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Success = Goals (confidence) ÷ distractions
Below is a three-part guide on how to eliminate distractions, how to permanently increase your confidence, and how to start a daily planning habit that, when practiced, will make you the most balanced, purposeful, organized, accomplished and successful human being you can be.
We’re hoping that this gift and our site will be so valuable to you that you’ll be inspired to share it with everyone you love and care about. That’s a gift you can give us back! You know, for the relationship 🙂 —Dan, founder of MS
(To make reading a little easier, you can copy and paste the link for this page into this site– https://www.printfriendly.com/ –for a downloadable PDF.)
How to Eliminate Distractions With a Weeklong Article Fast and Scheduled Email/Text Checkins
I want you to imagine each self-improvement article you’ve ever read as part of a continuous scroll of paper. Now, if you grab hold of the end (the last article you read) and walk backwards, how far would you have to walk before you got to the end? Most people would be toddling on for miles.
Now I want you to imagine the action you’ve taken from all of these inspiring articles and see it again as a scroll. Again, take hold of the end (your last action step) and start stepping. How far would you go before you got to your first action?
If you’re like most, you’ll have puttered out after a football field or so. Now compare that to the miles of information you’ve taken in. That difference is the reason why your life isn’t what you want it to be. And the only way to make life better is to bridge the gap with action—not more self-improvement articles.
Self-improvement articles are distracting
I’ve had clients who frittered away literally (not figuratively) four hours a day reading self-improvement articles. When I first asked these people if they had any low-value habits, they proudly said no—noses turned up and everything. But when they couldn’t check off their daily goals, I knew there was a block, which ironically turned out to be the dozens of self-improvement articles they read on a daily basis.
Self-improvement articles aren’t bad in and of themselves. But if an article is worth reading, it won’t just inspire you—it will give you relevant action steps that, if implemented through a daily planner, will make your life measurably better after only a week. But that’s not how most readers on self-improvement websites actually read articles…
They prefer to get high off inspiring and empowering stories.
Instead of channeling that inspiration into action—and confidence, and self-mastery—their inspiration fades because they didn’t act, which breaks the success cycle. And when the inspiration fades, they instinctively go back to read another article so that they can feel better—like an addict!—which actually destroys their confidence and productivity.
To disrupt this cycle, you need to learn how to inspire yourself by setting/achieving your goals, by committing to healthy habits that boost your confidence, and by reducing distractions—even if those distractions are self improvement articles. That’s what Millennial Success is here to help you do. And that’s what makes us different from every other site.
Most websites don’t really care about you and your self-improvement because they make money off of your clicks whether you improve or not. So instead of cautioning you to limit the intake of their articles and to act on their value, they flood their blogs with beautiful pictures and clickbait links that compel you to click and read; click and read; click and read. Not to act. If their content leads you to act more and read less, they actually lose money!!!
Not Millennial Success. We make our money off coaching packages and planner sales—that’s it. We’re the only site that actively encourages you the audience to limit the number of articles read. That’s because we actually give a damn about your self-improvement.
To prove it, the first step of reducing your distractions is to eliminate articles for an entire week! (After you finish your gift lessons, of course.)
First step: commit to a weeklong fast from reading any articles
Seriously. No articles for a week. You may now take the next two-to-three minutes to hyperventilate while doubling over in anticipatory grief. Just kidding—it’s really not that bad.
In fact, by acting on the value we’re sharing in this e-course, which our clients pay thousands of dollars for, you will generate the confidence and accomplishments you need to be truly inspired and successful. No articles necessary!
In this weeklong article fast, you’ll start a daily planning habit for accomplishing more goals and a self-encouragement habit for permanently elevating your confidence. Those are the next two lessons. But before we get into those, we have to finish the final steps of eliminating your distractions.
Step two: start scheduling your emails and texts
There is nothing more crippling to your focus and confidence than unlimited access to email and texts. Instead of focusing on self-directed goals and making tangible accomplishments, this bad habit interrupts your focus and distracts you from making progress—which zaps your confidence!
So, how many times do you check email and texts per day? If it’s more than five, chances are that you’re so distracted in daily life that you barely even feel like you’re in the driver’s seat anymore. You also probably feel incapable of accomplishing meaningful goals in your life because nothing ever seems to get done. And that’s about to change forever.
I help my clients get their focus, sense of peace and purpose back by simply scheduling technology checkins for them; between three and five per day works great for most. Even my sales clients end up deciding that they actually don’t need to check email or texts more than every two hours.
When you finally get in the habit of planning out your communications, that’s when you get your life back. You transition from responding to what everyone else wants (and using communication as instant gratification) to focusing on exactly what you need to be accomplished and confident—with zero interruptions. Even checking texts and emails becomes a self-directed goal!
Remember the success formula?
Success = Your goals (confidence) ÷ distractions.
So get serious about limiting your technology and communication. Turn your text, email, and social notifications off so that you’re not tempted to break your focus while getting things done. The messages will be there when you check them on your own time! And if something really is urgent/important, instruct people to call you.
Third step: social media fast
If you really want to be hardcore and make a dramatic success shift today, consider taking a week off of social media too—it’s a colossal distraction. Some surveys show that we spend two-to-four hours a day on it! If you cut it out for a week, then introduce it back in scheduled (and very limited) doses, you’ll gain back all of the focus and confidence you’ve been lacking. It works for every single one of my clients, so it’ll work for you.
As far as I’m concerned, social media has a special spot reserved in hell. More lives are lost to “likes” and snapchat-sta-grams than any other distraction.)
If you’re capable of forgoing articles for a week (reintroducing them in limited doses later), scheduling no more than five email/text checkins per day, and cutting out social media, you’re a third of the way to your most successful self. Start eliminating your distractions today.
Now, onto the next lesson!
How to Start Your Own Daily Planning Practice
So now that you’ve cleared out your distractions for the most productive week you’ve had in years (or lifetimes, depending on your religion), the next step is to fill each of the next seven days with a ton of high-value, purposeful, and inspiring action steps. That way you’ll be too busy accomplishing things and building your confidence to think of what you’re giving up!
It’s time to start your new—and hopefully lifelong—daily planning practice.
This simple habit of defining each day’s top five-to-eight goals is the key to reminding yourself of and following through with your goals. Because goals (confidence) ÷ distractions = success.
But first, a little introduction about how I transitioned from a couch-surfing millennial to a coach who makes his living teaching others how to plan.
How I became Dan the Man with the Plan, actually.
My friends and family used to call me “Dan the Man with the Plan.” Yeah, it rhymed. But they really used it because the nickname was ironically funny—like calling a muscled-up freak Tiny. “Dan” and “Plan” were mutually exclusive. And I was famously unsuccessful because of it.
Knowing then what I do now about planning and success, I could’ve easily predicted that I’d be jobless and sleeping on my Mom’s red-leather sofa by age 23. But I didn’t know. And Mom’s couch is exactly where I found myself when I started to dream a bigger dream.
I’d failed so miserably in relationships and had suffered so much anxiety and depression that, after the last one ended, I promised myself I’d never date again until I had a functional self to offer as a mate—and that I would share the lessons I learned to help other have better relationships too.
So I decided to pursue the writing dream. But that meant I had to get better if I wanted to actually reach people…and if I wanted to get better, I’d have to be—gasp!—consistent. Which meant writing every day.
I avoided the necessity of planning for as long as I could. But after a year of considering myself a writer and having no credit to my name, and no accomplishments, I suddenly became disgusted with my efforts. I wrote once a week at best. So I started jotting down one simple goal every day:
Write one article.
I wrote it out in a blank-paged sketchbook each morning, and I put one little checkbox next to it. Surprise, surprise…I started writing every day. A week passed, then a month; and I had written more in thirty days than the entire year before—all because I was keeping that goal right in front of me, reminding of the action I needed to take.
I grew a sense of pride for my work. And because I was growing my portfolio, I started applying for and landing my first writing jobs. Which meant more planning.
Once I started getting more work (one article a day, two, three, then four on up) that’s when I was forced to plan for a balanced life—which turned me into an expert.
Even though it was a dream to get paid to write, I started fantasizing about smashing my head through my computer screen at the end of the day. My blood sugar starting fluctuating out of control because I wasn’t eating regularly, which lead to headaches, anxiety and insomnia. I didn’t feel happy because I wasn’t taking good care of my body or doing the things I loved.
Things got so bad that I had to take a month-long break just to save my sanity. In that time I regrouped and started figuring out how to plan for everything I needed to be happy and balanced—not just productive. Besides, I couldn’t afford to take a month off every quarter.
Weekly planning sessions
So for 15-30 minutes every Sunday I sat down with my trusty blank-paged planner and designated one page as my weekly planner. I figured out my writing goals in that time. But the majority of the page was allocated to health/fitness goals, fun/self love goals, self-improvement goals, and giving goals. I thought about the things that made me feel amazing plus things I knew I loved doing and made tangible goals for them:
Play beach volleyball twice this week
Meditate every afternoon
Journal every night
Go rock climbing at least once
Get up and move at least five times every day—squats, burpees, sprints, hikes.
Play guitar for 10 minutes a day
Read fiction before bed
Buy my Mom a massage and take her out for lunch
Then every day I’d reflect on these goals while drafting my daily planning page and pick the ones that worked best for that particular day, scheduling the fun and self love and fitness goals right alongside my work goals.
That’s when life really got good. As a bonus, that quality of my life increased the quality of my work: I began contributing at the biggest magazines in the world, and writing for international companies like Fitbit. The increased value in my articles inspired readers to seek me out for personal coaching, which paid more than even my best writing gigs—and at that point I was making thousands per article.
This extra money gave me more time to do what I loved, to become the fittest and healthiest me that I’d ever been, and to pour my energy into the building up my coaching and planning business—all of the things that mattered most to me.
Now I, the twenty-eight year old who slept on his mom’s couch just four years ago, get to teach executives, CEOs, professors, doctors, nurses, students, and moms and dads from around the world how to plan. And that’s my living.
I like to tell stories. But the main point of sharing mine was to show you how incredibly valuable this habit of daily planning is; and that no matter where you come from, or how bad things seem right now, you’re only one consistent habit away from the success and quality of life you’re craving. I’m living proof.
So here’s a quick step-by-step guide to start your own daily planning practice today:
1-You have to purchase a planner
I recommend a blank-paged, hard-backed sketchbook small enough to carry wherever you go. Has to be blank-paged to repeat the planning template I’ll show to you; and it has to be hard-backed for you to carry it around wherever you go. Six by eight inches is perfect.
You can also purchase the Y-Planner, which comes prebuilt with recurring daily goals (exercise, meditation, limiting emails, etc.) and checkboxes for your top eight goals.
2-Designate a time each morning (or evening) to plan your day ahead.
Having a planner won’t do you any good unless you use it. So carve out five to ten minutes each morning for figuring out your top 5-8 goals and daily habits based on your weekly planner goals. (More on that ahead.) Commit to this time for one month solid.
It’s ideal to place your planning session at the end of your morning routine—gratitude, exercise, etc.—so that you’re mentally prepared to leap headfirst into your goals. But you can also choose to plan the day ahead the night before, after you’ve journaled and gotten new insight on what you need to accomplish for a better tomorrow. Try them both for a week each and see what works best for you.
3-Schedule five planning reminders in your phone
Again, it’s one thing to have a planner, and it’s one thing to have goals, but you have to refer to your goals consistently throughout the day to be reminded of them and to complete them. So, until you’re in the habit of continuously referring to your planner for guidance throughout the day, you need to set reminders in your phone for planner checkins. Five planning reminders from 9-5 works well for all of my clients.
4-Get clarity on your longterm goals
(My longterm goals questionnaire is included at the end of this article. Spend thirty minutes to an hour on it!)
5-Create monthly goals
After you’ve gained clarity on your long-term goals—the template for which is included at the end of this article—you’re going to create a monthly planning page in your journal. (Set a recurring reminder in your phone to do this once every month on a Saturday or Sunday.)
Break the page into quadrants. Then slash a line one and a half inches from the bottom. Top left is daily recurring goals—things you’ll stick with every day. Below that is career goals. Top right is self love/fun goals. Below that is health and fitness goals. And the very bottom row will be giving goals. (For visual reference, the weekly planning template below is almost exactly the same.)
Refer to your longterm goals from above to make relevant and actionable goals for this month. Fill up each box with enough challenges to take up a month. Make sure that your monthly goals are coming from your long-term goals!
6-Establish your weekly goals
Once a week on Sunday, use the same format as above to determine your weekly goals. Refer to this page every morning when you come up with your daily goals. You can use the picture from the Y-Planner below for reference. Create a recurring reminder in your phone (now!) to spend twenty minutes planning out your week every Saturday or Sunday afternoon. Plug that Sunday weekly reminder into your phone, too!
7-Then actually spend five to ten minutes each morning planning out your day
At the end of your morning routine—and before you check any email or messages—spend five to ten minutes planning out the details of your day. You’ll need to have your weekly planner page handy for this: that way you can pick from the goals that you’ve already identified as important to your career, health, fitness, and purpose. (I can’t stress how important it is to actually reflect on your weekly goals when you plan out your day. My clients notice a ten-fold difference in their productivity and focus.)
Use the Y-Planner template below in your own blank journal so that you have your basic habits lined up alongside the goals you come up with from your weekly plan.
Once you commit to this daily planning routine for a month, you’ll be a completely different person. You’ll be organized, focused, and disciplined where you used to be scattered. You’ll be infinitely more accomplished than you were—you’ll be confident, and you’ll be consistent too. You’ll even start to feel more intelligent; because once you start using your planner to make concrete action steps for your smartest decisions, you’ll make smarter decisions out of habit.
So start a good habit today. Get your daily planner. And if you’ve already used a planner but haven’t been consistent, make this your year of consistent daily planning. Last thing: if you want to make this process a ton easier on yourself, purchase the Y-Planner here, prebuilt with the daily, weekly, and monthly templates you need to succeed.
Longterm Goals Questionnaire
Once you purchase a planner, you have to define your long-term goals. You can use the simple template I share with my clients below:
What educational steps do I need to take? What skills do I need to acquire? Do I want to transition into another field? Who do I need to connect with? What would I really love to do, but have been too scared to try? How could I make my current work environment more productive, relaxed, and enjoyable?
Where do you want to be in one year? How will you get there? Do you want to spend more time praying, studying the Bible, or going to church? Do you want to attend spiritual meetings?
What routines will you stick with for the next year that will make you incredibly fit and healthy? What is your ideal picture of health?
Self Love/Self Improvement:
What trips, classes, and adventures do I want to go on this year? What do I really love and want to do more of? What do I need to do more of to be happy? What would I regret not trying, or sticking with? Which fun/enjoyable things can I do regularly each week? Which bigger things would I love to do a couple times a month? And which ones could a plan only a couple times per year?
How many books will I read this year? What successful habits am I committed to for this year?
What social/environmental/spiritual causes do I want to support? Where do I want to volunteer? How can I best help my family and friends? How often will I give? How much will I give?
Which low value habits am I committed to eliminating entirely? Which will I strictly limit throughout the day? For most people, these are social media, texting, email, tv, and hanging around toxic people. Some of these can be foregone—like social media. Others should be limited as much as possible—like texts and emails.
Write down a list of the biggest procrastinations that are making you feel paralyzed. Most people should have at least twenty. Make these procrastinations a priority for your first month of goal setting!
How to Permanently Increase Your Confidence
Success = Goals (confidence) ÷ distraction.
We’ve already covered two of the three factors in your success equation—eliminating your distractions, and coming up with goals through your new planner. Both of those habits will boost your confidence past anything you’ve ever known. But confidence, the final factor, is such an important success multiplier that it deserves its own lesson with its own techniques.
If you practice the tools in this final lesson, you’ll have a fail-safe reserve of confidence that will keep you humming towards your goals despite the setbacks that derail most would-be success stories from reaching their destination. So let’s jump into it.
Confidence is a mindset you can master
If success made you confident, and you couldn’t have confidence without it, Thomas Edison would never have persevered through 10,000 failed experiments before lighting his first bulb.
Instead, he would have turned into a quivering pool of regret and self-pity after just the tenth failure. But he kept going. And kept going. And he kept going and going and going and going and going, past self-doubt, past humiliation, past the impossible—all because he kept his confidence high. That confidence was a product of habitual thinking.
“Damn you Thomas Alva, you’re a Goddamned joke. You couldn’t light a gasoline-soaked match. You’re pathetic!”
That’s what Edison’s dialogue wasn’t like. Because those thoughts would have paralyzed him and taken the wind out of his sails. But he had places to go and bulbs to light. So he chose thoughts that encouraged him:
“You’ve got this bro. (Edison called himself bro, FYI.) You’re doing brilliantly—keep at it, old sport. (That last one was probably a little more Edison…) It’s gonna happen. Good effort!”
People who set themselves to changing the world and making the most of their talents like Edison are not different than you—they just refuse ordinary thinking.
“I’m not good enough…
I’ll never make it…
I can’t do it…”
Every person on Earth has thoughts like these. But successful people separate themselves by the wholesale rejection of negative thinking. Negative thought comes inà bam!—they call out the disempowering BS and revert to extraordinary thinking:
Life is good,
I am (a-z positive affirmations).”
And if you want to be extraordinarily successful you’ll do the same. Here’s how.
You can force yourself into the most useful thoughts possible by making a morning routine of these mantras and affirmations:
I am and always will be good enough.
The world is an extraordinary place full of extraordinary opportunities for extraordinary people just like me.
I can do whatever I want and be whoever I want if I believe in myself and support myself with positive thoughts all day today.
“I am successful, useful, congruent, generous, patient, kind, disciplined, perseverant, creative, etc.” (Come up with forty of your own affirmations on a 3×5 card to repeat every day during you morning routine.)
If you repeat successful mantras and affirmations as soon as you wake—like, the moment you gain consciousness—you will not only flood yourself with the confidence and positivity you need to be successful, but you’ll automatically wall off all the negative thinking that used to make you quit things.
If you want to be successful, stick with a morning routine of positive mantras and affirmations—non negotiable. But to ensure that you stick with successful thinking throughout the rest of the day, you have to remind yourself.
10 Self Encouragement Checkins
I’ve found the most effective way to do this is to plan out 10 checkboxes every day next to this goal: Encourage yourself. Dead simple, right? As you accomplish your tasks throughout the day, all you have to do is flip open your blank-sketchbook-turned daily-planner and applaud yourself for your efforts. Anytime you’re aware of blank encouragement boxes that need to be filled, you repeat your successful mantras and affirmations.
In the middle of your daily planning page, write down:
Encourage Yourself! ☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐☐
It’s that easy. Then when you flip open your daily planning page, whether that’s to check off a goal or to get direction, get in the habit of talking yourself up for one of your efforts, or simply knock out some affirmations. Then check off a self-encouragement box. þ That’s how successful thinking becomes habit.
To really cement the habit, schedule six daily planning reminders in your phone. The first is a reminder to make your daily planner at whatever time in the morning you’d be most likely to do it—say, 7:15. The other five reminders will be for “Planner Checkins”, which will happen at 10:00am, 11:3o, 12:30pm, 2:30, and 5:00pm. Continue these phone reminders for about a month, or until the habit becomes completely reflexive.
(I’d create those reminders now, if I were you.)
Keep these habits up for a week and life will be incredible. One month and it’ll be unbelievable. One year? You will be more successful than you could have imagined, I promise. At the very least you’ll be the most balanced and joy-filled human being that you can be.
End of e-course
Now go forth and be successful!
You’ve got a planning habit, you’re boosting your confidence, and you’re eliminating and reducing your distractions. That’s all you’ve got to do! Success is so much simpler than what we’ve been taught.
But that doesn’t mean it’s easy.
In fact, you’ll be challenged far past what you thought you could handle. At times you’ll have to limp, crawl, and even grovel to keep pushing forward. But, when you have daily goals that keep your eyes on the prize, confident thinking, and zero distractions to divert you, you will persist. You will succeed.
Just stick with your new success habits, and keep up with Millennial Success’s weekly emails for more valuable action steps.
We’re starting a beta-project where we’re connecting Millennial Success’s audience members with each other for free accountability via weekly Skype sessions. If you’re interested, send me an email—firstname.lastname@example.org.—including your name, age, profession, interests, and how many years you’ve practiced self improvement.
If you feel like you need professional guidance in your success journey, and that you want to master your professional and personal life without further delay, email or call me for a free consultation.
I can’t guarantee you a spot on my coaching roster since availability is limited, which means I can only work with the most motivated and committed clients. If you are the exceptionally motivated and committed type who wants the success tools and needs the accountability, shoot me an email or give me a call.505 610-1036)
Like what you’ve read?
Let me know!
You can reach me at email@example.com
I love hearing feedback from my audience and starting new conversations—it’s how many of my new articles are created. And it’s also a small gift that you can give me, which keeps our relationship growing 🙂
Send your friend, family or loved one a link to the Millennial Success subscription page, or you can sign them up directly. (If you choose the latter, just make sure to let them know!) Hell, you can even copy and paste this e-course directly in an email. However you do it, share the value. The world needs more successful and inspired people!
Purchase the Y-Planner!
Planning is the most difficult success factor you’ll have to master. That’s not because it’s hard, per sé; but it’s tedious to write out every goal in a way that catches your eye and inspires you to tackle your goals—every single day.
I custom created the Y-Planner to help my clients master the art of goal-setting through daily, weekly, and monthly planning. And it works. So if you feel like you need the extra help with planning—who doesn’t?—you can order your Y-Planner today.
Included in your Y-Planner are 365 daily planning pages, 52 weekly planning pages, and 12 monthly planning pages—all in the same style as the planning templates you’ve seen in this e-course.
Thank you so much for joining the Millennial Success self improvement community!
Since we value your relationship, we’ll continue giving you gift after gift in the form of high-value emails, tips, tools, articles and videos that help create your success story. And if you feel called to give a gift back, we encourage you to keep reading, to share our articles, and to share positive feedback whenever you’re inspired.
Dan & co.