Agile Results Refresher for 2017


image“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better, it’s not.” — Dr. Seuss

It’s that time of the year to get your rear in gear.

Agile Results is a powerful way to help you do just that.

Agile Results is a simple system for meaningful results.

In essence, Agile Results is a personal growth system for work and life.

This is a quick refresher on the what, the why, and the how of Agile Results.

Realize Your Full Potential the Agile Way

Agile Results combines proven practices for productivity, time management, and personal effectiveness to help you achieve more in less time, and enjoy the process.

You can think of Agile Results as a personal results system that helps you realize your potential, and unleash your greatest potential.

Potential is a muscle that gets better through habits.

What makes it different is that Agile Results is a way to use your best energy for your best results.

Agile Results is also a way to slow down to speed up, find more fulfillment, and put your big, bold ambitions into practice.

You can use Agile Results for work or home or anywhere you need to improve your results in life.

Agile Results is compatible with, and can enhance the results of, any productivity system or time management you already use.  That’s because the foundation of the Agile Results framework is a core set of principles, patterns, and practices for getting better results.

Agile Results is for Achievers, Artists, and All Walks of Life

For achievers, Agile Results helps them be more, do more, and achieve more in their life.

“More what?”, you might ask. More meaning.

For artists, Agile Results helps them do more art, and become productive artists as they share their art with the world.

For anybody who wants more from work and life, Agile Results helps you do anything better by helping you think, feel and do your best in any situation.

It works by helping you create clarity around meaningful outcomes. This creates focus to channel your energy, which creates inspired action.

By focusing on your strengths, you increase your flow of better results.

By staying flexible with an Agile mindset you keep changing in the direction of your goals, while improving your self-awareness.

This creates a more enjoyable journey of learning while doing.

3 Keys to Agile Results

There are three keys to the Agile Results framework:

1. The Rule of 3

The Rule of 3 helps you avoid getting overwhelmed.

It’s also a guideline that helps you prioritize and scope. Rather than bite off more than you can chew, you bite off three meaningful things.

You can use The Rule of 3 at different levels by picking Three Wins for the day, Three Wins for the week, Three Wins for the month, and Three Wins for the year.

This helps you see the forest for the trees since your Three Wins for the year are at a higher level than your Three Wins for the month, and your Three Wins for the week are at a higher level than your Three Wins for the day.

You can easily zoom in and out to help balance your perspective on what’s important, for the short term and the longer term.

2. Monday Vision, Daily Wins, Friday Reflection

Monday Vision, Daily Wins, Friday Reflection is a weekly results pattern.

This is a simple “time-based” pattern. Each week is a fresh start.

On Mondays, you think about three wins you would like for the week.

Each day you identify three wins you would like for the day.

On Fridays, you reflect on lessons learned; you ask yourself, “What three things are going well, and what three things need improvement?”

This weekly results pattern helps you build momentum.

3. Hot Spots

Hot Spots are a way to heat map your life.

They help you map out your results by identifying “what’s hot?.”

Hot Spots become both your levers and your lens to help you identify and focus on what’s important in your life.

They can represent areas of pain or opportunity.

You can use Hot Spots as your main dashboard.  You can organize your Hot Spots by work, personal, and the “big picture” of your life. At a glance, you should be able to quickly see the balls you are juggling and what’s on your plate.

To find your Hot Spots, simply make a list of the key things that need your time and energy.

Then for each of these key things, create—a simple list, a “tickler list” that answers the question, “What do you want to accomplish?”

Once you know the wins you want to achieve in your Hot Spots, you have the ultimate map for your meaningful results.

Think in Three Wins

A simple way that I remember Agile Results is I remember to think in Three Wins:

Think in terms of Three Wins for the Day, Three Wins for the Week, Three Wins for the Month, Three Wins for the Year.

Those are the core habits of Agile Results in a nutshell.

You can start with that and be well on your way to getting better results in work and life.

10 Big Ideas from Agile Results

Here are 10 big ideas from Agile Results that really make it a little different and that help it last a little longer:

1. Three Wins

By carving out and identifying wins you want to achieve, you get intentional about creating compelling outcomes.

When you have compelling wins that you are aiming for, they can help lift you up and “pull” you through your day because they are your personal victories.

2. Fresh Starts

Get a fresh start each day, each week, each month.

It works by “turning the page” each day, each week, each month, each year.

One simple way to implement a Fresh Start is to write a new “To Do” list each day and each week that reflects the three wins you wan to achieve.

3. It’s Outcomes, Not Activities

Don’t confuse activity with results.  It’s easy to spend time on things, but not actually achieve anything.

On the other hand, If you know what you want to accomplish,  in the form of an outcome, then you can focus on that.

Use outcomes as a simple way to “slow down to speed up.”

4. It’s Value, Not Volume

Less is often more, if you know what the value is.   And value is in the eye of the beholder.  Enough said?

5. Energy is Your Force Multiplier

You don’t get more hours in a day.

But you can change your energy.

And, if you use your best energy, you can amplify your impact in powerful ways.

6.  Time is a First-Class Citizen

Time is a great way to prioritize.  For example, there is only so much you can do in a day.

You can use different time horizons to plot out what you’d like to achieve within the time that you actually have.

7. Be the Author of Your Life

With Agile Results, you “write your story forward”, one day at a time, one moment at a time, one story at a time.

You do this by choosing your wins to focus on, and by focusing on the change.

The challenge is in the change, and change is where the value is.
That’s also what stories are made of.

Stories are about the change.

8.  Weekly Rhythm of Results

The Monday Vision, Daily Outcomes, Friday Reflection pattern is a way to structure your time management and productivity by anchoring it to the week.

The days of the week won’t change anytime soon, so you can use this simple pattern to structure and plan your time management and productivity.

It’s also a great way to create a simple learning loop of continuous improvement.

9. Productive Hours and Creative Hours

If you pay attention during the week, you’ll start to notice that there are recurring patterns of when you are at your creative best, and when you are your most productive.

The key is to identify these times and to better leverage them.  For example, I use my Power Hours as my most productive times of the day.   I can move mountains during these times.

On the other hand,  I use my Creative Hours for creative breakthroughs, to figure out what’s next, or to innovate in some way, shape or form.

It’s some of my best “think time” while I play with ideas.

10.  Productivity is a Personal Thing

It takes time and experimentation to find your flow and get your groove on.

Agile Results is a flexible system for meaningful results.  It’s designed to be “stretch to fit” and easily tailored.

Rather than a rigorous system of rules, it’s a system of principles, values, and a handful of practices.

It’s also designed to be inclusive of other systems.

Most importantly, it’s designed to be easily shaped based on personal preference and style.

Whether you want to be a productive artist or a highly-productive achiever, or simply savor more of life and achieve work-life balance, Agile Results flexes for you and with you.

The key to any system is “just enough process” so that you can adapt it as situations and circumstances change.

Fulfillment, Flexibility, and Focus

Agile Results really helps you live and lead a life of fulfillment, flexibility, and focus.

Agile Results was born to help more people find a path of fulfillment in a practical way.

It’s designed to help you live your values in work and life.

It’s also designed to be flexible.

I’m a fan of Bruce Lee’s philosophy of, “Absorb what is useful, Discard what is not, Add what is uniquely your own“.   Darwin also taught us that nature favors the flexible.

There’s truth in the saying, “adapt or die.”

Focus is also at the heart of Agile Results.

Focus helps us engage with work and with our life.  It brings out our best.  You’re the director of your life and you can choose what you point your camera at.

Voltaire also comes to mind: “No problem can withstand the assault of sustained thinking.”

And again, Bruce Lee reminds us of the power of focus, when he said, ““The successful warrior is the average man, with laser-like focus.”

The Core Values of Agile Results

When I think a little more on the values that drive Agile Results — the values that breathe life into the Agile Results system — I think of the following values:

  1. Adventure
  2. Balance
  3. Congruence
  4. Continuous learning
  5. Empowerment
  6. Focus
  7. Flexibility
  8. Fulfillment
  9. Growth
  10. Passion
  11. Simplicity
  12. Sustainability

Adventure is a powerful metaphor for life.  It adds the fun factor and it turns problems into challenges.   In life, you can choose a lot of things, from your attitudes to your actions.   Choose your own adventure.

Balance is a way to blend the best of both worlds, such as the game of business, or the business of life.   It’s a way to meld our minds and our bodies and our emotions to bring out our best.  Balance your great up time, with great down time.

Congruence is about living our values and staying true to you.  It’s building a firm foundation versus a house of cards.

Continuous learning is about finding the lessons and turning insight into action.

Empowerment is about putting the world’s best insight and action at your fingertips to help you unleash what you are capable of … in an exponential way.

Focus is about setting your eye on the prize and going for it.   Focus is also about choosing to find the opportunity in any situation.  Focus is about directing your attention to things that empower you, whether it’s focusing on strengths over weaknesses, the future over the past, or the positive over the negative.

Flexibility is ready for anything.  It’s rising above habits and practices that don’t serve you.  It’s about staying open to new ways of looking at things.  It’s about adapting to new situations as the world changes under your feet.  It’s about being an acrobat for life.

Fulfillment is about writing your story forward in a way, where you give your best where you have your best to give, and play to your strengths in a way that shares your gifts with the world.

Growth is about continuously expanding your capabilities.  You grow your ability to take on bigger challenges, and you become something more in the process.

Passion is about being bold, pushing the envelope, and chasing the dreams that make your soul sing.  Passion is the value that races through your veins when you wake up in the morning, ready to face the World, and ready to make your mark.

Simplicity is about the essential.  It’s elegance in action.  It’s economy of motion.  It’s reductionism in action.  Simplicity is about useful, relevant, and intuitive.  Simplicity is about the truths … the timeless principles, patterns, and practices that are enduring over time.  It’s the part that sticks with you, when everything else fades away.

Sustainability is about finding a way forward in a way that is durable and evolvable over time.  Sustainability is about finding your downtime, and responding to “always on” in a way where you can turn it off.  It’s finding your flow.   Sustainability is about fresh starts.   Sustainability is about doing the things that reward, renew, and revitalize you.

Getting Started with Agile Results

The way to get started with Agile Results is simple.

  1. Daily Wins.  Each day, ask yourself what are Three Wins you want for today?   Maybe it’s win a raving fan, maybe it’s finish that thing that’s been hanging over you, or maybe it’s have a great lunch.  You can ask yourself this right here, right now — what are Three Wins you want to accomplish today?
  2. Monday Vision.  On Mondays, ask yourself what are Three Wins you want for this week?  Imagine it was Friday and you are looking back on the week, what are Three Wins that you want under your belt.  Use these Three Wins for the Week to inspire you, all week long, and pull you forward.  Each week is a fresh start.
  3. Friday Reflection.  On Friday, ask yourself, what are three things going well, and what are three things to improve?  Use these insights to get better each week.  Each week is a chance to get better at prioritizing, focusing, and creating clarity around what you value, and what others value, and what’s worth spending more time on.

For bonus, and to really find a path of fulfillment, there are three more habits you can add …

  1. Three Wins for the Month.  At the start of each month, ask yourself, what are Three Wins you want for the month?  If you know your Three Wins for the Month, you can use these to make your months more meaningful.  In fact, a great practice is to pick a theme for the month, whatever you want your month to be about, and use that to make your month matter.  And, when you combine that with your Three Wins, not only will you enjoy the month more, but at the end of the month, you’ll feel a better sense of accomplishment when you can talk about your Three Wins that you achieved, whether they are your private or public victories.  And, if the month gets off track, use your Three Wins to help you get back on track.  And, each month is a fresh start.
  2. Three Wins for the Year.  At the start of the year, ask yourself what are Three Wins you want to achieve for the year?  This could be anything from get to your fighting weight to take an epic adventure to write your first book.
  3. Ask better questions.   You can do this anytime, anywhere.  Thinking is just asking and answering questions.  If you want better answers, ask better questions.  You can exponentially improve the quality of your life by asking better questions.

Get the Book on Agile Results

If you want to really master Agile Results, you can read the book:

Getting Results the Agile Way: A Personal Results System for Work and Life

It’s been a best-seller in Time Management and Productivity.

But don’t think of it as yet another productivity book.  It’s really a personal results system.

More importantly, it’s a framework to help you realize your full potential in all aspects of your life … the Agile Way.

Take the Free 30 Day Training on Agile Results

It’s hard to believe that it’s free, but it is (at least for now):

30 Days of Getting Results

It’s some of the best self-paced training you will ever find on how to master productivity, time management, and work-life balance.

Each day is a new outcome with a quick lesson, quick training, and an exercise to help make it real.

Start a Study Group to Take Agile Results to the Next Level

If you want to take Agile Results to the next level, start a study group and share ways that you use Agile Results with each other around how you create work-life balance, create better energy, learn more faster, and unleash your potential, while enjoying the journey, and getting more from work and life.

Share your stories and results with me, with your friends, with your family, anyone, and everyone – help everybody live a little better.

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Tony Robbins on How To Master Relationships


image“What love we’ve given, we’ll have forever. What love we fail to give, will be lost for all eternity.”
— Leo Buscaglia

Some of the best relationship advice I learned long ago is that “opposites attract, but similarities bind.”

I also learned that “true love is falling in love with the same person over and over.”

But it’s time to dive deeper.  Much deeper. This article is a deep dive on how to find love, create your ultimate relationship, and improve your relationship skills.

Create a Magnificent Relationship that Feels Like a Dream

Tony Robbins shares his profound knowledge on love and relationships through a variety of videos, programs, and formats.

It’s based on what he’s learned from around the world over many years of experience with thousands of people from all walks of life.

It’s part of his life’s work – to improve the quality of life for as many people as he can, as long as he can.

Tony Robbins has figured out the keys to creating lasting and fulfilling relationships.

It’s not about creating an ordinary relationship.  It’s about creating an extraordinary relationship.

In fact, it’s about creating a truly magnificent relationship — “the kind that is so full of joy, passion, and ecstasy that it feels like a dream.”

The Big Picture of How To Create Your Ultimate Relationship and Ultimate Lover

This article will cover a lot so it’s important to put the big picture together first.

Tony Robbins found the following truths to creating better relationships:

  1. Master Selection and Connection.  You need to master Selection and Connection as the two primary skills for creating your ultimate relationship.
  2. Select your partner consciously.  Your lover is your most important decision in life.  Make it a conscious choice.  Who you choose as a lover will have a huge influence over your ultimate happiness.  Select somebody who matches your vision, who you can share things in common with and love the differences with passion, who you can create a raving fan lover, and who does not conflict with your core values, or other deal breakers.
  3. Start with vision.  The first step is to create a vision for what you really want in your relationship.  What is it that you really want in life that would light you up and excite you?  What’s your vision for what this relationship would create in the world that would inspire you to be in this relationship?  Make it so compelling to you, so exciting and so clear that you get so much emotion you’ll find a way to make it happen.
  4. Focus on where you want to be, not where you are.   Tony Robbins can’t stress this enough, but he says you must focus on what you want, not where you are.  Don’t limit yourself.  Create your impossible dream, make it so emotionally exciting that you can’t help but make it happen, and then you will figure out a way to make your dream come true.  Tony is a master at turning dreams into reality.
  5. Create a list of what you want, what you must not have, and who you must become to attract that relationship.  Create extreme clarity.  Be as specific as possible. You need a vision of what you want in detail in terms of your mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual desires.  You also need to know what you MUST NOT have in your relationships so that you don’t destroy them.  Lastly, you need to know the kind of person who you need to become so that you can attract your ultimate relationship.
  6. Don’t destroy your relationships.  You need to know what you MUST NOT have in your relationship.  For example, you MUST NOT have conflicts in your core values with your partners.  So many relationships end because the couple didn’t know what they MUST NOT have in their relationship.
  7. Select a partner that gives you both certainty and uncertainty.  Certainty comes from having a common vision, common values, shared interests, etc.  Uncertainty comes from differences.  This uncertainty creates passion.  You need certainty and passion to keep the relationship growing and exciting.
  8. Connect with your lover through their Six Human Needs.  You create deep connection with your partner by meeting their Six Human Needs.  The more of their needs you meet, the deeper the love and fulfillment you can create.
  9. Create a Raving Fan Lover.  Your goal in your relationship is to create a Raving Fan Lover.  You create a Raving Fan Lover by worshipping your lover.  Through deep admiration, you create an unbreakable bond of trust and enthusiasm.  This deep admiration and appreciation comes from deep self-awareness of your needs, wants, and desires, along with what you will not tolerate.  It also comes from a deep awareness of your lover’s needs, wants, desires, and what they will not tolerate.
  10. Practice the 5 Disciplines of Love.  Practice the 5 Disciplines of Love to cultivate passion and create an ongoing adventure.  By investing in the 5 Disciplines of Love, you can “create a sexy and exciting partnership that lights up every aspect of your life to create a relationship full of earthshaking excitement, joy, and passion.”

If you are ready to create a magnificent, fulfilling relationship, then get ready to learn what it takes to show and grow your love by leaps and bounds.

95% of Your Happiness Will Come from Who You Choose as Your Partner

Who you choose as a partner can have a profound impact on your happiness in this lifetime.

Tony Robbins says:

“The first and most important selection you’re going to make in your life …

I’ll tell you this first …

Ninety-five percent of the happiness you’re going to have in life is going to come from who you select as your partner.

So we’re going to get absolutely clear about what is it that you really want because it’s impossible to get there otherwise.”

Selection and Connection  (the Primary Skills for Love)

According to Tony Robbins, to master love and to master relationships, you need to master the skills of Selection and Connection.

Selection is your ability to choose the right partner.

Connection is your ability to deeply connect with that person on all levels – physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.

Your ability to select the right partner and to deeply connect with them will directly affect your ability to create a lasting and fulfilling relationship with deep love.

Start with Your Vision

Where do you start?

You need to start with your vision.

Your vision of your ideal relationship.

And you have to make it exciting and compelling.

So exciting and compelling that your vision of your ideal relationship inspires you and motivates you to take action and to make it happen.

Tony Robbins says:

“I’m single and I don’t have a relationship.”

You’ve got to know how to start.

The first step is to decide what’s your vision for what you really want.

What’s your vision for what you really want?

You can’t make something happen until you get clear.

What was the first step of taking something impossible and making it real?


You need a vision.

Without a vision, people what?


You need a vision for your relationship.

A vision for what is it I really want most in life, what would excite me, what would light me up?

And I don’t just mean a vision of what that person’s supposed to look like and be like, or what values they have–that could be part of the vision, but also what is your vision for what this relationship would create in the world that would inspire you to be in this relationship.

Because without a vision of what the relationship’s going to be, you’re going to settle for whatever shows up.
All you’ve got to do is get a vision that is so compelling to you, so exciting and so clear that you get so much emotion you’ll figure a way to make it happen.”

How To Create a Vision for Your Relationship

Tony Robbins shares an example of how he created a blueprint for his ideal relationship.

He effectively made a list and wrote down everything he wanted in his partner.

He found the key though is to also make second list where he wrote down everything that he MUST NOT have in his relationship—the things he will not accept in his relationship.

He would rather be alone than be in a relationship that has things from this list.

He also made a third list.  The third list was a list of who he needs to be to attract the kind of relationship that he wants.

Tony Robbins says:

“I’ll tell you what helped me:

If you’re brand new and you’re single, the best way to do this is you sit down and you write down every single thing on Earth you could ever want in the ultimate partner in life.

Your ultimate mate. Your ultimate lover.

Mental, emotional, physical, spiritual.

The way you guys would pitch and catch.

What you would do together, how you’d share.

But every detail on a level of specificity that normally you would think is insane.

And then you’ve got to make a second list, I’ve learned.

And I did this years ago.

I made this list and I read it–it was pretty cool and then I got a relationship.  And that in that relationship, I kind of let it grow because of what most people get in a relationship with.

I didn’t select consciously.”

What Make a Relationship Work

What makes a relationship work is things in common.

Similar values.

Similar dreams or goals or loves or desires.

Tony Robbins says:

“What makes a relationship work is having things in common because what that gives you is the emotion of certainty that allows you to open up and connect.

People like people who are like whom?


So, you like this person and you have certainty about this person.

You have connection with this person because you have similar–you have a connection through interests or values, and you have certainty because, “hey, they’re like me.”

So what makes a relationship work is things in common.”

What Makes a Relationship Passionate

What makes a relationship passionate is uncertainty.

Not knowing and differences!

According to Tony Robbins, one of the secrets to creating a passionate relationship is a healthy combination of mystery and differences.

The differences create attraction, excitement, and intrigue.

The Key to Your Ultimate Relationship is Certainty + Uncertainty

The key to creating your ultimate relationship is to choose a partner that gives you both certainty and uncertainty.

Most people choose one or the other, but the key is to look for both.

Tony Robbins says:

“This is the critical understanding:

Can you have both in the relationship simultaneously?

Yes or no?

Yes, but most people pursue one aspect of their needs, like in the beginning they want the variety and the uncertainty and excitement that comes with that.

And this person is so different than me and so it excites me because I’m quiet and they’re loud and intense and playful.

And then they get around them, they go “Oooh, I want this forever,” and they try to get a hold of this person and very often try to control them.
And then what they want to do is get this place of connection but also control, certainty.

And they try to make their spouse, their boyfriend, their girlfriend, their husband, their wife, like them.

All their being loud was exciting; now it’s loud.

What they were doing in the very beginning.

But now you’re irritated by it.

And if you reinforce somebody or you punish them for being a certain way and try and make them like you, you will have a great friend and no passion.

And they will never go back to the way they were because  they don’t want to lose love or they’ve been rejected so much they don’t want to be in that place.

They start to protect themselves.”

Love Your Differences

You can use your differences as a platform for passion.

The differences can stretch and grow you in ways you don’t expect.

They can also help keep things from going stale, as can happen with certainty.

Uncertainty and differences will help you mix things up and add variety as a spice to your love life.

Tony Robbins says:

“There’s a way to have both.

It’s learning how to honor those differences and enjoy those differences.

Now, some of those you already honor and enjoy, but if you’re gonna honor and enjoy in some areas, some areas are inconvenient.

You don’t like them.

But you’ve got to learn to love what you didn’t like.”

What Destroys a Relationship

Differences between people in a relationship is good.

The right differences.

But there are the wrong kinds of differences, too.

Such as a conflict of core values.

One of your most important lists will be the list of what your relationship MUST NOT have.

This list will save you from starting relationships that just won’t last, because you know what you MUST NOT have in your relationship.

Tony Robbins says:

“Are there some things that are so different than you that they would destroy a relationship?

Yes, like you have certain values that are the core of who you are and if somebody has the opposite, it’d be pretty hard for you to really sustain a quality relationship.

So, the place to start: you make your list of everything you want.

Then you make a list of everything you want.

Then you make a list of everything , and the second list is–really critical:

everything that you must not have in a relationship.

Not should not: there’s lots of things you’d prefer not to have, but MUST NOT have.

By the way, you can get everything you want in a relationship and get two or three things you must never have and you will destroy it.”

Your Goal in a Relationship is to Create a Raving Fan

The single best thing you can do in your relationship is create a Raving Fan.

Tony Robbins says:

“And you’ve got to find a way to constantly improve the amount of joy, passion, and nourishment that’s happening within you and for the person you’re in a relationship with.

If you want to have not just a lover, a husband, a wife, a boyfriend, a girlfriend, whatever your language is, if you want more than that, you want a Raving Fan.

A Raving Fan is somebody, if you were going to use a business metaphor, since there are so many business owners in the room…satisfied customers leave.

I’ll say it again:

Satisfied customers leave.

If they get a much better deal, a much better opportunity, they’ll leave.

But a Raving Fan customer never leaves.”

How To Create a Raving Fan Lover

How do you create a Raving Fan lover?

You worship them.

It sounds extreme but according to Tony Robbins, that’s the key to creating extraordinary relationships.

Tony Robbins says:

“Your goal in a relationship above all else is you want to make sure that you make this person who’s in your life your Raving Fan. 

And there’s only one way to do that:

Worship them.

Not just love them.

You’ve got to worship them.

If you want to have something that’s extraordinary, because that person who is worshipped is not going to leave in a million years.

What makes them know they’re worshipped is the following:

You’ve got to know what do you really want.

Because everyone is different.

We all want love, we want the same needs, but we’ve got to know what we want.”

The Six Human Needs

To create a magnificent relationship that feels like a dream, you need to master the Six Human Needs.

Tony Robbins says that the key to creating a relationship that is pure magic is by meeting your partner’s Six Human Needs.

The Six Human Needs are:

  1. Need 1: Certainty/Comfort
  2. Need 2: Uncertainty/Variety
  3. Need 3: Significance
  4. Need 4: Love & Connection
  5. Need 5: Growth
  6. Need 6: Contribution

First you meet your partner’s needs.  Then you can educate them to meet your needs.

But it starts with you meeting your partner’s needs.


Because Tony Robbins says you are loving them – and “love is not a trade.”

Need #1. Certainty/Comfort

Our first need is for certainty.

We need a sense of certainty.

We need certainty so we can feel safe.

We need certainty so that we can feel comfortable.

It helps us create predictability in our life so that we can reduce stress.

It helps us create peace-of-mind.

Tony Robbins says:

“The first human need is the need for Certainty.

It’s our need to feel in control and to know what’s coming next so we can feel secure.

It’s the need for basic comfort, the need to avoid pain and stress, and also to create pleasure.”

Need #2. Uncertainty/Variety

We need uncertainty in our life.

This is how we break out of boring and predictable routines and ruts.

It’s what wakes us up and keeps us on our toes.

It creates passion and excitement.

Tony Robbins says:

“Let me ask you a question:

Do you like surprises?

If you answered ‘yes,’ you’re kidding yourself!

You like the surprises you want.

The ones you don’t want, you call problems!

But you still need them to put some muscle in your life.

You can’t grow muscle—or character—unless you have something to push back against.”

Need #3. Significance

We need to feel like we are one-of-a-kind.

We need to feel special.

We need to feel like we matter.

We need to feel like we stand out from the crowd.

Tony Robbins says:

“We all need to feel important, special, unique, or needed.

So how do some of us get significance?

You can get it by earning billions of dollars, or collecting academic degrees—distinguishing yourself with a master’s or a PhD.

You can build a giant Twitter following.

Or you can go on The Bachelor or become the next Real Housewife of Orange County.

Some do it by putting tattoos and piercings all over themselves and in places we don’t want to know about.”

Need #4. Love & Connection

We need to feel a sense of connection and love.

We need to feel like somebody really gets us.

We need to feel like we matter to somebody other than ourselves.

We need to feel like we fit in, while we are trying to stand out.

Tony Robbins says:

“The fourth basic need is Love and Connection.

Love is the oxygen of life; it’s what we all want and need most.

When we love completely we feel alive, but when we lose love, the pain is so great that most people settle on connection, the crumbs of love.

You can get that sense of connection or love through intimacy, or friendship, or prayer, or walking in nature. If nothing else works, you can get a dog.”

Need #5. Growth

We need to feel like we are growing.

We need to feel like we are getting better or improving in some way, shape, or form.

We need to feel like we are making progress in different areas of our life.

Tony Robbins says:

“If you’re not growing, you’re dying.

If a relationship is not growing, if a business is not growing, if you’re not growing, it doesn’t matter how much money you have in the bank, how many friends you have, how many people love you—you’re not going to experience real fulfillment.

And the reason we grow, I believe, is so we have something of value to give.”

Need #6. Contribution

We need to feel a sense of contribution that comes from giving back.

Giving back is a powerful way to feel a sense of good will.

Contributing to a greater good amplifies our feelings of gratitude and appreciation.

Tony Robbins says:

“Corny as it may sound, the secret to living is giving.

Life’s not about me; it’s about we.

Think about it, what’s the first thing you do when you get good or exciting news?

You call somebody you love and share it. Sharing enhances everything you experience.

Life is really about creating meaning.

And meaning does not come from what you get, it comes from what you give.

Ultimately it’s not what you get that will make you happy long term, but rather who you become and what you contribute will.”

What Happens When You Meet Your Partner’s Six Human Needs?

If you want to keep your relationship or create a better one, you need to meet your partner’s Six Human Needs.

The more needs that you meet, the deeper the love you will create.

Tony Robbins says:

“If you’re in a relationship with somebody and you meet one of their needs, you’re going to have an acquaintance.

If you meet two of their needs, you’re going to have a friend.

If you meet three of their needs, you’re going to have a deep friendship or love.

If you meet four of their needs, it’s going to be a deep love.

If you meet five or six of their needs, you’re going to have a love slave.
… They ain’t going anywhere.

But it’s got to be you meeting their needs, not the other way around.”

How To Be the Wealthiest Person in the World

If you want to be the wealthiest person in the world, you have to appreciate what you already have.

Tony Robbins says:

“The ultimate significance in life comes not from something external, but from something internal.

It comes from a sense of esteem for ourselves, which is not something we can ever get from someone else.

People can tell you you’re beautiful, smart, intelligent, the best, or they can tell you that you are the most horrible human being on earth—but what matters is what you think about yourself.

Whether or not you believe that deep inside you are continuing to grow and push yourself, to do and give more than was comfortable or you even thought possible.

The wealthiest person on earth is one who appreciates.”

The 5 Disciplines of Love

To grow your love, you need to feed your love.

To feed your love, Tony Robbins shares the 5 Disciplines of Love.

The 5 Disciplines of Love are habits and practices that you can invest in that will fuel your love and help you build your ultimate relationship and your limitless love.

The 5 Disciplines of Love:

  1. The Discipline of Unconditional Love & Compassion
  2. The Discipline of Absolute Courage & Vulnerability
  3. The Discipline of Knowing the Truth
  4. The Discipline of Telling Yourself the Truth
  5. The Discipline of Giving Freedom

Let’s elaborate on each one …

Discipline #1. The Discipline of Unconditional Love & Compassion

The first Discipline of Love is unconditional love.

It’s the ability to really get your partner, without judging or criticizing them.

It’s about understanding their inner world and loving them unconditionally.

Tony Robbins says:

“Always put your lover first—it’s not about you! When you fully develop the skill of heartfelt understanding, you become conscious of your partner’s inner life.

Rather than being an observer and critic, you feel what they feel and you will discover the deepest pleasure in your relationship—sexual and otherwise.”

Discipline #2. The Discipline of Absolute Courage & Vulnerability

Don’t lose trust.

Build deep trust by being present and embracing the truth, no matter how tough it gets.

As the saying goes, “the truth shall set you free.”

But in this case, the truth will bring you closer together, while at the same time, creating a deep sense of freedom that no lies could ever create.

Tony Robbins says:

“Love no matter what and commit to absolute truth. Be present for your lover even during the most painful situations.

Don’t just be physically present, be fully present– giving your lover your undivided focus.

Any time you lose trust, interest or commitment, you drift closer to behaviors of criticism and rejection.

Stay connected!

Cultivate your commitment the way you would a precious flower.

Your relationship will flourish no matter what your life circumstances may be.”

Discipline #3. The Discipline of Knowing the Truth

Don’t play the blame game.

Express yourself from the heart.

Mean what you say, say what you mean, but do so in a loving and respectful way.

Speak the truth, your truth, but own it.  Own your feelings.  Own your story. Own your challenges.

Tony Robbins says:

“Here’s the truth: It’s a no-blame game. There’s an art to expressing mild upset without creating bigger problems.

When you let something bother you, your partner will feel blamed.

However, when something goes wrong, you must express yourself spontaneously, and from the heart.

It’s crucial you set the context carefully for anything you share.

Remember to use phrases that avoid blame.”

Discipline #4. The Discipline of Telling Yourself the Truth

Trust yourself first.

Don’t let yourself down.

If you let yourself down, you won’t trust yourself and you won’t trust others.

Don’t be afraid to be you—the real you.

Be authentic.

Be yourself.

Be your true self.

When you live and breathe your truth, other people will naturally trust you.

Tony Robbins says:

“Commit to moment-to-moment awareness of the impact of your state.

If the basis of trust is confidence in your partner, then you must begin with confidence in yourself.

Without it, you cannot induce lasting trust in others. When you can be yourself, others will perceive that and build trust in you.

Hold true to the generosity of your highest intentions.”

Discipline #5. The Discipline of Giving Freedom

Set your partner free by forgiving and forgetting.

Don’t bog them down with past mistakes.

If you want true passion and excitement, learn to forgive and forget in a way that truly helps your partner keep learning and growing.

Tony Robbins says:

“The power of forgiving, forgetting and flooding.

Why drag along the baggage of past mistakes?

Whenever we have painful experiences, we can learn from them or use them to punish ourselves or others.

People often blame their partners for past misdeeds.

If you want passion, set your partner free.

See their mistake from their perspective.

Consciously harness the good in life to bring greater pleasure and intimacy.”

How Tony Robbins Created His Ultimate Relationship

Tony Robbins created his ultimate relationship in a very simple way.

He focused on creating clarity for exactly what he wanted in his relationship.

He created clarity around what he did not want in his relationship.

He created clarity clarity around exactly who he needed to become to attract his ultimate relationship.

He used this clarity to create courage and motivation for himself.

He also used this clarity to create focus so he could spend his energy in the right way to move towards what he wanted, and away from what he did not want.

Here is Tony Robbins with his story of how he created his ultimate relationship:

“But, I’ll tell you the first thing I did and I thought everything in my life that I’ve ever created…I went back and did what I asked you to do.

What did I create that was impossible?

How did I do that?

I mean, think about it: I always started by focusing on what I wanted, not where I was.

Isn’t that true?

Only focus on what you want to create.

So I said, “OK< am I committed as a soul to have in a relationship with a woman?”

What do I want in that relationship?

And then what can I not have?

I made these lists and I wrote it for about nine or ten pages.

Maybe by the time I was done with them, mixed-up the list was maybe at twelve.

I’m talking about details.Ridiculous details.

And then, interestingly, as I read that I knew what I had to do because I can look at that list and I did one more thing.

I wrote what I must have in a relationship:

Mental, emotional, physical, spiritual, everything.

What I must not have in a relationship with a woman.

And then my third one was what kind of man would I have to be to attract that quality of woman.

Instead of saying ‘how come I don’t have this person.’

Because, if you focus on the outside, you’ll always be screwed up because you’ll always blame somebody else.

I went OK, clarity first.

What do I need?

What am I committed to?

What do I want?

Clarity: what must I be for that type of person to be in my life?

How many follow these steps?”

Tony Robbins’ Ultimate Relationship Program

Tony and Sage Robbins created a love coaching program:

Tony Robbin’s Ultimate Relationship Program

The goal of the program is to help you attract your ideal life partner, strengthen your relationships, and reignite the passion you and your partner once shared:

The program includes tools, insights, and principles to you create your ultimate relationship, by taking action, transforming your beliefs, eliminating your fears, and mastering fundamental relationship skills.

The product includes:

  • 4 Audio CDs
  • 6 instructional DVDs
  • 1 Action Workbook
  • Bonus DVD

You can get either the physical or digital version.

If you get the digital version, you can get all the content from your phone.

What’s Next?

Well, we covered a lot of ground.

If you don’t have your vision for your ultimate relationship, that’s a great place to start.

If you don’t have your 3 lists – what you want, what you MUST NOT have, and who you must become – now is a great time to put those together.

If you need a program to help guide you on your journey, then check out Tony Robbin’s Ultimate Relationship Program, as a way to get going and get results.

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101 Hacks for a Happy New Year


image“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.”

See A New Approach for New Year’s Resolutions

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.

See The Power of Dreams

See How To Test Your Dream

See Are You Living Your Dreams?

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:

Video: Nothing Will Change Unless YOU Change

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.

See Guide Your Path with Vision, Values, and Goals

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:

  1. Get out of bed and make it. (Reason: I work from home, so having an orderly environment helps me stay productive.)
  2. 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.)
  3. 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.)
  4. 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.)
  5. Take daily vitamins. (Reason: Most diets are nutrient-deficient.  Following a regular vitamin regimine introduces what I’m missing in my diet.)
  6. 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.)
  7. Text my girlfriend with a loving message. (Reason: The key to a successful relationship is to do the ‘little things’ on a daily basis.)
  8. 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.)

See The Power of Habit Stacking

See 8 Steps for Building a Habit Stacking Routine

See 10 Keys to Changing a Habit

See How To Change a Habit and Make It Stick

See 50 Repetitions to Make a Habit Stick

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.

See Use Qualitative Feedback to Improve Your Performance

See Feedback: The Ultimate Key to High Performance

See Motivation, Skills, and Feedback

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.

Expect them.

When they happen, get back up and try again.

See Bounce Back with Skill

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.

See 10 Distorted Thinking Patterns

See You Can Have It All All

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:

  1. What did you learn that you can use for next time?
  2. What’s the next step to make a little progress now?
  3. What can you focus on that will help you move forward?

See Stop Keeping Score, Learn Instead

See Growth Mindset Over Fixed Mindset

12. Reward yourself more often

Create mini-rewards.

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.

See Reward Yourself in the Moment

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.

See What Does Game Design Teach Us About Fun?

See Go For the Epic Win

See The Gamification of Education

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.

See The Power of Tiny Habits


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.

See Starting is the Hardest Part

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.

See Growth Mindset vs. Fixed Mindset

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.

See Create If-Then Plans to Stick with Your Goals

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.

See Your Potential Starts with Your Beliefs

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:

  1. Everything happens for a reason and a purpose, and it serves us.
  2. There is no such thing as failure.
  3. Whatever happens, take responsibility.
  4. It’s not necessary to understand everything to be able to use everything.
  5. People are your greatest resource.
  6. Work is play.
  7. There’s no abiding success without commitment.

See 7 Beliefs for Personal Excellence

See Where Do Beliefs Come From?

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:

  1. What is the specific work or effort required to achieve your goal?
  2. What resources or dependencies do you need to help you succeed?
  3. What is your action plan to achieve this goal?
  4. 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?)
  5. What obstacles will you face and how will you respond?

See Goal Setting vs. Goal Planning

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:

  1. What do you want?
  2. Why do you want it?
  3. 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.

That’s just one example of priming.  You can also prime your mind by reading great books, learning about great people, reading great quotes, and learning about stories of personal transformation.

See Prime Your Mind for Greatness

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.

See Dreams, Goals, and Habits

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

See The Exponential Results Formula

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:

  1. Find Your WHY
  2. Change Your Beliefs About What’s Possible
  3. Change Your Beliefs That Limit You
  4. Spend More Time In Your Values
  5. Surround Yourself With Catalysts
  6. Build Better Feedback Loops
  7. “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.

See 7 Habits of Highly Motivated People

See Master Motivation: The Keys to Motivating Yourself and Finding Your Drive


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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.

See How To Use Trigger Moments to Activate Your Higher Self

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’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:

  1. Caring
  2. Inspiring
  3. Engaged

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.

See How To Use Trigger Moments to Activate Your Higher Self

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:

  1. Write your One-Liner purpose statements down
  2. Say some out loud
  3. 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.

See Find Your Purpose

See Discover Your Why

See Find Your Major Definite Purpose

See Ikigai: The Reason for Which You Wake Up 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:

  1. 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.)
  2. Now prioritize the list by placing numbers before each item, with the number 1 being assigned to the most desired thing.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.)
  6. Repeat exercises 1 to 4 with work-related desires (perhaps your ideal job, a new boss, a different schedule.)
  7. On a separate piece of paper write down the most-desired thing from each list and put it aside for the moment.
  8. 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.
  9. 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?

See How To Figure Out What You Really Want

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.

See How To Use 3 Wins for the Year to Have Your Best Year Ever


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.

See Commit to your best year ever

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 Find Your Strengths

See The Language of Strengths

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 can.

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.

See Feel Lighter: Let Emotions Flow Through You (Don’t Hold On Tight)

See How To Feel Great Today

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.

See Don’t Regret the Path Not Taken

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:

  1. Moving and Breathing (5 minutes)
  2. Emotional State of Enormous Gratitude (5 minutes)
  3. Incantations (5 minutes)

Start your day like Tony Robbins and see if you can unleash your own giant within.

See Start Your Day the Tony Robbins Way

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.

See Create Your Ideal Day the Tony Robbins Way

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:

  1. Love and warmth
  2. Appreciation and gratitude
  3. Curiosity
  4. Excitement and passion
  5. Determination
  6. Flexibility
  7. Confidence
  8. Cheerfulness
  9. Vitality
  10. Contribution

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.

See 10 Emotions to Master for Power, Passion, and Strength

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.

See Start Your Year in February

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.

No problem.

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.

See Write Your Story Forward

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.

See How To Get Out of a Slump


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.

See Give Your Best Where You Have Your Best to Give

See Multiply Your Productivity by 10,000 Times

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:

  1. What do you want your life to be about?
  2. Who do you want to be and what experiences do you want to create?
  3. How can you stop holding yourself back?
  4. If this situation were to never change, what’s the one quality I need to truly enjoy it?
  5. What do you want to do more of each day? … What do you want to spend your time doing more of?
  6. Are you giving your best where you have your best to give?
  7. What are you pointing your camera at? (a simple way to direct your day on a scene by scene basis)

See 101 Empowering Questions

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.

See You Are the Average of the 10 People You Spend Time With

See I Get By With a Little Help from My Friends

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.

See Mentors are the short cuts

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.

See 30 Day Sprints: Improve Yourself with Skill

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:

Shed 10 Years in 10 Weeks

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

See How I Lost 22 Pounds in 3 Weeks

See How To Live Forever

See Exercising in Bed

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 …

  1. Do you know WHY you do what you do
  2. Do you have your short-list handy of your top values that shape your priorities in life? 
  3. Can you name your top 5 strengths
  4. Do you know your preferred learning styles
  5. Do you know your preferred thinking styles
  6. Do you know how you like to deal with conflict and your preferred conflict management style
  7. Do you know your NLP meta-programs that you use to drive your mind? 
  8. Do you know your personality and work environment type that shape your career path?

See 10 Tools to Know Thyself


50. Decide Who You Are

Hack away at your identity.

Your identity can limit or empower you.  It’s up to you.

Define yourself.

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:

“This moment.”

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.

See How To Create an Empowering Vision Board

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:

  1. All my actions support my dreams.
  2. I abandon my old habits and take up new, more positive ones.
  3. I act right now like the person I dream of becoming.
  4. I am bigger than my challenges.
  5. I am enough.
  6. I am feeling exhilarated, agile  and alive.
  7. I am learning.
  8. I am my message.
  9. I am resourceful.
  10. I am the author of my life.
  11. I am the change I want to see in the world.
  12. I am worth it.
  13. I focus on what I control and let the rest go.
  14. I have the willpower and perseverance to overcome all obstacles.
  15. I inspire myself and those around me.

See How To Create an Empowering Vision Board

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.

See Mindfulness Meditation

See Two-Minute Mindfulness Exercise

See 3 Habits to Grow Your Mindfulness

See 8 Practices for Developing Mindfulness

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.”

Ricard adds:

“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.

See Breathe With Skill to Dramatically Improve Your Health

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.

See You Are Your Own Gym

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:

  1. Spend less than you earn and invest the difference
  2. Reinvest your returns for compounded growth
  3. 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?

  1. Are you spending less than you earn and are you investing it?
  2. Are you reinvesting and getting compounded growth?
  3. Are you moving toward that critical mass that will get you free and do you even know what that number is?

See Tony Robbins on Wealth Mastery

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:

  1. Build a mental model of the material.
  2. Read to answer your questions.
  3. 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.

See How To Read Faster

See How To Read 10,000 Words a Minute

See The Secret of Great Reading Comprehension

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.

See How To Let Go of a Feeling to Let Go of Thoughts

See How To Let Go of Negative Emotions Using the Sedona Method

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:

  1. The Pleasant Life
  2. The Good Life
  3. 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

See Find Your Strengths

See Happy vs. Meaningful: Which Life Do You Want?

See How Will You Measure Your Life

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.

See Four Sources of Strength


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:

  1. Friendliness
  2. Relevance
  3. Empathy
  4. Realness

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.

See Likeability is a Skill

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:

  1. Assume all potential allies
  2. Clarify goals and priorities
  3. Diagnose the allies’ world
  4. Identify relevant currencies
  5. Deal with relationships
  6. Influence through give and take

You can learn more about the “Influence without authority” model from the book, Influence Without Authority.

See Influencing 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:

  1. Ask specifically
  2. Ask someone who can help you
  3. Create value for the person you’re asking
  4. Ask with focused, congruent belief
  5. 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.

See Cracking the Code: How to Attract Everything You’ve Ever Wanted

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:

  1. Deconstruct the skill
  2. Learn enough to self-correct
  3. Remove practice barriers
  4. Practice at least 20 hours

See Learn Anything in 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.

It’s anxiety.

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.

See 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.

See Worry Breaks: Have a Time and Place to Worry About Stuff

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:

  1. Practice an attitude of gratitude
  2. Use the Rule of Three to design your day around Three Wins to focus on
  3. 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 10 Ways for Better Days

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:

  1. 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, by Stephen Covey
  2. Personal Development for Smart People, by Steve Pavlina
  3. The 8th Habit, by Stephen Covey
  4. Unlimited Power, by Tony Robbins
  5. The Inner Edge: 10 Practices of Personal Leadership, by Joelle K. Jay

See Books that Changed My Life

See Great Personal Development Books

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:

  1. Get Clarity
  2. Find Focus
  3. Take Action
  4. Tap Into Your Brilliance
  5. Feel Fulfillment
  6. Maximize Your Time
  7. Build Your Team
  8. Keep Learning
  9. See Possibility
  10. 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.

See The Power of Personal Leadership

See The Inner Edge: The 10 Practices of Personal Leadership (Book Review)

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:

  1. 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.
  2. Personal Motivation — What really excites people — the vision, values, goals, hopes, desires, and passion that make up their priorities.
  3. Self-Regulation — The ability to manage oneself toward achieving one’s vision and values.
  4. Empathy — The ability to see how other people see and feel about things.
  5. 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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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

See Stephen Covey on Developing Emotional Intelligence


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:

  1. What did I learn?
  2. What did I improve?
  3. What did I enjoy?
  4. 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:

  1. Set goals to chunk things down
  2. Practice mental rehearsal
  3. Use positive self-talk
  4. 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.

See How Navy SEALs Build Mental Toughness

See 3 Fights We Fight Each Day

See Develop a Psychology of Resilience in Yourself

See The Undefeated Mind (Book Review)

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

See Passion Does Not Exist in the Job, It Exists in Us

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 Work as Self-Expression Quotes

See How To Put Your Strengths to Work

See 10 Big Ideas from The Art of Work

See Be a Craftsman

See Don’t Let Work Turn You Into Who You Don’t Want to Be

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.”

See Be the One Who Gives Their All

See The Man in the Arena

See What Kind of Person Do You Want to Become?

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.”

See Live Without the Fear of Death in Your Heart

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.”

See How To Find Your High-Performance Pattern

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?

You can.

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:


See Superman Mode: How To Create Unshakable Confidence


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:

  1. Control – Control Your Outlook and Your Character; Control for New; Control Workflow
  2. Competence –  Assess and Direct Your Desire to Learn; Set a Real Challenge, Plan for Success, and Get a Coach; Integrate Successes into Your Identity
  3. CongruenceSet New Stands for Yourself; Set Your Mood Meter;
    Keep Your Word and Follow Through
  4. CaringCare for Thyself; Be More Vulnerable and Allow Others to Care for You; Be More Present, Interested, and Attentive to Others
  5. ConnectionDefine and Design Your Ideal Relationships; Practice Positive Projection; Find and Cultivate “Growth Friends”
  6. ChangeMake Change About the Gains, Not the Losses
    Get Clarity; Think Big, and Be Bold
  7. ChallengeChoose Fulfilling Challenges; Focus on the Journey and Don’t Fear Rejection; Set Monthly Thirty-Day Challenges
  8. Creative ExpressionAmplify Creative Expression in All Areas of Your Life; Study People and Design; Create More, Share More
  9. ContributionGive of Yourself (and Give Yourself Credit While You’re at It); Give to (Deeply Meaningful Contribution Experiences)
    Mentor, Mentor, Mentor
  10. ConsciousnessFocus Your Consciousness; Transcend Consciousness; Live in Wonder

See The Charge: Activating the 10 Human Drives that Make You Feel Alive (Book Review)

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?”

He replied:


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.

See Feedback: The Ultimate Key to High Performance

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:

  1. Outcomes
  2. Options
  3. Consequences
  4. Evaluate your options
  5. Mitigate the damage
  6. Resolve

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.

See How Tony Robbins Makes Decisions

See 5 Elements for Making Better Decisions

See How Experts Make Decisions

See 4 Decision Making Methods

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:

  1. Tank
  2. Sniper
  3. Know-It-All
  4. Think-They-Know-It-All
  5. Grenade Person
  6. Yes Person
  7. Maybe Person
  8. Nothing Person
  9. No Person
  10. Whiners

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

See 10 Types of Difficult People

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:

  1. Use checklists for common routines
  2. Set time limits
  3. Limit your choices
  4. Satisfice to find a good enough fit for now
  5. Just decide
  6. Right-size your decision making effort
  7. Take time out to recharge
  8. Delegate more often and more frequently
  9. Make it a group thing
  10. Let things solve themselves

See 10 Ways to Defeat Decision Fatigue

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:

  1. Integrity – Being true to one’s highest values and conscience)
  2. Meaning – A sense of contribution to people and causes.
  3. 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:

  1. Read and meditate (Stephen Covey’s personal approach)
  2. Immersion in great literature or great music
  3. 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.

See Spiritual Intelligence

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:

  1. Find something you’re most scared of than your fear
  2. The Rocking Chair Test
  3. 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.

See Tony Robbins on the Fastest Ways to Get Over Fear

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:

  1. Consider the source of the criticism.  Scott suggests three questions to help you evaluate the source of the criticism:
    1. How qualified is the critic?
    2. What is the basis of the criticism?
    3. What is the critic’s motive for the criticism?
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

See Dealing with Tough Criticism — Think of It Like a Bucket of Water, Sand, and Gold

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.

See Embrace the Effort

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:

  1. Personal experience (Human perceptions are iffy.)
  2. Experience of people you know (Even more unreliable.)
  3. Experts (They work for money, not truth.)
  4. Scientific studies (Correlation is not causation.)
  5. Common sense (A good way to be mistaken with complete confidence.)
  6. 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.

See The Six Filters for Truth

See Bruce Lee’s Six Stages of Cultivation

See Think Critically By Asking Why, What Else, What If

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.

See How To Visualize with Skill

See 4 Parts of Visualization that Improve Your Visualization Techniques

See How To Visualize Success More Effectively

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.

It does.”

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You 2.0

How To Deal with Depression


image“That is all I want in life: for this pain to seem purposeful.” — Elizabeth Wurtzel

How can you go from depression to a better emotional state, like hope or ecstasy?

In his relationship seminar, Tony Robbins shows you how you can go from depressed to a more resourceful emotion, like hope or ecstasy.

Tony Robbins starts by having a volunteer teach him how she gets depressed.

How Do You Get Depressed?

By exploring how she gets depressed, Tony Robbins can give her new choices and strategies to be more resourceful and feel better.

He asks her to get depressed.  Do what she does with her body when she gets depressed.  Focus on what she focuses on when she gets depressed.  Say to herself what she says when she’s depressed.

He then asks her to double it.

He challenges her to get to an 8 or 9 out of 10, where 10 is super depressed and suicidal.

How You Change Your Body to Get Depressed

When she gets to an 9, Tony Robbins asks the audience if they noticed how she changed her physiology:

  1. She dropped her head in a depressed way
  2. She dropped her shoulders in a depressed way
  3. She breathed more shallow
  4. She had tension in her hands as she gripped the microphone

She was unaware of how easily and quickly she did this when she gets depressed, but to the audience it was easy to see how quickly the change takes place.

What You Focus on To Get Depressed

Now that everybody could see how she changed her physiology to get depressed, Tony Robbins wanted to know what she focused on to get depressed.

He asks her what is she focusing on to stay at a level 9 depression?

She answers that she focuses on her lack of happiness.

He asks her what she pictures in her mind to stay depressed?

She answers that she can’t put her past behind her.

He asks her what does she focus on the past?

She responds her lack of trust, specifically in men.

Changing Your Emotional State

Tony Robbins provokes the volunteer until she changes her emotional state.

She gets pissed.

Tony Robbins calls everybody’s attention to how she changed her body when she went from depressed to pissed:  She brought her head and shoulders up.

He points out that her pattern is that when she gets tired of feeling depressed, she gets pissed and that helps her feel strong.

And she’s been using this pattern for a long time.

The Crazy 8 Pattern

Tony says this is a common pattern going from depressed to pissed and that it has a name:  the Crazy 8 pattern.

She uses depression to connect and commiserate with herself.  When it makes her too weak, she snaps out of it with anger.

Many people live alternating between these two patterns.

She is very good at this pattern because she has practiced it for so long and it’s been satisfying her emotional need to connect with herself.

The essence of the Crazy 8 pattern is the hope that she will be loved and taken care of, and then being angry of the feeling helpless brought on by depression.

This crazy 8 is a common way to solve our contradictory needs for feeling connected and vulnerable and for feeling powerful and in control.

Depression Doesn’t Happen To You

Tony Robbins asked the audience, “Does she know what to do to get depressed?”


She would have you believe that it happens to her, but as she just demonstrated, there are things that she does to get depressed:

  1. She puts her body in a depressed state
  2. She focuses on the men from the past that she does not trust
  3. She says things to herself to stay depressed

When people get depressed, they say things to themselves silently.

Tony Robbins asks her what she says to herself.

She says that she is so pathetic.

Tony Robbins challenges her to say it in the tone of voice when she gets depressed.

Breaking the Pattern of Depression

He pushes her to get depressed to a level 9 again of depression, but then changes her state.

He snaps her out of her depression with humor again, and she gets pissed again.

When Tony takes her out of her depression, he remarks that she’s using depression to protect her emotional needs.

Tony Robbins asks the audience and the volunteer, what do you think would happen if you try to take somebody out of depression?

This is a turning point, she sees how she is using depression to connect with herself and then switching it to anger.

She will now look for a new way to meet her emotional needs.

Getting to Hope

Tony Robbins suggest to her that they go back to hopeful.

When she feels hopeful again, Tony Robbins asks if everybody noticed the changes:

  1. She raised her head
  2. She lifted her shoulders up and back
  3. She started to smile

He said hope is good, but it’s a weak emotion.

He wanted her to practice a stronger emotion, like ecstasy.

Getting to Ecstasy

To overcome her habit of depression, she would need an antidote that will meet her emotional need.  She will train herself in the emotion of ecstasy.

Tony Robbins has her recall a peak experience of deep ecstasy.

Once she remembers the experience, he asks her what she’s feeling.

She feels excited.

Tony Robbins then tells her to go right before that moment of peak ecstasy.

Step into it…

Breathe as if you were breathing.

Were you making sounds?

What are you feeling right now?

She’s feeling so much she can’t even talk Smile

Choose Which Parts of Your Past to Focus On

Tony Robbins tells her to get depressed again.

He reminder her that earlier she said she couldn’t put her past behind her.  Maybe he said that’s a good thing.  Her past was a story about men that she couldn’t trust.

But she also has feelings of ecstasy, too.

He says to her, if this ecstasy was constantly in front of you, imagine the smile that would be on you all day.

So maybe, then, she has been selective in what she holds on to, and what she lets go.

7 Master Steps of Emotional Transformation

The process Tony Robbins is using to change her emotional state from depression to hope or ecstasy involves 7 steps:

  1. Understand their world
  2. Break the pattern
  3. Find leverage
  4. Redefine the problem
  5. Create alternatives
  6. Condition new behavior
  7. Relate the change to a higher purpose

In the first part of the exercise, Tony Robbins was understanding her world.  He used the triad to understand her world:

  1. Her physiology
  2. Her focus
  3. Her language

He understood her Crazy 8 pattern and her source of pain.

Next, he used humor and surprising language to break her pattern of depression.

To find leverage, Tony Robbins explored the pain until he found out what she cared about the most.  She wanted a loving and trusting relationship with a man, where she could commit herself fully.

Next, Tony Robbins redefined the problem.  He showed her how she was just using depression as a way to meet her needs in the short term.

In the long run, she really wanted a relationship and a better way to live.

Next, Tony Robbins created alternatives.  Instead of spiraling down into depression, she could access emotions like ecstasy and hope.

Now that she knows how she has conditioned herself to go into depression, she can condition herself to feel hope or ecstasy and make it a conscious decision.

If You Are Honest with Yourself, You Can Change It

Does she have the ability to go from depressed to pissed to hopeful or ecstatic?


Has she proven she can do them quickly?

Why in the past if she has all these other choices?

Because she has been rewarded for it.  It’s a game she’s mastered.  She doesn’t do it consciously.

She is honest when she acknowledges that it’s within her control.  She realizes it is a game she’s been playing and that it was about addressing her emotional needs.

But now she sees new choices and better alternatives with her newfound awareness.

Tony Robbins says that with that honesty you can change anything.  Without honesty you have no power.  If you are honest, you can change it.

He adds, unfortunately, many people are the most dishonest with themselves.

Relate to a Higher Purpose and Connect with Your True Self

Remember that the Crazy 8 pattern is a common way to solve our contradictory needs for feeling connected and vulnerable and for feeling powerful and in control.

The good news it that radical swings of Crazy 8 are not necessary when you connect to a higher purpose and your true self.

To break her pattern of depression, which she was rewarded for, she needs to setup a new reward system.

Tony Robbins says the more she trained herself to use depression, the more she lost her connection with her soul.

She was using depression to get love and be taken care of.  But she felt broken in this state, and to feel powerful, she would snap out of it with anger.

Tony Robbins pointed out that deep inside, she is a very feminine woman.  But she is not honoring herself.

He then says that the greatest happiness in life comes when you get back to your true nature.

If you don’t feel you are at your best, maybe you need to get back in touch with your true self.

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How I Lost 22 Pounds in 3 Weeks



“A dream becomes a goal when action is taken toward its achievement.” — Bo Bennett

When people haven’t seen me for a week, they are a little surprised.

When I tell them I lost 22 pounds in 3 weeks, they are a lot surprised.

Immediately, they want to know how I lost the weight so fast.

I tell them it really comes down to deep desire, vision, and strategy.

Deep Desire

It started when a girl on my team poked my chest and arms and said, “Wow, you got muscles!”

My manager quickly said, “Yeah, but no six pack.”

I said, “Oh yeah, give me 4 weeks.”

I felt a fire I hadn’t felt in a long time.

I love the idea of doing the seemingly impossible.   Doing the possible or the highly probable doesn’t excite me, but doing the impossible makes me feel unstoppable.


I needed a simple picture in my mind of how I would reshape my body.

If I can see it in my mind, it’s easier for me to believe it and achieve it.

Or, to put it another way, if I can’t see it, it won’t happen.  Without a clear picture of the end in mind, I would gradually get lost in the process.

I tried multiple metaphors to capture the idea.  For example, one metaphor was “Like a Navy Seal.”  I like the idea of lean, strong, and fit for any challenge.

I also like the metaphors that Greg O’Gallagher of Kinobody uses:

  1. Warrior (Brad Pitt in Fight Club)
  2. Greek God (Daniel Craig in Casino Royale)
  3. Superhero (Chris Evans in Captain America).

I figured Superhero would be a good metaphor, given the challenge before me, plus it seemed like an outcome that could inspire me out of bed in the morning.


With a compelling vision in mind and deep desire under my belt, I knew the next thing to do would be to check my strategy.

The last thing I wanted to do was go down a path that wouldn’t work.  I wanted real results.

The first thing I did was find a routine that would work out my abs.  I was already doing Beach Body’s 22-Minute Hard Core, but added Ab Ripper to the mix.

Next, I signed up for a one-time coaching session to check my strategy.  I really didn’t want to spend 4 weeks going for a six pack only to find out my approach was wrong.

My coach told me three key things:

  1. Work out 4 muscle groups in the core to build the abs (you can’t just target the abs)
  2. Get to 10% body fat so the abs will show
  3. Eat enough protein so that as you lose weight, you don’t lose muscle

Point #2 hit home.  It really woke me up.  I didn’t know what my body fat was, but it sure wasn’t 10%.

But I didn’t want to count calories.  I didn’t want to follow a strict regimen.  I wanted to actually rely on how I feel, or my precisely, how my body feels when I eat food.

A Simple Goal + Intuitive Eating

I set a simple goal.  I decided that I would lose a pound a day.  I would intuitively eat and move to where I felt like I would lose a pound.

I let my body choose what it wanted or needed to eat and drink to feel stronger and leaner.  I wanted to wake up in the morning and actually feel hungry again.  And if I didn’t feel hungry, I would wait until I did (rather than just eat because it’s breakfast, lunch, or dinner.)

I knew how things like sugar, salt, caffeine, and starchy carbs impact me, so I cut them out.   Or, more precisely, I simply chose better foods that my body wanted, instead of feed my feelings or fill my cravings.

I was surprised by how long it took before I could actually feel hungry again.  I hadn’t felt hungry in so long.  I think I had been on auto-pilot and the pilot was off course.

I varied my eating times and what I ate, but roughly I would have an egg sandwich in the morning, with a few fresh vegetable juices, and salad and burger for lunch, or smoothies and juices.  For dinner, I would have smoothies and vegetable juices, or a burger, if I didn’t already have one for lunch.   I tried to get almond butter, avocados, and coconut water to get some good fats in me.

Little Feedback Loops

Each morning, I weighed myself.  I knew that I needed feedback loops, more than just what I see and feel.  I used a digital scale so I could easily see changes, such as going from 185.7 to 185.0.

Each day, I would watch another pound come off.

It’s like my body knew what to do better than my brain did.  I knew it in my gut and I knew it intuitively.  I just had to listen, really listen and pay attention to how my body was responding.  Some days I needed to walk more, other days, I needed to choose a different combination of foods so that I would feel fueled and, at the same time, easily digest.

I really wanted to be clean and clear in my digestion.  I didn’t want a backlog of previous meals bloating me or bogging me down.

I wanted to feel the immediate impact of my last meal on how I felt and how I performed.

I learned to look forward to actually feeling hungry again.

Missing My Goal, but Reaching Others

Henry David Thoreau said it best:

“What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals.”

While I didn’t get my full six-pack abs, I got my starter set, with a  two-pack, over the four week period.

While I didn’t get to 10% body fat, I did lose 22 pounds in three weeks, and then another few pounds in the last week.

Over six weeks, I lost a total of 30 pounds, and more of my abs are starting to poke through.

Overall, I can’t complain.  It was a pretty extreme transformation.

Even people that didn’t see me week to week were surprised, and the change was both rapid and radical.

Fixing the Obstacles in the Way

I ended up going to Nancy Joeckel to try the RIO Method.  RIO stands for Reciprocal Inhibition Optimization.

She helps elite athletes recover from injuries and tune their body for better performance.

Or, as she might put it, “Help your brain make better decisions about how to move your body.”

I figured I would try to fix old pole vaulting, wrestling, and Muy Thai kickboxing injuries.

Anyway, she found my psoas muscles weren’t engaging properly, and neither were my abs.

In other words, with all the ab training I was doing, I wasn’t building muscle because I wasn’t engaging my abs properly.

She corrected my ab and psoas muscles and within the next week I could feel the difference, and more abs started to show, along with a v-cut.

I could also feel a huge difference in how my abs were working when I would do Boda Crunch Twists.

Finally, I was making progress again.

My Biggest Ah-Ha

Here’s what surprised me…I’ve set goals before to get in shape.  But in the past, I’ve taken the long view.

I tried to lose weight slowly and build strength over time.  I tried to slowly hack away at my eating patterns.

It didn’t work.

It was like a long and slow slippery slope.  Actually, it was more like a frog in the boiling pot, where the changes were so slow that I didn’t realize they weren’t going in the right direction.

By focusing on a very small window of time, and accelerating my results, I really felt the impact of my daily choices around what to eat, how hard to exercise, and how much to move.

Gamification helped.  Each day, I asked myself, “How can I lose a pound today?” I would then try to figure out whether to eat less, eat something different, move more, exercise harder, or fast through a meal.

The most important thing I learned is how to really pay attention to what my body seems to know in terms of what it needs and especially what it does not need.

I already knew this intellectually, but really stepping in and experiencing how my body responded to my choices made all the difference.

Finally, I’ve internalized what feeling better, feeling strong, and living lean is really like for me.

The Keys That Worked for Me

Here’s a quick rundown of the keys that worked for me to transform my body:

  1. I weighed myself each morning with a digital scale (this helped me see little changes in weight and stay motivated)
  2. I focused on feeling strong
  3. I tried to wake up hungry vs. full
  4. I made it a game to lose a pound each day
  5. I had a compelling vision of a superhero body that I thought was worth fighting for
  6. I didn’t get hung up on setbacks
  7. I really paid attention to how my muscles felt during my workouts
  8. I really paid attention to how I felt after I ate my meals
  9. I kept things very simple (for example, I didn’t count calories)
  10. I did my best when I didn’t eat past 6 PM

If I think about what was common on my best days is that I had lunch earlier in the day and I didn’t eat past 6 PM.  On days that I missed lunch or ate too late, it was easy for me to get off track and eat the wrong things.

Overall, I’m happy with the changes and the progress, though I still have more work to do.

Hopefully, some of my insights help you on your personal journey of transformation.

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