13 Strategies to Upgrade Your 2021 Goals so You Achieve Them Months Faster
This month, millions of people across the world will be setting goals for the new year.
Most of these goals will not be reached.
Behavioral change is difficult. Sustaining transformation and following-through aren’t easy for anybody. It’s no secret most New Year’s resolutions will fail, and that by January 30 most people will be doing the same things they were doing on December 31.
Best-selling author Darren Hardy once wrote, “To get different results, you’re going to have to do things differently.”
Most people are not thinking about their goals the right way.
Most goals are largely unfocused, unspecific, and without a plan for successful long-term sustainability. Most people bite off more than they can chew, and make the same goals as everyone else.
Instead of ending up like everyone else, use these 13 strategies to upgrade your 2021 goals and achieve them months faster than you were planning.
1. Word Your Goals As Though You’ve Already Accomplished Them
This strategy has been suggested by countless authors, speakers, artists, and entrepreneurs.
In his book The 10x Rule, Grant Cardone instructs his students to write all their goals in the past tense. For example, here are some of my goals for 2021, worded accordingly:
- I’ve gained 100,000 email subscribers
- I have a new office setup with recording equipment for online courses
- I’ve sold a wildly successful online course that costs $1,000/person
- I’ve traveled to Italy, France, and Scotland
The reason this strategy is so powerful is because of what it does to your subconscious mind.
Your mind is extremely fluid. It’s malleable, and will fill up whatever space you put it in, big or small. If you constantly tell yourself things like, “I’ve already earned $100,000 this year” or “I’m in my peak physical condition,” your subconscious responds.
Your thoughts, actions, choices, and behaviors will begin to morph into those of someone with those traits. This means you make far wiser choices and cultivate world-class behaviors — because that’s what someone like that would do.
Most people mistakenly believe they first need to feel, then act, which leads to being. For instance: “I need to feel like loving my wife more, and then I’ll be a better husband.”
But this is backwards. You must act first, which then creates feelings and a new state of being. Action creates motivation and inspiration, not the other way around.
Act like a better husband, even if you don’t feel like it. You’ll end up being kinder and more loving as a natural result. Then, you’ll realize you’ve actually become better.
Acting “as if” becomes acting “as is.”
“Success is measured by the size of your thinking.” -David Schwartz
2. Instantly Accelerate Your Growth by Putting Your Subconscious to Work
“As you sow in your subconscious mind, so shall you reap in your body and environment.” -Joseph Murphy
Most people have no idea how powerful their subconscious is.
Every night before I go to bed, I “ask” my subconscious to do things. I plant an idea, a goal, or a principle I’d like to learn more about, and then I go to sleep.
While I sleep, my subconscious begins fervently working on the request, compiling all the information it can. When I wake up, I find myself able to reach peak states far easier, and that I am full of new ideas and connections.
As James Allen penned, “As a man thinketh, so he is.” Much of your thinking is below the conscious level, in the subconscious. This is where ideas, creativity, and inspiration marinate and blossom.
Upgrade your goals by asking your subconscious mind about them.
This way, your mind will be full of new information and perspectives on those goals, how to reach them, and how to make them even better.
“Busy your mind with the concepts of harmony, health, peace, and good will, and wonders will happen in your life.” -Joseph Murphy
3. Commit to Spending Significant Money on Personal Development, Coaching, and Tools
“Income seldom exceeds personal development.” -Jim Rohn
When you spend money on your improvement, a mental shift happens.
You begin to take yourself and your growth more seriously. You have skin in the game now. You focus more on the content and your understanding of it.
During my first 4 years of blogging, I refused to spend money on anything to do with my improvement. $7/month for website hosting was an astronomical cost. No way was I going to buy expensive $10 books or invest in conferences or coaching!
But all that changed. A few years ago, I bought a small, $17 journaling course. I began spending more on books than I did on beer (a huge change!). Then, I actually bought a $500 online writing course.
I believe I’m the real deal now. I know it. I act like it. My self-improvement has skyrocketed, and so has my income, readers, and influence.
Most people who aren’t willing to invest significant amounts of money on their improvement usually don’t have a high view of themselves.
They think the money would be a waste. This thinking manifests itself in their relationships, behaviors, income, quality of life, and nearly every other category. Remember, your subconscious is extremely powerful. What you tell it will usually manifest into reality — good or bad.
It’s nearly impossible to achieve long-term behavioral change with this kind of view of yourself.
Commit to investing in yourself and your development. Your mindset will begin to expand and your view of yourself will thrive.
Success will begin to come, and enormous momentum will quickly be created. Suddenly, those old goals of “losing 5lbs” or “drinking less” seem 1000x less than they could be.
4. The Good Plan You Follow is Better Than the Perfect One You Don’t
Most people bite off more than they can chew with new goals.
Going cold-turkey from a deeply-rooted behavior might work for some people, but not for the vast majority. It took time to cultivate those negative habits; it will take time to change them.
I once bought an intense 16-week bodybuilding plan that involved an entire diet change and 4x/week workout structure. I had been to the gym exactly zero times the previous 6 months.
You can imagine how long that lasted (I quit less than 2 weeks in).
Sustainable long-term change requires momentum.
Behavior is not logical, it’s emotional. When you start, your focus should be on creating emotional momentum. This will carry you through the guaranteed initial swamps of indecision, laziness, and temptation to regress.
Entrepreneur Tim Ferriss once remarked that simply doing the next step in a decent plan is far better than the top advice from world-class experts that you know you won’t follow.
Upgrade your goals. Protect them from yourself. If you know you can’t follow-through, then make a plan you can 100% commit to.
Momentum will build. You’ll add on more. You’ll grow to handle more.
All around you people will be quitting their expensive, fancy plans because they were too much, too soon.
But you’ll be there, making real progress.
“If you don’t get into something you can maintain, you won’t do it at all.” -Darren Hardy
5. Quit Screwing Around and Start Committing
“If you’re interested, you come up with stories, excuses, reasons, and circumstances about why you can’t or why you won’t. If you’re committed, those go out the window. You just do whatever it takes.” -John Assaraf
Hundreds of books by the world’s most prominent and powerful men and women have consistently shared this advice:
“You don’t have much time in this world.”
Life passes quickly. It’s time to stop screwing around with your life and start taking yourself and your goals seriously.
I know lots of people who struggle with looking at pornography. I was one of these people — I obsessively looked at porn for 15 years.
But then, I just flatly stated, “No more.” I said I would do whatever it took to stop.
I went to therapy and cried in front of my therapist dozens of times about my broken upbringing. I went to 12-step meetings for addiction. I went to 90 meetings in 90 days, twice. I was willing to do whatever it took, so that my marriage and family and life wouldn’t be destroyed by my addiction.
I’m not saying this to brag. That was the hardest 5 years I’ve ever known, and I still struggle to this very day. I’m saying this because I know how hopeless and empty life can be, and in many cases, you need to become willing to do whatever it takes to actually make a change.
If you want to achieve your goals, you need to stop being “interested” and actually become committed.
It’s time to let go of your old self so the new one can emerge. This can only be done with a solid foundation of commitment, dedication, and maturity.
Stop shooting for 1x or 2x goals you know you probably won’t achieve, and commit to making 1000x goals there’s no way you won’t achieve.
“If you want lasting change, you have to give up this idea of just trying something, and you have to commit yourself to mastery. That means not just “dabbling,” but fully immersing yourself. Because your life is not controlled by what you do some of the time, but by what you do consistently.” -Tony Robbins
6. Plan For 2022, not 2021
Long-term thinking is the key to enormous results in the present. All your thoughts, actions, behaviors, and choices begin to align with a higher goal. This is how you subtly begin remarkable and consistent personal evolutions.
Author Grant Cardone once joked, “I’d rather fall short of making $1 million dollars instead of falling short making $1,000 dollars.” This is long-term thinking that most people never practice.
If your vision is too small and your goals too short-term, you won’t tap into the extraordinary power of long-term thinking. Your mind is a nearly limitless source of energy and inspiration; some of the best fuel is long-term expectancy of huge success.
Don’t plan for 2021— plan for 2022. What will your life look like then? What will you have accomplished?
This has also been called “reverse-engineering” your goals. You pick a date to have a huge task finished, then every month, week, day, and hour leading up to it are focused, with specific actions to reach the end goal.
Most people don’t have long-term goals. They’re entirely focused on the present, or perhaps the short-term future.
1000x time your goals by thinking about the following year’s goals.
It’s hard to understand who you are and what you’re doing if we don’t see the short and long term goals you have for yourself.” -Todd Brison
7. Complete These 3 Mindset Shifts First
“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” -Abraham Lincoln
Most people approach tasks as important as designing their future without preparing their mind first.
Setting long-term goals without first shifting your mindset is like attempting to cut down a tree with a blunt axe — you’ll spend twice as long hacking away, only getting half the results.
You need to sharpen your tool first.
Here are 3 mindset shifts you need to make before you’ll be able to set (and achieve) truly incredible results:
Fixed Mindset to Growth Mindset
Carol Dweck’s book Mindset describes the fixed mindset as believing you and your traits are set in stone. There’s no room for improvement — you are who you are.
This is how most people operate. They are afraid of failure because, to them, failure confirms they’re not good enough. If they suck, it means they suck.
But a growth mindset believes you can change just about anything. You are extremely fluid and flexible; you can become extraordinary by learning, growing, and becoming more than you were.
“Trying to do things they can’t yet do, failing, and learning what they need to do differently is exactly the way that experts practice.” -Angela Duckworth
Scarcity Mindset to Abundance Mindset
A scarcity mindset believes there’s only one pie, and someone else’s piece is a piece taken from you.
This mindset is the root of all kinds of negative, toxic behavior:
- Office politics
- Fear of losing
- Fear of failure
An abundance mindset knows there are infinite pies, and a piece for you doesn’t mean a piece taken from me. Life isn’t a zero-sum game. Just because you win doesn’t mean I lose.
Countless positive and constructive behaviors flow from this mindset:
- Incredible dreaming
- Baffling generosity
- Strong sense of security
- Calm self-confidence
- Love and kindness to others
- Restful sleep
We can all win. Don’t believe it when people tell you otherwise.
Entertainment Mindset to Education Mindset
Most people are distracted with a million things — their phone, email, the news, social media, TV, work, the latest update on The Bachelor.
This distraction makes it impossible to get into flow states and produce deep work — uninterrupted, highly-potent production of incredible results.
This is because most people don’t value learning. They’d rather be entertained and distracted instead of learning and creating.
The most successful people in the world are incredibly focused. They don’t tolerate mediocrity or distractions that will make them lose focus.
If you want to consistently evolve into better versions of yourself, you must prioritize education over entertainment.
“Formal education makes a living, but self-education makes a fortune.” -Jim Rohn
8. Start Unreasonable Routines That Make People Think You’ve Gone Insane
“Successful people do what unsuccessful people are unwilling to do.” -Darren Hardy
If you want to see never-before-seen results, you’ll need to do things you’ve never done before.
If you want what no one else has, you must do what no one else does.
To achieve 1000x results, you’re going to need to put forth effort that seems crazy and unreasonable to the average observer. You need to make people think, “What is wrong with them? Why are they doing these crazy things??”
Massive action is required for massive results.
In the words of Grant Cardone:
“Take your actions to a point considered unreasonable by the world, where you are doing those things that only you would do.”
People like to think the world’s most successful people were just lucky. They were “blessed” with God-given talents and skills that no one else has, so success was pretty much inevitable.
Wrong. Most of the world’s most successful people came from nothing. Their work ethic is spectacular. Their drive and ambition is borderline obsessive. Their mindset, actions, choices, and behaviors are hyper-focused and world-class.
Most people would be surprised they probably couldn’t last a few days in the life of an extremely successful person. The level of focus, responsibility, and self-discipline would be too much.
After winning a championship title, a reporter came to Arnold Palmer — one of the best golfers in history — and claimed he had simply been lucky in his victory.
Palmer responded with his usual dry wit:
“Well, it’s funny — the more I practice, the luckier I get.”
The harder you work, the luckier you get.
Make routines that make people fear you’ve gone crazy.
9. Jealousy and Comparison Guarantee Mediocre Goals
“I don’t compete with anyone. Everyone competes with me.” -Tim Grover, personal trainer to Michael Jordan
If you want 1000x times the results, completely ignore “everyone else’s” goals.
Most people do not operate in 1000x mindsets. They make the same goals as everyone else — namely, average and unspectacular ones. Odds are, these goals will probably fizzle out in a few weeks.
Do not copy these goals.
If your goals are not fully, intimately yours, you’re probably wasting your time. Allowing jealousy and comparison to be involved in your goal-setting process is like planting a seed and watering it with bleach. It’ll get choked before it even begins to grow.
If you compare yourself to others, you’ll only get what they want. If you chase what others are chasing, you might get it — but the reward will be hollow and empty.
In the words of Grant Cardone:
“Many people think in terms of, ‘I have to do what my colleague/neighbor/family member is doing’ instead of ‘I have to do what’s best for me.’”
1000x results can only come from goals based entirely on you — no one else.
Do you really want a 6-pack? Do you really want to write a bestselling book? Is it that important to gain 1 million Twitter followers?
Or are these the goals of other people?
If you don’t create and control your environment, it will control you. To get 1000x results, you need to design your own lifestyle and goals.
10. Your Wildest, Deepest Goals Are Revealed in Flow States
“Belief, strong belief, triggers the mind to figure out ways and means how-to.” -David Schwartz
Flow: deep enjoyment, creativity, and a total involvement in life.
Entering a flow state means you become hyper-focused and ultra-aware of yourself, your thoughts, your actions, and your future. This is the peak time to make life-changing goals.
Here are some ways to remove distractions and enter flow states:
- Perform an incredibly difficult physical challenge (biking 50mi, running 20mi, lifting enormous weights, etc.)
- Listen to introspective music on repeat
- Wake up far earlier than usual
- Routinely journal in the same place at the same time every day
- Pray, meditate, and sit in absolute silence for extended periods
Consistently following routines creates physiological energy spikes.
It is only by first entering peak flow states that you will be able to make crazy-big goals that have deep meaning to you.
11. Narrow Your Priorities to Achieve Hyperfocus and Uberpotency
“If you have more than three priorities, then you don’t have any.” -Jim Collins.
The more goals you have, the more diluted your focus becomes.
It’s OK to have many dreams in many areas. In no particular order, I’m hugely passionate about personal growth, reading books, craft beer, traveling, writing, creating online courses, my physical health, and spending time with my family.
That’s a lot of categories. If I tried to do them all at once, I wouldn’t be able to focus on anything that well.
That’s how most people operate, though. Like a wide-lens flashlight, they can cover a large area, but with dim, unfocused energy.
To get 1000x results, you need to be like a laser pointer — focused obsessively on 2–3 things, max.
After you reach those goals, you can exchange them for 2–3 new goals.
Choose hyper-focus in a few areas than mediocre attention in many areas.
12. Choose to Be Unapologetic About Your Improvement and Growth
“Would you be as successful if you followed all the rules and always behaved and never took chances? No, you’d be just like everyone else, scared about failing and worried about being liked.” -Tim Grover
The moment you begin making enormous strides towards incredible goals, people will criticize you.
This is usually because your commitment to personal growth makes them feel uncomfortable about their own lack of development. When you assert things could be better, people interpret this as you saying their life could be better, which is offensive to them.
“The more bold you are, the more rejection you experience.” -Todd Henry
If you want massive growth, understand this: it’s a lonely path. There’s not many on that road.
It won’t always be this way. Soon, you’ll meet kind and caring people as unapologetic about their growth as you are.
In the words of the ancient Stoic philosopher Epictetus: “If you want to improve, be content to be thought foolish and stupid.” If you start your enormous goals, be prepared to receive backlash and criticism.
That’s OK. Choose to be unapologetic about your growth. This is your life, not their’s. If they want to improve with you, excellent.
But if they’re content to stay in mediocrity, then it’s time for you to leave — even if you have to leave alone.
“You cannot allow the actions of others to define your reality.” -Steven Pressfield
13. Ask Your Great-Grandkids What They Think
“A focus on legacy is required to reach great heights.” -Todd Brison
I love Terry Crews. A former NFL player, a great actor, and social activist, he revealed one strategy that he uses to get crystal clarity about his goals:
“One approach I use is imaginary great-grandchildren.
I talk to them all the time. I ask them about decisions and relationships and whether or not to continue them. They tend to speak loud and clear. “Grandpa, you shouldn’t do this, or you need to leave these people alone because we will be affected negatively, or worse, we won’t exist.”
Those moments show me that this whole thing is bigger than me. It’s the realization that there is a “will to pleasure,” a “will to power” and, in the words of Viktor Frankl, a “will to meaning.” You won’t take a bullet for pleasure or power, but you will for meaning.”
Imagine what your great-grandkids would say about your current goals.
Would they be proud?
Would they be confident that’s the best you’re able to do?
Or would they flatly respond that you can do better?
“Live like no one else now, so later you can live like no one else.” -Dave Ramsey
If you want 2021 to be the year you achieve the goals you’ve always wanted, you need to make goals you’ve never made before.
If you want huge results, you need to make huge goals. This unlocks hidden, dormant power in you that is fueled by excitement and overcoming a challenge bigger than anything you’ve ever done.
Take massive action, not average action.
Set your own goals, not anyone else’s.
Be willing to do what no one else will.
Think long-term, and the short-term will always benefit.
Ready To Level-Up?
If you want to become extraordinary and become 10x more effective than you were before, check out my checklist.