Your Best Year Ever: A 5-Step Plan for Achieving Your Most Important Goals

Your Best Year Ever: A 5-Step Plan for Achieving Your Most Important Goals

by Michael Hyatt

The Best Year Ever outlines a five-step approach for creating and achieving goals. You will learn how to change your beliefs, overcome your fears, set big dreams, get out of your comfort zone, rethink the past, and let go of regrets. You’ll also discover how to keep yourself motivated, build strong foundations for success, set clear and smart goals, and, most importantly, take action that will bring you closer to success!

Summary Notes

Reshaping Beliefs

“When we focus on belief improvement, often our circumstances follow suit.”

We tend to form negative beliefs about the world, other people, and ourselves at some point in our lives. These beliefs are usually influenced by the following:

  • Black-and-white thinking - a belief that everything is either absolutely good or absolutely bad; there is no middle ground.
  • Personalization - a sense of personal responsibility for all negative things.
  • Catastrophizing - a tendency to predict the worst possible outcome.
  • Generalization - The belief that if something bad happens once, it will always happen; we generalize one negative experience to all future experiences.

Simply put, our thoughts greatly shape our beliefs. Thoughts such as "I'm simply not good at that."; "That's just the way I am."; “People are all selfish” leads to a scarcity mindset. People with this mindset believe their skills are unchangeable and tend to hold limiting beliefs about themselves, the world, and others. When confronted with challenges, they easily give up. 

The opposite of this is the abundance mindset. Abundant thinkers seek alternative solutions when they confront an obstacle. They are optimistic, grateful, confident, and willing to share what they have with others. They perceive obstacles as opportunities, have big dreams, and are willing to take risks. They also have realistic expectations and a positive view of themselves, the world, and other people. 

Success starts with adopting an abundance mindset.

Actions to take

Redefining Past And Regrets

“We can’t fully consider the future because we’re too tied up in what’s already happened. ”

Whatever happened in the past must be handled rather than ignored. We frequently live in self-invented false beliefs and stories that prevent us from achieving progress. To move forward, we must address all of the issues and concerns that have already surfaced. If we don't find a solution, we'll be carrying unfinished business into the future, leaving little chance for growth. 

One helpful way of dealing with our past is by adopting the “After-Action Review” method. This enables us to understand what has occurred, why it happened, what we can learn from the experience, and how we can modify our behavior based on it. 

When dealing with our past, we may find ourselves filled with regrets. Letting go of these regrets is an essential step toward success. 

The best way to do this is to reshape the way we think about regrets by finding opportunities in them. What if last year's frustrations show you next year's wins? What if regret doesn't show you what's impossible but what's possible? Instead of perceiving regrets as obstacles to growth and advancement, we should see them as opportunities and tools to figure out how we can best move forward instead. 

For example, if you regret spending less time with your family last year, adjust your schedule to have more time for the family next year.

Aside from this, practicing gratitude is another way to let go of your regrets. Gratitude brings optimism and fulfillment. Most importantly, it helps us overcome obstacles and keep moving toward our goals.

Actions to take

Designing A Better Future

“You have to be intentional, force yourself to get clear on what you want and why it’s important, and then pursue a plan of action that accomplishes your objective.”

To design your best year ever, you should design your goals effectively. The best way to do this is by making your goals specific, measurable, actionable, risky, time-keyed, exciting, and relevant, aka SMARTER. 

  • Specific: You should clarify what you want to achieve precisely.
  • Measurable: You should be able to measure your progress. For example, how much money do you want to earn this year? How many times per week should you exercise to feel you have reached a goal?
  • Actionable: You should plan the actions you will perform to achieve your goal.
  • Risky: You should go beyond realistic expectations and motivate yourself by setting more ambitious goals.
  • Time-keyed: You should set a deadline for short-term goals while setting a frequency as a starting point for habit goals. For example, doing an action three times a week starting this Monday or each morning starting from October 1st.
  • Exciting: You should set a goal that makes you excited and motivated.
  • Relevant: You should align your goals with your values and life circumstances. For example, if you are a mom of three with a job from 9 to 5, you cannot set a goal that requires much free time.

In achieving our goal, we may be stopped by our fears.  This fear usually comes from stepping out of our comfort zone, in which we will experience growth. Instead of focusing on our fears, we must focus on the benefits of leaving our comfort zone. The fulfillment we will get from it will make conquering our fears worthwhile.

Actions to take

Mastering Motivation

“People lose their way when they lose their why.”

Success is closely related to motivation and often depends on it. To reach your goals, you must have a compelling reason behind them. You should consider why the goal is important and what motivates you personally to achieve it. 

Sometimes we need additional motivation to keep going toward our goals—-we need help from others. 

With good company, any activity is more likely to succeed. The four fundamental ingredients for success—learning, encouragement, accountability, and competition—are all provided by intentional relationships. This type of relationship can help you achieve your goals. 

You can find them by joining online communities, running and exercise groups, masterminds, coaching and mentoring circles, reading and study groups, accountability groups, and among your close friends. The point is to connect with people who share your passions and interests so that you can get inspiration from their company.

Actions to take

Taking The Action

“It’s not enough to plan. It takes action to fully realize our goals.”

Making a detailed plan to achieve goals is beneficial but frequently leads to procrastination. When you get stuck in planning, you lose focus on the concrete actions required for success. 

Remember that we can reach any goal one step at a time. When we let a task get bigger and scarier in our minds, it can make us unsure of what to do, sad, or even paralyzed with fear. On the other hand, starting with the simplest and easiest step will help us easily move toward our goals. 

With every project, the hardest part is typically the first step. But if you start with small steps, you lower the barrier to taking action. This is how you deceive your brain into starting. Picking easy tasks that make you feel good and give you momentum will inspire you to keep working. So make sure always to break big goals into small achievable steps.

Aside from this, using activation triggers can also help us achieve our goals more quickly. This refers to the things that will trigger us to perform the desired actions beneficial to our goals. 

For example, putting exercise equipment in a place where we can frequently see it will help us decide to work out. We may trigger the desired reaction by predicting any circumstances or obstacles we may encounter. Rather than making choices in the heat of the moment when our mental and emotional resources may be depleted, activation triggers lock in our decisions in advance.

Actions to take

Dream Big and Take Huge Steps

“Don’t procrastinate on the one thing you need to do today to make meaningful progress in your personal or professional life. Once you’ve determined your next step, take it. Don’t wait. Take a LEAP.”

To attain bold and big goals that will change our lives for the better, we need more than just a vision. Sure, it feels fulfilling to imagine yourself losing weight, publishing a book, or starting a new company. But it even feels more fulfilling if you truly achieve this, which demands taking action. Remember that the only way to have control over your future is by acting now. 

Sometimes we face challenges and give up on taking action. For example, it's hard for you to find time to work out or to sit down and write for the amount of time it takes each week. This makes you put things off, and the longer you wait to act, the less likely you are to accomplish your goal.

If you want to experience a significant change and achieve big goals in your life, you must take a big LEAP—that is, leaning, engaging, activating, and pouncing on your first crucial move.

Actions to take

Don’t just read. Act.
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