It’s 2014. A whole new year. I always like to spend a few days reflecting, looking at the past year, and planning the future.
2013, without a doubt, was a revolutionary year. Many of you have been tracking my progress from the beginning — from my first video about my Passive Income from the 4-Hour Workweek Blog. Some readers have been following me since my TV special on TechTV when I was 16!
2013 was a radical shift, moreso than any other year of my life since I first left Stanford and began to start traveling. Why? Because I finally decided to stop traveling, take my own advice, and build a system around me that supported my strengths.
Since 2008, I’ve lived in 15+ countries, taken hundreds of flights, and tried to build a thriving online business. Unfortunately, I continuously held myself back for a couple reasons.
Biggest Takeaways from 2013
1.) Persistent Traveling doesn’t lend itself well to building routine. Instead, it acts as an effective escape. When you wake up in the morning at home, don’t put on pants, and spend the whole day on Facebook, you’re a failure. When you wake up in the morning in Colombia, and don’t do anything — well, at least you’re in Colombia.
So I had a breakdown in a Regus office in June, and decided it was time to come home. James Swanwick and I decided to launch a course called Get it Done in 30 — and live together for the entire process. Living with James (someone who has a solid routine and forced me to follow him) was mindblowing — instead of just pontificating about what I should be doing, James convinced me to do it. And to do it consistently. He helped me form a routine.
2.) Once I took my own advice and hired a team around me — things began to explode. I’ve known for years that I needed to hire people around me to help me get things done. With the notable exception of my Craigslist slapper, I almost never took my own advice. But starting in August, I did. I went from a one person company to a 12 person company. Hell, five people on my Pavlok team even got tattoos…
3.) Understanding who you are—more specifically, your personality type—is paramount to figuring out what success means to you. Derek Halpern recommended to me The Art Of Speed Reading People, a book about identifying Meyers Briggs personality types and dealing with others. Discovering, deeply, what that personality type means was a complete pattern-shifting experience.
I spent years considering myself a failure because I was unable to finish the things that I started. But when I read into my own personality, I realized that it wasn’t a personal failing—it was a function of my personality (and indirectly, a function of my success). The fact is, people with my personality type have the potential to do great things and inspire others, but when left to our own devices, we tend to jump from thing to thing, never finishing anything we start.
The solution? To pair my Perceiving type with Judgers. As I mentioned above, I began to hire a team of people around me who were Judgers — able to take my grand ideas and execute upon them. Understanding my personality allowed me to feel comfortable letting go of the things that I’m not designed to do.
4.) Separation of business and personal finances is HUGE. I raised $50,000 from the Bolt incubator for my new startup, Pavlok. In order to accept the money, I had to open a business bank account. Suddenly, purchasing decisions became much easier. In the past, I would hem and haw and spend days deciding if I should buy a particular competitor’s product — now, I tag it as a business expense and just execute. With personal expenses I’m just as bad, but business expenses now operate from a different part of my mind.
5.) Adding some specific productivity tools to my life greatly improved my flow. I’ve talked about productivity apps before. Apps that automate my difficult situations have greatly improved my life. The big winners this year were Wunderlist, ScheduleOnce, Dropbox connected to IFTTT, Hipchat, and Basecamp. Finding employees and virtual assistants was improved greatly thanks to Staff.com
6.) Anything can be automated. Email can be automated. You just need to systematize it. I no longer handle email alone. I have two people checking and responding and drafting emails on my behalf, and I no longer have to look at my email more than once a day. Most importantly, the mental weight of ‘forgetting to respond’ is GONE.
If there is ANYTHING that you feel internal resistance to, don’t do it. Automate it. There is someone who can do it better than you.
Themes, Plans, And Goals for 2014
My theme of 2013 was Transformation. I underwent a complete and full transformation — both from a business perspective, and from a personal perspective.
2014 is the year of execution. I’ve been planning and traveling and moving and thinking for long enough. This year, things get done. Or else. (bzzzz)
You might know that I started a company called Pavlok — a wearable electronics device designed to help you form better habits. I haven’t released many details yet but know this: this year, the year of Pavlok, will be defined by execution. Success to me is very clear.
By the end of 2014, success will be measured concretely by 1) the amount gained from my Pavlok crowdfunding campaign and 2) actually shipping product.
The goal is to raise $500,000 in my crowd-funding campaign.
The goal is either to have products shipping, or at least 100% final production line in China, by December 31, 2014.
Below is a list of items I’d like to achieve. But the only real barometer of success this year is the above.
- Get to 9% bodyfat (measured by Omron Bodymeter—current best is 11.4%)
- Get binge eating under control
- Continue lifting and improve my numbers. Goals: 225 x 2 bench, 315 x 2 squat, 350 x 2 deadlift.
- 3 days/week consistent habit of gym or exercise or bootcamp
- Floss daily
- Gratitude journal
- Product complete, ideally shipping by end of this year.
- App complete. Partnerships begin.
- Raised at least $1 million from VCs (all of 2015 covered)
- Product has sold 10,000 units
Hack the System
- 2 posts / week, consistently
- 2 newsletter blasts / week
- Improve onboarding funnel
- Move over from Aweber to Infusionsoft
- Quarter 2 – build a product to sell? Optional.
This year is NOT about making money or gaining subscribers on Hack the System. It’s about learning the real deep human psychology around habits, and using that to turn Pavlok into an amazing product.
- Spend fewer than 1 hour / day on email. Only check it at 10am and 5pm.
- Automate follow ups perfectly
- Build the Morning Routine habit, consistenty
Relationships and Happiness
- I’m completely comfortable with my progress on these two.
So what’s the key here? How do I get all of this done — especially when one of my biggest sticking points in the past has been execution?
Well, the first step is stating my goals, out loud, to you. There’s nothing like holding yourself accountable to 20k+ people.
Lots of good stuff happening this year and lots of material coming your way to help you create better habits and live happier lives.
I love you guys, and as always, thanks for reading.