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How to Set Your 2015 Goals Like An Olympian

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Olympic Athlete Sam Mikulak

It’s the end of the year, and like most of us who are truly “addicted to success”, we are already thinking about the year ahead, what it will mean to us personally and professionally, and what goals we can set in order to get the most out of the next 365.25 days.

Personally, I spent a majority of my night yesterday researching various ways my mentors, peers, co-founders, and favorite thought leaders set their own 2015 goals so I could do the same, and perhaps the most interesting feedback was that from my friend Sam Mikulak.

2012 U.S. Olympic Gymnastics Team Trials - Day 3Sam is an Olympic gymnast who represented Team U.S.A. in the London 2012 games and has been competing at an international level since 2007 (when he was only 15 years old).

Sam is also a 7-Time NCAA Champion, having won titles individually and with his team at the University of Michigan, and he is a budding entrepreneur as well who is finishing a successful Kickstarter campaign for his new company MateBros which sells a special blend of Yerba Mate tea that Sam and his teammates have used for years to both refuel for competitions and spark new friendships off the gym floor.

Needless to say, Sam is one pretty successful guy, so I listened intently when he shared with me how he sets his goals for the year. He broke his goal-setting habits down into three parts for us…

 

1. Everyday Goals

His everyday goals are pretty simple, and may not be what you’d expect. “Smile, be happy, be proud, be respectful,” he told me. Essentially, these everyday goals aren’t necessarily about what you produce or “do” each day, but more about what type of person you need to be and state you must be in so that you can get the results you want and live well.

Sam’s advice here is pretty in-line with that of Tony Robbins, who preaches that – in order to achieve breakthroughs in your business, relationships, finances, or any area of your life – you need to properly align your strategy, your story, and your state.

Sam’s everyday goals help him get in the proper state to grow a business, train at the highest levels of his sport, and ultimately represent our country on an international scale.

 

2. Short Term Goals

The next two types of goals are very simple, and I’m sure you’ve thought about them in one way or another before.

Sam sets short-term goals in order to get ahead throughout the year, and breaks down these goals into three different time blocks. He asked, rhetorically, “Where do I want to be in 4 weeks? In 8 weeks? In 12 weeks?

Essentially, Sam is breaking down his short term goals with each month, and doesn’t look beyond one quarter from now in terms of accomplishing his short term goals. In fact, it is this laser-like focus on the “now” that allows Sam to balance ambitions in the business and sports worlds, two equally challenging fields of play.

Take a minute now to think about what your 4 week, 8 week, and 12 week goals are…How are you going to get the most of Q1 in 2015. Think about that first, and then we will expand to 2015 in total, and even beyond.

 

3. Long Term Goals

Again, pretty simple as far as what Sam’s goal-setting breakdown is (and we will get to “how” he actually sets these goals in a minute…), but the final piece in the year-planning puzzle is setting long term goals for yourself. He asked me, again, “Where do I want to be in 1 year? In 2 years? In 5 years?” Easy, right? I think so…but before you go, read the most important part of this article, which is how Sam actually goes about setting these goals…

 

big goals earl quote

The Strategy:

Here’s what separates how an Olympic athlete and 7-Time NCAA Champion’s goal-setting strategy differs from most. As he explained to me,

“I start out by making my long term goals, and then make my short term goals and everyday goals. I do it this way because the short term goals and daily goals should be a byproduct of the long term goals, a reflection of how I will get there. Too often people set goals ambiguously and do not realize that their short term and daily goals do not align with their long term goals. Write your goals out on paper with arrows so you make sure you’re doing it right.”

As an example, say that my 1 year goal was to lose 30 pounds (which I did successfully in 2014 myself). Using Sam’s guideline, I’d first set this goal, and then work backwards. “OK, what’s my 12 week, 8 week, and 4 week goals now.

Perhaps (just to use easy numbers) my goals here would be to lose 15 pounds, 10 pounds, and 5 pounds respectively. And then, in order to accomplish these, I’d set a daily goal – a state goal – to be mindful about everything I put in my body and every health decision I make (and perhaps to drink MateBros everyday).

Actually, in regards to MateBros, Sam set his 12 week goal for Q4 of 2014 to raise $37,000 for the new company, and as you can see on Kickstarter, he is getting pretty damn close (there’s less than 3 days left in the campaign, and he’s almost there!).

He hasn’t told me what his everyday goal has been recently, but I’m sure it has something to do with being grateful for all the support he and his co-founders have received, as well as resolve to close out a successful campaign.

And there you have it! This is how an Olympian, 7-Time NCAA Champion, and successful entrepreneur sets his goals in order to get the most out of his time.

 

Joel, myself, and everyone from Addicted2Success.com wish you a super successful 2015!!!

Jared Kleinert is an entrepreneur, TED and keynote speaker, and award-winning author who’s been named USA Today's "Most Connected Millennial" after spending years identifying and connecting hundreds of the world's smartest and most talented Millennials. His next book 3 Billion Under 30 is out now, and you can get 5 free stories from his new book atwww.3billionunder30.com. You can also say hi at jared@3billionunder30.com.

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4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. Dr poonam yadav

    Feb 21, 2015 at 12:19 pm

    Its a really very inspirational article …at least its guide fr everyone hw to plan ur path ..so u cn easily reach up to ur goal

  2. Eucharia Okoli

    Dec 31, 2014 at 5:38 am

    Amazing and inspiring article. The beautiful thing about it is that, its so timely. I have always wondered how i could set goals that i could also follow through and fulfill. But thank God i glriously read this article with the greatest strategy ‘of my daily and short term goals should reflect my longterm goals’ Thanks alot for giving us beautiful and inspiring articles in 2014, i am personally motivated by all of them and i know 2015 can only be better. Remain blessed.

  3. Sam

    Dec 31, 2014 at 2:48 am

    This is a great article. It shows that to really achieve our goals we need to be very specific about what are goals are. When we focus on specific goals we open up neurological pathways in the brain that help us to find ways to achieve success. So many new year resolutions fail because the goals are not specific enough and also forgotten about! We need to be specific and maintain focus. Thank you for an inspiring article!

  4. KK

    Dec 30, 2014 at 4:38 am

    Great article. You are correct in stating that your daily and weekly goals MUST reflect your long term goals.

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Success Advice

Why You Should Prefer Emails to Phone Calls if You Want to Be More Productive

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productivity tips
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“Email” and “productivity” rarely go together in a sentence. Emails have been declared as one of our largest time wasters. A McKinsey report stated that people spend around 2.6 hours each day responding to emails. That’s 13 hours a week, 52 hours a month and over 60 days a year! Imagine what you could’ve achieved in 60 days!

Emails also negatively affect our cognitive resources. When we think of responding to them while doing other important tasks, it takes up to 23 minutes and 15 seconds after being disrupted to return to full attention to a current task. Imagine how much our cognition and productivity gets fractured when we get distracted over and over again.

Constant emailing also drains us mentally. And at the end of a day, we realize that we’ve achieved nothing worth mentioning. With a phone call, you can sort issues and solve problems quickly, right? In theory, you’re right. But we live in a practical world where many variables come into play.

Below are three variables that make phone calls adversely affect our productivity, and why emails are a better alternative:

1. Wasting Time

Most “five-minute conversations” can quickly turn into 35-minute calls because people ramble about irrelevant aspects. This derailment, several times a day, severely limits the limited time and energy you have for important tasks.

Emails, on the other hand, force writers to streamline their thoughts and stick to the point. Emails can save you plenty of time and energy because you avoid lengthy phone calls. The constant strife to keep your own emails short and crisp also makes you a clearer thinker, which rewards you in other aspects of your life.

“It’s better to waste money, than it is to waste time. You can always get more money.” – Hal Sparks

2. Inaccurate Responses

An unexpected phone call can catch me caught off guard on a topic. I might respond emotionally or give an answer that doesn’t do justice to what I want to share. In a world dominated by panic buttons and fire-fighting, these don’t just stress me out but the caller as well.

Emails give me flexibility to prepare a coherent response and share it when I’m satisfied. If I feel a surge of emotion, I can sleep over the thought and share a better (more rational) response the next day. Many page-long email responses to emails that upset me have turned into a simple “thank you for your email” the next day.

3. Constant Back-and-Forth

Phone calls often are ineffective to solve business problems. Accounting for multiple people, their views, their timelines… One phone call can quickly turn into three.

Emails are quicker and more effective than even conference calls. They let you communicate with multiple people at the same time. You can share information, assign tasks and give status updates while being as specific as possible.

You must be wondering, “What about back-and-forth emails then? Why do we waste precious time on them?” Yes, email has earned a bad rap. But it’s not because of the medium; it’s because we handle it ineffectively.

A Better Approach to Emailing

For most people, constantly refreshing the inbox is part of the daily to-do list. It keeps them busy and gives them a kick of dopamine – the feel-good chemical.

Ironically, this quest to remain busy makes people compromise on taking action that can move them forward. Using emails prudently, rewards you with plenty of energy and mind space to focus on tasks that truly matter.

Here are three steps that benefited me without succumbing to the side effects of email:

1. Checking Them Less

I check emails just 3 times a day – at 9:30 AM, 12:00 PM, and 4:30 PM. If you don’t have the luxury to do the same, you can start by checking your emails for ten minutes at the end of each hour. Most senders expect a response in a little over an hour. So they won’t mind a slightly delayed response. This gives you 45 undisturbed minutes each hour to work on your core tasks.

2. Responding Quickly

People delay responding to emails at least 37% of the time, which turns finding emails and responding to them into additional tasks that cost time and lead to attention residue. Most emails take under two minutes to respond. When you can respond to an email, do so instead of putting it off. This won’t just put your mind at peace, it’ll also reduce the number of “did-you-see-this” follow-up emails in your inbox.

“I do love email. Wherever possible I try to communicate asynchronously. I’m really good at email.” – Elon Musk

3. The If-Then Technique

The If-Then technique helps you address multiple scenarios at once. For instance, an email that says, “Can we meet at 3:00 PM?” becomes, “Can we meet at 3:00 PM? If not, please advise three other times that work for you.”

This technique is also effective when you want to suggest ideas or provide instructions on alternative steps. For example, “Here’s Plan A. If it doesn’t work, connect with [name] and ask for [specific information]. If you don’t get what you need, inform me.”

I’ll admit. This sounds like more work in the current moment, but it drastically cuts down the number of trail mails, confused correspondences, and fire-fighting instances that occur due to miscommunication.

The If-Then formula is the single most effective technique I’ve learned from The 4-Hour Workweek. All of this doesn’t mean that you abandon phone calls, In fact, it’s better to use the phone for sensitive topics or if an email conversation gets dragged. But remain mindful to not let phone calls waste your time.

If you want to pursue a meaningful life, place a premium on your time. Do things that create time for you to pursue meaningful actions and avoid doing what pulls you away from them. In the knowledge economy, this is the key to success.

Do you prefer email or talking on the phone? Share your thoughts below!

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Success Advice

4 Questions You Need to Answer Before You Reach the Level of Success You So Desperately Crave

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how to be happy and successful
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It’s normal that every person in the world wants to reach success and happiness. Yet, everyone defines both of these things differently. For some, success is making a whole bunch of money while for others this can be to become a good parent. Happiness is defined differently as well. Some people need to own a jet, boat and 3 cars to be truly happy, while others are happy just to be able to wake up in the morning.

It doesn’t matter how you define success and happiness, the truth is, you want to achieve them both. But, to be able to reach success and happiness, you need to answer 4 questions for yourself.

Here are the 4 questions you need to answer before you can achieve success and happiness:

1. Where Are You?

No, not geographically. It doesn’t matter where you live. What matters is where are you in life. Where are you in your way to success and happiness. Let’s say you are lost in the woods. You know exactly where you want to go, but you don’t know where you are. Even a map doesn’t help you with that.

The same is true in life. You may have a goal, but until you truly define where you are in the moment, you can’t move toward this goal. So, step 1 on your way to success and happiness is to define where you are right now.

“Successful people do what unsuccessful people are not willing to do. Don’t wish it were easier; wish you were better.” – Jim Rohn

2. Where Do You Want to Go?

When you define where you are in life, then you can think of where you want to be.

There’s this saying:  When you don´t know your final destination, you´ll end up somewhere you didn’t want to be. Until you don’t know clearly where you want to be in life and who you want to become, your life doesn’t have a true purpose.

Without purpose, there´s no motivation. Without motivation, there´s no energy. And without energy, you´re not living, you´re just existing. I am sure you know someone who looks like a walking corpse everytime you see them. Do you think this person lives a successful and happy life? Most likely not.

So, step 2 on your way to success and happiness is to clearly define your goal. What do you want to accomplish and who do you want to become?

3. Why Do You Want It?

Okay, you know the basics. You know where you are and where you want to be. But, as Rocky Balboa said, “The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows.” And as you already know, life usually doesn’t go according to your plan. There will be hard times and to overcome those and not give up, you need to know WHY you do what you do.

You need to know WHY you want to accomplish your goals. When you answer this for yourself, you don’t struggle so much to motivate yourself. You will be motivated every minute of every day.

So, as a step 3, sit down and think of WHY you want to accomplish your goals. What’s the big purpose?

“We can change our lives. We can do, have, and be exactly what we wish.” – Tony Robbins

4. How Are You Going to Get There?

And finally, how are you going to get there? What’s your plan? You may know where you are, where you want to be and why you want to do it, but until you truly understand how you are going to get there, there won’t be much success and happiness in your life.

For example, you want to become a bodybuilder. You want to do it because you want to have big muscles and you want to look fit. But, you have no idea how to work out, how to build muscle and how to lose fat. Do you think, you´re going to be happy? No. As Tony Robbins says, “true happiness comes from progress.”

To make progress, you need to have a specific plan; how to get from point A (where you are) to point B (where you want to be). So, as a step 4, sit down and make a specific plan for how you’re going to get what you want in life.

In order to reach success and happiness, there are 4 questions you need to answer for yourself. Without answering them, you´re not going to  get ahead in life, you´re just bouncing around. Success and happiness never come from just bouncing around in life.

Good news is, that these questions are really simple. It won’t take much time to answer them. Just be aware of where you are and where you want to be. Don´t forget to understand why you are pursuing your dream and finally, how are you going to get what you want.

Answer these 4 simple questions today and you won’t struggle with finding success and happiness in life anymore.

Which one of the above 4 questions resonated most with you and why? Share your thoughts and ideas below!

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Success Advice

The Empathetic Heart: How The CHO of VaynerMedia Is Changing The Way We Work

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Claude Silver CHO of Vaynermedia
Image Credit: VaynerMedia

A month after I had joined LinkedIn back in July of 2018, I sent Claude Silver a connection request and began following her content. One day she made a post saying “Ask and you shall receive, what can I do to help you today?”. I commented on that post asking for a 5 minute interview and to my surprise she agreed by asking me to send her a message (I was given a full hour). This was the first example of pure kindness I witnessed from Claude.

The first message you see on Claude’s website is: People need people. People need people that listen and then do something. That message spoke to me on an emotional level, and I believe it will speak to you too. I wanted to know how she created such an amazing culture, what being a “culture carrier” meant, and how the employees at VaynerMedia have been changed by her work there.

A culture carrier in Claude’s own words is “someone who is aligned with our values, I can’t teach someone to be kind they have to already be kind. The process of developing a culture carrier takes about 6 months. It’s about bringing people together and having strong core values of kindness and empathy.”

Gary Vaynerchuk, co-founder of VaynerMedia, is often referred to as a combination of hustle and heart. With the hiring of Claude and the work she has accomplished within the company, it speaks to the level of empathy that can be felt throughout the entire operation.

Although business can be a challenging, tough, and often cut-throat terrain, by putting employees first and providing honest feedback the company has grown to include offices in New York, Chattanooga, Los Angeles and London, and continues to dominate the market.

Below we’ll see 3 different ways the CHO of VaynerMedia is changing the way people work:

1. By being unafraid to share her own story

Claude has been an influential part of breaking the stigma surrounding vulnerability in the business arena. Not only does she openly share her own story, but she sits down with employees to better understand their vulnerabilities and how to use characteristics that previously would have been considered weaknesses as strengths.

When asked what her biggest adventure to date was she replied “Having Shalom (her daughter). I have had an amazing life, I moved, worked hard, landed an amazing job and fell in love but it didn’t come without its challenges.”

Claude is openly gay and is living proof your sexual orientation doesn’t matter. Nothing matters but your character, your track record, and if you leave people a little better off than before you met them. From Claude, business leaders, employees and entrepreneurs can learn to be more open both on social media and in person, allowing them to build more meaningful relationships and connect on a deeper level. A deeper connection can mean more leverage but it also means a more lasting impact on the world.

“Everyone has something they can share. I’m not famous. I don’t have anything that would be newsworthy, but I have stories.” – Tafta Johnson Watson

2. Committing to a strong value system

VaynerMedia has some serious values for such a large company and those values are expected to be upheld by every employee and visitor. Values like kindness, empathy, honesty, hustle and the art of not complaining.

With Claude holding the title of Chief Heart Officer, she is the guiding light for others. When recruiting, she says she “takes the time to evaluate an individual’s talents but most importantly their own heart”.  

Gary Vaynerchuk is quoted as saying:”To me, there’s no debate that kindness is a strength. And it breaks my heart to know that so many people believe it’s a weakness. So many people are afraid that other people will take advantage of their kindness or make them feel “used.” But the truth is, those who take advantage of your kindness are weak on the inside. Feel bad for them, don’t let them make you feel bad about yourself“.

Both Claude and Gary teach aspiring entrepreneurs that it is okay to live with an open heart and that having the strength to commit to and live with a strong value system, will be a powerful tool during the hustle journey. It also allows you to go to bed at night actually liking the person that you are, nothing will kill a business faster than going to bed at night and hating yourself.

3. Listening with action

As mentioned above Claude’s slogan is: People need people. People need people that listen and then do something.  As a woman who wears many hats, she is also an Outward Bound Instructor, taking individuals on amazing adventures in the outdoors.

Taking action on any given day can mean a number of different things but it speaks to her own character and driving force that she is able to not only guide people through the world of office politics but also through the serene and sometimes challenging wilderness.

Claude cultivates an environment of trust by first offering individuals her own trust. It is a huge and vulnerable action that leads to a relationship of love – heart – and productivity. Listening as an action is something that has the power to change an entire organization from an unproductive, toxic environment to one that promotes creativity, passion, inclusion and positivity.

“Relationships are leverage. If you give value to someone else first, you have leverage.” – Gary Vaynerchuk

To get the truest sense of how Claude was changing the way people work, I asked her co-workers to tell me what working alongside Claude has done for them. Here is one of the answers I received:

“During my time working alongside Claude, I’ve really come to appreciate her example of being a good listener. As a society, we tend to praise the power of speaking. But Claude demonstrates on a daily basis that the most important thing everybody wants is to be heard.” – Steve Babcock, Chief Creative Officer VaynerMedia.

I tried looking for images of Claude on her website and I think it speaks to how focused she is on holding space for others, because I couldn’t find a single full sized image of her to use. I googled. Writing this piece has opened me up to evaluate my own values and the way I connect with people in my daily life.

From this article, it is my own hope that entrepreneurs come to the understanding that although tenacity and true grit are really important, the whole of what Claude represents is something to strive towards. The “soft” skills you develop are humongous strengths and to truly impact an entire organization.

What’s the last random act of kindness you did for someone? Share with us below!

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Success Advice

The 7 Secrets of High Achievers Revealed

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high achievers
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We all have goals in life, but very few of us ever learn to consciously set, work on and see our goals through. In our naturalness bias, we marvel at those who have set and reached their goals thinking they have some esoteric abilities that we don’t. We overlook that the final product is the result of a series of mistake-ridden, unrecorded pains. What if we could learn from the process, the habits and rituals of the high achievers? (more…)

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