One of the highlights of my trip to Germany was a visit to a secret test track at BMW.

It was miles and miles away from their main headquarters, located beside a cornfield in the middle of the country. As soon as we arrived our cell phones were confiscated. “We can’t allow any pictures, yah?” our lead instructor, Stefan said in heavy German accent but with a smile on his face.

The next four hours consisted of driving M3s (learning how to drift) as well as a range of cars (everything from an X5 M to the latest M5 to a 6-series coupe and a big old 7 series) on their 5-mile “Autobahn replication” track.

It was ridiculously easy – and undeniably exhilarating – to take the M5 sedan up to 270km/h. It felt like you were on a slow Sunday drive. What a car.

Finally, after our hours of being like kids in a candy store, it was time to wrap-up. As parting gifts, we all received some hats, a shirt, and a notepad.

The notepad is the only thing that I kept. And these days I use it every night at the end of my work day in my “Big Thinking” session that I include as part of my daily plan.

Using the BMW notebook has significance because BMW can be associated with big success.

It’s important to use these little mindset tricks to keep your mind focused on the big  opportunities and the finer things in life – even when you might be going through a dip in progress.

(That’s another reason why you need to hang around more successful people and even treat yourself to the “rich life” now and again…so that you remember there is another side to the world…and it’s not all about negativity and socialism like you see in the daily news. You need to be reminded of the incredible rewards you can earn when you add MORE value to the world.)

And so each night at 5:50 p.m., after I shut down my computer for the night, I pull out my BMW book and turn to a blank page and let my mind run free and think of BIG things.

While I do my daily Big Thinking journaling at night, I also write down any Big Ideas I get first thing in the morning before writing this column.

After all, you know my thoughts on thinking big and creatively in general, first thing in the morning, especially on Saturdays.

Thinking is important, and a lot of people get so busy that they just don’t think and plan. But it’s essential to moving ahead. I love this quote from Dave Kekich:

An hour of effective, precise, hard, disciplined – and integrated thinking can be worth a month of hard work. Thinking is the very essence of, and the most difficult thing to do in business and in life.” – Kekich Credo #44

As silly as it sounds, make sure you are scheduling in Strategic Thinking during your day (preferably in the morning or at the end of the day, or when you are away from your desk and in a more creative environment).

Think BIG.

And so that is your 10-minute task today. Right now. Get a cup of coffee or tea or a Red Bull or whatever suits your caffeine fancy, and get into a creative zone and THINK BIGGER.

Do this daily.

Then at the end of the week, review each day and keep the best ideas and put them on one page (throwing the others away).

This is where you’ll find your big goals, your massive product ideas, and thoughts that seem borderline crazy.  Those are the ones to go for.

Here’s a big goal that I came up with: I want to get a $1.5 million book deal in 2013. One of my friends recently got a $1 million deal for two books, but I think with our big ETR Transformation Contest audience, I’ll be able to prove of greater value.

The ETR Transformation Contest itself is a big idea. Another big idea is the ETR Transformation Video Kit that I’ve created to go along with the contest.

On and on my BMW Big Thinking book is packed with 10 big ideas each week about the contest, new products, connections, and more.

Big thinking is mandatory.

Think BIG.

Dream big.

Implement big.

Achieve BIG.  Go big.

Make 2013 your Best Year Ever.

Start today.

[Ed. Note: Craig Ballantyne is the editor of Early to Rise and author of Financial Independence Monthly and Turbulence Training. He is also the co-creator of the Early to Rise $100,000 Transformation Contest. This 90-day contest is FREE for you to enter, and you’ll have a chance to win up to $25,000 in prizes in four categories: Healthy, Wealthy, Wise, and Overall. Let us motivate, assist and hold you accountable for accomplishing your goals. Get started on your major life transformations today.]

Craig Ballantyne

Craig Ballantyne is the author of The Perfect Day Formula: How to Own the Day and Control Your Life. Craig has been a contributor to Men's Health magazine for over 17 years. Today he teaches his gift high-performing entrepreneurs how to squeeze more out of their days, increase their income, and make more quality time for their families in his Perfect Life Workshop and Work-Life Mastery programs. Craig used his own advice to overcome crippling anxiety attacks in 2006, and he'll teach you his 5 Pillars of Success so you can increase your income, decrease your work time, and live the life of your dreams. Learn more about Craig at craigballantyne.com