Charged Up! podcast: How to have your best year ever

Episode 53: Life strategist Michael Hyatt on making financial resolutions stick

Charged Up! with Jenny Hoff



Life strategist and best-selling author Michael Hyatt joins us with tips on how to make this your best year ever.

Whether you’re looking to better your finances, improve your personal life, get healthier or all of the above, Hyatt shares his top strategies for making the right kind of goals and following through. Based on his popular seminar “Five Days to Your Best Year Ever,” Hyatt has now written a book, “Your Best Year Ever,” as a guide to finally getting the life you want.

So, let’s get charged up! about creating our best year ever!

Transcript:

Jenny Hoff: Michael, thank you so much for joining me today. 

Michael Hyatt: Thank you, Jenny, great to be on with you.

Hoff: So let’s start with the backstory to your book, you have a five-day seminar that you do over Christmas and New Year’s called “Five Days to Your Best Year Ever.” What is the seminar’s main goal and how similar of results can we get by just using the book

Hyatt: Yeah, so actually this is something that I developed in my own practice a couple of decades ago. Between Christmas and New Year’s I would take one hour a day, it’s not actually five days, it’s just done on five days. But one hour a day over a five-day period where I would basically review the past year, kind of think it through, reflect on it, and then plan or design my next year with the goal of trying to better myself and design a better year than I had experienced in the last year.

At one point my daughter, who works in my company, Michael Hyatt and Co., came to me and she said, “Dad, I think we need to put together a course on this.” And I said, “That sounds like a great idea.”

And so we did.

That was five years ago. We put together an online course. So far we’ve had over 25,000 people go through the course, and that became a course that we did every year, again as an online course. We did the first live event last year in Nashville. It’s a three-day event. We’ve got the next one coming up at the beginning of 2018.

After five years of getting all this incredible input from our students, and doing a lot more research on goal achievement, that it was time to write the book. Sso I spent this last year writing the book, and I kind of think of the book as being different than the course. The book is kind of like the textbook. The course is really kind of how to go through it and actually implement it, but the book has tons of the latest goal-achievement research and so much about what we’ve learned about goal-setting is just wrong.

Hoff: Yeah, I definitely get all that, like what is wrong with goal-setting, what we traditionally think of how we make our goals for the new year and how we get through them, and what you found actually works with people.

And you actually have an accompanying planner that people can get with that book, correct, that allows them to kind of structure their days and structure their weeks in a more mindful manner rather than just writing down - here’s what I have to do here and when, right? You have three goals a day that you go through, you have a review section, you have how you’re taking care of yourself physically and spiritually too, correct? Is that a good thing to buy with the book?

Hyatt: Yes, absolutely. It’s called the full focus planner, and people can find out more at fullfocusplanner.com. But it was really designed to take those goals that we have for the year and reduce them to daily actions, so that incrementally we begin to realize our goals. So that’s exactly what the planner does.

Hoff: And that’s fantastic, because I think sometimes these overwhelming goals we can kind of just push it aside, we don’t want to think about it, we’ll start it tomorrow, it feels too big. When you’re breaking it down into little chunks every day it feels a lot more manageable.

So you have a five-step approach to achieving your dreams for the year, and we’re going to go over each one of them. But I want to concentrate on our financial goals, though as you point out in the book, everything is really interwoven, our marital life, our parental life, our health, everything kind of goes together and will affect the other.

But since this is a financial podcast we’ll kind of use financial goals as examples. But one thing that you point out in the book is that just making one goal for a new year, which many people do, isn’t really the most helpful. Why is that?

Hyatt: Yeah, well, what most people do when they approach the new year is they are in a state of euphoria and excitement about the new year and they make resolutions. And the problem with resolutions is that they’re typically general and vague. It might be something like, “I’d like to get out of debt.” Or, “I want to get a raise.” Or, “I want to increase my sales by 20 percent this year.” So it’s something that’s just general and vague, and it’s not specific and measurable.

As a result, people put together resolutions that they rarely accomplish. In fact, like 90 percent of people give up after six months, and I would say based on my experience of going to the gym, which I go to five days a week, usually those two weeks after the new year you can’t get a parking space, right?

Hoff: Right.

Hyatt:  Because everybody and their brothers made a resolution to get in better shape. And if you’ll just wait a couple weeks there’ll be plenty of parking spaces, because most people have given up on their resolutions. So there’s a vast difference between resolutions and a properly articulated and written goal.

Hoff:  Right, it’s actually making a game plan, forcing yourself to think it through and know step-by-step what you’re going to do, versus just something I have in the back of my mind but I don’t really know how I’m going to get there.

Hyatt:  Right, exactly.

Hoff:  So let’s start with your first step which is believe the possibility. How do we train our minds to not just say, “OK, I believe I can do it,” and actually believe that we can do it. And I like the study in your book that shows how younger people, they have higher rates of achieving their resolutions than older people because they still feel a little invincible, life hasn’t beaten them down at all yet.

But if we have experienced setbacks in our lives and we don’t have that youthful optimism, what should we do? And let’s use an example, let’s take a person who’s maybe $30,000 in debt, they have a spouse, they have kids, they have a fixed income - what would you advise them on their front as far as starting with believing it’s actually possible to get out of debt? And let’s use that five steps to upgrading your beliefs is the structure.

Hyatt:  Well, I think the very first thing you got to do is confront the fact that you’ve probably got some limiting beliefs that shape your perception of reality. In fact, I find that this is the number one thing that keeps people from attempting or achieving goals, is they’ve got a belief that’s deeply ingrained and they confused that belief with reality.

I have a quick story. I tell this in the book. But I used to have this English Setter named Nelson. And I didn’t have fence at the time, and if the door got opened and he was nearby he would bolt through the door like an escaping convict, and we’d spend the next 30 minutes trying to track him down.

And then I discovered invisible fence. And so we put this invisible fence in around the perimeter of our yard, and we put a special collar on the dog. And when the dog approached this fence he gets this little vibration. And after a while we could take that collar off, I mean, we were just negligent, we didn’t put it on anymore, but he still couldn’t go outside the perimeter of that fence, because the perimeter had moved from the external world of yard into the internal world of Nelson’s brain.

And that’s how limiting beliefs work for most of us. We experienced a setback, we experienced a challenge and now all of a sudden we begin to think that that’s reality. We might think for example, “Gosh, I guess I’m just not very good with money.” Or, “I guess I’m never going to make more than I’m making right now.” Or, “I’ll never be able to dig my way out of a debt.”

And those are underlying assumptions that grounded in fact, but grounded in our perception. And so that’s what we have to confront those limiting beliefs. And so just to give you my process for upgrading those beliefs, first thing is just to recognize. It could be anything.

I hear people saying, some of them are searching for a job, “I’m too old for that job.” Or, “I’m too young for that job.” Or, “I don’t have enough experience or I don’t have the right education.” They need to recognize the limiting belief.

Secondly, I think it’s really helpful to record the belief. There’s something about actually writing it down and seeing it on paper that kind of takes some of the mystique and some of the power away from it.

And then from there I would just review the belief and start asking yourself the question, “Is this belief empowering me or is it hindering me from achieving what I wanted to achieve?”

And then fourth is reject or reframe the belief. So in other words you can just stay out of hand, no, I’m not going to accept that or you could reframe it.

And so here’s a good example - maybe you might say to yourself, “Well, I’m not very good with money.” But a reframe might say, “You know what? I may not have been very good with money up until this point, but I can learn how to be good with money. I can listen to podcasts like this. I can read books that’ll help me grow. And that’s probably the only difference between me and somebody that’s good at it, that’s simply education and experience.” So to refine that belief is really important.

Then beyond that I think we’ve got to revise the belief, and I want to just say turn it into a liberating truth. And that’s just what I did in the last example. Turn it into a truth that we can begin to reprogram or reorient ourselves and exhibit a different kind of behavior.

Hoff:  OK, so it’s a process to get through this belief structure, such as saying, “OK, I’m not going to believe that anymore. I’m going to try to change it.” But it’s recognizing it, recording it, it’s confronting it, it’s reframing it or changing it all together, and it’s liberating yourself from it so that it’s no longer constraining you in how you act. 

Hyatt:  Totally. 

Hoff:  So you also talked about in the book scarcity thinkers and abundance thinkers. What are those types of thinkers? And what is the difference and how does it impact our lives? 

Hyatt:  Yeah, this is a huge distinction. People that tend to approach the world with this attitude of - there’s not enough. I have to hoard. I have to be careful with what I have. And certainly we all, we want to be prudent with the resources we’ve been given. But an abundant thinker says things like - my wife always reminds me of this, or will say things like - there’s always more where that came from. I don’t have to clutch and hold everything. 

My experience is that you don’t get more of what you want until you recognize and are thankful for what you have. And so I think to recognize the resources that we have is huge. It could be as simple, and this is directly related to our financial health is our physical health. If we’ve got our health, if we’re able-bodied, if we’ve got our minds we can figure out ways to make more money or pay off debt or get that raise or grow our business or whatever it is. But it comes out of a place of abundance not a place of scarcity. 

Hoff:  And so how do we change that? Because I mean I think we can all probably think of some people, maybe think of ourselves and say, “OK, that’s a scarcity thinker, that’s an abundance thinker.” How do you change that? Because I feel like it’s definitely something that you’ve been ingrained from childhood almost, like you have been this way for many, many years. How do you change yourself to stop thinking, “OK, if I give this away it’s never going to come back or if that person gets that job that means I won’t get that job,” how do you change your brain to become more abundance thinking? 

Hyatt:  Well, I think it’s a matter of focus in gratitude. One practice that my wife and I observe is at the end of day usually the day is a mix of things that were good and bad, right? So you could focus on the things that were bad that happened, the things you lost for example. Or you could focus on your wins, the things that you gained.

So one of the things that we force ourselves to do at the end of the day is to itemize for one another, we just do this in a conversation at the end of the day usually and say, “OK, what were your three wins for the day?” Now that focus, the great thing about that is that forces us to focus on abundance, not what we lost but what we gained. It also makes a much better night’s sleep than worrying about your losses and focusing on the scarcity. 

And the truth is that in the daytime when you wake up and you’re more resourceful, you can face some of those things. I’m not talking about escaping reality or pretending that hard things don’t happen, but I am saying that we can choose where we’re going to put our focus. And we can be grateful for those things, and again I think we’re going to get more of what we focus on. 

Hoff:  Absolutely, and you’ll just even get more joy in your life, right? 

Hyatt:  Totally. 

Hoff:  I mean, when you’re thinking about all the great things you have in your life, and truthfully if we live in this country most people if you’ve traveled the world or you’ve watch the news you can say, “We’ve got a lot to be grateful for, no matter what.” No matter where we are in our financial journey. 

Let’s talk about the next step - complete the past. What does this mean? You’re not talking about necessarily going all the way back to your childhood and dealing with that trauma, that’s one thing that we have to deal with. But in your book you talk about a more like recent past. Why do you need to confront that and how do you do that? 

Hyatt:  Yeah, I think that unfortunately if we don’t process the past, if we don’t really kind of close the chapter on the past and have a way for doing that we’re going to be destined to repeat it. And after-action review, and that’s what I called the book, and that’s a term I picked up for the military. 

But whenever the military goes through an engagement, at least the US military, afterwards they go through an after-action review and they say, “OK, what worked? What didn’t? How can we improve?” And oftentimes life is going so fast that the pace keeps us from actually going through that reflection, and we suffer as a result of that.

So one of the things I encourages we look forward to this next years, we’re considering 2018, is really going through a process and I have a seven-step process in the book, but go through the process of evaluating what happened this past year.

And again, as you pointed out, Jenny, this is not about trying to resolve those childhood traumas, see a psychologist if you need to, those are important. I’m not diminishing those at all. But I’m talking about the recent past, what happened this past year? What were the areas for example where you were disappointed? I mean, let’s be honest, there’s no reason to just kind of gloss over those. Where was I disappointed? Where was I not acknowledged when I think maybe I should have been? 

And conversely what were the wins, what were some of the great things that happened this last year? And I’ll tell you again it goes back to like a daily gratitude. But if we don’t do this on an annual basis and don’t really take stock in this past year, it’s so easy to slip into this pattern of focusing on the negative and not really taking stock of the good things that happened this past year. 

When you do that, when you focus on the good things that happened - the wins, small or great, here’s what it does - it creates a sense of momentum. It makes you feel more confident, and it gives you the courage to plan out this next year like you need to, to take on the big challenges that you’ll be facing and to do it with the confidence that you’ll see it through. 

Hoff:  Absolutely, so it’s not even just looking at what were the things that went wrong this last year that I want to improve for this year, but it’s actually looking what did I do great, what were the wins that I had, what were the accomplishments, as well are what are the things that I could improve and do better this year. So you’re really just taking stock of where you’ve been so that you can move forward and maybe not repeat those actions. 

Is it important to write all of that down so you confront it? 

Hyatt:  Yes, I really encourage people to write things down all through the book. But I love the saying that I heard years ago, probably decades ago. It says, “Thoughts disentangle themselves pass over the lip, into pencil tips.” There’s something about the process of writing down that gives us the clarity. There’s something that happens as it passes from our brain into our physical bodies and onto the page that gives us clarity that we don’t get usually just by thinking about something. 

Hoff:  Absolutely, and even when I think about the fact how problems can really mount in your brain and become really big problems, but sometimes if you write them down they’re not as scary anymore, they’re not as big of a deal as they were when they’re just in your brain and you’re imagining all of the horrible things that can happen with this problem, correct? 

Hyatt:  So true, so true.

Hoff:  Yeah, so your third step is to design your future. In the book you talk about writing down your goals as being important, but it doesn’t stop there. You say goals need to check seven boxes, and you have this smarter system and each one of those letters stands for one of those boxes. Can you go over what those are and why they’re relevant? And let’s use again who’s person who’s $30,000 in debt, they want to get out of that debt. How does this SMARTER system work? 

Hyatt:  OK, so first of all it begins, before I get into that acronym SMARTER, it begins by writing down your goals. Now this is more important than people think, because when I speak to CEOs and business owners and other business leaders, I always ask the question - how many of you believe in the power of written goals? Well, as you could imagine every hand in the audience goes up, everybody believes in that, right?

But then I ask - OK, let’s be honest, how many of you have a written set of goals for this current year? Leave your hand up if you do. Every hand goes down, and I counted this over a lot of different audiences, but generally all but about 5 percent of the hands go down.

So writing goals down is important. In fact, Dr. Gayle Matthews at Dominican University did a research project studying on goal achievement, and she found that if you write down your goals you’re 42 percent more likely to achieve them just by writing them down.

Hoff:  Wow.

Hyatt:  So it’s a powerful thing that gives us the clarity and sets the intention into motion. Now the SMARTER framework, so we’ve all heard of smart goals, mine is a version of that - smarter goals. But there’s some important twists. So, for example the S stands for specific. So if you’re going to be specific you might want to say for example if you’re paying down $30,000 worth of debt is that your mortgage, is that credit card debt, what kind of debt are we talking about? So let’s just say for this example - okay, I want it to be specific. I want to pay off $30,000 worth of credit card debt. So that’s number one. 

So it needs to be measurable, so it’s not just - I want to get out of debt. But in this case we’ve also made it measurable because we specified exactly how much, it’s going to be $30,000. That’s great, so we all know that. That’s the smart system. It’s also part of the smarter system. 

But then the goal needs to be actionable. Some systems say attainable, in my system it’s actionable. That means you’ve got to be able to take action on it. It needs to start with a strong verb like - get out of debt or pay off. It’s not a “to be” verb. I want to feel more financially prosperous or I am more financially prosperous. No, it’s got to be something you could take action on. So that’s the A.

The R, and this is where I depart from the conventional system, because the R in the smart system that most people have been taught is it means the goal has to be realistic. And what that means for most people is that they’re going to set a goal that’s squarely in their comfort zone. That’s probably the best way to make sure that you don’t achieve the goal, and here’s why. 

A goal that’s in your comfort zone is a goal that you’re pretty confident that you can hit. It’s the goal that you’ve probably done before, a goal where you know the strategy, you know the path, it’s clear to you. But here’s the problem, and all the research confirms this and I’ve got the research cited in the book. But the problem is that when a goal is in your comfort zone, then it doesn’t ignite your imagination, it doesn’t require innovation, it doesn’t compel your focus, and it doesn’t get you excited and you just forget about those kinds of goals. 

So what I encourage people to do is not set the goal in the comfort zone, but to make it a little bit risky, and that’s what the R stands for, to dial it up from the comfort zone to the discomfort zone. 

Now you’ll know you’re in the discomfort zone when you begin to feel what? Uncomfortable. You’re going to feel a little bit of fear, a little bit of uncertainty, a little bit of doubt, and that’s good. 

Now what you want to avoid is dialing it up so far that you’re the third zone which I call the delusional zone. And so for me if I had a goal to play golf on the PGA Tour, that would be in my delusional zone because I’m not that good at golf. 

Hoff:  Right. 

Hyatt:  And I would be fooling myself to think that I could, so that’s the R. So, then we get to the T, and that stands for it needs to be time-keyed or time-bound. There’s got to be a deadline. When do you want to pay that $30,000 of debt off? Do you want to pay it off by April the 30th? Do you want to pay it off by December the 31st? Be specific, because deadlines drive urgency. They give you a sense that there’s something impending you’ve got to take action on this. 

Then E, and this is where I think it’s really fun, the goals got to be exciting. In other words if this goal doesn’t get you excited when you think about accomplishing it, it doesn’t deserve to be a goal. It might be a project, and every goal is a project, but not every project is a goal. And let me give you a quick example of that. 

I had one of my students last year who said, “Gosh, I’m just so stuck on this one goal. I just can’t seem to work up any energy to pursue it.” I said, “What’s the goal?” And she said, “I really need to reconcile my accounting. That’s one of my goals for this year, is I want to get my accounting reconciled, kind of clean up, chart of accounts cleaned up and all that.” And I said, “Well, let me ask you a simple question - are you excited about that.” She said, “Heck no, I’m not excited about that. It bores me to death.” 

And I said, “OK, then that’s probably a project, but it doesn’t deserve to be a goal.” Because a goal by definition, or my definition has to be exciting, so you’re going to have a lot of projects next year but you only need a handful of goals. 

And then that final R in the SMARTER framework just means that it has to be relevant. It has to be relevant to your season in life, it has to be relevant or related to the other goals so that you don’t have competing goals, and so this is really what I mean by relevant. So that’s the smarter framework. 

Hoff:  Yeah, that’s great. And I really like that, the kind of something that’s risky, something that also excites you, right? So it’s something that you’re not sure if you can accomplish, because you haven’t done that before but at the same time if you think of yourself having accomplished that you get really excited about it. And that’s probably a lot toward the motivation of actually sticking with it once you’ve envisioned the possibility of that.

Hyatt:  Totally. 

Hoff:  So then you talk about finding your why, that it’s more than just wanting to do something but really knowing why you need to accomplish this. Why is this important and how do we find our why, and really ingrain it into us?

Hyatt:  Our why is important because it helps us quit proof our goals. Everybody starts out strong, you get a goal, you decide you’re going to do this thing - whether it’s payoff $30,000 of debt or run a half-marathon. Here’s a good example from running a half marathon, everybody at this starting line is excited. I mean, I’ve run several of these and you’re out there with 35,000 people that are all amped up, probably over-caffeinated but ready to run, and everybody’s excited. 

It’s a very different picture when you get to about mile 10, and now people are wondering if they’ve got what it takes to finish. And in the pursuit of every project, the pursuit of every goal do you encounter what I call the messy middle. And that’s where you got too much invested to quit, you’ve come so far but you’re not sure you’ve got the resources to finish and you’re thinking about, you’re entertaining the possibility of quitting. 

The only thing that keeps you in the race that keeps you finishing is to remember your why. And the best time to excavate your why and find out what it is at the beginning we don’t want to quit, but to ask yourself, force yourself to ask this question on every single goal, by the way I don’t recommend more than about seven to ten goals a year, but for each one ask yourself - why is this important to me? 

In other words, what’s at stake, both positively and negatively? When I wrote one of my recent books, “Platform: Getting Noticed in a Noisy World,” I was really in a busy season in my life, I was speaking a lot, I was out on the road a lot, I had a very busy consulting business. And so the book was just not getting done. 

And so the deadline was looming, I was about six weeks out and I had a rough draft. And I really thought, “There’s no way I can finish this. I want to quit.” Well, then I went back to the goal, and I reviewed my why. And I said, “OK, look, I wouldn’t establish my authority,” and that was a huge why for me, “I want to establish my authority on this subject matter.” 

“Second thing is I want to open up opportunities that only a book can open up, I want to be able to raise my speaking fees, I want to be able to get more speaking invitations and I knew a book would do that,” so that was part my why. 

And I also wanted to help just tens of thousands of people that wanted to build an online platform but didn’t know how, and so that was part of my why, so I went that even though I wanted to quit. I reviewed my why and I thought, “You know what? Not only can I finish this book, I must finish it because there’s too much at stake not to.” 

Hoff:  Yeah, absolutely. And I love that. And I’ve read once that most people quit when there’s only 10 percent left of a project, or something like that, or 20 percent left. 

Hyatt:  So true, yeah.

Hoff:  But it’s almost easy to get that first 80 percent, right? But it’s the exceptional people, it’s when you become exceptional when you get through that last 20 percent. And I totally understand you’re running a marathon, I ran a marathon and I think at mile 23 I said, “If any car stops to pick me up I’ll get in there right now. I don’t know why I’m doing this.” But luckily no car came by and I finished. 

And you feel amazing when you do finish. It’s amazing how I got through 23 miles, and then that last three just felt almost impossible, and that’s usually what it is I think with many of our goals it’s that last bit the really tough part that a lot of us drop out. So I think finding your why and being able to go back to that keeps you motivated. 

Your fifth step is to make it happen. And obviously this is the end goal of all of this preparation. And you recommend tackling the easiest tasks first. Why is that? 

Hyatt:  Well, this is kind contrary to what a lot of people advise. They say eat the frog, do the most difficult thing first and then everything else is easy. That to me is equivalent to walking into the gym without warming up, walking over to the bench press, putting 200 pounds on the bar and trying to lift it. That’s a recipe for injury and for quitting. 

No, you want to warm up first. You want to get a sense of momentum. So for example just because I was talking about writing a book, a lot of people think, “Well, if I write the most difficult chapter first then it’ll be easy.” The problem is you also might quit. 

So what I recommend and I’ve written nine books now, I used to be in the publishing business and have coached literally thousands of authors - write the easiest chapter first. This doesn’t work for novels or fiction, but it does work for nonfiction. Write the easiest chapter first, then write the next easiest chapter.

Now you’re building up a sense of momentum. Now you’re making progress and you’re convincing your brain that this difficult thing you want to do that’s in your discomfort zone is possible. 

And this is a really important concept, Jenny, that the goal has to be in your discomfort zone but the next step needs to be in your comfort zone. So in other words it needs to be, maybe it’s a phone call you need to make, maybe it’s an email you need to send, maybe it’s some research you need to do. But that needs to be in your comfort zone. And it really harnesses the power of incremental step by step change over time. 

Hoff:  Absolutely, and so the person who’s trying to get out of debt perhaps they should take their smallest credit card bill, and pay it off in full. And then they feel like they’ve accomplished something, they have that feeling of there’s one credit card that I don’t owe any money on.

Hyatt:  Totally. Yeah, so like people like Dave Ramsey suggest that even though it may not be your highest interest rate card, just get the smallest debt paid off so you can begin to feel a sense of momentum. He calls it baby steps, and I think it’s an apt term for this.

Hoff:  Yeah, great. And so you talk about activation triggers in your book, what are they and how can they help?

Hyatt:  Well, there’s two aspects of activation triggers. Sometimes these in the research, in the goal research are called implementation intentions. But it’s number one when we anticipate what we’re going to do with the challenges, when something comes up that might derail us - how are we going handle it?

So for example a habit goal that I want to be out of the office by 5:00PM or 6:00PM each night, what happens when I get a call from a colleague or a client 15 minutes before the deadline? How am I going to handle that? So an activation trigger would say, “OK, if I get that I’m going to let it go to voicemail, or I’m going to tell the person at the front end that I’ve got another commitment and I need to leave in 15 minutes.” But you’re trying to anticipate the obstacle so that you don’t get derailed by it when it happens. 

There’s another aspect though of an activation trigger where you basically automate the process and use some kind of triggering event to trigger the positive behavior that you’re trying to build. So when I was trying to develop a habit of running on a regular basis, I noticed that I kept getting derailed when I woke up in the morning and I was groggy and it was cold and I just thought, “You know what? I think I’ll just stay in bed today.” And that kept derailing me.

So what I started doing at the very beginning was to set up my gym clothes the night before, and to use an alarm and to set it across the room. So that was an activation trigger that when I heard the alarm I knew my clothes were already set out, I knew it was going to be a lot less hassle than I thought, and so it was much easier for me to follow through on it. 

If you’re on a diet for example and you don’t want to eat junk food or processed food, an activation trigger would be clean all that stuff out of your cupboard so it’s not even temptation, it’s not even there to deal with. It might be reducing the number of credit cards you have, or something that keeps you from resorting to something that’s going to add to your debt not help you pay it off. 

Hoff:  Right, at creditcards.com sometimes we recommend even freezing your credit card or doing something that it would be very difficult to get that credit card out and make that purchase impulsively, and you would have to sit there with a hairdryer for an hour to get that melted, and then do you still want that object that much?

And so there are things that you can do that set yourself up for success more and as you mentioned basically taking away the temptation to fall down and setting yourself up for success. So if somebody is listening to this right now, and they’re pumped, and they’re saying, “OK, I got this. It’s 2018. I’m going to accomplish my goal.” What are the three most important things that they should tackle right now to get started on living their best year ever?

Hyatt:  Well, the first place I would start is I would ask myself the question what do I want in 2018? In other words, if I get to December 31, 2018, and if I look back on the year that I just experienced - what would I want to be able to say in every area of my life? What kind of health do I want to be in? What do I want my most significant relationships to be? What I want to have had happen in my career or in my finances? What would make this an amazing year? So get in touch with what you want.

No. 2,  write it down. This will force clarity and write it down using the SMARTER framework. So go ahead and get the clarity, frame the goal up in a way that gives you the edge, gives you the maximum possibility of actually achieving the goal. 

And then the third thing I would do is for each goal, we talked about finding your why, so I’m not going to get into that again. But I want to identify at least one next action step that I can take, a step that’s in my comfort zone, that I can stay take and start moving toward the realization of that goal.

Now here’s where a lot of people get it wrong too. They over think the planning of how many steps they need to take. In other words they come up with these detailed action plans, they spend a lot of time planning out how they’re going to achieve the goal, but here’s the problem with that - oftentimes that becomes a fancy way to procrastinate. And what’s more important is that you get into the race. Start running, do something, take some action. 

So I really encourage people to just identify the next step or two. That’s enough. If the goals in your discomfort zone, the path is not going to be clear right away, you’re not going to see it until you get in motion. You don’t have to see the beginning to the end, just get in motion. So I would suggest those three things.

Hoff:  All right, so definitely just don’t try to plan it too much. Just get in there, get a couple of the next steps going and you’ll see what the next steps after that should be. Because I think that could probably overwhelm us if we try to plan it too much and then it feels like such a big project, there’s no way we can tackle it. 

I definitely recommend your focus journal, because I have one of them and I’ve looked through it and I can’t wait to get there and start writing down my goals, and before certainly think it through a little bit and have my next steps.

And finally, our show is called Charged Up! What gets you charged up about helping people change their lives and accomplish goals that they felt were impossible?

Hyatt:  I love, love, love helping people realize that they’ve got more power than they think, so many of us think that our lives are basically the result of these unseen forces that we can’t control. It’s the economy, it’s the political powers that be, it’s our boss, it’s whatever. But it’s not. Those are all what Dr. Stephen Covey called our circle of concern, but we have another circle inside of that that’s our circle of control or our circle of influence. 

We can’t control everything in life but we can control a heck of a lot more than we think. And the key to success in life is to take control of what we can take control of and forget the rest. If you do just that you’re going to be successful. It doesn’t mean there won’t be ups and downs, but over the long haul you’re going to be successful.

Hoff:  Absolutely. Thank you so much. Great conversation, very inspiring, I highly recommend your book, I highly recommend your journal. It’s a great way to start off the New Year to get those goals in mind and to remember that we can accomplish them. They’re not impossible; we just have to take it one step at a time. 

Hyatt:  That’s right. 

Hoff:  Michael, thank you so much.

Hyatt:  Thank you, Jenny. All the best.

See related: Financial resolutions can make you feel better, Charged Up! podcast: Giving back and getting more with Justin Baldoni


Join the discussion
We encourage an active and insightful conversation among our users. Please help us keep our community civil and respectful. For your safety, do not disclose confidential or personal information such as bank account numbers or social security numbers. Anything you post may be disclosed, published, transmitted or reused.

If you are commenting using a Facebook account, your profile information may be displayed with your comment depending on your privacy settings. By leaving the 'Post to Facebook' box selected, your comment will be published to your Facebook profile in addition to the space below.

The editorial content on CreditCards.com is not sponsored by any bank or credit card issuer. The journalists in the editorial department are separate from the company's business operations. The comments posted below are not provided, reviewed or approved by any company mentioned in our editorial content. Additionally, any companies mentioned in the content do not assume responsibility to ensure that all posts and/or questions are answered.




Weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, advice, articles and tips delivered to your inbox. It's FREE.


Updated: 07-17-2018