This is it. This is the time for you to act. Make today the day you stop floundering and start taking action toward the one thing you know you need to do, but haven’t done yet.
This manifesto will teach you:
- How to determine your why. Knowing your why is the key to taking action. It will give you purposeful direction.
- How to get started. Tips for taking the first step and being productive.
- Keeping up the momentum once you get started on your life goals.
This action manifesto will provide the tools, encouragement, and framework to get things done now, not later. You’ll find the balance starts to shift, and you’ll slide into an action groove. Things that used to take you months will take you weeks, and you will control your to do list, not the other way around.
Follow these guidelines and you will become a fire-starter. You’ll propel your own goals forward and help others along the way. You’ll be unstoppable.
You will become someone who takes the trash out right away, finishes their work goals way ahead of schedule, and most importantly, you’ll see the bigger picture and work toward big life goals.
Sound good? Are you pumped up?
Part One: Determine Your Starting Point: Three Types of Goals to Set: SAGs, BHAGs, and Destiny Goals
“One way to keep momentum going is to have constantly greater goals.” -Michael Korda
For all sad words of tongue or pen, the saddest are these: ‘It might have been!’” -John Greenleaf Whittier in Maud Muller
When starting out on your journey to taking massive action, you would do well to have a baseline of goals.
If you don’t know where you’re going, how do you expect to get there?
Action won’t get you anywhere unless you have a clear set of goals to move forward on.
The cool thing? You don’t even have to write them down (even though I suggest you do). Brainstorm your goals and break them into these three groups:
- SAGS (Small Attainable Goals): These goals give you quick wins which are key to momentum and early growth. These get the ball rolling.
- BHAGS (Big Hairy Audacious Goals): BHAG is a concept first developed in the book Built to Last by Jim Collins. Large goals that, once completed, leave a lasting impact on your life.
- Destiny Goals: These are the goals that go beyond you. These are the goals that you want to achieve to leave a legacy.
Have goals at all three levels. Start with SAGs and get your life going in the right direction. Then set and achieve BHAGs for explosive growth. Lastly, change the lives of others by setting Destiny Goals.
Having goals at all three levels will help you take action because you have a direction. Growth will always come to a halt if we don’t have a clear picture of what it is we are shooting for. We must know why we are taking action in the first place.
SAGS: Small Attainable Goals
“Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies.” –Mother Teresa
Setting small goals is the start of major success. I firmly believe that life progress isn’t going to move forward on it’s own. Your goals won’t complete themselves. Once you consider where you’re going, you have to figure out how to make it happen.
Consider these goals as the base in your entire structure and progress. Get some quick wins under your belt.
Here are some prime examples of a SAG:
- Losing five pounds
- Reading two books in one month
- Asking your boss for a raise
- Writing 5000 words in your fiction novella
- Choosing a language learning program and taking the beginners level course
These types of goals will light the fire towards even bigger and better goals.
I never would have built my fifth website if I hadn’t built the first one. If I hadn’t completed the SAG to get a crash course in website building from my brother-in-law, I never would have gotten to the point I am at now.
Marriageisintentional.com was the first website I put together. It was awful (and still is, go ahead and check it out, but visitor beware). The writing is bad, the content and images are ugly, and the formatting is all over the place. I also designed the logo myself. Enough said. It was just bad all around.
I look at that one compared to this site and I am struck by the amount of progress. Now, I know I still have a long way to go to build truly inspiring and motivational content and websites, but I am so much farther along now compared to where I started.
When I first set out to make my initial set of SAGs they were simple in nature. Write my first posts, get my website up, just start.
Starting (and most likely failing) is why SAGs are so important. You may not be able to accomplish them all the first time through. There’s a high chance you will fail in at least a few. Now imagine failing on part of a bigger goal; it might have had you quitting.
If I had wanted to get 10000 subscribers in my first year of building a platform I would have failed, but having small attainable goals brought me back to reality.
The point isn’t to set your sights low. Not at all. As we will soon discuss, having big goals is of the utmost importance.
Start with SAGs, get some quick wins, and then set your sights higher.
Big Hairy Audacious Goals
“A goal should scare you a little and excite you a lot.” — Joe Vitale
These goals are the next tier after you start to achieve your SAGs. These are the personal goals you didn’t really think you would ever achieve. They are not quite at the level of Destiny Goals, but are still huge and will take some time to complete.
These are the types of goals that don’t seem possible at first, but they are attainable if worked at over time. For example:
- Reach your ideal weight and get washboard abs.
- Earn 10,000 a month in passive income to achieve the ultimate flexibility and spend more time with family and fully enjoy life.
- Save up for a ship you can use to sail the world in one year.
- Go one month without watching TV to give more time to your family.
- Travel to Iceland and hike for seven days straight.
- Become a volleyball instructor and teach at a local high school.
BHAGs are not achievable overnight. You will need a consistent burst of momentum from completing SAGs in order to make these a reality.
Once you do achieve these, your life will change for the better.
When I was able to move into working online full time after three years of steady hustling on the side, I felt incredible. It was such a monumental achievement that would not have been possible without the consistent effort I put into SAGs.
BHAGs are the road to Destiny Goals. Don’t skip over them in the aim to change the world. Achieve them and look ahead towards a bigger future.
As you will see, the main differentiator between BHAGs and Destiny Goals is that BHAGs are about your personal goals, and Destiny Goals also involve making a difference for others. Making a difference for others is key to leaving a legacy we can be proud of.
We have to first put on our own oxygen mask before we can help others. Grow yourself first, and then catapult yourself into your destiny.
“Destiny is not a matter of chance; it is a matter of choice. It is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved.” ― William Jennings Bryan
Destiny Goals are the big kahunas of personal growth.
They are what we are ultimately doing it all for. Self-improvement is ultimately worthless if it doesn’t involve making a difference in the lives of others and leaving our world better than we found it.
Destiny Goals are the “what” of how to do this.
Some examples of Destiny Goals:
- Start a non-profit that feeds the homeless in your local community
- Mentor someone else in the hopes they achieve more than you ever could
- Teach a class on developing solid and influential relationships with young adults
- Make someone laugh at least once a day for 365 days straight
- Bring your parents somewhere they’ve never been and create a memory that will last them a lifetime
Think beyond yourself. Your destiny is not meant to lived and completed alone. What quests and goals can you shoot for that will impact others in a positive and life-changing way?
*For more on setting and achieving Destiny Goals go here.
Part Two: Start Taking Action Now and Get Things Done
Armed with a solid list of goals, you’re ready to start accomplishing big things and crossing items off on a to do list. You are ready to start taking action.
But this is where most people get stuck. Taking action is hard and it’s so much easier to stay stuck. Don’t be tempted to stay where you are. You owe it to yourself to take action and develop your uniqueness.
Follow these steps in order to get started. Once you get the ball rolling it’s only a matter of time until you begin to feel the power of momentum. Chase that feeling and get things done. Don’t spend this life consumed with those things that you think you will bring you happiness. Instead, do what you know in your soul to be right and go get your goals.
1) Break Your Goals Into Action Steps
Turn your goals into specific action steps in order to track progress.
You hear people say all the time, “take baby-steps”. It’s one of the most overused cliches out there. I prefer to call baby steps actionable tasks instead.
Practice breaking down your goals into bite-sized chunks of actionable tasks.
If your goal is to lose 10 pounds over a months time, don’t set your weekly tasks to lose 2.5 pounds each week. This makes sense mathematically, but make sure your goals are broken down into actionable tasks. Make the task for the week to go to the gym three times and cook dinner every night.
Make sure the task is something that is solely dependent on you to complete. You can’t guarantee you will get a new job, lose ten pounds in time for beach week, or learn french in time for your trip to Paris.
Break your goal into easy to accomplish tasks over time.
This is the key to getting started and making progress. Taking action will start to become easy when you have a clear path forward.
You get the idea. Focus on actionable tasks that will directly move you toward goal completion.
2) Skip Something Important
Finding the time to work on your goals is a huge issue.
Try this one on for size.
Don’t do something today just because you think you should. Of course, don’t neglect your top priorities in order to create time, instead, pick something you generally do each day or each week and skip it.
Don’t go to the gym, Don’t watch the next episode of Survivor, or don’t take Friday night off.
Challenge yourself to make time to complete your most important goals.
Let’s be real. If you’re reading this post you most likely have some margin in your life to be able to complete even a very tiny step in your goals this week. Would you agree?
Don’t blame anyone but yourself when you finish the week and you missed your chance to take even a small step. Don’t wallow (we all fail!) but learn to create time for what you deem most important.
3) Become a Master at Weekly Planning.
Give yourself tasks you need to complete for the week ahead that directly relate to your main goals. Life always gets in the way, but don’t let it.
Setting yourself up for a successful week is the big ticket way to get things done. Do this one thing and I almost guarantee success with your goals.
You don’t have to think too hard on this. All you need do is pick a time on Sunday afternoon and check your goals and set tasks for the coming week.
This is most successfully done with an accountability partner, but you can do this on your own too.
Using your goals as guidepost, what are the most important tasks you will accomplish this week to move them forward? Don’t write that you have to pick up the laundry on Tuesday or that date night is Friday (unless your goals are to stop forgetting the laundry or to build on your relationship with your spouse).
You can do these things during the week, but don’t add them to your weekly task list here. This list is sacred! Only put the tasks here that matter the most and directly relate to your goals.
At the end of every week, plan your next week ahead to crush your goals.
4) Maximize Your Best Time of Day
Most gurus out there will tell you to wake up at the crack of dawn and do your most important tasks first.
I don’t agree.
We need to work at the time of day we do our best work. We need to start taking action when it makes the most sense for us to do so.
If you are a night owl, work on your goals at night, Morning person? Wake up early. Do your best work on a Sunday afternoon when everyone else is napping or watching football? Crush it then.
I do my best work at night and thus, since my main goals center around writing, I plan my weekly schedule to include evening times for writing. The bulk of this post was written after 7PM on a Friday night.
Don’t get locked into the mentality of following a system that doesn’t work for you. Experiment and find your best time and do your work then.
5) Pick a Path and Go for it.
The more you plan, the more you’ll want to get done. While planning is great and completely necessary, don’t get stuck there. Some folks spend their entire lives focused on making an airtight plan and never take action. Don’t do this.
Pick a direction and get going. You can always change paths later (It’s really okay!).
Focus on what could be and go after it. Build your comfort level with getting stuff done by going out there and getting stuff done. You’ll fail, you’ll cry, it might hurt, a lot. But you owe it to yourself to try anyway.
Part Three: Sustain Momentum and Keep Taking Action
The road to success is filled with roadblocks, inevitable walls, and crazy life circumstances beyond anyone’s control.
Gaining sustained and lasting momentum is possible, but it takes grit and determination and a few tricks.
It’s my joy to share those tricks with you. It won’t make your long journey easy, but it will help along the way to long-term fulfilment and success with your goals.
To master your momentum start with these three steps:
- Be relentless
- Revisit and evaluate
- Don’t expect the world from yourself
1) Be Relentless
I have this skill ingrained in me. I’m lucky. No matter how bad I am at something I don’t give up. I’m relentless and work to get better overtime.
My first book was so bad I took it off Amazon. My latest book is much less bad, and actually, I’m quite proud of it.
Once you know your most important goals work towards them relentlessly. Don’t give up or give in to feelings of inadequacy.
Cultivate a relentless attitude by going forward no matter what. Do listen to feedback, and do try new things when needed, but don’t give up. Keep going hard towards your dreams no matter what happens.
Being relentless is a superpower you can create that no one can take away. Once you start towards your dream don’t look back no matter what happens. Keep working and learning and eventually, the dam will break. It might take longer than you thought, but if you let nothing stop you, you will eventually find success with your chosen endeavor.
As always, strike a balance here. Don’t go overboard or you risk becoming stubborn. More on that in the next point.
2) Revisit and Reevaluate
If, at any point in your quest you feel like something isn’t working, call an audible. Stop what you are doing and check in with your progress.
Important questions to ask during this check in:
- Am I still working towards my dream or have I shifted course?
- Has my relentlessness turned into stubbornness?
- Am I missing anything?
- Are there any areas of my life I am neglecting in order to actualize my dream?
One of the most powerful tools for continued self-improvement and moving in the right direction is to reevaluate current progress and make any necessary changes.
Don’t get stuck beating your head against the wall if two years into following your dream to sail around the world you realize you in fact hate sailing.
Moving on to a new dream is vastly different than giving up. Don’t get the two confused. Reevaluate current progress, figure out what’s working and what isn’t, and then make a new plan from there.
3) Don’t Expect the World from Yourself
One of the biggest momentum killers is expecting too much from ourselves too soon.
We often overestimate what we can accomplish in one year but highly underestimate what we can do in ten.
I’m not suggesting making your ten year plan and setting it in stone, but aim to pace yourself instead. Don’t expect the world when you just get started.
Reaching for big goals and completing life quests takes time. Overnight success stories are few and far between. The most impactful and powerful stories come from those who keep working at it until they find success. You can be one of those people if you stick with it long enough.
Taking action for the long-haul means keeping momentum in your journey. Relish the quick wins and early successes, but keep working towards an even better future.
What is your next step towards taking action in your life?
Comment below and let me know what your next step, and then TAKE it.
Let’s go and change the world, together,