It’s a long journey from Toronto to Hawaii. In February of 2008, I made the trip to the island of Oahu for a sun and surf vacation. This required an 8-hour connecting flight from Dallas, back in the days without individual seat back televisions.
But I was ready.
The flight gave me the perfect opportunity to read a long-awaited book. I ended up learning so much from its author that I now consider him to be one of my greatest virtual mentors. We’ve since met a few times and I’ve expressed my eternal gratitude. I’ve even made videos for ETR readers about how important this book has been in my life.
The book is Frank McKinney’s, Make It Big. My original business mentor, Yanik Silver, often spoke of Frank’s maverick approach to life and business. I knew I had to learn more about this larger than life icon. His book didn’t disappoint. As soon as I arrived in Hawaii I copied out the names of the book chapters and I still review one of them each day in my “Guiding Documents”. One of my favorite suggestions from Frank is to, “Spend time in introspection. Figure yourself out.”
It’s something I do every morning as soon as I wake-up. In fact I just finished another session before writing this essay for you. Each morning I pull out my Big Thinking journal and write down ten uncensored big ideas on how I can improve my business, health, wealth, and personal relationships.
I also stay tuned into Frank via his infrequent newsletters. Sometimes he writes about training for ultra-marathons, other times with stories from his latest home-building trip to Haiti through the Caring House Foundation.
Recently Frank shared seven important questions that we should all take time out of our busy schedules to answer. This year-end review is the perfect accompaniment to our 2014 goal setting plans. Pour yourself a cup of your favorite beverage, sit down in your favorite chair, and write down your answers to the following:
1) What has changed since the year started?
2) Where did you “exceed your known definition of greatness”?
3) Where did you fall short?
4) What did you learn about yourself or those around you that you didn’t know before?
5) What are the areas in your life that need transformation?
6) Will you continue to focus on something you started here?
7) Could you apply this discipline elsewhere, such as marriage, exercise, a job, your social life, etc.?
Take time to spend in introspection with those questions. They will help you identify mistakes of the past and how you can turn 2014 into a year where you possibly become a millionaire, get back in shape, rekindle an important personal relationship, or make a dent in the universe through your giving and value adding.
“Remember that more change happens in the mind than in reality. Be sure to observe and acknowledge how you’ve evolved, matured, or otherwise improved your mindset as well as the tangible results you’ve produced. Roll with the punches, baby. Be honest with yourself.
“A transformation is an active pursuit, one that requires initiative, drive, desire, planning, and follow-through. Conduct an open-eyed, honest review.
“Then go live your life. Take some chances, even if there’s the possibility of failure. Be an opportunist, keeping an open mind and seeing new possibilities you might never have considered before.”
Take stock. Spend time by yourself thinking about yourself.
It’s what millionaires do.
It might be uncomfortable.
But it will be worth every minute.
Don’t dwell on past mistakes because that will get you nowhere. Instead, focus on what you can and WILL do today, tomorrow, and the rest of your life, and all of the great things that will happen because of your actions.
Don’t wait for the ‘time to be right’ (i.e. until it’s too late) to take action on your goals. If there’s something you really want to do – if there is a dream body you want to achieve or a change in life you need – then find a way to do it now.
Instead of waiting, just get started.
Focus on replacing your bad habits and thought patterns, one-by-one, over time, with good habits and thought patterns. One step at a time, done over time, leads to powerful changes in your life.
Everything you do is either moving you closer to or farther away from your goals. So which way will you be moving today?
Remember that every action has an impact.
Remember that every decision makes things better or worse.
Remember that everything counts, as my friend Gary Ryan Blair says.
Set your goals. Follow your dreams. Start today. Start right now.
[Ed Note: Craig Ballantyne is the editor of Early to Rise (Join him on Facebook here) and the author of Financial Independence Monthly, a complete blueprint to helping you take control of your financial future with research of proven methods in your career, in your business and in your personal life. He has created a unique system to show gratitude and appreciation to stay on track for these goals each and every day. Click here to follow the exact 5-minute system you can use to improve your life.]