I've been told that as you get older time speeds up. But, I don't know, it seems like everyone I talk to agrees that the years seem to fly by faster and faster, young and old. So, it isn't a surprise at all that we're in the midst of "The Holiday Season" and looking at a brand-spanking New Year right around the corner. When it seriously feels like we just did this dance, not very long ago. Wasn't it just Jan 1, 2011 a month or two ago?
You'd think that 365 days would be more than enough. To get all the things done that you want to get done. That's 8760 hours. If you sleep around 8 hours a day, that still leaves us with 5840 hours of awake time. Which is less than some of the Time Management Experts say we really have.
According to my calculations, that gives us 117 hours per week (not including sleep time).
And that really SHOULD be enough to do anything and everything we want to do. Of course, some people have to work at jobs that don't give them any time to do anything else during "working hours". So let me deduct 40 hours per week from the total "awake" hours and we still end up with 3760 hours over the course of a year, or 72 hours per week of "disposable" time!
72 hours to do whatever we want with our selves. Anything and everything we can dream up. If we just put our minds to it. (Yes, I understand how much time it takes to raise children or care for an infant. But there's always SOMETHING... It's still up to you to budget your time. Or tell yourself excuses about how little of it you have.)
So, with that said, as we round the bend to ring in 2012, I think we should look ourselves in the eye (you probably need a mirror for this) and ask "Did I do it? Did I have an OUTSTANDING year? Did I accomplish everything I wanted to? Did I get everything I wanted?" And if the answers are no to any of those questions, then maybe it's time, right now, to make better use of the coming year.
Because you know what? By the time you get done reading this little blog, and then go take a pee or get a drink of water (in which case you can pee a little later), you're going to be half way to 2013. Don't believe me? How fast was 2011? Remember how it felt to have a brand new clean slate before you when we screamed out HAPPY NEW YEAR the last time?!?
Don't run away from these feelings. Don't avoid them. This is important. If you want to do anything of value with your time on this planet, that is. If not, by all means, stop reading this and go watch some TV. OK, now, all those still with me, let's do this. Let's make 2012 count.
Get a notebook or some sheets of paper. Don't have any?? OK, open up a word doc. That'll work. But I suggest writing on paper. Now, write down some of your most important goals. I'm not going to go deeply into how to write your goals or how to break them up into categories or any of that stuff. There are plenty of books and tutorials out there about how to do that. And I recommend Tony Robbins' books and audio series by the way.
But right now, we're doing this together, we're going to make a commitment to taking MASSIVE ACTION in 2012. So that the next almost 9000 hours of life will REALLY mean something!
Something I feel you should know. I started out in life with pretty much nothing. Zippo. My family was dirt poor, and growing up my family couldn't even afford to pay the heating bills in the winter. And upstate NY gets very cold, which means for me, that I don't have all pleasant associations with winter and the holidays.
That's OK. Because there are gifts in EVERYTHING if you just look for them. And I found mine. And I'm here today to tell you that I've created a situation for myself in which I can decide when and how I work, and truthfully, I probably don't even have to work if I don't want to. I did it by making a plan of action. And then, simply, TAKING ACTION. That's it. That's the whole secret. You can pay me on the way out. :) Speaking of The Secret, I definitely believe in the power of positive thinking and all that. But that is just one part of it. You are not going to fulfill your dreams and change the world by lying on the sofa and THINKING about it.
ACTION is key.
But before you take action, you need something else.
You need a PLAN.
But before that... you need to make DECISIONS. About what your priorities are, and what you WANT out of life. Don't know the answers? Then don't expect much. Other than to ring in the next year in pretty much the same space you are this year. If you're not satisfied and content with where you are now, then you definitely need to do something about it.
It all starts with the decisions. And guess what? This is probably the hardest part! Get through this stuff, you're on your way!
Sit down with your notebook and pen, or word doc, and do what I call a Brain Dump. Just write down whatever comes up - big goals and small. It's a good idea to set a timer for this exercise. 45 minutes is great. (I think you can do it in 15~20 minutes if you don't have a lot of patience.) But don't stop writing until you get it all down. It's good to push yourself. If you push yourself even after your hand stops, you can usually find some more lurking in the shadows. Get 'em out.
As I said, I'm not going to go into how you organize them or work out your decisions. But the key is to make some decisions once you've gotten your goals down. Some people are messier than others. Some may know exactly what they want right out of the gate. Either way, just look at your goals. Read 'em all. You can do it right then or the next day or so. Doesn't matter. You've got approx 9000 hours, so it doesn't matter if you use one day or a week for this part. Just as long as you do it relatively quickly.
My advice is that you pick 3~5 of these goals right now. Try to limit it to 3 if you can. There is absolutely magic in the number 3. It won't let you down. Pick 3 goals. And while it's important to think positively about them, and see them as already a done deal, that's not going to get you to reach all of them, every time. (And not even most of the time!)
The way it works is simple and straightforward and you don't need to be super smart to be super successful. Let's say you live in Saskatchewan, New York and you want to get to Portland, Oregon by car. So you make the decision to drive to Portland. Great! Now you just jump in the car, gas it up and pull onto the road. And all you need to is to think positively about Portland and by golly, you're going to get there! Or.... do you think it would make more sense to get yourself a MAP first? And plot your course? Figure out the ROUTE TO YOUR GOAL??? Maybe, huh? So that is what you will do RIGHT NOW.
You make a MAP. Which stands for....
Massive Action Plan!
You can think of this as a road map to your destination. Or even a Flight Plan if you prefer to visualize your journey as soaring up above the clouds. Whatever works for you, is fine. But one thing is for sure, you're going to have a hard time reaching your destination without a route charted out!
For each of the 3 goals you picked, come up with a Plan of Action. You are now well ahead of the pack, by the way. Just by writing down your goals already puts you eons ahead of most people who never take the time to take their dreams and goals seriously enough to commit them to a list. So that act alone puts you ahead, AND, you should also celebrate the fact that you're now officially one step closer to reaching them than you were before you took this one action.
See, you've already taken ACTION. And you didn't even notice it! That's what it's all about.
Remember: Action = Change = Good.
That's how life works. You want to create changes in the universe. You want to create ripples. If you aren't doing that, then you're stagnating, standing still, and you will NEVER EVER find what you are looking for. Create these MAPs for yourself. Don't worry about every single detail right now. You can fill those in later. And you'll be making adjustments as you move along, towards your destination, anyway.
This should be enough to get you thinking, and hopefully, MOVING. Taking ACTION. That is the key. And here is the real secret of success, which if you follow, you will make massive changes in your life for the better and you will reach your goals, even the seemingly impossible ones.
You will find that you've made amazing use of those 5840 waking hours that 2012 is going to give to each and every one of us equally, regardless of social status, race, IQ or ambition. We've all got the same amount of time. It is what you choose to do with this time that makes the difference.
In a nutshell, the FIVE STEPS TO ACHIEVING GOALS & SUCCESS are:
1 - Write down your goals.
2 - Pick 3 to focus on at a time.
3 - Strategize - Come up with a Plan of Action for each goal. (Create your MAP)
4 - Knock off each ACTION ITEM on your MAP. One step at a time. (Follow the path to Success!)
And the last, most critical part of all this: Do not give up. Persistence, persistence and more persistence. It's the only way anything worthwhile EVER gets done. Keep on keepin' on until you have it in the can. And then you know what? You get to celebrate like there is no tomorrow. See it? See yourself celebrating on the other side? See the success you have reached and feel how good it feels to have reached it. You did that. All the things you've accomplished.
So, always keep this in the forefront:
5 - Be incredibly persistent!
That's it! Now... hurry up! Because 2012 will be over before you know it! Happy Holidays! May all your Dreams Come True!
- Eric P. Sherman
President & CEO
Bang Zoom! Entertainment
PS - Why the palm tree? Because that image represents one of my Personal Priority Goals, and it helps me to visualize what I will achieve. I recommend finding images of your goals, and look at them from time to time. I got everything I put in my notebook. You can do the same thing.