learn; Set a Real Challenge, Plan for Success, and Get a Coach; Integrate Successes into Your Identity
- Congruence – Set New Stands for Yourself; Set Your Mood Meter;
Keep Your Word and Follow Through
- Caring – Care for Thyself; Be More Vulnerable and Allow Others to Care for You; Be More Present, Interested, and Attentive to Others
- Connection – Define and Design Your Ideal Relationships; Practice Positive Projection; Find and Cultivate “Growth Friends”
- Change – Make Change About the Gains, Not the Losses
Get Clarity; Think Big, and Be Bold
- Challenge – Choose Fulfilling Challenges; Focus on the Journey and Don’t Fear Rejection; Set Monthly Thirty-Day Challenges
- Creative Expression – Amplify Creative Expression in All Areas of Your Life; Study People and Design; Create More, Share More
- Contribution – Give of Yourself (and Give Yourself Credit While You’re at It); Give to (Deeply Meaningful Contribution Experiences)
Mentor, Mentor, Mentor
- Consciousness – Focus Your Consciousness; Transcend Consciousness; Live in Wonder
91. Use feedback to be your best
Hack away at how you use feedback for better results.
A colleague of mine has been in the human performance arena for years, so I posed the following question:
“What’s the #1 most effective way to achieve high-performance?”
John Wooden created amazing high performance teams through personalized, specific, and actionable feedback to all of his players on an individual basis.
What’s special about John Wooden’s success is that he didn’t take high performance teams and make them better. He took ordinary players and made them extraordinary.
The key to expert performance is deliberate practice.
And, the key to deliberate practice is effective feedback.
Once again, feedback is the key to high performance.
If you aren’t achieving the high performance that you want, start by creating more effective feedback loops.
92. Make better decisions
Here’s a hack to help you make better decisions for better results.
No more analysis paralysis.
Take your power back, make better decisions, and keep learning.
Tony Robbins calls his decision making process OOC/EMR. It represents the following steps in his decision making process:
- Evaluate your options
- Mitigate the damage
It might look like a lot of steps, but it’s a logical flow and if you want to get better at decision making, it helps to chunk it down into steps that you can focus on and improve.
Tony Robbins really makes the point that if you know your WHY, then your decisions will be both easier to make, and easier to stick with, especially when things get tough.
93. Learn how to deal with difficult people
Hack away at how you play with others.
What if you had a playbook for dealing with the types of people you can’t stand?
What if you could turn your enemies into allies?
What if you could find ways to deal with your own behavior that you can’t stand?
Dr. Rick Brinkman and Dr. Rick Kirschner identify 10 specific behavior patterns that people resort to when they feel threatened, don’t get what they want, or face undesirable circumstances along with prescriptive guidance on how to deal with them.
Learn the 10 behaviors:
- Grenade Person
- Yes Person
- Maybe Person
- Nothing Person
- No Person
Learn The Lens of Human Understanding so that you can make sense of what you are experiencing and how to adapt to be more effective
94. Defeat decision fatigue
Hack away at decision making so you have more power for everything you do.
Making decisions is stressful.
We make a lot of little decisions every day.
These little decisions can wear us out.
It’s called decision fatigue.
Here are 10 ways to defeat decision fatigue:
- Use checklists for common routines
- Set time limits
- Limit your choices
- Satisfice to find a good enough fit for now
- Just decide
- Right-size your decision making effort
- Take time out to recharge
- Delegate more often and more frequently
- Make it a group thing
- Let things solve themselves
95. Make the most of luck
Hack away at your luck so that Lady Luck won’t pass you by.
What exactly is the role of luck when it comes to success?
It’s a rather wide spectrum. It ranges from a great deal of luck to no luck at all, or, in fact, some very bad luck.
What’s important is that your belief about luck can really shape your chances for success.
If you take a passive view on luck, success may happen to fall your way. if you take a positive view on luck, you can increase your ability to deal with negative situations, as well as take advantage of opportunities as they occur.
As my friend’s Dad puts it:
“Luck is when skill and opportunity come together.”
Edward de Bono studied 50 successful people and found that a positive attitude helps you make the most of luck.
Edward de Bono writes:
“The positive attitude toward luck is very different.
The positive attitude is that you put yourself in a position to take the maximum advantage of any luck that comes your way.
The positive attitude means that you are able to carry to success whatever turns up by luck. T
he positive attitude means that you are very ready to spot opportunities, and it also means that you may generate such opportunities deliberately.
This attitude acknowledges luck as a possible ingredient in some cases of success and then places the operational emphasis on the other ingredients, such as determination, strategy, and style.”
See Luck and Success
96. Develop your spiritual intelligence
Hack away at your spiritual intelligence for a deeper way to live and lead.
Here’s how Covey distills Spiritual Intelligence:
- Integrity – Being true to one’s highest values and conscience)
- Meaning – A sense of contribution to people and causes.
- Voice – Aligning work with one’s unique calling and gifts.
In yet another way, he spins it as –
“Meaning, integrity and contribution – serving and lifting all stakeholders: customers, suppliers, employees and their families, communities, society — making a difference in the world (SPIRIT)”
Stephen Covey also provides common ways to develop it:
- Read and meditate (Stephen Covey’s personal approach)
- Immersion in great literature or great music
- Find it in the way you communicate with nature
It’s a simple and refreshing approach to looking beyond mind, body, and heart, into the spiritual side of things.
97. Conquer your fears
Hack away at fear and set your inner-Lion free.
Fear can hold you back.
It can hold you back in subtle and insidious ways.
Fear can also outright paralyze you from taking action.
What if you had a way to get over fear, and experience more freedom?
Tony Robbins shares three ways you can overcome any fear that holds you back:
- Find something you’re most scared of than your fear
- The Rocking Chair Test
- Change your state
Keep in mind that for years Tony Robbins has helped people around the world conquer fears and phobias in record time, and do the things they never thought possible.
To do the Rocking Chair test, Tony Robbins says to imagine yourself as 80 years old, sitting on your rocking chair, and you didn’t do whatever it is where fear is holding you back.
If it doesn’t bother you, then don’t do it.
But, if you feel like you missed out, and you regret not doing it, then go for it.
To change your state, you need to change from a state of fear or uncertainty, to a state of certainty, determination, or aggressiveness.
Tony says the fastest way to do this is to make a radical change in your body.
For Tony Robbins, the way he would do this is he would lift weights or he would go on a run, while listening to his most powerful music, anything that would radically change his state.
98. Deal with tough criticism
Hack away at how you deal with critics and criticism.
Criticism is like a bucket of water, sand, and gold.
Every bucket of criticism is full of water, has a bit of sand, and if you’re lucky, some gold on the bottom.
You can use criticism to change your game, achieve your dreams, and bring out your best.
Criticism is a blessing in disguise if you know how to use it effectively.
Yeah, sometimes the disguise can be pretty bad, but take a look beyond the surface or the sting.
To be effective, you need to look at criticism as an opportunity to improve.
This takes out the emotional reaction and helps you get curious and see what you might otherwise miss.
Steven K. Scott suggests a three-part process for responding to criticism in a more effective way:
- Consider the source of the criticism. Scott suggests three questions to help you evaluate the source of the criticism:
- How qualified is the critic?
- What is the basis of the criticism?
- What is the critic’s motive for the criticism?
- Consider the accuracy of the criticism. Scott says that with criticisms you’ll find that some are extremely accurate, some are partially accurate, and many are totally inaccurate.
- Take responsibility for your response to the criticism and mine it for gold. Scott suggests responding effectively to the criticism instead of just reacting. To do so, he suggests writing down the stinging criticisms and look for the gold nuggets that can help you improve.
99. Embrace the effort
Hack away at your ability to lean in to the tough stuff.
Viktor Frankl taught us that it’s the worthwhile goals, that make life worthwhile:
“What man actually needs is not a tensionless state but rather the striving and struggling for a worthwhile goal, a freely chosen task.
What he needs is not the discharge of tension at any cost but the call of a potential meaning waiting to be fulfilled by him.”
A surprising thing happens when you embrace effort. You don’t see problems. You see challenges. In fact, you seek out new challenges to grow and expand what you’re capable of.
When you exercise, you don’t feel the pain. Instead, you feel the growth.
When you practice your craft, the smallest move becomes your work of art.
When you buckle down to study, you don’t just go through the motions.
No, you smile inside knowing you are putting in the effort.
Embrace where you are.
Embrace the effort, too.
100. Finding truth from the B.S.
“Even if you are a minority of one, the truth is the truth.” — Mahatma Gandhi
Hack away at the truth to find the essence.
The world is full of advice.
And your personal experience may vary.
How do you sort the truths from the biases and B.S. that comes your way?
You can filter for it.
In the book, How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big: Kind of the Story of My Life, Scott Adams shares Six Filters for Truth you can use to help you separate truth from fiction:
- Personal experience (Human perceptions are iffy.)
- Experience of people you know (Even more unreliable.)
- Experts (They work for money, not truth.)
- Scientific studies (Correlation is not causation.)
- Common sense (A good way to be mistaken with complete confidence.)
- Pattern recognition (Patterns, coincidence, and personal bias look alike)
Like panning for gold, you can filter your way through until you find the essence. Or, at least until you find a useful pattern that helps you.
When something is consistent, it has a better chance of being true. That’s what scientists look for.
Consistency doesn’t need to be a controlled experiment to be useful. When you find a pattern it can help you recognize repeatable results.
A lack of consistency is a red flag when seeking the truth.
If you happen to have some smart friends, they can be a short-cut to the truth.
101. Visualize more effectively
“Visualization is daydreaming with a purpose.” — Bo Bennett
This hack will help you improve your ability to visualize and to create powerful scenes for your future.
You can use visualization as a dry run or a walkthrough to learn a new skill.
You can use visualization to build a new mental model of what’s possible. You can tap your brain’s creativity and resourcefulness to get past a roadblock.
You can use visualization to feel a new way about an upcoming situation.
Use third-person visualization to rapidly play out possibilities and to create the scene end-to-end from a balcony view, or like watching a movie.
See your success, then Doublethink your way through.
Zoom in to the challenging parts. Use your first person view to really test yourself against the challenges and setbacks.
Work through them so you can see, hear, feel, taste, and smell success.
The real power of visualization comes from both fantasizing about achieving great results while simultaneously acknowledging and addressing your challenges, fears, and setbacks head-on.
Go Put Your Dent in the Universe!
Make this your breakthrough year.
Best wishes for the road ahead.
And in the words of William James:
“Act as if what you do makes a difference.