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Success Advice

How a 4-Step Action Memo Can Help You Smash Your Goals in 24 Hours

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how to reach your goals

What is it that keeps you from achieving your goals? Is it a lack of focus? A lack of motivation? A lack of specific strategies to accomplish those goals? Or is a combination of many things? What separates armchair entrepreneurs from true entrepreneurs and business people is the ability to take regular action on top priority goals.

True entrepreneurs have clearly outlined goals which are backed up by principles refined over time. These principles provide them with guidance on what is important. Defining these principles and outlining these long-term goals come easily to some, but for others it can be a huge challenge. Once these long-term goals have been identified, the challenge becomes how best to tackle the day-to-day tasks and actions that are required to turn dreams into reality.

Sometimes, the hardest part of taking action is the planning that goes into it. Big ideas are sexy and exciting, but day-to-day monotonous tasks are rarely as exciting. Armchair entrepreneurs would rather dream big and assume the hard work that goes into day-to-day activities will just take care of itself. While some people choose to dive into the action without thinking, those who want to really make lasting change and reach their goals must plan ahead.

When people think about something they’d like to accomplish, they tend to focus on the first step. Whether it’s a trip they’d like to go on or a skill they’d like to learn, they usually look at the very first thing that needs to happen without considering the longer term implications.

Try creating an Action Memo to help you connect your long term goals with concrete actions and stay motivated even when you struggle to keep moving forward.

Below is a 4-step action memo which can help you smash your goals instantaneously:

1. Purpose

What do you want to accomplish? Provide background on your current plan and why exactly you want to accomplish a certain goal or take a certain action.

As the author and leadership coach Simon Sinek often reminds us, organisations and individuals need to “start with why” to get to the core of why they really want to be in business or why they want to accomplish a certain task. If you think of this as a miniature business plan, the background should be your executive summary. Ask yourself, why do you want to take action NOW?

“It’s not enough to have lived. We should be determined to live for something.” – Winston S. Churchill

2. Actions

Outline specific actions and tasks. Once you’ve described the background, list out the top 3 to 5 actions that each take under 24 hours to accomplish and which will get you closer to achieving your long-term goal.

This is a core part of the Action Memo, because it provides you with a list of actions which will need to be accomplished in the next several days. Make sure you keep these actions small enough that they can be accomplished in a day. For example, rather than say “write an eBook”, break up the larger task into several small sections. In 24 hours you might be able to create a chapter outline for your book, or contract a designer to help you create a cover.

3. Deadlines

Review your timeline. Ask yourself – when will these actions be done? The second most important part of this Action Memo is the timeline, because it helps keep you on task and forces you to think about which tasks need to be accomplished in which order. Without a timeline and specific deadlines, you will lose motivation and will lack the drive to take urgent action.

Urgent action is the name of the game when it comes to creating a habit for taking action. Write down when each action from stage two will be completed, and then try your best to stick to those deadlines.

“We have to live life with a sense of urgency so not a minute is wasted.” – Les Brown

4. Performance & Accountability

How will you measure performance? How will you define success? What does success look like to you in relation to completing these tasks? If you want to write a new business plan, perhaps finishing a 5-page outline is a sufficient indicator of success. If you want to increase sales in a new product, perhaps emailing 10 new clients and asking them to buy your solution is a good success indicator.

Just as you track performance, be sure to keep yourself accountable. One of the best ways to ensure your continued success over time is to keep yourself accountable by working with others who will check in with you and make sure you’re completing your tasks.

I urge you to reach out to someone via email, text or phone and send them your Action Memo with the dates and deadlines in place. Ask them for their support and wait to hear their response. Write a few sentences here about how you will keep yourself accountable and who you will reach out to.

Whether you’re looking to get more done on a current project, or you’re trying to finally get off your butt and start working on your next side project, I would highly recommend writing out an Action Memo as outlined in the stages above. It’s a great way to provide yourself with a concrete action plan which you can keep going back to for motivation and inspiration as you take steps towards your overarching long-term goals.

Which one of these 4 steps do you need to work on the most? Let us know below so we can help you out!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

McVal is the founder of We Write For Growth, a platform for businesses to connect with talented writers and researchers and growth hackers. He is also the author of How to Make $2,000 a Month Online and Start Up your Life: Why we don’t know what we want, and how to set goals that really matter. McVal writes about motivation, decision making, and strategic thinking. He graduated from UC Santa Barbara in 2011 with a degree in Spanish, and has since worked as a market researcher and business consultant in Washington D.C., New York City and London. You can reach him on Twitter @mcval or on IG @mcvaliant. 

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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Mark Elmo Ellis

    Jan 6, 2019 at 10:20 pm

    McVal, great post, my friend!

    I think what you wrote about actually having the purpose in mind before you start is very important. I’ve blundered quite a bit with this, myself. If you don’t have a strong, initial purpose you probably won’t finish.

    About 5 years ago, my wife and I got our hands on a rehab property. The house was totally trashed out but we got a house and 3 acres for about $25,000. It had been in foreclosure and people had broken into it to take out brass piping in the walls and also used the home as a deer blind for hunting.

    When we took the property over my wife though it would take about 7 years to fix it up. For some reason I got it into my head that I wanted to be into the house and sell the other one we were living in. (That way we could live in a nice house in the country mortgage free!)

    So I set up a huge whiteboard and listed out everything I needed to do to get the house rehabbed. Believe me, that board was cram-packed because the house had a TON of work that had to be completed. Every time I got a major task done, I crossed it off; it really gave my wife and I a sense of accomplishment.

    In about 14 months, we got everything done, sold the house we were living in and moved out into the beautiful country. (I want to mention that we did this while we were both working.)

    Las year, I lost my job of 15+ years. It didn’t bother us much because our cars and home are all paid off! Anyway, if you list out your goals and cross them off, it’ll do wonders in your life.

    Thanks again for the great post McVal!

  2. Avatar

    Positivity Right Now

    Jan 6, 2019 at 12:03 pm

    This is a great action plan. It’s a great tool to focus and I’m always looking to step up my game! Thank you!

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Success Advice

5 Things You Can Learn From The 5am Club by Robin Sharma

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It has been said by Robin Sharma, “5 AM is the time of least distraction, highest human glory, and greatest peace.” This also happens to be the central idea or the core value he has discussed in his book, ‘The 5 Am Club.’ Speaking of early mornings, at what time do you wake up? Are you annoyed by the fact that you wake up on the edge of time and then rush to work in haste? 

The life lessons put forth by The 5 AM Club are exactly the learning and motivation you need to challenge your complacency. In your race against time, you may not have the time to read this fabulous book. So, we have summed up the key book’s takeaways for your convenience.

1. The vigor of waking up early

This is what the book’s most fundamental advice to everyone is. Waking up at 5 am every day can work wonders to avert failures and make success a natural habit. When we wake up at 5 am, we have more time on our hands than others. Besides, this is when we have minimum interruptions and maximum powerfulness of the mind. 

To add, the early morning peace is priceless! You can schedule your most important tasks of the day between 5am, and 8am. This book teaches us in the simplest way, how we can train our mind and strengthen it to deliver the highest productivity by waking up early. This energy that you have when you wake up in the morning and the few additional hours in your day are what serve as perfect ingredients for success.

“The secret to productivity is simplicity.” – Robin Sharma

2. The power of finding the right balance in life

The book talks about a precious lesson of finding the right balance within. We often talk about the need for mindfulness and achieving the right mindset to perceive things. But this book goes a few steps ahead of our usual approach to life. It highlights the vitality of mindset and introduces the concepts of heartset, healthset, and soulset.

These terms may seem new, but they are self-explanatory. The idea of heartset endorses the essentialness of emotional stability and well-being. Next, the perspective of healthset indicates the need to look after physical health. At last, soulset is an attribute of spirituality. As explained in this book, success prospects can be enhanced big time by achieving the right balance between these internal virtues.

3. The iconic 20/20/20 modus operandi

What is the first thing you will do if you start waking up at 5 am every day? Did you ever spare a thought about it? This book has the answer to this question, and you will be convinced that it is a great way to begin your day!. The author suggests that you should split the first hour of the day into three equal parts of 20 minutes each.

In the first 20 minutes of the day, you should prioritize your physical fitness and exercise. In the next 20 minutes, you should energize your soul and spirit via self-reflection and soulful meditation. This will prepare you for the rest of the day and will enable you to bolster your commitment and focus. In the last 20 minutes of the first hour, you should read and learn. But what are you going to read about in those 20 minutes? Read about successful people and their inspiring journeys to the pinnacle of success.

4. The significance of a proper sleep schedule

In this book, there is a mention of ‘a ferocious global sleep recession’, which is intriguing and enlightening. It hints at the state of sleep deprivation that this world is sinking into gradually. We often associate success and hard work with the notion of staying up all night and testing our endurance beyond limits. But that is not the right approach to accomplishing success, or rather, it is a flawed methodology.

Sometimes even if we do not have any critical work, we keep whiling our night time on social media or television. What are we gaining from it is the real question, and I am afraid the answer is nothing! We learn from this book that it is critical to look after your sleep cycle and start your day at 5 am afresh. Sleep and rest are indispensable for mental and physical well-being, or your productivity will decline.

“If you want to have the results only 5% have, you must be willing to do and think like only 5% do and think.” – Robin Sharma

5. The art of evolving

The book sheds light on the need to be spiritual and master self-reflection. However, do you realize the purpose that the routine of reflection each morning serves? The idea is to keep learning, keep reflecting on the mistakes and keep evolution an ongoing process. You should evolve every day and strive to be a better version of yourself every day. So, one of your primary goals after waking up should be to reflect on your actions and missed opportunities of the previous day.

To recapitulate, The 5 AM Club is a must-read book if you are a passionate reader. It has the prowess and charm to refurbish your perception of life altogether. Even if you cannot read the book for some reason, make sure you incorporate the above key takeaways into your life. By starting your day at 5 am, you can rediscover your lost soul and enthusiasm, and you would not have complaints to make about the lack of time. If you can own your mornings, you can go places on the ladder of success, for excuses are only for those who are not committed to their goals.

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Success Advice

Prepare Yourself for Prosperity With These 6 Success Habits

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Success stories don’t come from naturally successful people. They come from ordinary people with starry eyes and big dreams who stayed true to their end goal and consistently put in the work. They are just like you and me. What sets them apart is their mindset — a success mindset. (more…)

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Success Advice

How to Overcome the Emotional Rollercoaster of Success

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If you’re reading this, I’ll let you in on a little secret: you’re a human being. You have feelings, emotions, beliefs, complexity, and a mind that’s always racing. Your feelings at any given moment in your life have the power to affect what you do and how consistently you do it. (more…)

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Success Advice

5 Important Choices that Make Life Worth Living and Success Taste Sweeter

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As we start another year, you’re probably thinking about your life goals, dreams, aspirations, and what you want to accomplish. We know that New Year’s resolutions have gotten a bad reputation because most people lose focus after the first few months and the first signs of resistance. (more…)

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