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Ten Things You Can Do Today to Jump-start Success

10 Things to Motivate

1. Read or listen to something that motivates you every single day. If you don’t read another item on this list, take this to heart. Don’t let a single day go by without providing yourself external motivation.

2. Keep a journal of your daily progress and carry it with you wherever you go. Change and progress will happen, but in order to recognize it, you have to record it. An example of a journal entry might be “Started tracking all expenses today, woke up 15 minutes earlier, set goal to read one book a month.” Some days you’ll do more than others, but the important thing is to do something every day and write down what you do.

3. Make goals and re-write them every day. Your goals will change, don’t worry about making goals that right now feel unattainable or baseless. The hardest part of making big goals is starting. Start by recording between 5 and 10 changes you’d like to make or milestones you’d like to reach within the next three years and re-write the goals, along with a brief note of your current progress every day. Save the lists of goals as you go so you can see how they evolve and you progress. This idea is by no means unique to me, but I do it and I know it works.

4. Keep track of every person you meet. If you don’t feel like you will remember their name, write it down, along with details of the conversations you had with them. Microsoft Outlook or almost any Personal Information Manager is great for storing this type of information. Keep it in a simple, but comprehensive system.

5. Begin investing a portion of your income today. A great place to start is a high-yield savings account, an IRA or a 401k plan. Do not put off investing until you’ve found the ‘perfect’ investment. If you’re already investing some of your money, bump up the amount you invest a notch.

6. Begin looking for opportunities to build passive income (money that you don’t have to work for once you’ve done the initial work) and write down or begin working on your ideas. The most important thing you can do is be aware of the ideas you already have. Focus on building assets, not more work for yourself.

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7. Only sleep as much as you need to. Sleep is obviously important, but don’t use the most important hours of your day dreaming. If you wake up at 7 and go to bed at 11, begin to wake up at 5:30 and go to bed at 10:30. Chances are there is an hour each day that you could use doing the above things that will make you more happy and successful.

8. Look for opportunities to serve. If you are willing to help others, others will be more willing to help you. The benefits of service are real–you will find more happiness and peace through serving than through any amount of time or money.

9. Keep track of every penny that you spend or save. Record every transaction in the back of your checkbook, in a spiral notebook or in accounting software. By doing it, you’ll begin to discover patterns you never would have found otherwise.

10. Stop being a victim. Focus on what YOU can DO. Stop assigning blame, don’t look for excuses. Take the attitude of ownership. Don’t try to change others, make a decision then take action.

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42 Comments

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  1. Clark
    June 21, 2005 at 9:22 am #

    Great list. I think I just accomplished number 1. Thanks!

  2. Daniel Poynter
    June 21, 2005 at 10:51 am #

    Good job with the list. About #4: “I’m not very good with names” is no excuse. Remembering a name is the easiest way to make life better in a relationship. Keep up the good work = )

  3. Jakub Felkl
    June 21, 2005 at 12:15 pm #

    Everything on the list is great except #7.
    I would recommend just the opposite. You should not underestimate the importance of getting enough sleep. Sleep an hour MORE everyday and you will be more productive (that would make up the hour) and overall happier. Why? Read “Power Sleep” by Dr. James Maas.

  4. Marcus
    June 21, 2005 at 12:41 pm #

    Jakub-I need to clarify my position on sleep. There is definitely a balance–everyone has an optimum amount of sleep that they should get to be awake and alert through the day. I have found that the best way for me to get the perfect amount of sleep was to stop using an alarm clock. I’ve gotten used to waking up early, but if for some reason I don’t, it’s probably because my body needs more sleep, I don’t try to fight it. Ninety-nine percent of the time I wake up right on time, the days I sleep in some, it’s not a big deal. I have found that to be most productive, I also need to rest about 10 – 25 minutes at some point in the afternoon. Having a little nap gives me the boost I need to go through the rest of the day fully alert and functional on 6 1/2 to 7 hours of sleep.

    Of course I’m not saying this is the perfect solution for everyone, but I believe that many people (including myself up until recently) sleep longer than needed, which can, just as sleeping too little, seriously hinder your ability to function during the day as well as consume valuable hours that could be spent happily and productively.

  5. Gruntwilligar T. Honkenoffski
    June 21, 2005 at 9:06 pm #

    Great list! Do you think if I start writing down the goals I have set for my Penguins that I might be able to achieve those goals sooner?

    Sincerely,

    Gruntie

  6. Nathan Lanier
    June 22, 2005 at 9:41 am #

    Inspiring. Although I think getting too specific and micromanaging goals can prove detrimental. I’m a big picture guy.

  7. Ken
    June 23, 2005 at 8:53 am #

    Hi,
    Great list. One thing though, for the comments section, might be better to separate the trackbacks from real comments. Gets real confusing and cluttered.

  8. miss critical
    June 23, 2005 at 10:11 pm #

    The hypothetical person in #7 was actually getting enough sleep by going to bed at 11 and getting up at 7, whereas your recommendation to cut sleep times to 7 hours instead of 8 could create a sleep debt (albeit not a chronic and horrific one). It also fails to take into account that the person might have been going to bed at 11 because they feel most productive in those late evening hours, but the job world generally requires them to make an office appearance circa 9AM-5PM. Most working people in the US do not get enough sleep, and it’s more of a problem than most people realize.

    So, I think for most people, it’s lousy advice… decent only for morning people who readily get by on 7 hours.

  9. Marcus
    June 24, 2005 at 3:59 am #

    miss critical: See my clarified position on sleep above.

  10. murali
    June 27, 2005 at 5:13 am #

    point 4 seems to be extra

  11. Vitaly Friedman
    July 7, 2005 at 6:46 am #

    I don’t know why but I am willing to stick to it ;) Thanks!

  12. Peduso
    March 26, 2006 at 4:44 pm #

    Hi,

    #7: Allways when I read about the right amount of sleep someone should get, I feel reminded on the artikles about poliphasic sleeping written by steve pavlina. beeing awake 22 hours every day must be wunderfull. society does not allow normal working people handle they time like this, but it must bee amazing beeing polyphasic.

    peduso

  13. Peduso
    March 26, 2006 at 4:52 pm #

    hm,

    the uri should better be placed here in the texbox rather then behind my nick, I think. awfully stupid…

    http://

    http://www.stevepavlina.com/blog/2005/10/polyphasic-sleep/

  14. sid
    October 14, 2006 at 12:26 pm #

    Number 11 should be don’t stress yourself with yet another list.

    There is a value in our dreams. Our dreams tell us who we really are, prepare us for the future and enables us to make ajustments in our lives. Don’t let any deprive you of your True self.

    To know thyself is to know thy god.

    Make your own list.

    Be present in the present and your past and future will be taken care of and you’ll realize happiness.

    [do not edit]

  15. Rise
    February 1, 2007 at 4:41 pm #

    Thanks for the great tips. I think tip #10 has the power to solve most of the conflicts that exist in today’s world. The ‘Blame-Game’ unnecessarily complicates the matter and ruin our lives.

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