Burn Your To-Do Lists in 2022 (Issue #343)
A better way to achieve your goals this year
Happy New Year! Welcome to a brand new year and another chance to take a swing at your biggest goals.
Something about starting fresh and leaving the past year behind makes us feel hopeful. That’s why so many people love to make resolutions in January. Unfortunately, most people will fail to stick with them.
Hey, no judgment. I failed last year too. I made progress on my books, wrote multiple short stories, but didn’t formally publish anything other than my newsletter, Medium articles, LinkedIn articles, blog posts, etc.
I could blame the pandemic and chaos, but I accept full responsibility. I made the mistake of trying to squeeze additional time into my already packed schedule.
It’s that natural tendency to say “yes,” take on more responsibility, and try to accomplish more. But, the only way to make time for new tasks is to take time from something else. You have to say “no,” ruthlessly reprioritize, and reallocate time from your fixed 24 hours/day.
To-do lists might work for you, but they don’t work for me. They don’t work for a lot of people. Adding items to a list doesn’t set you up for success.
Those lists just grow larger and larger every day. I have a few massive running lists in Evernote with some items that date back over 10 years!
I often forget to review the list since it’s not in my face. Then, when I do, I get overwhelmed and stressed about how much there is to do.
So, I’m taking a new approach this year. I will use the Ray Bradbury strategy of consistently writing every damn day.
But, where will I find the time to do that? Well, that’s the power of using my calendar. Instead of trying to squeeze more hours into the day, I will repurpose time that I have already demonstrated that I can consistently commit to something else.
Finally, I know that I need accountability. We all do.
So, I want to leverage my existing community to help me stay accountable to the process. That’s you, my dear reader. And it’s my private community of 117 ambitious people who will help push me because we all have been encouraging each other to achieve our goals every week, month, and year for almost five years now.
Therefore, I will be leveraging the existing calendar time I’ve been using to consistently write this newsletter every week for the past 2 1/2 years. I’ll be sharing draft chapters of my book with you every month to hold myself accountable to you.
Don’t worry. The book is about the same themes and topics that fuel this newsletter. It’s not about dating, spaceships, blockchain, vampires, snowboarding, or zombies. 🤣
I will be sharing my strategies and methods for reclaiming your power in your work and life, your freedom to spend more of your time the way that you wish you could, and the future you want for yourself and your loved ones.
I’m looking forward to hearing your feedback and finetuning the book to address your questions, issues, and concerns. Of course, the research, recommendations, and advice will be things that you can take advantage of right away (e.g., to pursue your dreams, get promoted, find a better job, start your own business, and get more of what you want out of life).
Now, I encourage you to experiment with this same strategy for 2022. Burn your stressful to-do lists and focus on these three things that will help you achieve your goals this year better than any list app or productivity hack.
I know this sounds silly, but spelling “succcess” with three C’s helps me remember them even if it drives my spellchecker insane.
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James Clear (the author of Atomic Habits ← my affiliate link) says:
“Commit to a process, not a goal.”
I actually do like setting goals and making plans. You have to know where you’re heading and what you want to do before you can build the right habits that will take you to the desired finish line. But, he’s spot on about the powerful value of a consistent process.
What’s better for your health; running a marathon twice a year or jogging two miles every day? I know my poor body would implode if I stepped outside and tried to run 26 miles/42 km without first establishing a consistent training practice.
The same is true for weightlifting. You have to put in the daily reps to develop strength, build muscle memory, and perfect your technique.
You won’t get stronger if you sporadically drop into a gym a few times a year and toss some dumbbells around. That fitness resolution only works if you consistently work out.
Many people create goals and plans, but very few make it all the way through their plans to achieve final success. If you don’t take action consistently, you won’t make serious progress.
Putting in the daily work is hard, and sometimes it feels monotonous. But, trying to leap all the way from the beginning to the finish line is a surefire way to fail. Success comes with a series of smaller steps that you consistently take every day, week, and month.
If you want to achieve your goals this year and make progress on your plans, create daily habits and consistently do them. Leverage the power of compounding actions to reap huge rewards from small, seemingly insignificant activities (e.g., running a mile every day, writing for an hour every morning, talking to three new people every week).
What do you need as daily habits in your life to achieve your goals this year? Break your big goals into subgoals, your subgoals into tasks, and your tasks into tiny habits. The commitment can be as little as 30-60 minutes every day.
But, where will you find this time? Well, the secret isn’t trying to find new time, but instead to repurpose existing time and safely block it off on your calendar.
One of the biggest reasons people fail to achieve their goals is that they can’t find the time to work on them. They don’t make the new goal a serious priority, so they don’t schedule time on their calendar to work on it consistently.
Once you have defined your new habits that will build up to achieve your goals, you have to block time on your calendar for them. For example, I literally schedule time on my calendar to work out every morning. I block off entire afternoons to write my newsletter and record podcast episodes.
You can’t let other people (e.g., your boss) have total control of your calendar, which gives them complete control of your life. The first step to taking back your power and freedom is to own your time.
Yes, I know your employer already requires several hours of your day during the workweek. But, that doesn’t mean that they own your evenings and weekends too.
If you’re a salaried employee, your employer will happily take all of your time if you allow them to do so. Some of my past bosses definitely took advantage of my workaholic tendencies.
I worked evenings and weekends for many, many years. But, the ROI wasn’t worth it. I gave up way too much (e.g., my health, wellbeing, and relationships) and received too little in return.
Your future is too valuable to let that happen to you. It’s a new year! Sit down with your calendar this week and start scheduling recurring blocks of time for tasks that are important for you (not your employer).
Some examples of recurring appointments you might schedule on your calendar:
Time to exercise every day.
30 minutes of meditation every evening.
A weekly block of time for intelligent networking.
30 minutes every morning to journal and brainstorm while you enjoy your coffee or tea.
A block of time every month to plan your next career move, research potential employers, and look for a better job.
An hour every week to brainstorm ideas for your own business that you’ll launch someday.
A couple of hours every week to explore your creative side (e.g., sketch, paint, write, make music).
You will have a better chance of achieving your goals when you commit time on your calendar to consistently perform the tasks and habits that help you make progress. But, there’s an additional way to further improve your odds of success by leveraging the power of human relationships.
The secret sauce of success combines consistent habits with accountability to other people. I know I’ve shared this data before, but it still surprises me.
If you promise someone else that you will achieve a goal, your probability of success rises to 65%.
When you schedule regular accountability appointments with someone, your probability of success goes up to 95%!
Do you have someone in your life who can hold you accountable for your goals this year? Is there someone you can meet with regularly who will encourage you, push you, and help you keep going when you’re feeling overwhelmed or discouraged?
If you don’t already have this type of support, you should look for a community that can provide it. If you can’t find one, you may need to create your own tribe.
I know that I need this type of accountability, so I often share my goals and plans with my wife. She encourages me and reminds me of what I want to achieve.
Over 12 years ago, I wanted this type of supportive environment at work too. Unfortunately, I discovered that the competitive and political corporate world of being a tech executive wasn’t exactly the nurturing environment that I needed.
I wished that I had a community of trusted peers back then. I could see that many of my friends were struggling with similar issues too. So, about five years ago, I created my private community and began welcoming like-minded souls to join us.
I created one accountability environment with my Career Accelerator. We meet every week, discuss goals and activities, support each other, give advice, and hold each other accountable for progress toward our goals. That community helps us all stay on track.
Last year, I also expanded my community to be more affordable and accessible to more people. It’s not free, but we provide tremendous value for that $15/month. We’ve helped connect people with hiring managers, discover great opportunities in the hidden job market, and negotiate job offers to make thousands more every year. Turning $15/month into thousands more in income every month is a pretty damn good investment.
I did shut down my free groups on Facebook and other places. People have asked me why I no longer have those free communities.
I’ll tell you why. Over the years, I’ve learned that people don’t commit to something free. They don’t value it enough, and they don’t take it seriously.
When it’s free, it’s easy to skip it. But, when you pay even a tiny amount for support, advice, and access to a professional community, you value it more. You show up to get your investment out of it.
So, if you can’t find the right community to support you and help you achieve your goals this year, check us out. We’re always here to help!
Good luck this year!
I wish you the best of luck with your goals for 2022. Feel free to ask questions in the comments on this post online. Reach out if you’d like to work with me on your plan and if you know that you would benefit from having a coach hold you accountable for making progress.
Check out my private community if you’re interested in the support of smart, friendly, and ambitious people like yourself. I think of it as the fun water cooler and helpful colleagues that I wished I had when I was an employee so many years ago.
By the way, there is still a great way you can support my work without spending any money on a premium subscription:
📣 Recommending my newsletter on social media! 📣
It only takes a few seconds, and it helps grow my business so I can continue making time to write it.
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I've really been enjoying the Invincible Career newsletter by Larry Cornett (@cornett). If you want to get ahead at work and be happier in your job, but you aren’t subscribed yet, you’re missing out.
Larry Cornett is a leadership coach and business advisor who hosts a private mastermind community for ambitious professionals with weekly challenges, office hours, and confidential support. If you’re interested in starting your own business or side hustle someday (or accelerating an existing one), check out his “Employee to Solopreneur” course (launching in 2022).
Larry lives in Northern California near Lake Tahoe with his wife and children, and a gigantic Great Dane. He does his best to share advice to help others take complete control of their work and life. He’s also on Twitter @cornett.