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How To Turn Your Life Around Before The End Of 2016

How To Turn Your Life Around Before The End Of 2016

June is a particularly productive time for me to work on my dreams. Here in Australia it’s winter. It’s hard to get up in the mornings when it’s still pitch black outside (at its latest, the sun rises after 7:30 am).

The coldness spurs me on because I wake up and I’m immediately hit with discomfort. Pain and discomfort have always driven me to work harder.

I love my summer. The heat is great, nothing’s better than sweating it out, watching cricket with a nice cold drink in your hand at the end of the year (remember, everything’s upside down down under).

I can’t help but feel guilty though if I didn’t earn that privilege, which is why I work hard during the winter months.

A third reason that June is a good month for work is because it’s the half way mark of the year. It’s a time of introspection and seeing the progress you have made so far on your goals since the beginning of the year.

Like most people, I’ve tried to stick to certain goals, but I gave up a couple months in when I didn’t see results. Old habits die hard, unfortunately.

However, if you’re anything like me, you want to succeed eventually. You want put in some hard work and see progress. A few months is usually not enough to see tangible results. A year is too long, especially if you haven’t done anything for that long before.

That’s where I’d like to introduce you to the concept of the 180 Day 180.

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What is the 180 Day 180?

The 180 Day 180 was actually the subject of an email line from a marketing consultant based out of Chicago by the name of Perry Marshall. He’s written “80/20 Sales and Marketing”, which introduces how the Pareto Principle (or the 80/20 Rule) applies to sales and marketing. He’s also co-written the “Ultimate Guide to Google AdWords”.

He tells some fascinating stories of his time spent in the “Dilbert Cube” before he struck out on his own as a consultant. I’d thoroughly recommend signing up to his email list just for a good read landing in your inbox once in a while.

One of his emails is titled, My 180 Day 180. Around the middle of the year, he lands a new job (after being laid off the day before). He’s a salesperson who has had trouble making sales. He needs them fast, trying to keep a sinking ship afloat.

Unsure of himself and constantly fighting off feelings of inadequacy and self-loath, he’s got to make this job work.

He discovers direct marketing and innovates by applying its concepts to the industrial space. Six months later, he’s working over he’s getting the biggest commission checks of his life, he’s able to breathe again and is confidently jumping from strength to strength, cutting his teeth in the trenches.

His boss is telling him:

“Perry, what can we do to keep you around?”

The 180 Day 180 challenges you to knuckle down, do deep, focused work and only look up 180 days later.

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This may result in your life doing a complete 180 and going in the right direction.

I’ve used the concept two or three times, counting down the days and I’ve been able to:

  • save up cash and pay off my credit card,
  • start a blog and build a following,
  • find freelance clients.
  • I’m currently in the back end of one — it ends on July 30th — and am looking forward to seeing the results.

Benefits of working on projects 180 days at a time

I think the most exciting thing about these sorts of projects is that it’s very easy to visualize the end result. Being able to visualize where you want to be is a key factor that affects your chance of success. Not a lot tends to change within six months unless you’re actively trying to change it.

It’s also a comfortable length of time to manage. Six months is just two quarters. When you’re starting something, you can see significant results in that time. It forces you to evaluate your goal and see whether it’s realistic.

Some people intentionally leave their goals all airy fairy but don’t give themselves a concrete deadline or result. Building a blog with 1,000 readers a day within six months is more powerful than “become a popular blogger this year”.

Most importantly, it makes you familiar with the idea of working for extended periods of time on your goals. If you haven’t stuck with something for a year, it’s easy to get distracted.

That’s why starting with six months is good. It’s halfway and once you realize you can do six months, the second six months you do is a lot easier. Then before you know it, you have done a year.

1. Decide on start and end date

The easiest step. There’s no better time than today. If you like the days to line up nicely like I do, you might consider waiting until the start of a new month.

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2. Decide on goal

The great thing about doing a 180 Day 180 is that it forces you to realistically evaluate what you can achieve in that time frame. It also makes you ponder how much you want something.

If you really want it, then this step forces you to face yourself and evaluate your approach to achieving it.

For example, let’s say you wanted to be a millionaire by the age of 30. You define this has having $1,000,000 cash in the bank by your 30th birthday. It’s six months until your birthday, therefore, assuming your current savings are negligible, you have six months to get $1,000,000 cash.

You can either go two ways at this point:

Path #1: take a “realistic” route and alter your goal so that it’s in line with your capabilities. If you aren’t particularly entrepreneurial and have never run a business before, this goal might need to be revised to $100,000.

Path #2: stick with your goal and remodel the way you think to achieve this. You will most likely need a dramatic change of lifestyle. I’d imagine you would have to quit your job and take up a high risk, high reward career. Perhaps you could specialize in selling multi-million dollar penthouses. Sell a few and you will hit your goal.

Again, if you’re determined to take Path #2, you have to really want it. If you aren’t afraid of hard work, then this Path could work out well for you.

How much are you willing to change to take this path?

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3. Visualize goal

If you can believe it, you can achieve it. Cliched, I know, but it works. Let me tell you what I’ve found works when visualizing success:

for people who hit their goals, life doesn’t change that much. If you were doing the right things day in, day out, then the results of your hard work will come in due time.
with this in mind, instead of visualizing a “happily ever after” sort of goal,visualize — in detail — a day in the life of you post goal success. Get asgranular as you can. Which bed are you sleeping in? Are you in the same home? What day is it? What time do you wake up? What do you get changed in to? What’s for breakfast? Do it for the rest of the day.

Instead of visualizing material differences, visualize how you feel.Whether you’re aware of it or not, whatever we strive to achieve, we mainly do so because we want to change how we feel on a daily basis. Yes, we ultimately want to be happier, but how does the happiness manifest itself? Who does it affect?

4. Make milestones, work backwards

OK, so now we’re getting down to business. I have often talked about changing what you believe to never lose faith in yourself again. We’ll apply that mindset here now.

Let’s continue on with the previous example — you want to be a millionaire by the time you’re 30 and you have six months to do so.

If you approach this sensibly you would know that this sort of dream is what cripples everyone, since the result relies on criteria that is impossible to achieve. Refocus the goal on milestones that you have complete control over.

Instead of “have $1,000,000 in the bank by the time I’m 30,” change the goal to “meet a new CEO every day”. The assumption of course is that CEOs have the capacity to buy penthouses, network with other CEOs who may be looking to get into the market and so on.

5. Track progress

Finally, see how you’re progressing on a regular basis. Assuming your goal is framed in the right light, it should be challenging but not impossible for you to do.

To kick up the difficulty a notch, be accountable online or to someone you trust. To have someone track your progress introduces an external perspective less likely to be subjectively impacted. For example, if you have a bad day, you might try and take a day off. A harsh but fair taskmaster wouldn’t allow that.

What if you had the courage to only do the work you love?

How much happier would you be? What separates the people who have the courage and those who don’t? Vulnerability. Accepting that they’re good enough to do the work that gives their life meaning.

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Last Updated on October 21, 2018

How to Learn Twice as Fast? Get More Feedback

How to Learn Twice as Fast? Get More Feedback

Have you ever heard of the idiom ‘practice makes perfect’? I’m pretty sure someone has said that to you at least once in your life! It’s a common saying, often used to encourage someone when they’re learning or doing something that is new to them.

They may need many tries before succeeding and getting it right. It’s like beginning to ride a bicycle, learning how to drive, taking up a second language, or cooking for the first time. It’s rare for someone to ace it on their first try.

Whenever you want to start learning something new, I’m sure you’re always hoping to get good at it quickly. But the reality is that sometimes it does take days, months or even years before you can confidently master a skill.

That’s simply how learning works. You try, you gain experience, you learn from it, and you try again. And each time, you’re improving and making progress. Everytime you repeat this learning process, you’re going through something called a Feedback Loop.

What separates a fast learner from a slower learner, is not some innate, natural talent. Instead, it’s because they understand how they learn, and have a systematic way to apply it all the time to learn a variety of things. They know how to effectively use their Feedback Loop to speed up the learning process.

So if you’re currently wanting to learn a new skill as quickly as possible, then you’re first going to need to learn how to create an effective Feedback Loop.

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The Feedback Loop

Feedback means getting information about how well you’re performing each time you make an attempt at practicing or applying a skill. Feedback is what tells you what went wrong, or what went right.

A feedback loop is made up of 3 stages:

  1. Practice / Apply – This is the stage where you put what you want to learn into action.
  2. Measure – This is the stage where you’re acquiring information about your performance. This is also the stage that is most ignored… or done ineffectively.
  3. Learn – This is the stage where you analyze how well you performed, and make adjustments to improve and practice/apply again.

It is important to recognize these 3 stages and put them into place each time you practice a new skill.

Many people only have Stage 1 completed, and a very unclear or fuzzy process for Stage 2, which leads to poor results in Stage 3.

A good, smooth cycle will help you continuously make improvements with each loop, creating steady progress and upgrading your understanding of the skill.

How to Have an Effective Feedback Loop

To make sure your Feedback Loop is effective, you will have to look at 3 key factors: Consistency, Speed, and Accuracy.

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Being consistent means having a regular way to get the same quality of feedback. You need to be able to compare every practice or learning experience in order to measure, learn and make adjustments. If your feedback is not consistent, then you’re going to have a hard time knowing what went wrong or what went right.

For example, say you’re learning to play the guitar. If you play a different song every time you practice, you’re going to get very inconsistent feedback. Because the difficulty, rhythm, and pace of every song is different, you won’t have a reliable way to compare how well you played the current song versus the last. So, the best way to learn would be to play the same song over and over again until you get to a certain proficiency.

Seems obvious in this case, but it’s just an example. A lot of times learning is hard because we don’t focus on keeping with a consistent environment or actions.

Let’s move on to the second factor: speed. Having speedy or fast feedback is important because the longer it takes to get feedback, the longer it will take to improve on the skill. That’s why some people spend a tremendous amount of time practicing, but make very slow progress.

On the other hand, the best forms of feedback are almost instantaneous. The shorter the time it takes for one Feedback Loop to complete, the better. This is because you’ll have more attempts, which means more improvements within the same timespan.

How to get fast feedback

So the key to getting fast feedback is to take the skill or knowledge and break it down. Try to breakdown the skill into different components. They could be broken down into steps, subskills or processes, or even by difficulty.

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For example, if the skill you want to learn involves a sequence (ie: there is a step by step process), you can break your learning down by each step. Create a Feedback Loop for each step individually instead of the whole process. Isolate the processes into different parts that you can focus and work on individually.

Let’s say you’re learning to cook. You can break this skill into steps, such as finding fresh and suitable ingredients, preparing and handling the ingredients, preparing condiments and sauces, serving and plating, etc.

Or let’s say you’d like to learn how to play soccer. You can identify the sub-skills that make up the larger learning techniques to playing soccer, and create feedback loops for each of them individually. So you could start by learning how to dribble the ball, followed by passing, and then shooting.

The third and final factor to an effective Feedback Loop, is accuracy. This means having feedback that actually reflects your performance accurately. Since you’re relying on feedback to tell you what and where to improve next time, this is very important. This is why measuring feedback is a key skill to have for an effective Feedback Loop.

How to Measure Feedback

Obtaining accuracy in feedback is a common weak point for many learners, because it’s not always easy to define what “accurate” means.

To get accurate feedback, we have to have a way of measuring it. The reason why we sometimes get poor feedback is because we’re trying to measure our progress without quantifying our performance. Or, we’re using the wrong metrics to quantify the feedback. Worse yet, it might just be that you were never measuring or recording your performance at all.

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In order to find areas for improvement, you have to be able to compare your current performance with your previous performance.

Quantifying something means attaching a number to it. This helps to give objectivity and consistency when comparing two things. Quantifying feedback can give you constructive information that will help you improve during each cycle of the feedback loop.

Continuously Improve Your Feedback Loop!

Are you ready to put your feedback loop into practice? What’s a new skill that you’d like to start on?

Try implementing every stage of the Feedback Loop when learning this new skill and see for yourself whether your learning improves at a quicker rate.

It is essential to continuously improve your Feedback Loop in order to keep up your momentum, and avoid running into the law of diminishing returns. Improving your Feedback Loop means knowing what to measure next, and what questions to ask to find out.

If you’d like to learn more, subscribe to our newsletter. You’ll discover a lot more gems that will help you speed up your learning; and, these skills will push you towards the goals that you’ve been striving for. All your goals are within reach when you master the Feedback Loop!

Featured photo credit: Raj Eiamworakul via unsplash.com

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