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How to Jumpstart 2017


Here is what you need to know to jumpstart 2017… 

2016 is over.

What was good and what was bad is now behind you.

Neither your results nor your failures follow you anymore.

Regardless of whether this last year was successful or unsuccessful doesn’t matter anymore because it’s gone.

What does follow you is the education you’ve accumulated, the reputation you’ve built, and the character that you have chiseled. 

You have proven that you are strong enough to survive.

You have proven that you will continue on in the face of challenges.

And now it is time to take all that you have acquired and put it to use to build something even greater in the new year.

Because today is a new day.

Today is a new chapter.

Now is the time. 

The time to re-focus.

The time to re-ignite.

The time to re-engage.

Because who you were yesterday is gone forever.

You have a clean slate.

A fresh start. 

A blank canvas.

And the life that you will be living 1 year from today starts right now.

This is your new chance to create.

This is your new chance to innovate.

This is your new chance to get to the next level.

Who you were yesterday has nothing to do with who you have to be today.

You can make new choices.

You can make more powerful decisions. 

And you can create more exciting outcomes.

So, get excited. 

Get focused.

Get energized.

And get to work. 

4 Characteristics of Resolutions that Last 365 days

Last weeks New Year’s Eve marked a milestone I had never completed before: I actually kept a resolution for an entire year. I physically exercised every single day for 365 consecutive days in 2015.

It was a commitment I made to my podcast listeners in late 2014 and I followed through on it.

According to our research, my achievement was pretty rare because here is typically how long people follow through on resolutions: are 4 reasons why it actually came true and how yours could too:

1. It was a resolution for every single day. Instead of being something vague I hoped to be better at for the year it was something I had to do every single day. And what you do all the time matters more than what you do some of the time. The value of a daily commitment was I never had to count days, or have an emotional conversation with myself about whether or not I needed to do it on any given day. If it was a new day it needed to get done. Which meant if I was sick, tired, or busy it didn’t matter, it had to be done and I didn’t negotiate with myself.

A great resolution doesn’t allow room for rationalization.

2. It was a realistic daily timeframe. I knew that there are certain days where I’m literally in meetings or on an airplane for 12 consecutive hours. So going to the gym everyday for an hour or even 30 minutes just simply isn’t realistic. Some days I did do that and it counted for my time but my commitment was at least a 10 minute routine (including resting periods between sets) every day consisting of sit-ups (usually around 300), push-ups (usually around 70), weightless squats (usually around 50), pull ups (usually around 30), going on a short run, or some combination of them. Would that regimen prepare me for the olympics or Ironman? Of course not. But it kept me in great shape and most importantly I actually got it done everyday.

A great resolution isn’t one that is big; it’s one that is doable.

3. You have to have the tools necessary to follow through available at all times. This is one of the most overlooked elements of resolutions yet it’s one of the most critical. Many times we set goals and don’t think through the ancillary requirements needed to achieve those goals – like what resources you’ll need to complete the goal. For example, my wife AJ loves to paint but she can’t really set a resolution to paint an hour each week because many times we travel weeks at a time and she won’t have all her tools with her. Another example is that I once set a resolution to not use an ATM for a year (back when there were fees) but it broke down when I was traveling in cities where they didn’t have one of my banks. The beauty about push-ups, sit-ups, weightless squats, and running is that all that is required is earth under your feet! So as long as you’re not in outer space you’re good! And three of those 4 don’t even require tennis shoes. (Pull ups I only did at home).

A great resolution is one where all the necessary resources are always available to you.

4. There were metrics I could track related to my goal. I’ve heard people say “scales are a tool of the devil.” That’s ridiculous. They aren’t manipulative or negative or evil. A scale is simply a scoreboard. Scoreboards are neutral; in fact that’s what makes them valuable or necessary. The value of a scoreboard is it gives an empirical objective measurement rather than an emotional subjective one. You can ask your spouse “do these pants make my butt look big?” but you can never be sure that the answer is both honest and accurate. Which is why I weigh myself every day. It lets me track my progress honestly and objectively.

A great resolution has a scoreboard that is empirical and objective; not emotional and subjective.

Resolutions can be powerful. And changing your life is always possible. Incorporate these things and make 2016 an awesome year!

What are your New Years Resolutions?

Did You Do Your Best?

“Losers always complain about their best. Meanwhile winners go home with the prom queen.” – Sean Connery in the movie The Rock

A memorable line for sure, but I have to disagree with what Sean Connery is implying on this one.

I’ve noticed that there are conflicting philosophies in the world when it comes to “doing your best.”

Some live by the philosophy that “you can never really do your best.” And they seem to use that as motivation that they can always do better.

I’ve tried that philosophy and here’s what I found it produced for me: perpetual stress.

It constantly leaves you feeling like you’re not good enough.

It robs you and the people around you of being appropriately recognized for their work and achievements.

And it creates an empty void in a place where there should be a deep sense of satisfaction.

I believe this is a major deteriorate of culture over time because its unsustainable. Sure it’s a way to grind out peak performance from people for short periods of time by pushing them relentlessly. But you can only have so many celebrations where you are feeling guilty about the fact that you’re celebrating, instead of being back working, before it wears you down and leaves you exhausted and tired yet somehow feeling like you aren’t actually making any progress.

You know those moments, right? The celebratory moments that are truly few and fleeting because either you or some voice on your team is saying “tomorrow we have to get up and do it all over again!” Except it’s implied that only this time it has to be better because apparently this last time wasn’t good enough.

These people present it as if it’s weak minded to take a few moments or a few days to really sit back and soak up a bit of satisfaction from all that you’ve put in.

I may be going against the grain here of just about every football coach, military leader or CEO, but my conviction is if you want people to go with you for the long haul they need to feel appreciated, satisfied, and recognized when a job is well done – and not just immediately pushed to do something better next time.

Appreciation is a source of inspiration that refills people’s work ethic gas tanks.

Here’s an alternative strategy that’s less stressful and more sustainable: create a culture and a mindset for yourself and your team where rather than telling people they can always do better you simply pose the question “are you doing your best?”

“Are you truly doing the best you know how to do at this very moment?”

“Are you doing your dead level best?”

“Are you giving it everything you have right now?”

If you are then you should be proud. Because…

If you’re doing everything you know how to do…

If you’re trying to maximize every single second…

If you’re working as hard as possible towards your goal…

Then what else can anyone ask of you?

All you can do is the best you know how to do.

What good possibly comes from constantly being told that what you’re doing isn’t good enough?

And how does it make anyone feel valued or successful when the leader is just constantly looking toward the future and never helping people to feel the satisfaction of looking back for just a few moments?

Instead what if they said, “Incredible job! You really laid it all out there. What you’ve done is spectacular. I’m so proud of you and I’m so thankful for the work you’ve put in. You’ve gone above and beyond of what could ever be expected from someone in your position. You have over delivered on what you said you would do.  Please make sure you take some time to soak in the knowledge that what you have achieved is truly remarkable. Thank you for setting such a great example. I’m honored to work with you.”

Would you feel exhausted or recharged after hearing that?

Appreciation is a source of inspiration that refills people’s work ethic gas tanks.

And by the way there is a big difference between doing your best and achieving your best.

I agree that you may not have achieved the best that is ever possible for you.

I may not ever achieve my best. I should always be getting better. I agree with that.

But the gateway to me getting better in the future is to perform the best I know how right now.

And if I’m performing the best I know how right now then I have reason to stop for a second and be proud of that.

I have reason to be satisfied with that.

You can be satisfied without being complacent.

But if I worked as hard as I possibly could have given my other obligations then that was my best. That is something I should feel good about. I’m not going to just write it off as no big deal and move on to thinking ahead because it’s not the best possible I can ever achieve. Because what matters is it is the best possible I could do right now. And I held nothing back.

So I guess ultimately the question comes down not to a leader, or a boss, or a parent, or a coach, or anyone else asking, but to you simply asking yourself:

Did I do my very best this year?

If you did then take a moment to soak it in. You deserve a moment. You’ve done well. And you’ve done it in spite of challenging odds.

If you didn’t then that’s ok too. Pretty soon this year will be closed and gone forever.

The good news for all of us is we get another chance next year to go out and do the best we currently know how to do. And it will be yet another step forward in figuring out what the best possible for our life can really look like.